Would you stay at the home of another academic you had some loose connection with? Could the Airbnb model be successfully applied to help find accommodation for scientists travelling to meetings, visiting another lab, or even for longer sabbatical stays? I'm not sure but Pub-Bed was born from an idea I cooked up on the train.
There are problems with the Airbnb model but at a simple level most of the academics I meet at conferences would be able to offer me a much nicer experience than a hotel in the middle of nowhere. When budgets are tight finding somewhere to stay that is welcoming and comfortable can be tough. I know I'd be happy to spend a night with someone loosely associated with my field discussing talks from a conference, the science we're doing, or the nerdy hobbies we have (I am a nerd, and survey suggest so are many blog readers).
To keep the interaction primarily between researchers Pub-Bed idea would only allow published scientists with a unique ID (ORCID, ResearcherID, etc) access to an Airbnb like booking facility. Pub-Bed would allow you to search for rooms in a specific area and also to specify if you want to stay with an academic in your own field. Pub-Bed would also offer conference listing/searching/hosting tools making it easier to find and organise meetings. Pub-Bed would allow scientists with a room to specify the kind of people they were wiling to host. All users would be able to leave "referees comments" on the stay.
Pub-Bed would require honesty from its users and the referee comments would be searchable. It would act like Airbnb in matching people with rooms to people who need somewhere to stay. Just like Airbnb Pub-Bed would not underwrite the stay.
Right now Pub-Bed is simply another idea that might not go anywhere, but if someone fancies working on it then do get in touch.