This study aims to explore whether the time-money constraint in tourism can be exerted to foster unconventional social innovation in the tourism industry. This study builds its conceptual framework upon the concept of time banking as an alternative currency in spurring social innovation in the tourism economy. To explore the applicability of the concept in tourism, we investigated the intentions and needs of the supplier and consumer sides through interviews and focus groups. To explore the entrepreneurial perspective three in-depth interviews were conducted respectively with the co-founder of TimeRepublik, an independent social entrepreneur, and a sharing economy specialist. Three focus groups were also conducted to evaluate and elaborate the practical appliance of the framework from a user’s point of view. We found that using time as a measure of work shows a potential to reconcile the time-money constraint especially for disadvantaged groups. However, this study has exposed discrepancies between the intentions and the needs of the social entrepreneurs and the users, undermining the feasibility of the concept in the tourism context. Namely, the challenges included the value of time, trust and relationship building, and network effects and scaling. As long as the innovation is unable to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth building upon its social values, the lack of users’ support will only lead to selected and limited application of the concept in tourism and therefore fails to generate social benefits on a larger scale.