Airbnb for Mountain Bikers? Sacred Rides' 'Getaways' Wants To Be Just That...
"It offers people a platform to make extra income from their knowledge of local trails..."
Airbnb is great for city breaks but unfortunately it falls a bit short when it comes to mountain biking trips.
On the rare chance you were able to get an Airbnb in a mountain resort or near trails, you’d still have a tough time explaining to your host why you have to keep your mountain bike in your bed every night and why there’s a constant trail of dirt leading from your bedroom to, well, everywhere else.
Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures are looking to solve that problem with their new ‘Getaways' – the mountain biking answer to Airbnb.
At at quick glance, the upsides are that as a host you can now make money from the knowledge of your local trails and have your hosting services offered up on an established platform, and as a user you can get everything organised for you and access the trails in the area with the help of a local.
The downsides are that for the host it can be quite expensive to initially get involved with the service, and that for the user it might end up being slightly more expensive as well, though you do get the entire trip, with a trained guide, sorted for your money.
We caught up with Mike Brcic, the founder of Sacred Rides and brain behind the Getaways program to give us all the inside information.
So How Does it Work?
The platform provides mountain bikers around the world with a platform, tools and training to deliver one and two-day mountain bike adventures on their local trails.
Mike says: “It's like Airbnb in that it offers people a platform to make extra income from an under-used resource, in this case, their knowledge of their local trails, and like Airbnb, for most people it will likely be an additional income. But for some it will turn into a full-time living.
“It differs from Airbnb in that there is an annual fee [to be a guide/host], and in return we provide much, much more than just a listing on a website, including in-depth training."
As a user, you simply click on to the site, browse the world map to select your destination, and look at the rides available. You can filter in terms of dates and money as well as skill and fitness and each available option presents to you the skill and fitness you’ll need for the trip, and whether they’re offering one or two days riding. It’s a pretty cool system.
All the Getaways guides undergo extensive training online and in-person, so you know you’ll have someone to ride with when you get to the trails and won’t have any problems accessing the landscape.
Getaways launched in November 2016 – though Sacred Rides is a long established mountain biking tour company – and have 25 affiliates already signed up with 300 on the waiting list for their spring re-launch. The destinations so far span from Costa Rica to South Africa to Australia, Switzerland, numerous spots within Canada and more. Their goal is to have mountain biking adventures in every country in the world by 2018.
Does it Work Out Cheaper Than Booking Otherwise?
The answer to that it entirely up to the host and how much they charge.
Mike says: “Pricing is entirely up to the individual affiliates. Our approach has always been to price a bit higher and provide much higher quality. We don't want to get caught in a race to the bottom to provide cheaper and cheaper experiences – we want to provide memories that will last a lifetime, and market to people who are willing to pay more for quality.
“In practice this typically means we might be priced 10-15% higher than similar trips, not 50%, but it also means we have extra to spend on the little things that make an experience truly memorable. This is the same approach we are recommending to our Getaways affiliates."
So what are the benefits?
Mike says: “One of the major benefits is the consistency of training it provides, and the wide selection of adventures around the world. Our goal is to become the 'go-to' solution for mountain bikers and aspiring mountain bikers who are looking to either get away for a day or two of mountain biking or add some mountain biking to an existing trip.
“Time will tell, of course, if we are able to achieve that, but we believe we'll be able to provide a sufficiently strong level of training to ensure a relatively consistent level of quality. Demand, from an affiliate standpoint, has not proven to be a problem, so we should be able to get the kind of global coverage that will allow us to be that go-to solution, and allows us to be the first to come to mind when someone is looking to travel and do a bit of mountain biking (the same way that Airbnb is my go-to whenever I'm going somewhere and need accommodation).
“Currently, if you're looking to get away for some mountain biking, or add it to your existing trip, you have to do a lot of tedious research to find out what guiding companies are available in the local region, compare them, read reviews, and do your due diligence. With this program, you will know you're getting a quality product and can feel confident that you're in good hands. That's the theory at least, and what we are striving for - we'll see how it plays out!"
What Kind of Training Do I Need to be a Guide/Host?
To become a guide for Getaways you have to complete an application you can find on the site as well as undergoing a 15-20 minute video interview.
If you’re application is successful then you’ll be asked to pay an initial free for the platform and you’ll soon be good to go.
Mike says: “You’ll need minimum 20-hour Wilderness First Air training – 40 hours is suggested.
“You’ll have to complete our detailed, seven-module training program, developed by our Operations Director over the span of four months. It contains detailed training on all aspects of being a guide, including guiding scenarios, safety and risk management, plus lots of 'soft skills'-type training
“And within one year of starting up you have to attend one of our regional three-day trainings. These will be offered across the world, and will be offered in increasingly smaller regions as the program scales, to facilitate access. This year we will offer one in North America, one in Europe, one in South America, and one in Asia."
And What is the Annual Fee to Guide/Host?
The annual fee is $3499 or $333 per month, but once you’re all set up all of the revenue goes to you, minus a 10 percent booking fee.
Before you can welcome any guests you’ll have to set up your rides on the website and then it’s time to make some money. You can start taking bookings right away and you could make a wad of cash and some new friends all through your mountain bike and a bit of hospitality!
Remember, you’ll have to organise the accommodation, food, bike rental, and transport for your guests, so this can be quite a bit of work.