It's one of our most common questions.
If you've come from another exchange platform, you'll find everything familiar enough but if you're completely new ... exactly how does People Like Us work?
I'm glad you asked!
I'm going to cover all the basics here!
I hope you get something out of it!
People Like Us, known by its members as simply PLU, is a home exchange community.
Our members exchange their homes with each other when they travel.
Why would you do that?
Well, firstly and most obviously, it saves a lot of money.
Flights and trains are expensive and we can't do a lot about that, but accommodation is the biggie.
If you want to spend a month in New York or Paris, who can afford that?
That's where People Like Us comes in!
Find a member who lives in your destination and exchange your home with them.
Your house was going to be vacant anyway, so you may as well put it to good use.
You'll save thousands of dollars (or Euros, or kroner, or whatever it is you're counting in).
But there's so much more to it than that.
I know you won't believe me if you're new, but you're going to make friends in our community.
I kid you not.
Our community is full of the nicest, kindest, most generous souls you'll ever meet.
It's the best part about home exchanging with People Like Us.
If you just want to save money, there are other networks or you could go to Airbnb.
If you want to be part of a home exchange community, indeed the best one in the world in my humble opinion, join People Like Us.
Don't take my word for it.
Setup is really easy.
Register on our website and fill in the details for your home.
We have a Quick Start feature to make it as easy as it can be.
It will take you through all the most important parts of setting up so you can be up and running quickly ... basic details about you and your home, a title, your address, and some pictures.
You'll want to fill out more than that to present your home in the best possible way but it will get you started.
Remember that nearly everyone will come back and improve their profile over time.
If you see an idea you like on someone else's profile, add it to yours.
Just remember ..
Pictures are the most important thing.
Everyone starts by flipping through pictures.
So take the time to present your home really well.
Pretend you're selling it.
In a way, you are!
So, wait for a sunny day.
Turn all the lights on and open the curtains.
Make the beds.
Do the dishes.
Put things away.
It's important to present things honestly, as they will be for when an exchange partner comes, but you'll be doing these things for them so do them for your photos.
Next, descriptions are just as important.
Walk through your home in the order of your pictures and write about what you see.
Tell people what you love about it. Enthusiastically!
And more important than anything, write about your area.
Assume people have never been there and don't know anything about it.
Even if you live in London or San Francisco.
People always ask "will people want to come to my area?" and the answer is YES, absolutely!
Home exchangers really want to see something different.
They want to see how different people live, and they want to experience it for themselves.
So tell them what's great about your area, and why they should want to come!
Another really important part is your member description.
Our members want to know about you.
Tell them about your exchanging experience but, if you're new, that's perfectly ok!
Most importantly, we care about your values.
Because we are People Like Us, and we're looking for people who have the same values as us.
So, show your personality.
Add a nice family photo.
It will make the world of difference to the proposals you will receive. 😀
At the end of the Quick Start process, we'll ask you if you'd like a PLU Mentor.
A Mentor is an experienced PLU member, personally assigned to you to help you get started. You can ask them anything you want. They'll be very keen to help you with anything you need!
People Like Us is a subscription-based service.
It's free to trial People Like Us for a limited period.
As a Trial Member, you can list your home, browse through our listings and make enquiries of our members.
You can try everything out and make sure that PLU is right for you.
When you've found your first exchange, become a Premium Member to confirm it.
We have an annual fee which is great value and you can exchange as many times as you want.
All year if you want to!
That's pretty good value!
Exchanges can be reciprocal (I stay at yours; you stay at mine) or non-reciprocal using People Like Us Globes.
If I want to stay at your place and you can't come to mine, I can offer you a Globe.
A Globe is a token that we use for non-reciprocal exchanges (more on that later but it really just means one-way exchanges .. I'm coming to yours but you're not coming to mine).
When you accept my Globe, you can then use it for a non-reciprocal exchange with someone else.
It's simply a way to make it easier to find an exchange, particularly for people who live in less-touristy areas.
It allows you to decouple the two sides of an exchange.
A Globe is worth one stay at another member's place.
It's up to you and your exchange partner to agree how long the stay is.
There's no difference for different homes or different locations.
At People Like Us, we're all the same!
