Friday, October 10, 2014

Our Airbnb Experience


Scanning the news recently a titled piece mentioned airbnb. I immediately clicked on it, eager to read what the writer had to say. The article was not complimentary. Airbnb is a competitor of this woman’s traditional Bed & Breakfast establishment.

We have been airbnb hosts since June of this year.

The author believes airbnb cut into her sales. Airbnb is cheaper than most B&B’s and upscale hotels, although less expensive motels can be found in many areas.

Airbnb is an internet-based list of lodgings located around the world. Owners register their property, listing amenities, location information (distance from major tourist sites, stores, etc.), post pictures, and of course include price. Some people rent a room in their home. Others rent apartments or second homes owned, or guest cottages on their property.

Prices range from inexpensive to rather pricey. Accommodations can be anything from a rustic cabin in the woods to luxury digs at popular beach resorts to apartments in desirable cities like New York, Paris, and London.

We posted our apartment near Atlantic City. Taxes keep rising and maintenance costs are never-ending. Earning a few dollars when the place is vacant seemed a good way to subsidize costs. We do not rent full time because family members use the place throughout the summer and occasionally other times of the year. We blocked out times the apartment is unavailable.

We are not required to automatically accept a reservation request. We can carry on a virtual conversation with prospective guests, who prepay airbnb. At the conclusion of their stay the fee is deposited in our account.

Results have been positive. All parties treated our belongings well and left the apartment in good shape. So far nothing lost, stolen, or damaged.

Guests sometimes come for special events – weddings, family reunions, conventions, etc. Others want a get-away weekend, enjoying the beach, nearby restaurants and AC nightlife. Visitors like the convenience of a kitchen and a space to relax that is not also their bedroom.

Why not stay in local hotels, B&Bs or other accommodations?

AC weekend and holiday hotel rates are expensive, occasionally exorbitant – anywhere from $200-$400 or more a night. Prices are also high at area B&Bs and reputable non-casino hotels during the same time periods.

Bargains can be found weekdays, especially off-season, but a lot of people cannot take time off and take advantage of low midweek rates.

Airbnb has expanded travel opportunities and options and become very popular. As a result the fledgling industry has attracted the attention of established business competitors such as hotels and the owner of the B&B who wrote the newspaper article.

New ideas frequently bump up against traditional ways of doing things. But change is ingrained in our society and an essential part of our business culture, even though strong forces often fight innovative ideas and businesses threatening their domain.

But that is the American way.

Local governments are beginning to scrutinize airbnb and similar companies, eying a source of revenue and concerned about liability issues. Some regulation will probably be enacted in many municipalities to protect all parties involved in a transaction. Unfortunately governments may one day regulate airbnb out of existence, and/or demand mounds of paperwork a lot of part-time hosts will not, cannot, or may simply refuse to do, quietly delisting their property.

That would be a shame. The American entrepreneurial spirit should remain alive and well and thrive. 

7 comments:

  1. It seems like a great idea to me. I hope that regulation doesn't force people out of what seems like a win-win situation. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting post. From the traveler's perspective, I used Airbnb once, two years ago when I was traveling my myself in So. Calif. I got a great place to stay, at a reasonable price, with a genial and friendly host. It's kind of like staying at a B&B. If I ever get to Atlantic City (but I'm not a gambler) I'll look you up!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have a friend who has travelled widely thanks to home sharing programs. I can't quite bring myself to go there yet although I have a house in VT mostly sitting empty during ski season. My son will stay here through this coming winter, but maybe I should think about this option in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think that programs like Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft are a great way to share resources and circumvent larger businesses. I hope that they can continue to operate without too much interference and regulation.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes Meryl! I used AirBNB to find a cheap, fun house to stay in in Cuenca Ecuador last year! It worked perfect for me!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for the info. We've had good luck for years using conventional B&Bs. Will consider Airbnb next time around.

    ReplyDelete
  7. My husband and I have been using airbnb for a couple of years now.I don't think we will ever go back to hotels or average B and B's. We've met incredible hosts in Santa Brbara, Sedona, Prescott, Collingswood.Our grown son has enjoyed airbnb stays in Brooklyn,Barcelona and Prague!! We have had stays where we get a whole cottage to ourselves, but the stays where we actually share the house, get a bedroom and enjoy morning coffee or evening wine with our host are our favorites! GO airbnb!!!

    ReplyDelete