Glendale-based Hovelstay calls itself “The Anti-Luxury Marketplace” and lists honest lodging descriptions, anything from guest rooms to hammocks in tree houses, helping backpackers and adventurous travelers immerse themselves in their new locale.
Working at an LA vacation rental company, Michael Womack and Michael Bolger became increasingly fed up listing IKEA-furnished studios whose owners inevitably hyped them as “luxurious.” Honesty in vacation rental descriptions was hard to come by and the term luxury was cheapened to the point of disdain.
The two created a site, part joke, part experiment, to list properties with blatantly honest descriptions. If it was a dump, they called it a dump. The idea was to attract students looking for affordable housing options. Their idea caught the fancy of an investor and Hovelstay was born.
Though the initial thought was to market listings to students, Hovelstay has found that their marketplace has a broader appeal, especially to travelers looking for an unscripted, authentic experience. Visiting the site you are given three categories of hovels. “Clean & Comfortable” for the guestroom-type experience you might find on Airbnb, “Good Enough” for staying your favorite location without spending a lot, and “Survivor Hotels” for the adventure-seeker on a budget looking for something especially unique.
The founders hint at some exciting partnerships in the near future to further appeal to travelers, but also want students to keep an eye out for useful housing listings as well.