Airbnb and Me
A few months ago my company rented a place on Airbnb for four nights during a business trip to San Francisco. The Dreamforce conference happened to be going on so even the mediocre hotels were north of $300 a night.
All was well in our two-bedroom, $400 a night condo until it came time to leave. The host sent me a lengthy list of “checkout duties”: strip the sheets, put the towels in the laundry, wash the dishes, put the keys in some special envelope, and on and on.
Unlike with other online marketplaces, like eBay or Amazon, Airbnb’s design incorporates large profile pictures of its sellers. That design feature led Harvard Business School Professors Benjamin Edelman and Michael Luca to conduct a study called “Digital Discrimination: The Case of Airbnb.com,” wherein they evaluated how the race, gender, age and appearance of a landlord affected the prices of comparable listings in New York City. Read More
Let’s say you’d like to go on a little excursion, but only the most charming Airbnb hosts will suit your discerning tastes. In that case, according to numbers crunched by the company’s own resident data nerds, you’ll probably want to cast your eyes to the West or South.
Airbnb looked at the rates of five-star reviews from guests who stayed in private rooms, rather than renting a whole apartment or house. The top three cities: Tampa, Florida, Mendocino, California, and Eugene, Oregon. Also in the top ten were Raleigh, Nashville, Memphis and Lake Tahoe. “Conspicuously absent are big cities and the Northeast,” says Airbnb, adding that “in aggregate, they are outshined by our Southern and Western hosts.” Read More
The number-crunchers at Priceonomics recently
Absent from this list is New York City. Then again, there are entire boroughs that tourists never see, so why would folks in the farthest-flung neighborhoods even bother to create a listing? Meanwhile, according to Pricenomics, there are 400 active listings in Hell’s Kitchen alone, and the median price of Read More
Temporary apartment renting service Airbnb has had its share of tussles with New York law. In 2011, the city instituted an illegal hotels statute that makes it illegal for users to rent out their apartments for less than 30 days, effectively rendering Airbnb hosts subject to fines. Last September, the city council jacked up the fines that could be levied upon illegal hoteliers advertising their wares through Airbnb from $800 to $2,500. Read More
Airbnb greatly values design, and for good reason. Fugly old Craigslist’s primacy in New York apartment rentals notwithstanding, most people don’t want to rent a room using a website that looks like a social network for serial killers.
But could it be that CEO Brian Chesky perhaps overestimates the power of design just a tad? Read More
Today at a press event in San Francisco, travel startup Airbnb announced Airbnb Neighborhoods, a guide to help travelers decide which neighborhood best matches their interests and vacation style. Deemed “the definitive guide to experiencing neighborhoods” by Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, users can click on different tags relating to the cities to help better acquaint them with local neighborhoods; in London, for example, you can click on “museums” and it will pull up the neighborhoods and rentals closest to museums. Read More
If you’re looking to make some extra cash, Airbnb can be an easy alternative to finding another weird Craigslist roommate or moonlighting as a rich dude’s arm candy. But if you’re going to go the room rental route, you probably want to make sure that doing so doesn’t violate your lease–or else you might just find yourself kicked to the curb (or at least served with a restraining order).
Consider the case of Chris Dannen, a Brooklyn resident who claims to have made upwards of $20,000 in nine months from renting out his two spare bedrooms on Airbnb. According to a missive he penned for Fast Company:
There is something odd about the first floor apartment in the Williamsburg townhouse my boyfriend rents: specifically, it’s unclear who lives there. The foot traffic through the front door makes good fodder for the speculative kind of gossip common in an intimately dense city like New York, where fights and guitar strumming sessions are audible through walls and you occasionally glimpse the guy across the street sitting in front of his computer in the throes of an oily, full frontal Friday night odyssey of self-pleasure.
So what’s more uncomfortable: seeing your neighbor naked, or knowing that they’re operating an ad-hoc hostel out of your building? “I think the people downstairs are doing Airbnb,” our boyfriend stage-whispered suspiciously the other weekend. Read More