Barcelona’s Official TV Channel BTV wanted to introduce one of our apartments to their viewers.

Join GowithOh as they take a tour around one of their quirkier apartments in Barcelona. Located in the bohemian neighbourhood of Gràcia, this happy flat is like walking into a Doll’s house. From the cute polka dots to the funky lamp shades, you can forget bland hotel rooms… this is holiday accommodation with a difference!

Discover the apartment here

This video has English subtitles, you can add them with the “caption” button at the bottom of the embeded video.




Here at Open House Group we’re delighted to announce the re-launch of our original website – Oh-Barcelona.com. With a host of innovative features that set a new standard in its field, the re-launched site embodies our values of quality, transparency, responsive service, and of course, value for money.

This move is particularly significant for us as the launch of Oh-Barcelona.com marked the founding of Open House Group back in 1997. Since then, we’ve expanded our operations to nine of Europe´s must-visit cities, and have become one of the largest holiday accommodation providers in Europe.

We wanted to mix the best aspects of the website as it’s developed over the years with new features, to make it even more useful to anyone who’s considering coming to Barcelona. A particularly significant addition is an ‘area guide’ section that allows users to explore detailed information on each of Barcelona’s barrios – through descriptions, photos and on-the-ground video footage. Alongside this, there’s a full city guide that gives you the chance to appreciate the Catalan capital from countless different perspectives.

User-generated content will play a huge role in the new site. Not only will customers’ reviews continue to feature prominently as an important part of our accommodation pages, but users will also be encouraged to comment and ask questions through Facebook. The information that we provide at Oh-Barcelona.com will therefore be constantly evolving in line with the needs and experiences of our users.

Of course, our commitment to providing the best-priced accommodation in Barcelona will remain unchanged and we continue to challenge our customers to find cheaper hostels, hotels and apartments in the city. As a bonus to every booking, our exclusive set of discount vouchers remains completely free to clients.  We’ve negotiated these special savings directly with over 50 companies across the city, providing our clients with a great way to make their holiday spending money go further.

 

Jörg Lahmann

CEO and owner




Open House Group is about much more than just providing quality accommodation. We’re passionate about the cities we work in and want to make the world of difference to our clients’ stay. That’s why, for several years now, discounts on activities in Barcelona (and more recently in Berlin) have played an important role in the service that we offer.

In Barcelona our clients save money on everything from flamenco concerts in Poble Espanyol to helicopter tours of the city. Now, we’re delighted to announce our new partnership with Ticketbar, an online ticket service for tourists. One of the company’s strongest selling points is the fact that its tickets let holders jump to the front of the queue in cities where many attractions are almost always thronged with tourists.

Like us, Ticketbar works across several European destinations, and has managed to put together a series of products taking in some of the best attractions on the continent. In Barcelona these include the famous Barcelona Card, offering free public transport and access to many of the best sites, and the art lover’s key to the best galleries, the Articket. Through this partnership we’ll also be able to offer money off some popular activities such as the Teleferic de Montjuïc and Barcelona Zoo.

Open House Group’s Marketing Director Paul Anderson said:

”It’s great to see so many new discounts coming online. Given our commitment to premium client service it’s vital we are continually improving and increasing the many discounts that we offer. I’m sure that our partnership with Ticketbar will be of huge benefit to our clients.”

Lars Roelofse from Ticketbar echoed these remarks:

“We are very pleased to be working with Open House Group. Our cooperation gives guests the possibility to choose from a full selection of holiday accommodation and to choose what they are going to do during their stay, resulting in a carefree holiday.

We believe that Open House Group and Ticketbar have created a formula whereby we can offer our clients the chance to enjoy the excellent value offered by both of our companies. ”




‘Go with Oh’ has teamed up with Charlie Grosso and Pamela McNaughtan as they prepare to drive 10,000 miles across Europe and Asia in the annual Mongol Rally.

Under the team name ‘SM Stowaway,’ Charlie and Pamela have put their day jobs aside to undertake the journey of a lifetime. Amazingly, the two have never met but are united by a thirst for adventure. Charlie is a photographer in New York, while Pamela is a blogger from Orangeville, Canada.

The pair are determined to raise $75,000 for Mongolia-based orphans’ shelter, The Lotus Children’s Centre. Amid the often harsh social conditions in this part of the world, the centre provides care, education and community for children without a home.

The ladies will have their first face-to-face meeting in Prague, staying in one of Oh-Prague’s holiday apartments and exploring the city with the help of crowd-sourced travel tips shared via social media.

Go with Oh sponsors SM Stowaway

Five lucky fans will win $150 worth of prizes between them. Donated by ‘Go with Oh’, these prizes will also come with a T-shirt crafted in honour of the trip, displaying the SM Stowaway slogan: ‘Adventures aren’t just for boys.’

