Accommodation in France: Mariannig Ferrari finds solutions for the headache

Marrianig Ferrari - Nomador - Accommodation in FranceAs savvy travellers, we know how hard it can be to find great accommodation in France without the anxiety that comes with transacting on the web.

How can we head off on holiday feeling at ease? Equally how can we roam the world and leave our home empty without being in a state of panic? We’ve been out there trying to find solutions to these dilemas for ourselves and to share with you.

Mariannig Ferrari knows the problems better than most savvy travellers – the holiday rental space is so crowded and the risks and anxiety can be high. So much so that she decided it was time for a sensible solution.

Mariannig did what many entrepreneurs do: she took an increasingly popular concept and added her experience from her company to produce an even better solution where trust and peace of mind are created.

The result is a new Australian website where home-owners can leave for holiday in a very relaxed state with their home in the hands of others and home-sitters can discover and enjoy new places at less expense. A much safer and more simple solution than home exchange, it seems.

We wanted to learn more about Mariannig, her inspiration and what she has created – come and meet Mariannig, and chat with her through the comments section below..

How would you describe yourself in a few words?

Curious, optimistic, hyper-active working mum.

Tell us about something that fascinates you, and why.

What fascinates me most is meeting people with different individual paths and different life stories which lead to interesting personal constructions.

I also love the arts, especially folk arts. I love going to exhibitions. For instance, [I recently went] to the opening of a photography exhibition in Paris: a young journalist who has photographed torn posters on the walls of cities she visited, and made some beautiful pictures out of it.

Mariannig Chatou - Accommodation in France

Another important point of interest for me is volunteering, and helping young people who have so many issues to face in our changing world. I often help students write a resume or prepare themselves to pass a job interview. And I love doing that! Sometimes a mere little action can mean a lot to them.

What happened in your life that brought about the creation

Why was Ilidor born? We had left Paris to raise our children in an old farmhouse that we had just restored in the countryside. Pets were part of the family life.

A few months later, the pleasure of planning our holidays to Corsica was spoiled by the thought of leaving the house alone as well as putting the pets in a kennel or travelling with them (four children – that was already enough a full car!).

After searching for hours on the web, I found a retired Belgian couple. They were happy to find free accommodation in our house and visit our region. And they really loved pets!

That experience made me realise that a real need existed: so many families were in the same situation.

house-sitting is for people who love travelling - Marrianig Ferrari - Nomador - Accommodation in France

My professional background in recruiting gave me an exact idea of the type of methods that had to be used to succeed: a good analysis of the homeowner environment and requirements on the one hand, and a good analysis of the home-sitters skills and wishes on the other hand.

In fact, we started almost from scratch, and the success of Ilidor is probably due to the fact that we developed our website step by step, using the Internet to support a professional skill. Our development was fast and consistent.

How has your life changed since your son went to live in Australia?

Mariannig Ferrari - Nomador - Accommodation in FranceOur son was curious about everything ever since he was a kid and had always wanted to travel. We allowed him to leave for Australia when he was 19 and he is still living there! (He’s studying now.)

We have four children, the oldest one is 23 and the youngest one is 18.

Of course I experienced all states of mood as a mother having a teen so far away – until I first visited him and got to know Sydney. My anxiety disappeared. This story is partly why we decided that the new company should be created in Australia, one of the pioneer countries in home exchanges: a concept I thought could be improved. In a certain way, we can say that our son has opened the path to us.

Furthermore, when I look at the maturity and skills that he has gained through travelling, I am more convinced than ever that « les voyages forment la jeunesse » as we say in France (travel broadens the mind). By helping people strike up friendships abroad, I would not be surprised if a concept like Nomador brought unexpected consequences such as helping people find friendly links for their youngsters in a foreign country.

What makes Nomador different to other house-sitting businesses?

There are many house-sitting or house-swapping websites. Both concepts are an answer to new travel trends: travel on a budget yes, but that is not the only reason. People are searching for alternative ways of travelling, for off-the-beaten-path experiences, and ways to build links with the local population.

Nomador is very close both to classical house-sitting and to house-swapping, but the difference is important..

Mariannig Ferrari - Nomador - Accommodation in France

The strong point at Nomador is that you do not have to choose between different types of registration. Once you have registered, all possibilities are open to you: you can either find house-sitters for your home, or search for house-sitting accommodation for your vacation. A Discovery Option is available (free of charges), in order to let you try. And a Confidence Option allows you to choose more options if you wish to do so [ to build trustworthy profile].

The main difference between and home-swapping is that there is no obligation of reciprocity. Some people may need house-sitters, without being able (or wanting) to let their own home. Nomador brings a solution to them and vice versa.

How do you manage the fear, anxiety and stress of your customers?

By using Nomador, each home-owner can examine the profile of candidates before answering.

Even though you are transacting on the web, trust on Nomador, is made possible through Trust Profiles (identity checks and users’ recommendations and endorsements).

Mariannig Ferrari - Nomador - Accommodation in France

If is so successful why start all over again with Nomador? 

Yes, Ilidor is a healthy company based in France, with thousands of regular homeowners and trustworthy home-sitters. But I knew since the very beginning that we would have to open it to an international audience.

The progress of the Internet has made new concepts possible: this is where ‘collaborative consumption’, or ‘peer-to-peer marketplaces’ enter onto the scene.

The Nomador business model is quite different from the Ilidor model. Ilidor is an agency: customers pay fees as they would pay to a hiring agency. Nomador is a P2P (peer to peer, or self-service) platform allowing people – who are not customers but members of a community – to find accommodation or home-owners to find home-sitters and do everything by themselves. The trust profiles enable the community members to build trust and relationships which in turn brings about that peace of mind.

What happened to bring about this passion for entrepreneurship?

Do I have a passion for entrepreneurship? Well, this is not what I would say… I’d rather say that I have a passionate personality; what gives birth to my passions is a feeling of doing something useful and in accordance with my personal beliefs.

That’s the case for Nomador: helping people find a solution for a need, that results in creating more human connections is an exciting project, isn’t it?

Entrepreneurship is a mere result!

How do you find savvy solutions for your travel problems? As a home-owner would you consider this type of solution? What about house-sitting? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Join the conversation in the comments box below.

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About the Contributor

Judy MacMahon

Experience FRANCE beyond the CLICHÉ with MyFrenchLife is for Curious Savvy Francophiles wherever you are. Meet Francophiles in France, online, and/or wherever you live. You’re very welcome to join us - Judy MacMahon -

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