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iBilik: Short-term room rental made easy!

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September 23, 2011StartupsNo comments

Whether you are migrating to the bustling city centre for a new job or just looking for a room to lay your head for short business trip, you may opt to use iBilik. The website is claimed to offer the cheapest rental rate in the market.

While its classified long-term room rental features the normal long list of rooms for rent according to preferred area, we found that its short-term rental is really something. Following the flock of much-hyped online accommodation sites such as Airbnb, Wimdu, 9Flats and Rentalo, iBilik offers the same features but has made it local.

Once you click ‘Short Term Rentals’ (at any page), a long list of rooms for rent appears and you can sort them by most bookings or cheapest rental. What makes it local is that they are arranged by hot locations for each state, which is very helpful during selection process to choose one over the others by the same location. For instance, instead of just Petaling Jaya, you can be more specific by browsing Kelana Jaya and Kota Damansara.

The website allows you to book instantly by choosing booking dates (from an availability calendar) and then clicking Book Now! After payment is made, you will receive check-in codes and voila, you can just walk to your room on that date.

iBilik integrates with local bank whereby payments are to be made locally on bi-monthly cycle. So, hosts may expect to earn their cash quick without any other additional charges.

iBilik only charges hosts a 10% processing fee for all bookings which we find quite reasonable compared to Airbnb that charges a 6% to 12% service fee towards travellers and a fixed 3% processing fee towards hosts for every booking. Besides that, iBilik guarantees all bookings so if your guest fails to show up or cancels at last minute, you will still receive your payment in full.

However, following the horror incidents reported by some unfortunate Airbnb hosts  (their rooms were ransacked, thrashed and damaged entirely by travellers) which almost killed Airbnb business overnight, we found that iBilik is under threat due to its lacking of identity verification feature. If any of these tragedies happens to host, who will be accounted for? Is high deposit placed can cover the damages or loss of a 42-inch flat screen TV for instance?

We believe that iBilik should tighten its identity verification feature, just like Airbnb that asks users to at least verify their accounts by logging in to Facebook and users have to have a number of friends to be verified. Alternatively, iBilik can offer insurance plan, just like 9flats does. At the moment, verification is only done just by email. And we think high deposit charge by hosts will only shoo travellers away.

This is not a new start-up as it was formerly known as CariBilik.com that has established a couple of years back. The re-branding exercise is made following its new short-term rental feature. It currently runs a huge marketing campaign online and offline – you might have seen iBilik ads behind taxis around Klang Valley recently. Up to this date, iBilik hosts over 800 short-term and 76,400 long-term rooms in Malaysia. The website has also spread its wings to Singapore and Indonesia.

iBilik is created by the same gang behind PropWall, a property hub website that hosts thousands of residential and commercial properties and features detailed information (which includes market trend), photo gallery with millions of photos and millions of classifieds. Both sites are owned by a Malaysian start-up company, Ocision Sdn Bhd.

So, whenever you’re looking for a room for rent, you can always go iBilik.com.

Related at Evan Hugh:

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  2. Airbnb raises $112 million in Series B financing
  3. Fleapy: Making it easy to find lowest airfare [startup]