One of the questions we tend to hear the most through our Happiness Support Team and Member-only Facebook Groups (if you haven’t joined any, now’s your chance!), it is regarding the concept of Balloons. The HomeExchange team came together to create a guide to give you added clarity about this exciting exchange option.
As with most things, it is best to start at the beginning. HomeExchange offers three main types of Exchanges: Reciprocal, Non-Reciprocal & Hospitality.
As we said above, a Balloon Exchange would be considered a type of Non-Reciprocal Exchange. If you’re a Member of HomeExchange, you are included in innovative program as a part of your membership. Here’s how it works:
First, you host a Member who holds a Balloon. This can be either as a Hospitality Exchange (they stay with you while you are still at home) or a Non-Reciprocal Exchange (they stay at your home without you). Once the Exchange has been registered, their Balloon transfers over to you. You are now a proud holder of a Balloon! You can then use the Balloon to explore the world and stay, in the same way, at another Member’s home, helping to continue the HomeExchange cycle. All know that, with a Balloon Exchange, the duration of the exchange and size of home are all treated equally. One Balloon is equal to one Exchange.
It is important to note that you are not able to request a Balloon Exchange unless you already hold a Balloon. The best way to get a Balloon is through the process we described – by hosting a Member with a Balloon. If you are not able to earn a Balloon in your first year of membership, HomeExchange will grant you a Balloon for your first paid renewal.
The process of setting up a Balloon Exchange is essentially the same as that of arranging any exchange. You confirm that you have a Balloon to offer. You do this by clicking on “Dashboard” from the “Your Account” menu on HomeExchange. You will see a graphic at the top of the Dashboard letting you know how many Balloons you hold and how many you have used. Once you know that you have a Balloon, you make an offer.
If you already know who you’d like to contact, click “Get in Touch” and check the “Balloon Exchange” option in the Exchange Request form. From there, you arrange the Exchange as you would any other. You communicate with the potential Exchange Partner and sort out all the dates and information. Once that is complete, make sure to record the Exchange through the site. All Exchanges must be officially registered prior to the actual Exchange for Balloons to transfer.
To earn a Balloon, you can offer to host another Member. The process is similar to requesting an Exchange. As you Search, you will see that some Members have a Balloon icon in the upper left corner of their Listing or Profile photos. Spotting this is your cue that they hold a Balloon. If you find someone you’re interested in hosting you can “Get in Touch” and offer to Host Member (Earn a Balloon). From there, the process continues as before. Please be considerate when making requests. Take a look at the Member’s Preferred Destinations and be conscious of the number of travelers in their party. If your home is not child friendly, it is probably best to save your request for Members who don’t have children.
We know that the concept Balloon Exchanges is still relatively new to the HomeExchange community. That is why we have expanded our Help Section to better answer many of the frequently asked questions relating to all things Balloon.
As always, we love your feedback. Feel free to ask a question or leave a comment below.