Wow, what a year that was! A year in which we emerged from the shadow of the pandemic, blinking and tentative but ready for the world.
And the world didn't disappoint.
2022 was a fabulous year for PLU, our best yet. I hope and expect that when we look back on 2023, we'll see it as the shape of things to come.
But, let's recap a bit. Our PLU's love stats! So let's see some of them ... 😂
- After two years at a score of 4.9, our TrustPilot score was raised to 5.0, a perfect score. It's hard to overstate how immense this is, and how much it says about our community and how we feel about each other. The scoring system is like a Richter scale, not linear, where 5.0 is way, way, way above 4.9. Our two big competitors are at 4.6 and 4.4 respectively. Great job, PLU's!
- PLU's completed 12,071 exchange nights in 2022, nearly 3 times as many as in 2021 and 6 times as many as 2020.
- 3,054 new homes were activated on the site in 2022, nearly twice as many as in 2021 and three times as many as 2020.
- While the number of our homes has grown a lot, our biggest countries remain the same and with roughly similar percentages. It's interesting that, as we grow, this doesn't seem to change so much.
- We now have homes in 113 countries!
- Our most travelled PLU's this year, in order, were:
It's been such a fulfilling year for Kathy and me. The best part of my job is travelling to meet our members and we were fortunate enough to visit a couple of hundred of you in Wales, England, Spain, France, Italy, Singapore, the US and, of course, Australia. I hope we get to do more of that in 2023!
Our website and our community changed A LOT this year. Here's a sample of new stuff in 2022:
- An all-new calendar so you can specify precisely when your home is available (and it looks really nice too!)
- Last-minute exchanges so you can more easily find an exchange quickly
- New dedicated exchanges screen so you can see all your exchange activity
- New Quick Start signup process to make it easier and quicker for new members to get started
- Message translations, delete & restore conversations
- "Usually responds" time for members so you can see how quickly someone is likely to respond to you
- Improved search algorithm for "colloquial names" and provincial areas e.g. Sydney & Copenhagen
- New categories like cat & dog minding
- New features like EV chargers, tennis courts, bikes and SUPs (a new word I learned!)
- Trial members allowed to host Premium members for Globes - more opportunities for exchange!
- Our new Buddy program and over a hundred members signed up to host our new members
- Our Marketing Manager, Alexandra, and members Jeanne and Tina did a podcast for Revel and we welcomed a bunch of new members
- We did our annual Secret Santa and a few hundred of us spread some happiness around the world
- We reviewed the look of our website and started rolling out an update to our look
- Under the covers, we put in all new infrastructure for our website including our application, database and photo servers (a bit boring, but really important!)
- Plus hundreds of smaller changes to all sorts of things.
Our website changed at least a little bit every single day of the year. There were 660 updates to the website this year!
And what's coming?
A lot more! I am quietly confident that 2023 is going to be a bit of a landmark year for People Like Us.
As always, I'll be working to grow our community with like-minded ... people like us! We all want more choice but we also want to make sure that the feel of PLU remains what we love. Our culture and our community spirit are more important than anything.
One of my big themes for 2023 will be to make exchanging easier. We all know that exchanging takes more work than booking a hotel and, while that will always be the case, I want to make sure that if two of our members would have a great exchange, they know about each other.
I also want to do even more to build our community and the depth of feeling we have in it. Expect new features to help us communicate better with each other, form groups, make friends and deepen our relationships. I want to make PLU even more PLU-ish!
While I can't say anything right now, I am super-excited about announcing a wonderful addition to our PLU team in a few weeks' time. Ssssshhhhhh ... ❤️😂
Happy New Year, my dear PLU friends. 2022 was so much fun but, 2023, watch out!