The team shared their excitement: “We can hardly wait to get started on this intense adventure. Thanks to ‘Go with Oh’ and our amazing readers, we’ll get to indulge in the delights of Prague, before the really tough part begins!”

Before long, it will be time for the intrepid team to hit the road, leaving behind the steeples of the Czech capital for a 10,000 mile drive across rocky mountains, arid deserts and politically dangerous territory.

Sara Robles, Social Media Manager at ‘Go with Oh’, said: “We wish the SM Stowaway ladies the very best of luck. We admire them for taking on this incredible challenge and we’re grateful for the chance to help out!”

This year’s Mongol Rally is the latest in a series of partnerships between Open House and travel enthusiasts. Spring 2012 saw competition winner Sherry Ott travel to four European cities courtesy of ‘Go with Oh.’ Meanwhile, the next winner, Texas travel blogger Leah Walker, is preparing to take her own city-hopping trip this autumn.




We wanted to let you know about a charity initiative that we’ve been very proud to support over recent months.

For the second year running we’ve lent our support to the travel industry fundraising project Passports with Purpose. We like to give to organisations whose values match our own, and this initiative, which encourages the travelling community to give back to the countries they visit, fits with our ethos perfectly.

It also adds to our portfolio of charitable contributions, which is focused on addressing significant developmental issues in the world´s poorest countries.

This year, Passports with Purpose aimed to raise $100,000 for a very worthy beneficiary – Water.org. This charity builds and rehabilitates wells in Haiti, giving more than 7,400 people access to clean water, toilet facilities and hygiene education.

passports_purpose

Donors are simply asked to contribute $10 and are automatically entered in the random prize draw. And they donated with a vengeance – Passports with Purpose has just announced that they have blasted their goal of $100,000. Congratulations to everyone involved!

When it came to our prize, here at ‘Go with Oh’ we worked with our long-time friend and travel blogger extraordinaire Sherry Ott. Many of you will already know Sherry as the first official ‘Go with Oh’ guest blogger, who toured her away around Europe while staying in our city break apartments earlier this year.

Sherry championed our prize of a $500 voucher towards an apartment stay in Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Florence, Berlin, Vienna, London, Prague or Venice any time in 2013. If you donated cash to the cause, you’ll find out on 18 December whether you’ve won this or any of the other amazing prizes.

We’d like to say a sincere thank you to everyone who has supported the Passports with Purpose project in 2012. We’ve been honoured to be involved again this year.
Donations eligible to win a prize have now closed, but if you’d still like to contribute to water.org’s work, you can do so at the Passports with Purpose website.




In December 2012, Open House Group launched its latest exciting venture – ‘Go with Oh’. We designed this brand new website with the aim of bringing together our expanding range of European city break destinations under one roof.

From humble beginnings offering holiday accommodation in Barcelona in 1997, we moved on to Berlin and Paris in 2004, and conquered Italy with Rome, Florence and Venice in 2010. 2011 saw us take on London, Prague, Vienna and Dublin, so that when we launched ‘Go with Oh’ in December 2012, we offered city break apartments in a total of 10 destinations. Crucially, ‘Go with Oh’ gives us a platform from which to springboard our future plans.

Madrid screenshot

With that in mind, we’re delighted to announce the inclusion of two Spain-based destinations to the ‘Oh’ portfolio – Madrid and Seville. Being based in Spain, we’re big fans of all things Iberian so it seemed natural to expand into these famous Spanish cities before setting our sights elsewhere in Europe. We’re confident that these destinations will be closely followed by other European cities later in 2013.




As an apartment rental company, we would be nothing without our owners! This month, we chat to David Belda, who rents out his Barcelona apartments with us. David’s apartments have proven extremely popular with guests, and here he gives us a glimpse of things from an owner’s point of view.


David with Marta from 'Go with Oh'

Good morning David, and thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. How many years have you been working with ‘Go with Oh’?
About five or six years. I have two apartments – one in Gràcia and one in the Sagrada Família area of the city.

What made you choose ‘Go with Oh’ instead of another company?
I had signed up with another apartment rental company beforehand, but to be honest, I wasn’t getting any bookings. So I moved over to Oh-Barcelona.com and haven’t looked back since.

Where do most of your guests come from?
A few come from Germany and Italy but the vast majority come from the south of France, which isn’t surprising considering its proximity to Barcelona. I don’t get many British clients.

How much day-to-day contact do you have with your guests and what form does it take?
I contact guests as soon as they’ve made their booking, to give them all the information they need before they arrive – from directions to the apartment and a map of the metro to an idea of nearest supermarkets and restaurants.

