For the last six years, we’ve used Airbnb regularly for holiday accommodation. This summer, we decided to take the plunge and put our own property up on Airbnb for rent.
I like the idea of the sharing economy. And I like any organisation that supposedly puts community and social connections at the heart of its business model. So, was the Airbnb hosting experience all it’s cracked up to be? Here’s what I learnt:
1. It’s surprisingly easy
Airbnb has a lovely website. The images are beautiful, the navigation’s clean, and the interface is refreshingly simple and (third party) advertising-free. It costs nothing to “list your space” – and you can do it at the click of a button. Airbnb will even send round a free professional photographer to make your home look extra nice.
It all feels relatively safe and easy – if you’re anything like me, you might give it a try, just to see what happens… Continue reading →
Game-changing companies Airbnb and Uber don’t own anything other than their online communities – and the data those communities generate. But Airbnb and Uber are worth billions. And they’ve blown traditional business models out of the water in the sectors in which they operate.
This was the key point made by digital expert Dion Hinchcliffe at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit in London recently: “I hear people say ‘Oh, we’re not a technology company, so we’re not riding the technology wave’,” said Hinchcliffe. “But that’s no longer an excuse!”
“Whatever your sector, your business model is under threat from digital,” said David Terrar, the summit producer. “We’re seeing three massive trends happening at once: cloud, social and mobile. The unprecedented access to data, connectivity and the speed at which new products and services can be delivered mean goal posts are shifting fast.” Continue reading →
Last month I went to Barcelona with my sisters and a few close girlfriends. The trip was pretty special as I’m about to get married – so this was what you might call a “hen” do. We didn’t want to run around wearing matching pink tracksuits and bunny ears (and I left my “L-plate” and plastic white tiara at home), but we did want to have an amazing time without spending a stupid amount of money.
When it came to sorting a place to stay, Airbnb was the obvious choice. I’ve used the peer-to-peer rental site quite a few times in the past, and they’ve always delivered great places at reasonable cost. So I started carefully sifting through the 400+ apartments (that would accommodate our nine-person party) currently listed on the website. As you can imagine, the whole process took some time so I was thrilled when I finally settled for a place which ticked all the right boxes: central, comfortable single beds for all (no doubles or sofabeds), decent dining area, at least two bathrooms, beautiful decor in traditional Catalan Modernist style.
I paid in full (Airbnb requires full payment in advance to reserve any property), emailed the apartment details to my friends, and started looking forward to a wonderful long weekend in Spain. Imagine how I felt when, the day before we were about to leave, I got an email from the apartment owner offering apologies and saying the apartment had been rendered inhabitable by the previous tenants (aka: trashed).