Commercialization of Airbnb (a hosts’ perspective)
In the last few months, handful of guests decided not to book with us because we are a Property Management Company (with reviews of more than 4.5 stars across all listings). Here is how one such conversation unfolded:
Guest: Hi Dev! We are interested in booking your place? Can you please confirm if the dates are available?
Dev: Thank you for the interest in booking. Yes, the dates are available and we would be happy to host you.
After a few Q&A exchange:
Guest: Is this a management company? Or do you own the place?
Dev: We host the property on behalf of our clients. You can be rest assured that you will have a seamless experience and everything will be as described in the listing.
Guest: This is against the principle of Airbnb. Not booking with you.
“Principle of Airbnb” – what does that even mean? Airbnb started when two friends offered their “rented” home to visitors attending a conference in San Francisco. Since 2008, the company has evolved into the biggest “hotelier” in the world boasting over 4 million listings. Airbnb thrives on the concept of home-sharing, whether it be a part or complete home. But it is hard to neglect that people are buying/renting properties or constructing specifically for the purposes of short-term renting.
To support the ever increasing inventory, there are many new players creating smarter devices to automate hosting. Smart locks are replacing regular locks, noise level and temperatures are monitored remotely, advanced camera systems to track people going in-out of the house, etc.
In the last 12 months, we are moving to make our properties smarter. Not because, we do not want to meet each of our guests, but because, meeting guests is a time consuming affair. Flights are getting delayed, people are getting stuck in traffic, check-ins times are early morning or past mid-night, etc. We are open to meeting guests if they need a walk-through in person or if there is a problem. But most guests are comfortable following the check-in instructions.
Hosts utilize this saved time to learn about the ever-changing Airbnb platform, local laws on short-term renting, taxation, etc. They do the due diligence on guests before letting them stay in their homes. They do competitive analysis so that their pricing is not out of market. Hosting is a business, lucrative but demanding and with time, all the guest communication and exchanges will get automated.
If you are a host, tell us in the comment section, how have you adapted to growth of short-term renting ecosystem?