MeshTrip — a One Stop Shop for Holiday Rentals
We’ve been planning a trip to Australia and looking for short-term holiday rentals to stay at in between hotels, which can make searching tricky. We like using Booking.com but we also want to see properties listed on sites like Roomorama and compare the two.
Enter MeshTrip. Instead of having to switch between a few accommodation booking sites, such as agoda, airbnb and Vacation Homes, for instance, MeshTrip has quickly become the one-stop-(comparison)-shop for holiday rentals and short-term apartment rentals, allowing you to search hand-picked inventory from all of those sites and more.
While not every holiday rental booking site is listed — HomeAway is not there, for instance, and this is probably because bookings can’t be made instantly — there are enough accommodation sites so that from a Sydney search we received more than enough options to meet our needs, making a search on other sites unnecessary. The MeshTrip site says they have 1,300,000 properties in 90 countries, so plenty to go round for now.
From a usability point of view, we love that it’s so straightforward, clean-looking and inoffensive. (Aside from the annoying little Adobe Flash widget below the booking date area that’s pretty much useless.)
All you have to do is type in your destination — you’ll get a list of suggested destinations after you type in the first few characters — your dates, and how many guests, and hit Search to get results.
Here’s where the magic happens. Your browser is now spilt into three columns: the search section with the ability to fine-tune your results in the left column; the accommodation listings and images that resulted from your search in the centre; and a Google map showing where the properties are located in the right column. Genius.
From your initial search you can use a slider to easily filter the results by price and location, as well as do even more fine tuning by property type (room, apartment, house, etc), number of rooms, bathrooms, smoking/non-smoking, whether pets are allowed, and a useful checklist of other amenities.
In the middle column of the screen are the properties available, the price per night, and photos of each property (although as usual with these kinds of sites, not all the images are great). It also tells you which site each property is listed with.
While you hover over each property in that centre column, in the third column an icon bounces on the map identifying the location of the property — which for us is so important with a destination like Sydney, which we know so well.
It’s also great to be able to see the map and — as I did for Adelaide — use that third column to look at a couple of properties listed on the beach at Glenelg and click to see the property image and the price on the map. Nice.
When you do click on a property, you’re taken out within another browser tab to the accommodation site so you can book the property — with the dates that you typed in retained in the new browser tab so there’s no need to re-enter the dates, number of guests, and so on.
What Lara and I really love is that there are no properties listed that require you to make enquiries and wait for the owner to check their reservations calendar and respond. as you have to on some holiday rental sites, such as HomeAway. In some cases we like to be able to do that, but sometimes we just need to book something in a hurry.
MeshTrip only lists properties that are instantly bookable. This makes it brilliant for last minute travellers like us.
While the site was still a little bit buggy on my Mac (running Safari browser) and the site can’t — obviously — display that split browser view on a smartphone, it has still become our go-to site for short-term apartment and holiday rental bookings.
It’s worth noting that while it says “instantly bookable vacation rentals” on the MeshTrip site, we did spot some backpackers, hotel suites and apart-hotels on there, like Adina hotel apartments (above), which we love, so that wasn’t a problem. For many an apart-hotel combines the best of a serviced apartment and hotel, which can be handy.
We also know how to discern an apartment from a hotel room, however, we know of cases where people have turned up expecting an apartment and found themselves at a hotel (it happened to us once), so we know they will be disappointed. But then this isn’t really MeshTrips’s fault. It’s an issue for a lot of holiday rental sites, such as airbnb, and we have confronted them about this in the past.
For the two main accommodation websites we use for making our accommodation bookings (Roomorama and Booking.com), we find it far easier and far quicker to search on MeshTrip.
An enthusiastic spokesperson for MeshTrip contacted us to advise they had removed the annoying Adobe Flash widget. He said they are working hard to clean up the inventory and remove hotels, motels and backpacker hostels and are “striving to be the go-to place for instantly bookable holiday rentals”. He also asked if we could point out that they have many more partners than the few examples we gave, including 9flats, WaytoStay, Holiday Velvet, Vacation Homes, Villas.com and others, and that they also offer iOS and Android apps.
For more resources on holiday rentals see our Slow Stay archive. Pictured above: Adina Apartments, Surry Hills, Sydney, mentioned in the post, which is bookable on Mesh Trip.