Crashpadder is an online community that brings together “crashers” and “padders”. “Crashers” are business and leisure travelers in need of inexpensive accommodation, whereas “padders” are homeowners who want to rent out spare rooms in their houses for short term stays.
Crashpadder is the brain child of Stephen Rapoport, whose extensive travels around the world, adventurous spirit and love for meeting people led him to this idea.
Crashpadder has existed for just over a year, and it can already boast thousands of rooms available for short-term rent in 67 countries.
Today, we are happy to publish an interview with Stephen, who tells us why Crashpadder is a funky brand.
SCHMOOZY FOX: Stephen, would you call Crashpadder a funky brand ?
Stephen Rapoport: Definitely! At Crashpadder we try to develop the brand beyond the logo and color scheme and create a business based on positive experiences of our users, as well as funky brand values: love to travel, openness, and sense of adventure.
Crashpadder.com is the entry point to this brand experience, and we made sure that it runs smoothly. For instance, we did a lot of work on the site usability, so that users could find all the necessary information within just a couple of clicks.
SCHMOOZY FOX: Functionality of the site is definitely a must if one runs a web business. But Crashpadder is also a services business, and creating strong brands in services industries is one of the most challenging yet rewarding aspects of brand strategy!
Stephen Rapoport: And where do you see a challenge for Crashpadder?
SCHMOOZY FOX: Most businesses that sell services rather than goods, face the challenge of making their brand experiences consistent. How do you ensure that most of crashers and padders who meet in real life, go through the Crashpadder experience?
Stephen Rapoport: It may sound paradoxical, but I think that the lack of consistency is an important part of the Crashpadder brand experience that is, well, consistent! It’s totally opposite of an experience one would have at a hotel. Hotels are sterile, predictable, lacking personal touch. And with Crashpadder, one would always have to expect a certain degree of surprise, diversity and serendipitous encounters. And this is the core of our brand!
SCHMOOZY FOX: Who is a typical padder?
Stephen Rapoport: A typical padder is first of all a sociable person. Obviously, padders like to earn some cash for the rooms they rent out, but it’s not the only motivation. A typical padder is also a local who can recommend you good restaurants in the area, shops and galleries that do not feature in any guide books! By the way, I am myself a padder, and I enjoy giving my own insider tips about London to my guests.
SCHMOOZY FOX: And who is your typical crasher?
Our crashers are 50% business travelers, and 50% tourists. What unites them all is the sense of adventure, and desire to have unique experiences during travel, rather than predictable hotel stays.
SCHMOOZY FOX: How is crashpadder different from couchsurfing, which is free service?
Stephen Rapoport: It’s profoundly different. I actually love couchsurfing, and I’ve been a couchsurfer for 8 years.
Crashpadder is different because 95% of accommodation offered on our site is double beds in private bedrooms. There are essentially no sofas! Also the average age on crashpadder is 38, whereas couchsurfing has much younger audience. We’ve been described as couchsurfing for grown ups in the press.
SCHMOOZY FOX: What do you plan to do in the future to continue developing Crashpadder as a funky brand?
Stephen Rapoport: The future is going to be exciting for various reasons, but continuing our current rate of growth will be the greatest challenge. We are no longer looking to develop the brand as an asset but rather on distribution of the brand in new overseas markets.
SCHMOOZY FOX: Thanks, Stephen, and the best of luck with Crashpadder!