Because of the economic crisis Italian travelers have less money to spend, while the B&Bs are increasingly threatened by cheaper options of room – or even couch – sharing. But there is plenty of opportunities where creativity exists, and today the holidays are object of barter.
“La settimana del baratto” (literally, “the barter week”) takes place in Italy once per year and gathers around 2000 B&Bs, which offer rooms in exchange of goods or services. By giving away your old books of literature, you can spend a weekend in a B&B located in Tuscany, as doing some plumber’ repairs will allow you to sojourn one night in a nice countryside near Rome. Started as a time-limited event of one week, it became a permanent opportunity which sees the participation of around 800 B&Bs.
By checking the wishlist made by the B&Bs, you can surely find a manager that needs your help, or one of your old belongings. In this way you’re able to help other people and enjoy a nice staying out of town. The wishlist is organized in categories: music, apparel, food & drink, services. During the barter week the travelers can insert their offerings, too. There is a pilates’ trainer, as well as the professional photographer: in common the desire to travel (for free).
If you had a clearer idea on where to go, you can use the filter region or locality-wise. This means that, yes, you can choose Sicily and/or lakes. Of course, finding a room in a specific area in exchange of something you can actually offer is more challenging, but the users seem to appreciate that. You just decide to go out for the weekend and you don’t know where you’re going to sleep. It is a win-win situation. For the travelers, who will need less money, and for the managers who can improve their business with smaller investment.
This platform builds on the contribution of the users, B&Bs on one side and the clients on the other. The website helps to find the perfect match, and everyone is happy. As all the online platforms, the more the users, the more the opportunities, that in turn bring even more users. The economic return is given by the ads on the website’s pages, but more important, by the annual fee due by the managers on another website, http://www.bed-and-breakfast.it, from which this innovative idea originated. This payment guarantees them the promotion on several social websites plus the participation to the barter event.
The holidays’ barter seems a smart idea to help each other, in times when the economy is stuck and the goods and services strive to circulate. In one word, Bravo!
P.s. However, the fiscal structure of this business idea has to be controlled, as some forms of barter are illegal in Italy. Barter could mean tax evasion. Be aware of that before bartering your professional services without fiscal receipt!