I had to travel to Brussels recently to participate in the Mobile Health Industry Summit. Thanks to my delayed planning for the trip, when I looked for hotels, the prices were pretty high (€100 and up). I also checked AirBnB and I found some good places but they were too far away from the conference location. Now I had to come up with a solution to make this work.
Fortunately, I knew the founders of MorningCroissant. This is a french version of AirBnb. The main difference between these two is that MorningCroissant offers personalized help if we do not find anything on their website that suits us. I was a bit skeptical of this claim since it is difficult to find suitable accommodations. I was also skeptical about finding accommodations outside of Paris, where MorningCroissant is based.
In my case, I did not find any rentals in Brussels. So I thought of checking out their claim of helping us to find the right accommodation. I contacted Laurent, one of the founders with my dilemma. He got back to me in half a day and got me an apartment rental 10 mins from the center of Brussels for €60/night! I was very surprised and impressed.
When I traveled to Brussels, I stayed at this apartment. Turns out that it was even better than I thought. It had awesome views of the city. It was also well connected to the metro and tram stations. The host was very hospitable who offered me maps and directions to the places that I had to go to. All in all a very enjoyable experience.
If MorningCroissant can maintain this level of service to their customers, I am sure AirBnb has a huge threat coming at them. It remains to be seen how they can scale up this personal help to travelers.
I completely understand that this experience can be biased due to the fact that I know the founders. But if they are capable of providing this type of service to me, I am hoping that they can provide this level of service to regular users of their site. This is the main differentiator for them.