The female-founded vacation booking company is a game changer for women.
Female travelers have reason to celebrate, as the latest travel trend was created specifically for women. Golightly, a new vacation rental platform that launched this week, was created by founder and CEO Victoria O’Connell as a way to combat the safety concerns and inevitable uncertainty associated with staying in the homes of strangers.
“I started Golightly after my London rental was burglarized and destroyed by a group of men who weren’t who they said they were,” O’Connell says of the incident that almost scared her away from home-booking sites for good. “The experience was a complete nightmare, but I realized I wasn’t alone—many women are concerned about their safety while traveling.”
Inspired to create a female driven home-sharing platform where all properties are either owned or managed by women, O’Connell launched the Austin, Texas-based company this week. Currently, there are over 350 properties available to rent in cities like Austin, Miami, London, and Dubai, and booking rates range from $36 for a private room in Brooklyn to over $1,000 for a sprawling country estate in Ireland. While the booking platform is still in its early stages, Golightly is an invitation-only experience that carefully vets each member and property listing.
Each member is given five invitations to share with female friends, however it is possible to gain access to Golightly without a referral code. Women can request membership via the site, and once potential members have filled out an online form, they’ll be vetted and contacted about the status of their membership.
“Creating a private club to enable women to essentially rent from a friend was a way to help minimize fear and bring women together,” O’Connell says.
All Golightly members have the ability to see how they’re connected to other renters and owners, and to further ensure privacy, all home listings are only visible to Golightly members when they are logged in. While women must rent and own all of Golightly’s available vacation properties, men and boys may travel with female members.
News of Golightly’s launch comes at a time as solo wanderlust continues to uptick among American travelers. According to a 2019 study by travel advisor agency Travel Leaders Group, 36 percent of domestic travelers are opting to explore alone—and many of those solo sightseers tend to be women.