Travel Lodging... safe or not?

/image credit Fortune/

This week I've read a fascinating article about AirBnB in the Fortune magazine (find it in their January issue, if interested) - a lodging and experiences web site that has become a household name in the U.S. and in many world countries. The article, although complimentary of AirBnB's ability to experiment with new revenue streams, thoughtfully acquire new businesses and constantly tighten up the checks for both owners and renters, still calls out multiple deficiencies of the platform.

Some of these deficiencies enable scammers upsell properties that look much better in real life, or don't exist at all. AirBnb, on the other hand, is becoming less and less human with its customers and it's very hard to get in touch with a real person from customer service.

Started as a service for independent renters that yearn for a homey feel of a local host's dwelling, it is now a behemoth where businesses thrive and whole neighborhoods become victims of price hikes driven by investors, who buy out properties for short-term rent.

Even though I don't personally see anything particularly bad in all of the above - it is a direct consequence of growth and is common for any business, I still am determined to keep our customers off of the platform. Food Vacations organizes lodging only in two types of properties - mini-hotels (so-called guesthouses), usually owned by one local proprietor who is present and available for questions, stories and general local wisdom; or small hotels, never chains, centrally located and willing to go above and beyond for any guest. It is a matter of pride for us to support local business, being one ourselves, and provide the best possible accommodation for our tourists.

And how was your last experience with AirBnB? I've had mostly good ones, and have two trips coming up where I will use the platform for lodging. I am not too selective, when traveling alone and choose very basic accommodations. As a host myself, I have a very high standard of service and if AirBnB doesn't live up to it, I'll happily say "goodbye".


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