Quick thoughts on airbnb

There has been a ton written about airbnb lately around a ransacking of an apartment.

For me, I’ve been reading up on it, and also happen to be staying in a house and now apartment that I booked on airbnb (my first two ever bookings on airbnb) — so had a few thoughts on the experience and things that could be improved:

  • airbnb is hugely disruptive. If every home owner is now a potential mini hotel, that opens up a ton of inventory and really challenges the hotel business. Plus it allows owners to cover the cost of going on a trip while having guests stay in their property — so net net, the travel industry should be embracing this 😉
  • The airbnb site is beautiful, useful, easy to use, and makes it fun to look for a place to stay
  • Craigslist has created an opening for airbnb by having a completely unverified system (which is also the upside of craigslist in terms of low or no friction). I’ve been finding (and reporting) a ton of scams on craiglist around renting holiday apartments – especially overseas ones. The most common scam is that the scammer scrapes a legit property site from a listing on VRBO or similar, and then lists it as his own on craigslist
  • From my limited experience, I’ve really enjoying renting from airbnb home owners. For one, you get amazing rates VS a comparable hotel, and it’s a full apartment with a kitchen, etc. I’ve found the rates to be roughly 1/3 of what I’d need to pay at a hotel. And second, you get the huge advantage of the owners giving you tips, helping you navigate the local area, etc. In essence, you get a more true local experience which is often the opposite of staying at a hotel where you feel like you are in a tourist bubble.

In terms of what airbnb can do to tackle some of the fears people have around renting out their homes:

  • I think having a tier of verified users within the airbnb network could work. Charge something like $59/yr, get verified by passing a light background check (looking for big stuff like criminal activity). For me this would be appealing to rent from someone who is verified as well
  • For those renting our their place — two simple upsells would also make a ton of sense: insurance & storage. Should be cheap to add insurance in case anything happens, and a good rate on storage would make it easier to prep your place ahead of time

Here is a quick photo from the courtyard of a place in Neve Tzdeck (southern Tel-Aviv) that I just rented — hard to find a hotel like this 😉