The co-founders of Seattle startup Dwellable think vacation rental websites like Airbnb and VRBO aren’t cutting it when it comes to finding great, affordable places to escape the day-to-day grind. So they started their own vacation rental site that lists everyone, not just paying customers.
“We want to be like the Google for vacation rentals,” co-founder Brenda Spoonemore said.
Dwellable’s search engine finds available properties and aggregates them on the site, then redirects you to a property owner’s website for booking.
Spoonemore and her two co-founders, Adam Doppelt and Nathan Kriege, started Dwellable a year ago and have been working to expand their coverage, starting with some popular vacation spots like Hawaii, Cape Cod, Florida and San Diego. Next week, they’ll start listing vacation rentals a little closer to home.
“From Seattle, you can pretty much get anywhere in Washington in five hours,” Spoonemore said.
So Tuesday, when the Washington rental site goes live, Dwellable will help you find vacation properties managed by owners or management companies throughout the state.
Dwellable features an interactive map to make searching in a specific area a little easier. Like similar sites, you can also filter search results by price, the number of bedrooms and amenities.
The site also promotes listings with high-resolution photos, to encourage property owners and managers to include the best quality pictures of the rental. An iPad app takes advantage of the new Retina iPad display by showing high-res photos of listings, and the co-founders have been working closely with property managers to help them upload the best pictures.
Spoonemore said one thing they’ve noticed is that more people are vacationing closer to home, so this new Washington listing should help people in this area find good places to go.
“The recession has been good for vacation rentals. Property owners have put second properties up for rent to help cover their mortgages,” she said.
The site features a leaderboard where the listings with the most Facebook “Likes” and high resolution photos appear at the top of the list. On this rainy Seattle afternoon, the top rentals on the Maui list are making me long for an escape of my own.