So now I've pretty much gone back to hotels. You can come any time of day or night, not have to worry at all about losing keys, and you can leave the place a raging mess if you have to (though I am usually a very clean person). Airbnb makes the whole travel experience far more stressful for me.
When they started, they were great for guests. Now there's an abundance of guests and a shortage of hosts, so the system is strongly tilted in favor of hosts.
- Hosts always get rebuttals on reviews
- Guests cannot comment when their stay is cancelled before arrival
- Guest reviews are public which discourages honest feedback
- Dealing with a problem is nearly impossible (how do I take a picture of the fact that my 'apartment' is a hotel room? And why can't I talk to anyone?)
- AirBnB's compensation for a failed stay is a 10% re-booking bonus which doesn't begin to cover the additional cost, time, and stress of having to find a new place at the last minute at 10pm because your flight was 6 hours delayed and the one you booked with great reviews was misrepresented
In some markets AirBnB can be the last/best option, but I do my best to avoid financially supporting them if there is a reasonable alternative.
The host posts a bunch of very desirable locations and then when you try to book it, they message you with 'this one is unavailable, but how about these other entirely different units I have?' which is clearly a 'bait and switch' tactic.
I even booked one successfully and I know they had accidentally underpriced that week--similar to their other week costs, not raised for this conference like a lot of other hosts--and instead of just honoring my reservation, they cancelled it saying, 'oh, it turns out the prior guest will be leaving late on your first day.' Of course, this was a total lie because I offered to come even later, give up the first day, etc to no further response. Well, guess what... they re-posted the same dates at a much higher rate.
I honestly think a host should not be able to turn down a verified guest reservation under any circumstance or perhaps be unable to relist for those dates if they deny a person's request.
I emailed their customer service about these clear 'scams' and heard no significant reply.... they offered me a coupon.
It's automatically posted as a review on your behalf.
> Dealing with a problem is nearly impossible (how do I take a picture of the fact that my 'apartment' is a hotel room? And why can't I talk to anyone?)
By taking a picture with your phone and contacting support?
There's reasons to dislike Airbnb, but these surely aren't some of them. I've had ~20 stays at Airbnb and never had any of these issues.
That said, I've had good experiences with Airbnb for a very vacation-y vacation: house, middle of nowhere, by the beach sort of thing. I don't know of any sites that come close to the global selection Airbnb has.
THAT said, vacation-y vacation rentals are a lot smaller market than short term stays in very populated areas. If I recall, Airbnb launched some business travel capabilities not that long ago and they were not particularly successful. So my general impression is that Airbnb can be a totally successful business, but while it tries to justify a valuation like $31B (rather than focusing on core competencies) it runs the risk of ruining the whole thing.
All the major ones? We've travelled through Tuscany/North Italy urban&rural, middle of tourism season, reserving same night stays with nothing but expedia and booking.com. Great deals too.
I've used airbnb over the years and have seen the standard drop massively (I'd say the same is true for uber).
When I first started using the service, the hosts were all over you to make sure you have a nice stay.
Nowadays it's a complete lottery. You can book a well reviewed place "host is great, nice laid back guy" and turn up to a locked dark house in a foreign country, whilst said host is comatose drunk somewhere having been in a bar brawl, and no phone..
Not to mention bailiffs turning up at the crack of dawn demanding money else the gas will be turned off (another top reviewed apartment).
And that cleaning fee.. no way to not pay it, regardless of if the place has actually been cleaned. Standard response is "sorry, I'm out of town, the previous guest should have cleaned up after themselves"
I too have gone back to hotels.
Little disclaimer, that I am not rich and travel on cheap, so it's from cheapskates point of view.
Airbnbs are neither cheaper, nor more convenient than a hotel/hostel/ etc. When you go to a ho(s)tel - they are licensed, they are cleaned everyday, they give  you towels, clean sheets, etc. And many hostels are cheap, have personal rooms, have full kitchen, wifi, etc.
With airbnb, I had experience of cleaning a dirty kitchen, fridge full of mold, from some leftovers, buy cleaning utensils for kitchen and bathroom, slept in a bed full of cat hair, etc. It's like couchsurfing, just without all the couch surfing benefits for a price of extremely expensive rent. Airbnbs are not regulated, they do not account for nothing, etc., personally it's horrible.
