Imagine a couple who already has a holiday ticket for two to Dubai split just before their vacation. For Simon Powell, that was exactly what happened.

It turns out that the unfortunate event was a blessing in disguise for Powell. After the holiday, he founded Transfer Travel, an online marketplace where people who were struck with trauma, illness, or any kind of misfortune, can try to sell non-refundable flights, hotel rooms, and cruises.

In his experience, he said that Virgin charged him a no-show fee, but the rest went to his account as credit. However, there was nothing he could do with the $4,000 he spent on hotel bills. He added that the hotel receptionist gave him the idea.

Inspiration Behind Transfer Travel

The receptionist asked Powell to find or bring someone else to take the booking off him so the hotel can change the name of the reservation. This sparked Powell's interest.

Powell did not have any luck finding someone who could take his reservation for him and was struck by the absence of a platform that would allow people like him with an unusable booking to take back some of the cost, as well as providing someone with a bargain.

Powell told Start Us that he already had a background in online marketing, but he discovered that he needed the platform because of a personal experience.

Hence, Transfer Travel was born two years ago. The site, known as the eBay for holidays, just completed its record round of funding. The site reported that around 220,000 rooms are wasted in America per day, and 37 percent of people going on a holiday have to cancel their vacation.

How Transfer Travel Works

In the website, people can sell anything from package holidays, festivals tickets, villa reservations, travel vouchers, and flights, with listings that tell potential buyers the original cost and their preferred price. It also lets buyers make offers.

According to its founder, sellers are encouraged to fill out profiles, with pictures, and the reason why they are unable to take the trip. The website then verifies if the bookings are genuine.

Once a ticket is bought, the buyer sends the information needed for the seller to transfer the name. If they are not sure what to send, they can always message the person they are buying form.

The website also encourages sellers to consider how much balance they have to pay for changing the name of the reservation, and how much they wish to earn for the sale. For a reservation to be legible to be sold in the website, it has to be paid in full with no outstanding balance.

By browsing the site, people may get a return flight to New York with Primera from $689 to $295, as well as Wowair flights from Dublin to Los Angeles and back with a fortnight in between for $404, from a steep original price of $1,052.

Powell added that 80 percent of travel is transferable. However, there is a lack of awareness about it.