I don’t tend to have much contact with my guests throughout their stay, but they know they’re welcome to get in touch with me if they need help with anything. Apart from that, I pretty much leave them to it as I don’t want to intrude while they’re on holiday.

How much flexibility is there in terms of the check-in and check-out times?
I’m very flexible when it comes to checking in and out. I do ask that they confirm their arrival time and I charge a little extra if it’s during unsociable hours.

If the next guest isn’t arriving straight away, they’re welcome to leave their luggage in the apartment until it’s time to go for their flight.

For tourists coming to Barcelona, what one attraction would you recommend?
In my opinion, Park Güell or the Hospital de la Santa Creu i de Sant Pau are Barcelona’s top picks. Or simply having a drink in a chiringuito beach bar or going for a walk around the Port Olympic area.

What changes have you noticed in the holiday apartment rental sector since you started renting out your properties? How have you adapted to these changes?
That’s a tricky one. I’ve noticed that people are coming from further and further afield, not just from Europe. I started out with a fairly basic apartment, but as the sector has grown, I’ve noticed that people’s expectations have grown with it.

I have to say that the interior designer that ‘Go with Oh’ sent me was a great help when it came to renovating and sprucing up my apartment.

What are the advantages for tourists of renting a holiday apartment rather than a hotel?
For families or travellers, apartments are a lot more comfortable. You can prepare the breakfast and dinner that you want and eat it when you want as opposed to having set meal times in hotels. Foreign food is obviously different to what you’re used to back home and this can be difficult for families with food-fussy kids. This is where having your own kitchen really comes into its own.

What advice would you give to people who are thinking about renting out their holiday apartments?
Don’t be afraid! If you’re prepared to put the work in it can be a really rewarding experience. Also, don’t think that it’s not possible to rent out for short periods of time.

It also has its advantages over long-term rental – it gives you more of a steady income. Since you’re renting out to tourists rather than long-term tenants, your flat generally stays in better condition as they’re off sightseeing most of the time, so the apartment sees less wear and tear.

I would also recommend building up a relationship with your guests and offering the personal touch – it really enriches you as a person. If I bump in to any of my guests in the street, I always stop to chat and see how everything’s going. It’s amazing how many fascinating people you meet.

What do you think are the best ways to increase the occupancy levels of your apartment?
I would say that you’re better to sort out any maintenance issues as they come up. Don’t put off fixing any problems until after the guests have left – sort it out there and then.

It never hurts to check out other owners’ properties on the website either. You never know, you might end up getting some inspiration on how to improve your own apartment.

Lastly, make sure you actually read the reviews your clients leave you – some of them include really good pointers.

Huge thanks to David for chatting to us and for the exemplary service he provides to ‘Go with Oh’ clients!

 

March has been an eventful month for the GowithOh team as we launched our latest and most ambitious project. Titled ‘The GowithOh Experiment – Living la Vida Local’, it’s designed to get to the heart of some hard-hitting questions: what does it mean, practically, to live like a local? Is it attainable, and if so, how? Do people actually want realistic travel experiences? Does staying in a rental apartment make it easier or more difficult to achieve?

All throughout the month, we’ve been hosting a troupe of travel writers in our rental apartments across various European cities. The protagonists of the campaign were acclaimed travel writer and photographer Sherry Ott (a longstanding friend of ours) and Emmy award-winning TV writer, producer and travel blogger Lisa Lubin. Over the course of the month the duo has been busy blogging, exploring and putting the concept of “living like a local” under the microscope.

Meanwhile, the winners of our spring 2013 GowithOh blogging competition, Captain and Clark, have been hopscotching across our other European destinations, testing the ‘living like a local’ theory from a short-term perspective. Don’t miss their take on apartment living in London.

ITB18

Back in Berlin, we were delighted to attend the ITB conference, the world’s leading travel trade show. Donning our snazzy experiment lab coats, we met and mingled with delegates from all over the world, and loved the chance to meet up with some of the travel writers we work with so regularly. Well-known writers such as Michael Hodson, Pete and Dalene and Melvin Böcher from iambassadors all pitched in and shared their thoughts on our living like a local campaign.

Another highlight was being able to host various travel writers from around the world in the Berlin Blog House organised by Sebastian, co-founder of www.Blog-Camp.de. We had a brilliant time being your host in the city!




If we had to pick just one highlight from April, it wouldn’t be difficult – GowithOh was featured on Fox News! The popular American TV channel, which broadcasts internationally about current affairs and popular culture, had invited well-known travel expert Lee Abbamonte into the studios. Lee, the youngest American to travel to every country in the world, was being interviewed for a feature in Fox News’ ‘First Class Travel’ section, exploring the ways in which hotel chains nowadays are using social media to get closer to their clients.

