Inbed.me brings together the social web and the travel booking market by allowing people to connect with fellow travellers before their trip even starts. “We strongly believe that travel is not about the places you visit but about the people you meet along the way” says the founder Diego Saez-Gil. Inbed.me was formed in early 2011 and officially launched during Startup Weekend New York. The founders met (yep you guessed it!) in a hostel in Brooklyn, NY.
“The inspiration behind InBed.me’s idea came after I did a long trip as a backpacker in Europe that included more than 30 cities. I stayed in hostels in every place and there I met people from different countries travelling in the same way. I made amazing friends and out of these interactions with people with different backgrounds and different ideas I realized that travelling is not about the places, but about the people you meet along the way. Then I thought that with the growing power of online social networks there was an opportunity to build a tool that facilitates these serendipities and connections for travellers, while they are booking a place to stay” says Diego on how the idea came about.
Inbed.me has established relationships with hostels, beds and couches in over 700 cities around the world.
The success of such a platform depends on the traction and popularity of the platform. On the importance of a community around such a platform Diego adds “Our community is our biggest asset. The more users the platform has the more interesting it becomes. So far we have grown the community of users mainly out of word of mouth. We also have a launched a referral program in which users can make money if they invite friends (5% of their bookings for 3 years!)”.
So far Inbed.me has focused on the European and American markets but are actively looking at Asia particularly at India as a growth market. “Yes, we are aware of the growth that the online travel industry is experiencing in Asia and India in particular, and we want to be part of it. On one hand we want to grow our inventory of accommodations in India and promote them to travellers in the US and Europe planning to go to India. On other hand we want to grow the community of travellers in India, allowing them to connect with travellers from all over the world” adds Diego on their plans for India.
Update on June 29th 2012: inbed.me has rebranded as wehostels.com.