Flipkey – another place to look for cool apartments when you travel
Hands up if you’ve heard of Flipkey? Probably not, right?
I’ve written about London holiday apartments before, so this is an addition to places you can shop around for the place to suit you.
Well Flipkey is TripAdvisor’s answer to the private rentals market. Yep, the holiday review experts at TripAdvisor also have their own property rental portal. But unlike AirBnb, Flipkey doesn’t market as many cheap properties on rates that beat the hotels. Here, the properties are likely to be more luxurious. While there are bargain properties available, the majority of the property listings are for when you want somewhere nice to enjoy a trip.
The Flipkey site is easy to use, and like other property sites, you do all your booking and messaging through them. But once you’ve made a booking, you get details of the person you are renting from so you can email or call to arrange your check-in, which makes life easier. Some properties offer a number to call the landlord on directly before you’ve booked anything – presumably this is the landlord’s choice.
Knowing the site is backed by someone like TripAdvisor gives you confidence when using it for the first time though – plus, they guarantee up to $10,000 of bookings. Pretty comforting!
Having a mooch around the site, the coverage of Flipkey is obviously still growing, and the most popular tourist destinations seem to have the most options.
Currently, London and Paris have over 3000 properties each, Edinburgh and Berlin have over 300 properties, Tuscany in Italy has over 9000 properties and my hometown of Manchester has… 1. Just one! But it looks very nice. :)
As I mentioned, places on Flipkey are usually a good standard, so you can expect to pay a decent rate for that. But on the other hand, the reason I normally turn to apartment rentals is to accommodate a larger number of people. This is when the rate can actually work out quite nicely.
For instance, I just found a canal-side apartment in Amsterdam for up to 8 people which only costs £254 per night over the Kings Day weekend in late April. At just over £30 per person per night, that is quite a swanky place for the money!
The only disadvantage to people on a budget is that one of you will need to be able to afford to book the whole place, including the deposit that goes with it. The deposit can take about a week to get back after your stay has ended, so for shoestring travellers that might hurt a little.
Unless you have very efficient friends who send you the money in advance. I don’t think I know anyone that organised unfortunately!!
I tested out Flipkey with some friends during WTM London at the end of last year, and we found a decent place in Stratford at the last minute. Close to the Excel centre and 10 minutes walk from the tube to central London, this was exactly what we needed. Our friendly host Anna was brilliant, making sure we had enough sets of keys and checking a couple of times during the week that we had enough towels and bedding. There were also toiletries in the bathroom and plenty of basics in the kitchen which was a real bonus for weary networkers getting back home at all hours.
I’ve recommended apartment rental sites in the past, because they do offer a more comfortable stay in most scenarios. You might get a location where hotels are sold out, stay somewhere there are no hotels, or just enjoy the benefit of having a kitchen and even a garden with a patio in this case.
Obviously, London holiday apartments are not cheap, especially with these features, but they get better value when you use a place to maximum occupancy – and that’s easier when you have couples in the group.
Next time you need travel accommodation – have a little browse for places on Flipkey too. That applies if you are a traveller or someone looking to let out their property, because they have the huge advantage for owners of showing your property to literally millions of TripAdvisor users.
When you do try the site out or you’ve used them before, let me know what you thought! My experience was pain free and I would happily rent an apartment through the site again.
So, rock on Kings Day in Amsterdam 2015… staying in a lovely canalside apartment I might know of. Who’s in?
Myself and 3 fellow bloggers stayed with Flipkey to review their service during WTM London. All opinions remain my own, and I also offer my own guarantee of that!