So I better travel to hotels/hostels, through booking.com (or similar). I do not pay more than on Airbnb and I get much better service on average (e.g. 24h reception, cleaning, consistency , easier to deal with etc.).
All in all, personally for me Airbnb is extremely expensive and unregulated rent with poor service, which does only economical harm for local economy for both - hotels/hostels and long-term rents.
 probably more correct way to say that it's included in the price.
 'consistency' - I mean that I know (or at least easily imagine) what a hotel/hostel for XX dollars in YY country should feel like. Whereas with airbnb it's a cat in a box, with some extra surprises/rules on arrival.
It's totally lost its feel of welcoming host. Now it's just another hotel that's poorly run by people who want to make a quick buck.
I stay to hotels even if it's slightly expensive. The level of service and quality is always guaranteed
If so, that might indicate that you can buy fake reviews on ABnB now.
My airbnb stays from 2013-2015 were great and the average tanked.
Airbnb is still doing well and profitable so good for them.
It seemed airbnb customer service did not understand concept of "lifetime value" of customer. They could have made a lot more money in long term if they just refunded a bad experience.
If AirBNB really is overpriced for the hassles involved, then no one would use it, and AirBNB hosts would be forced to lower their prices until they find someone. If you're seeing that AirBNB is just as expensive as hotels, that's because some other tourists had decided that an AirBNB accommodation fits their needs just as well as the hotels they looked at.
Technically, it's increased the supply of short term lodging. Housing supply would have to be increased by construction or subdivision of units.
> If you're seeing that AirBNB is just as expensive as hotels
It's not an entirely fluid market, and some AirBnb hosts have wildly inflated ideas of what their unit is worth. A lot of AirBnbs (in my searches) sit mostly empty except for during events, during which they overcharge greatly. The vacancy rate acceptable for an AirBnb is much higher than the acceptable vacancy rate for a hotel.
In which case you're now funding AirBNB as residential units are converted to commercial.
Regarding total supply of housing for residents + tourists, AirBNB does help here as well. There are a number of people who have extra space in their apartments that they would like to rent out temporarily, without any long term commitments or friction. If AirBNB didn't exist, these people would simply not rent their apartments at all, and that extra space would sit there unused. Thanks for AirBNB and similar services, this extra space is now better utilized to grow the overall supply.
Obviously I don't have any aggregate data on how many people use AirBNB as a substitute for renting, vs letting it sit empty. But anecdotally, I personally know multiple people who use AirBNB but would never take on a sublet/long-term tenant.
They've created some supply by opening up some empty rooms and temporarily unused housing to short term renters. But a significant proportion of AirBnB's listings aren't new supply, they're just reallocated from long term rental properties. This will likely have caused hotel prices to drop, but it also causes long term rental prices to rise.
That's 2-3 major claims that I just can't believe at face value. I'd like to, but you'll have to convince me.
People are converting rental properties to AirBnBs, which actually could mean less supply of rental properties and the same amount of people looking for them.
Is AirBnB leading to development of new housing to offset this? Maybe. idk
However, I'm definitely feeling the effects of their growing pains. For example, many people have bought places to only rent on Airbnb full-time. Most of these people suck at being an hotelier. It's clear people get lazy and are just trying to make money.
Think about how many hotels you've stayed at that were less than stellar? It's hard to have a good hotel with full-time staff. It's much harder when it's just you on the side, renting some place. I've been to many horrible Airbnb's that I had to checkout of early, and go find a new place last minute.
Unless, they fix this and get more people to review honestly. I think they're going to run into a lot of problems.
I don't airBnB, but a friend who does was recently berated by a host after leaving a 4-star review; that host claimed (don't know how true this is) that many hosts will refuse to rent to you again if you leave anything but a 5-star review.
That and other things I've seen and heard about airBnB reviews suggest to me that there a structural problems that are likely to make it problematic for them to become honest and useful in general, even on top of the usual problems in numeric/star rated reviews that come from cultural differences in how people rate when given such a scale even when the actual substantive opinion is the same.
After my stay, I reported it to Airbnb. I didn't want to leave a review because I didn't want to deal with the fallout if Airbnb banned the host and they knew I was responsible. Airbnb ignored the report, the listing is still active, and none of the reviews mention the problem. I wonder how many other guests reported the problem to Airbnb without leaving a review as well.
