Looking for a last-minute deal on vacation rentals? There is now an app for that.
California-based Whimstay offers travelers huge savings, nearly 50% off, on last-minute vacation rental bookings. At the same time, it provides property managers a new sales channel to liquidate inventory and increase sales. Available only as an app (iOS and Android), the platform lists available dates, up to 10 days out, at discounted rates set by property managers.
Founded in 2018, Whimstay says it has over 1,000 properties in California, its only market. The company plans to expand nationwide in the upcoming months.
The concept is similar to HotelTonight, which provides travelers last minute hotel deals at significant savings while offering hotels a distribution channel for unbooked rooms. Airbnb acquired HotelTonight in April.
Currently, Whimstay only works with vacation rentals that are professionally managed. The company integrates with a number of property management systems, including V12.net, Escapia, and Streamline Vacation Rental Software. Their inventory of vacation rental properties is typically listed on platforms such as VBRO, Airbnb and HomeAway.
For each listing, the app shows the “Was Price”, which is the published price of the property on other vacation rental sites, along with the “Book Now” Whimstay price. Whimstay handles the booking and, once the reservation is confirmed, travelers will coordinate with the property directly.
Whimstay is banking on travelers’ spontaneity and their desire for savings. “Travelers are increasingly booking trips last minute,” said Brad Solso, CEO of Whimstay. “On a Wednesday or Thursday, people are deciding to just get away for the weekend, typically to somewhere within driving distance or a short flight. Or, they have some vacation days to use and they just finished a project at work, so a last-minute week-long vacation is a great idea.”
We downloaded the app, which just launched this month, and took a look around. We found the app has the basic functionalities in place, but is lacking property reviews and like scores, among other things. Also, there appears to be only one way to discover properties, via searching by location. This is a downside, especially for travelers who are spontaneous and just want to go somewhere but don’t have a specific location in mind. A map to help with property discovery based on expanding or narrowing specific areas would be a good option to have. We expect more features to come.