9flats offers travelers an alternative way to find accommodations while away from home. Rather than book a hotel room, the user can take their pick of unique, less common options. This is made possible through the 9flats community. The website allows its members to list their rooms, homes, apartments, condos or other accommodations as available for rent. When offering a place for rent, the user is expected to provide 9flats visitors with a clean place, clean sheets and towels, keys and no noise annoyances or other problems (unless discussed and agreed upon in advance). Each location listing includes images, rates, location information and a host contact feature that allows users to ask questions. User can also share accommodations they find on 9flats through Facebook and Twitter, add a listing to their favorites or provide and read reviews. Each listing also includes a booking tool that allows the user to choose a check in and check out date and number of guests.
9flats was designed to offer a peer to peer rental service to internet users. The company is based out of Berlin, Germany; however the website features locations all over the world. The concept is an interesting one for adventurous travelers however some users have concerns about fraud when renting from regular people. 9flats notes that they do everything they can to protect all members from fraud, however in the end there are some risks that cannot be avoided and must be evaluated by the user before renting.
9flats allows the user to find a place to stay outside of the traditional hotel room. The application lists accommodations from all over the world that span a number of price ranges. Users can search for unique places to stay that can help enhance any trip. Accommodations can be as low as less than $50 per night or much higher, which may make 9flats more economical for some travelers.
A new user can get started as soon as they visit the 9flats homepage. The website immediately entices the user with scrolling images of possible accommodations, from a collection of houseboats and other floating homes to contemporary and classic urban dwellings and farm houses. Each listing focuses on large color images uploaded by the host. The user can find the host contact button and booking tool tucked along the right hand side. Overall, 9flats is very well organized and user friendly.
New visitors to 9flats are not required to sign in to browse available listings. User who would like to book or rent a location will be required to sign in. A new user can join the 9flats community by clicking the blue “Sign Up” link in the upper, right hand corner of the homepage. The user can click the blue and white “Sign Up with Facebook” button along the right hand side or fill out the form positioned to the left. The form asks for a first and last name, email address, password and terms of service acceptance.
9flats allows all visitors to create accounts for free. There are no subscription fees or other charges for maintaining an account. Travelers will be required to pay for any accommodations they book. Some hosts may require a refundable deposit, but this is not always the case. Users who offer locations for rent are charged a 15% 9flats service fee as well as a 19% V.A.T. fee for any accommodations located in Germany.
9flats.com is a helpful resource for travelers who prefer to enjoy a more intimate experience while visiting a new city or area. The website is also attractive for users who have accommodations they would like to rent out to earn extra cash.