Want to Save Money and Share a Hotel Room with a Stranger? There’s an App for That

By Mike Pomranz |

© Williams+Hirakawa / Getty Images

When traveling with friends, splitting a hotel room—preferably with multiple beds—is a common way to save money. A recently launched start-up wants to turn that concept on its head and play hotel-room-splitting matchmaker for total strangers.

Byron Shannon launched the Seattle-based online company Winston Club this past November with the slogan “half the price, twice as good.” The only thing more straightforward than the concept is the concern you may feel sharing 95 square feet with a total stranger who could totally murder you to death.

Travelers can sign up for free. Winston Club sets a price split between two users for one of more than a dozen “premier” hotels they have agreements with in Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas and San Francisco. Users can then either OK or decline their match after seeing some biographical information provided by their would-be one-night roommate. If all goes well, Winston Club takes a cut of the room charge just like other hotel booking sites.

And about that looming fear of impending death: Winston Club’s website claims to have that covered, stating, “For an optimal experience, all members are screened via video chat, share their interests and hobbies, and provide five forms of verification.”

Beyond just an opportunity to save some money, Shannon believes his company has a greater appeal. “We’ve noticed that business travel is one of the loneliest things,” he told the LA Times. “It’s a great option for people who are frustrated by that.” So essentially it sounds like a cross between a hostel and an escort service with a super-strict no-sex policy.

That said, Shannon wouldn’t tell the Times just how many people had tried out his service so far. For the service to work, I’m assuming that number would have to be at least two.

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