Until airbnb starts cleaning up their mess I think people will eventually realize that this is just another scam in the long run.
At the same time, the apartment front desk staff and doorman were completely aware of my staying there temporarily. I showed up, asked for the keys, the front desk had an envelope, and there were no questions. They must have someone doing that every few weeks, and the signs are someone else's business.
Most of the inhabitants are people with 9-5 jobs who wish to enjoy a quiet evening after a long day at work. Having tourists next door doesn't help.
People coming home drunk late at night, kids playing soccer in the hallway, Scandinavian women walking around topless and in thong at the pool* - Airbnb guests treat the condo building like a resort, which it isn't.
The walls and doors are thinner, there's no carpet in the hallway and there are less elevators than in a hotel.
Here's a message to everyone considering renting an apartment on Airbnb: GET A GODDAMN HOTEL ROOM!
Thank you SV for "disrupting" my quiet evening [/endrant]
* I know some might actually enjoy this, but Thailand is a conservative Buddhist country. Respect that please.
So you get a window of a few weeks in which you can write a review. If you leave a review, then you get to see the review about yourself straight away. But if you don't review, then you have to wait until your own window has closed. After that, you're able to see the review about yourself regardless of whether you left a review yourself – because you are no longer able to leave a retaliatory review.
Airbnb aren't very clear about this at all, and that certainly pushes people to leave reviews, but it's a side effect that Airbnb play up, not the actual designed purpose of the review system.
It's amazing to go read a novel rated 3 stars (because it operates outside this loop) and find it transcendently good.
The problem with star based rating systems is that they're INCREDIBLY subjective. I oftentimes read yelp reviews that are 3 star reviews where the person raves about the restaurant and then complains about a minor issue. I have a similar issue with app store ratings where I've had a rash of people rate one of my apps 1 star with the review text reading "I just downloaded this, I'll raise my review to 5 stars if love this app".
It's how the "official" reviews from Marriott/Hilton/etc all work
2. Ask each person a different objective question, intentionally filling in the gaps.
3. After a few people, you have an objective, relatively thorough view of the house, but you've not burdened any of your users with more than one question per stay.
It isn't just online, and it isn't just a technology problem. I recently bought a car and the manufacturer sent me a survey about the process. The salesman made sure, numerous times, to let me know that I'd be getting said survey and that anything less than a 10 meant he failed and that there would be negative consequences for him. Since I was mostly happy with the process, I gave him all 10s, even though one or two areas I would have rated a little lower. He got his good review and it didn't really bother me, but the car company lost out on some potentially useful feedback.
Some of the problems - like different people having a tendency to rate on different scales, ratings coming from different factors, etc - seem pretty amenable to a ML approach to make reviews a lot more useful, though. I wonder if anyone outside of a handful of companies (Amazon, Yelp, AirBnB, Google, etc) has enough data to make it useful, though?
I know I personally gave plenty of three star reviews on Lyft before I learned better, meaning them as "no complaints". Who knows what happened to those drivers as a result. Why even invite the misunderstanding?
In France for instance, it's very rare for a student to go above 15/20 or so at the college level (I graduated in the top 10% of my class with a 12/20 average; the top ranked student, whom I was friends with, had a 14/20 average).
But when I graded homework as a graduate student for an american university, the professor told me I was too harsh, and after adjusting my criteria to match what she wanted, I found myself giving many 100/100.
When it comes to ratings used by others to evaluate, no system is more customer and vendor-hostile than one where everything that meets a minimum threshold for adequacy should be rated as perfect.
I guess, at least a small step would be to make it so values less than the highest rating don't count against you so negatively - it should be ok to be a 3/5 or 7/10.
1. normalize reviews to make a 4 star from someone who always gives 5 stars worth less than a 3 star from someone who always gives 2 stars; and
2. make reviews secret?
Perception of books and concepts covered within are entirely subjective.
However, when it comes to service or product quality, you can be almost entirely objective in its value judgment.
Hmm. I'm willing to accept that the average reader is a more sophisticated and thoughtful consumer than for some other product categories. And there may be less overt tribalism and fanboyism in book reviews.
But, in my experience, there's still a lot of people who will almost unthinkingly give 5 stars to a favorite author or genre. (And I know some of those people who are pretty uncritical about SF books or whatever.)
