Gilad Goren

Secret Tel Aviv Sessions

With 30,000 members, an Israeli AirBnB style operation is no longer hiding underground
An artist's rendition of a luxury apartment tower set to be built in the heart of Tel Aviv (screen capture: Channel 2)
An artist's rendition of a luxury apartment tower set to be built in the heart of Tel Aviv (screen capture: Channel 2)

After 4 years running Secret Tel-Aviv, and over 30,000 members (as of this past weekend), it is safe to say that the team at Secret Tel Aviv has become de-facto experts on the pains and gains of Tel Aviv living. Housing issues in particular are a common theme within our community, but as the summer rolls around, it erupts into a veritable melee.   You all know how it goes. By June, Tel Aviv west of Dizengoff is essentially colonized by France. Pesach, spring break, and every other excuse for a vacation draws in an unexpected phone-call or email from auntie Barbara or your old mate from school who wants to come see ‘what Tel Aviv is all about’ and will only stay at your place for a few days, and even a couch will do, and it’ll be just like old times but…. But let’s just say we don’t live in the 2 story McMansions out in the suburbs of New Jersey.   You can say many things about living in the white city. It’s a heck of a rollercoaster ride, a mix of both the best and worst urban living can possibly provide, but when it comes to apartments, it’s often best to sum it up with a word that starts with B and rhymes with itch.   One of the more unfortunate affairs was recently recounted to us by a community member who shall remain nameless. It was around Sylvester, or New Years for those unaware of the peculiar name we have for it in Israel. New Years time in Tel Aviv translates to crunch-time for all short-term sublets. That surprise phone-call from a college friend became ‘the-recently-engaged-couple’ making last minute plans to visit the White City just in time for the madness. Naturally, the overpriced hotels were not an option, and AirBNB proved out of range as well.  With no other place to go, our poor friend decided play Russian roulette with Facebook.   Scouring the different group and pages, he landed on a post for a sublet with dates matching his requirements and an asking price that seemed fairly reasonable. Without getting into all the unfortunate details, the price paid was upfront, the photos did not match the apartment, and horror ensued. Now, our unfortunate friend was able to partially salvage the situation with the aid of the vibrant city life and plenty of arak, but we’ve all seen crummy apartments in the city before. It can be quite jarring for a couple making it out from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, as you can imagine. With the money already paid and the renter unaffiliated with any service or brand, there was no one to complain to.   To put it bluntly, here at Secret Tel Aviv, “we feel ya”. Housing is already a touchy subject, and it gets touchier still when we have friends and family coming to visit, and our two-bedroom apartment with the converted living room means guests sleep in the kitchen.   As the first of a suite of new tools and projects meant to help Olim and visitors coming to Tel Aviv, we recently launched a new short-term apartment rental system called Secret Tel Aviv Sublets, focused on empowering the client through better prices and ‘reverse auctions’. Think of it as AirBNB, with a little Israeli innovation to make it even better! The neat unique ‘reverse auction feature’ allows you to choose the price you’re willing to pay for a short-term holiday stay. The apartment owners, whose properties are all vetted and qualified, fight for your money. It’s a new project, and we’d love your thoughts on it all!  You can check out the site at We are also having a huge launch party on April 19th, some come and join us to celebrate –   Otherwise, join us by emailing and signing up at our facebook group ( Stay tuned as we launch new events, more projects, and keep this amazing community growing!

About the Author
Born to a family of travel professionals, Gilad had earned his wings in the tourism industry by early teenage years, fomenting a passion for travel and entrepreneurship that remains strong to this day. Only Six Degrees, his newest travel venture, aims is to transform any vacation or adventure abroad into an act of social good. He became partner on Secret Tel Aviv after moving to the ‘White City’ following his military service, with a focus on connecting Tzabarim and Olim through the city’s rich cultural landscape. Gilad is also the founder and executive director of Travel+SocialGood, the first conference and community to explore the nexus of travel, tech and social good. He’s spoken on the subject of travel and impact in several conferences, and currently sits on the board of the African Travel Association. He Graduated from Brandeis University with a BA/MA in Comparative History and splits his time between Tel Aviv and New York City.
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