Italy’s ‘Barter Week’ provides free hotel stay for goods & services
The initiative is called Barter Week and gives those who may not normally afford it a chance to travel.
Barter Week has been held annually since 2009 and runs from November 14 to 20. It was started by an Italian B&B booking website after it has discovered that one of its B&Bs used barter instead of normal payments for its business.
Prospective guests can browse a wish list of B&Bs and contact them to negotiate a stay. They are also encouraged to take the initiative and suggest their own offers which the hotels may respond to.
The wish lists have a huge range of proposals as payment for a hotel stay. Some owners of B&Bs ask for language lessons, website translations, and musical performances. Others seek help with practical tasks such as gardening, laundry or olive picking. A lot of hosts allow travelers free nights in exchange for quality local produce from their country.
English tea, a gramophone, homemade soap, yoga class, old bird cages, sushi making lessons are all among the hoteliers requests.
In the first year of the scheme around 1,000 Italian B&Bs signed up to barter. The number of hotels taking part has doubled since then.
Initially Barter Week was offered for just one week during the low season but some B&Bs now accept barters year-round.
Last year the Barter Week saw over 10,000 requests and proposals listed on the website.