You don't have to accept Globes if you don't want to but they do make things a lot easier.
Naturally, just like with any other exchange, you don't have to accept a Globe exchange just because it's offered.
I've covered this in detail in another blog post so I'll just give a summary here.
There are 4 different types of home exchange at People Like Us:
There are passive and active ways to find an exchange.
If you're open to offers and want to see where the universe takes you, the most important thing to set up is Desired Destinations.
Desired Destinations are where you want to go.
You add one location at a time and specific dates if you wish (but they're not necessary).
They work with Reverse Search.
If I live in Sydney and want to go to Copenhagen, I can search for people in Copenhagen who want to come to Sydney. That is, people who have Sydney listed as a Desired Destination.
You can be as specific or as general as you like.
If you list the United States as a Desired Destination, you'll appear in a lot of searches but you may get enquiries that don't interest you.
If you list Denver, you'll only appear for reverse searches that specifically list Denver.
If you know when you want to travel, that's when active search comes in.
People Like Us has over a hundred filters that you can use to help you find an exchange.
Of course you can search by location, but you can filter your search by almost anything else that you can think of as well.
If you're looking for a 3 bedroom home or apartment near the beach that will accept your pet, we have filters for all those things and a whole lot more besides.
Want to stay in a yurt?
Or on a boat?
Are you after something romantic?
Do you have accessibility needs?
People Like Us has you covered!
Just search and make an Enquiry (I'll talk about that in a minute!).
You'll also want to advertise.
One of the best ways to advertise is in our Facebook community.
Our Facebook group is where our community meets to chat about travel, life and other stuff that makes a community.
It's the very best way to get to know People Like Us and what we're all about.
And easily the best way to advertise your home and where you want to go.
We have almost 40,000 current and prospective People Like Us members at the time of writing so you're advertising to a very large group.
Introduce yourself and your home, and let us know about where you live.
Home exchange is built upon trust, and our Facebook group is a great way to build that trust.
If you don't want to join us on Facebook, we also have the Feed which has similar features but is entirely inside the People Like Us platform.
Just like on Facebook, you can post about your home and location and chat amongst our members.
You've searched and found a place you want to go.
Now what do you do?
You make an Enquiry!
Remember, this is not Airbnb.
You can't just book a home exchange.
You have to make an Enquiry.
People will want to know that you've read their home profile, particularly if they have house rules or limited availability so take the time to do that first.
Introduce yourself and let your prospective exchange partner know what you want and what you're offering.
Let them know the types of exchanges you're looking for.
Take note of the other member's response rate.
This is the percentage of Enquiries and formal Proposals to which that member has responded so it's also an indicator of the likelihood you'll receive a response.
Our Premium members have an incredible 97% response rate so if you make an enquiry to one of them, you're very likely to get a response!
If you're already a Premium member, you can also make Enquiries to our Trial members.
They'll need to go Premium to accept, but there's no better way to get a new Premium member than offering an exchange!
If the response to your initial Enquiry is positive, you'll need to make a formal Proposal to exchange.
If you haven't yet become a Premium member, you'll need to do that first.
You'll see a button to make a formal Proposal on your messages screen, right below the message box.
That will take you to a form to fill in the details of your Exchange: the type, dates and travel party details.
It's all pretty straight forward.
The process has three steps:
Proposal -> Accept -> Finalise
You propose the exchange to your exchange partner.
Your exchange partner will accept the Proposal.
You then finalise the Exchange to confirm all the details.
If this is a non-reciprocal exchange for a Globe, the Globe is released to the exchange partner upon finalisation so it can be used for another exchange.
I admit, it can be a little daunting to get started.
You're going to leave your biggest asset with someone you haven't met before.
That can seem scary.
I promise you though, it won't feel like that by the time you exchange.
Our community will make it easy for you.
Get involved, and you'll see what I mean.
You'll get to meet our members and they won't seem like strangers for long.
If you do your first exchange within driving distance, you can meet your exchange partners face-to-face.
Just go for a weekend to get the hang of it.
You'll get some experience and you'll get some positive feedback for your profile.
But, most of all, you'll see that exchanging is the best way to travel.
And you'll probably be searching for your next exchange even before you return from your first.
Join People Like Us and find out for yourself! ❤️