Traveling as a woman shouldn’t be intimidating.
Enter Golightly, a new vacation rental platform for women, which launched Wednesday at wegolightly.com. All of the properties are owned or managed by women, and renters must be women, though men can travel with them.
Victoria O’Connell launched the Austin, Texas-based company after a bad experience renting out a home in London, which was burglarized and destroyed by a group of men that booked her home on a home-rental site.
“I felt that I would never be comfortable renting out my home again, and I wanted to figure out a way to change that and feel safe again,” O’Connell said. “I travel frequently and also stay in vacation rentals often, so I had to find a way to get back to it.”
The rental platform is invite-only and aims to build a community of women. Each member is given five invites to send to other women. But if women want to join and don’t have a referral code , they can fill in an online form to be vetted.
According to the website, “As a private club, Golightly carefully vets each member and property listing. Our goal is to provide a safer and more secure travel experience. Listings and member profiles are only available within the Golightly network to protect the privacy of our community.”
It costs $100 for a lifetime membership, though that fee is being waived through the end of February as the platform aims to grow its membership and add more properties. There’s a 10% transaction fee for guests and a 5% fee for hosts on bookings.
For now the site has hundreds of home rentals, with the majority of them concentrated in the United States and Europe, though a handful of other countries are featured.
Women-driven travel networks have gained popularity, with more than a million members in the Girls LOVE Travel Facebook group with many group discussions revolving around solo travel and travel safety.
Golightly’s launch comes after Airbnb has been under fire after a shooting that killed five occurred at a Halloween party at an Airbnb in California and Vice reported on how hosts can assume fake identities and scam consumers on Airbnb with a network of fake profiles. The latter kicked off an FBI investigation.
As a result, Brian Chesky, co-founder, CEO and head of community for the home rental giant, announced the company would roll out a series of safety initiatives.
After the initiatives were announced, police responded to a shooting in December at an Airbnb in Philadelphia.
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