This Room-Sharing Service Wants to Be Airbnb for Older Travelers

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The Freebird Club shares plenty of similarities with the popular room rental company Airbnb. For a fixed, nightly fee, travelers can rent rooms from residential hosts in various destinations. But unlike most sharing-economy startups, this service has no interest in catering to Millennials. As City Lab reports, The Freebird Club is designed exclusively for clients ages 50 and older.

Founder Peter Mangan came up with the idea for the club while renting out his home in the Irish countryside. His widower father was there to lend him a hand, and after seeing how well he got along with the lodgers who came to visit, Mangan felt inspired to launch a rental service for older travelers.

Just like with Airbnb, users have to sign up with the site in order to rent a room. Mangan is working with a cybersecurity expert to screen everyone who registers, and he's also looking into granting approved family members access to member profiles.

One of the main missions of the new company is to foster a sense of community among seniors and middle-aged citizens. According to a 2014 study from the University of Chicago, loneliness and isolation among the elderly can increase chance of death by 14 percent. Mangan also hopes to encourage continued mobility later in life.

His concept took home a $55,000 prize at the European Social Innovation Competition in November. He's now preparing to debut the service in Ireland and the UK next month with the goal of eventually expanding it across the globe.

[h/t City Lab]