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- You can tell a product is a commodity when the only line is for the cheapest option. See pic. Enterprise wins today. http://t.co/xS9LSUh1 #
- Business Travelers Opt For Homier Digs – Travel News Story – KTVU San Francisco: http://t.co/zHOUXqm0 #
- Innkeeper's Advantage Announces Online Reservation Software for Groupon, Living Social and Other Deal Sites http://t.co/Xe56XOk4 Very Smart! #
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Nearly three years ago, I first noticed AirBnB.com and questioned many professional innkeepers about the site. Did they feel threatened by it? Did they feel we should expose them for the obvious issues of supporting and promoting businesses that did not pay taxes and that had no concern for safety? I sent an email to the owners, questioning them on some of this, and of course never received a reply. Plus, I was ticked off that they co-opted our industry’s brand in their name – “BnB”.
Since then, the site has skyrocketed to internet fame, rounding up major funding and moving on the fast path to IPO (I suppose the brass ring for most internet start-ups). All the while, I’m wondering when…just when will something terrible happen at one of these apartments that are advertised on the site? When will someone question the sustainability of a web site that supports illegal businesses? When will someone cry foul on the tax evasion? Many cities have rules against property owners renting out rooms by the night or week without being either a licensed hotel or B&B of some kind. Looking back, I suppose I should have cried foul a lot louder and a lot earlier.
I have been talking about AirBnB at meetings of innkeepers all across the country for two years. My reference to them had to do with how ridiculously easy it now is for anyone to rent out a room in their pad to travelers, and we should pay attention to them as a new competitor. Many innkeepers would dismiss it and tell me that this really isn’t our competition; travelers looking to stay in someone’s apartment are not interested in staying in a bonafide, professionally-run B&B. I will concede that the typical AirBnB customer is not likely a perfect demographic match of the typical B&B customer. But, I have also told innkeepers that they need to do a better job to capture the Gen X and Y generations, or they will bypass us for something like AirBnB. If you go to their web site, you’ll see some pretty darn attractive places. Very seductive, although I wonder if they only showcase the nicest of the nicest properties on their homepage. Are many of the rest average apartments or worse?
Tags: AirBnB, Illegal, Vacation Rentals
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