Media reports and research indicates that women often feel unsafe while traveling. A recent survey by Wakefield Research shows 89% of women routinely take extreme safety precautions when they travel, such as double-checking locks and looking for hidden cameras, and nearly 50% of women are more likely to stay in a women-owned rental. New – Women-Only Home Rental Platform change the game!
Named Golightly, the Austin, Texas–based vacation rental platform launched on Wednesday, looking to offer female travelers peace of mind when booking a place to stay.
It’s a private, invite-only club that currently includes more than 350 properties around the world — each owned or managed by women and only available to female guests, although men can travel with the member.
“We want women to travel often, stay safely and go lightly,” reads the company’s official website.
Founder and CEO Victoria O’Connell created the company to cultivate a community of women eager for a sense of security while traveling.
Golightly is focused on providing a safer and better travel experience for women.
Victoria O’Connell is an entrepreneur with over 17 years of experience co-founding and managing JDP Global, an international e-commerce and real estate company. With vacation rentals in Malta, London, Dubai and Miami, she’s long been a customer of alternative accommodations. The concept stemmed from a bad experience O’Connell herself had in 2017 when she rented out her London residence through the popular vacation rental platform Airbnb. The group of male guests burglarized and damaged the property, according to Golightly’s About page. This experience made Victoria think about how she – and many women – feel vulnerable while both traveling and renting out one’s home.
How would she feel comfortable renting her place again? What would make her feel safe staying at someone else’s rental?
She realized that knowing more about who is renting your property, who you are renting from, and having a connection to that person through a private club, was the answer.
Applying inspiration from the community aspect of women-focused coworking spaces, Victoria, along with her co-founder and a team of industry experts, decided to create a Women-Only Home Rental Platform that connected women through travel; listing only women owned and managed rooms and properties. After months of research and planning, Golightly was born.
Every host and guest using Golightly can see how they are connected to one another, since everything is invite-only. Members get five invites to send to other women, then prospective members, as well as listings, are vetted and verified.
Listings include domestic and international vacation hot spots, including Dubai, London and Italy, with prices for some private rooms as low as $80 in Miami and more than $1,000 per night in Ireland.
Aside from a $100 lifetime membership fee upon joining Golightly, there’s also a 10 percent transaction fee for guests and a 5 percent fee for hosts. To attract initial members, the company is waiving the membership fee charge through the end of February.
“Whether traveling for work or leisure, it should always be a pleasure,” reads the Golightly website. “We hope to take some of the stress out of booking and listing vacation rentals so you can leave life’s baggage behind and go lightly.”
For now the site has hundreds of home rentals, with the majority of them concentrated in the United States and Europe, though a handful of other countries are featured.
Women-driven travel networks have gained popularity, with more than a million members in the Girls LOVE
Travel Facebook group with many group discussions revolving around solo travel and travel safety.