Wednesday’s Weekly Tip: www.flat-club.com

We’re thrilled to introduce our GW readers to our friends, Nitzan and Elinor, founders of http://www.flat-club.com. We asked Elinor (since she is a graduate wife) to tell the story of how a simple conversation in their kitchen launched a business that is a direct benefit to graduate students and alumni worldwide. Be sure to check out their website and sign up! We can’t wait to use their website the next time we travel! – Mandy & MC

Like many of us, I was made the same promise – we’ll move abroad, spend all our savings on a top business school, find a dream job, and live happily ever after. But something always changes. Right?

In our case, it all started with an innocent conversation we had in the kitchen of our lovely London flat. It was a month before Christmas, and we were planning to travel home for the holidays for 3 weeks, and my dear MBA-husband came up with an idea – Christmas and New Years Eve is peak tourism season in London, we could rent out our place and earn £1,000. I replied, well, we already owe that top business school £50,000, how would £1,000 make a difference?

Then he said, well, if we manage it, we’ll spend half the money on a weekend in Bruges. Hmm….That made it interesting. My next question was, but who would we rent it out to? I didn’t want just anyone off the street staying in our place!

We started to think together about who we trust (but can still charge), and how we could make it work.

We ended up renting our flat to a family of alumni from a top business school. We didn’t know the family and we didn’t know the alumni, but because we knew someone in the middle it was enough for us. We knew they wouldn’t ruin the place or steal the TV. It turned out to be an amazing experience. We left them groceries for breakfast and chocolate on the pillows, and they left the house tidy and well organized and also a personal gift they made themselves. Oh, yeah, and we went to Bruges!!

In the following year, we set about finding a solution to help others find the people they trust to arrange short term renting. We ended up with Flat-Club: an exclusive network for alumni & students looking for short term accommodation. Everyone can post their place when they go away and select who will see their flat – instead of posting to everyone, you post only to the people you trust.

It took 9 months to bring Flat-Club to life, and in these same 9 months we had our first baby as well! Our baby (and Flat-Club) recently celebrated a year, in which Flat-Club grew from 5 flats in London to 2,000 flats worldwide, and we received outstanding feedback from hosts and guests, and traveled to Spain, Italy, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and Thailand – by renting from and to people we trust.

I never realized that this is what the MBA in London would bring, but I’m so happy with how it’s all turned out! Seeing an idea developing into a company, and the ability to help others travel, enjoy, and of course earn money on the way :), is just the best experience.

Where will you travel next? I’ve got my eye on Menorca

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