Fox News Screenshot

The feature, called “Is your hotel spying on you?”, was entirely positive, as Lee pointed out how certain accommodation providers such as GowithOh go the extra mile to provide clients with the best possible service. His view is that publicly available social media content is an ideal way for companies to find out more about your individual likes and dislikes, ultimately allowing the firm to engage more directly with their clients.

Lee highlighted the approach that we try to take at all times, commenting: “They went above and beyond and found the perfect place for me to stay based on what they thought I would like”.

It was a real honour for us to receive exposure on this level, especially from a news corporation as large as Fox News – huge thanks to Lee for his kind words!




Whether you’re a frequent traveller or like to look forward to one city break a year, our new city guides have been created with you in mind. For each of our GowithOh destinations across Europe, you will find a full set of articles designed to make your stay in the city a full and fun one.

Genuine insights from locals

Sidestep the typical tourist traps – our city guides dig deep to help you make the most of your European adventure.
Each article has been written by a resident local, meaning you will be getting your hands on insider info that could make all the difference to your experience of the city. As passionate European travellers ourselves, this was a no-brainer – and we’ve spared no expense in making sure our guides are practical, thorough and available in six languages.

GowithOh London guide

From landing to leaving, all your needs covered

Whichever GowithOh city you’re heading to, explore articles covering:

  • how to get from the airport to the city centre
  • a suggested 3-day itinerary around the city
  • all about the local cuisine
  • transport options around the city
  • what the weather will have in store
  • some handy vocab to help break the ice with the locals

All of our articles are available on our website, and you can also download them all in one fell swoop to use as a printed reference during your holiday.

We hope you have as much fun following our city guides as we’ve had producing them – happy exploring!

Your GowithOh team




Welcome to autumn and welcome to GowithOh’s latest giveaway. And have we got a couple of cool competitions for you.
We’re giving away a grand total of 4,500€ to let six different winners each stay in the GowithOh holiday apartment of their dreams.
Three individual bloggers will each win 1000€ to road test their chosen apartment – and you’re welcome to invite whoever you want, whenever you want on the experience.
Meanwhile, over on Facebook, three separate winners will each bag 500€ to put towards an apartment of their choice in whichever GowithOh city takes their fancy. (There are 17 cities to choose from – don’t hold back!)

Bloggers, are you ready to find The One?


The concept is seductively simple.
- Browse through our selection of handpicked holiday apartments.
- Home in on the one that’s screaming your name. (Are you coveting the kitchen’s cosy feel? Smitten with the four-poster? The wet room making you go weak at the knees?)
- Create a blog post telling us about the apartment you want to road test, tweet your post’s URL and you’re in the running!

We’ll publish your blog post on our competitions page and on 14 November we’ll choose the three blog posts whose writers will each win 1000€ to be our official Guest Testers.

Be our Guest Tester - Mozilla Firefox_2013-10-11_13-34-02

 

No blog but footloose on Facebook?


Then this is the competition for you. Simply pick your favourite GowithOh apartment, tell us why you’re perfect for each other, and you could be one of three lucky winners who scoop a 500€ voucher to GowithOh. Best of luck to everyone!

GowithOh –be our Guest!




Welcome to autumn and welcome to GowithOh’s latest giveaway. And have we got a couple of cool competitions for you.
We’re giving away a grand total of 4,500€ to let six different winners each stay in the GowithOh holiday apartment of their dreams.
Three individual bloggers will each win 1000€ to road test their chosen apartment – and you’re welcome to invite whoever you want, whenever you want on the experience.
Meanwhile, over on Facebook, three separate winners will each bag 500€ to put towards an apartment of their choice in whichever GowithOh city takes their fancy. (There are 17 cities to choose from – don’t hold back!)

Bloggers, are you ready to find The One?


The concept is seductively simple.
- Browse through our selection of handpicked holiday apartments.
- Home in on the one that’s screaming your name. (Are you coveting the kitchen’s cosy feel? Smitten with the four-poster? The wet room making you go weak at the knees?)
- Create a blog post telling us about the apartment you want to road test, tweet your post’s URL and you’re in the running!

We’ll publish your blog post on our competitions page and on 14 November we’ll choose the three blog posts whose writers will each win 1000€ to be our official Guest Testers.

Be our Guest Tester - Mozilla Firefox_2013-10-11_13-34-02

 

No blog but footloose on Facebook?


Then this is the competition for you. Simply pick your favourite GowithOh apartment, tell us why you’re perfect for each other, and you could be one of three lucky winners who scoop a 500€ voucher to GowithOh. Best of luck to everyone!

GowithOh –be our Guest!