Again, novels and products are entirely different in that you're hopefully shopping for a product by its specs. You can't 'research' novels beforehand (unless you count as reading other novels by the same author as research) and they don't have any specs to go by.
No, all assessments of value are subjective (and for most services involve subjective weighting of multiple different subjective quality factors.) And the mapping from an internal value judgement to a star rating is something which is a separate subjective evaluation, and one on which research has shown substantial cultural variation along ethnic and other lines.
The rating may be inaccurate because you can only measure in full stars, but it'll still be objective and the inaccuracy is the fault of the rating system, not me.
> (of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
On the popular restaurant review site Tabelog, a 3.6 (out of 5) is a very good ranking; there's more 3-star Michelin restaurants in Tokyo than restaurants above 4.5.
If you do it secretly like shadowbanning and introduce it softly by slowly blending between conventional score and normalized, it would drive a whole generation of SEO/social/share-economy experts delightfully mad. Think of all the free publicity!
Jokes aside, it might help to regard low ratings as what they are: a way to flag bad behavior, dead serious stuff. We should stop pretending that it is a game, then maybe solutions will be more likely to appear.
There are particular instances (like in this case) where there are a lot of incentives for just about everyone to give 5 stars, 10 stars, or a positive and call it a day.
But, in general, there are issues with self-selection, bias toward the high end of the scale, ratings meaning different things for different types and classes of product, etc.
Airbnb pushes hosts really, really hard to achieve >80% 5-star reviews. If <80% then the listing gets pushed down the rankings and you lose SuperHost status.
Some guests never give 5-star reviews for whatever reason. They really, seriously hurt the host. If your average is >4.0 (and it should be over 4.5) then any review less than 5 stars will lower your rating.
I worked in a restaurant and was trying hard to get our TripAdvisor ranking higher. One quiet night a guy comes in so we chat and give him some great service, special dishes etc. At the end of the meal he said it was excellent and had left us a 4 star review. I said "Dude, our average is 4.8 stars, you just made us look worse."
In the end we got to #2 in our city. The #1 was a cafe that was only open 7 am to 4 pm. All you need for 5 star review in a cafe is a hot coffee, so we settled for #2.
This is an interesting problem, and yes, needs to be accommodated some how. I used to manage a SW product and service offering that had customers around the planet. We sent out quarterly report cards in order to ensure we were meeting customers needs. It was As and Bs exclusively except for one country that was Ds and Fs for the same level of quality and service.
Some type of calibration or break down is needed.
I travel so much that consistency is important and that is what hotels offer. I see AirBnB as an inferior option for hotels, not a way to meet new friends.
I think the idea that AirBnB is going to kill the hotel industry is way overblown - professional travelers (not the startup crowd largely) like consistency above all else.
I'm specifically only hosting in destination places because when people are on vacation they are inherently happy. Not saying you are unrealistic or unhappy, but it's a different mindset and you have different needs.
So yes I agree with you - it takes a lot more effort for you to have a good, consistent experience as a business traveler because you have to spend time wading through listings.
But there's no reason why AirBnB can't solve that by creating a standard for what business travelers want - perhaps a business superhost designation. I don't think it's overblown for them to put a hurting on the hotel industry. All it takes is for them to take a decent chunk out of RevPAR and many will be done. Hotels typically have a 5 year cycle and they've been having record years. So it's definitely overblown as of now. But killing the investments in hotels is more about what happens when you steal share during the bad times. And also - what happens when there's a good AirBnB rewards program to lure business travelers and they can make it easier for them to book and be consistent as you mentioned?
The hotel industry will remain, but there will be a lot less inventory and operators may decide they don't need to fly the big brands or can't afford the fees.
Perfect, and I'll bet you have a great place. See my previous statement.
But there's no reason why AirBnB can't solve that by creating a standard for what business travelers want - perhaps a business superhost designation.
Supply and demand. To curate that hard, you'd have to have a ton of supply of business focused programs. Might as well just open a hotel at that point.
I just looked and they have a section for business travelers and for wading through listings . They already have Business Travel Ready Listings  which was what I was suggesting. Have you used that or did you go through the front door for your bookings? I didn't know it existed and
Separately - there are advantages of an AirBnB that are more friendly to biz travelers already, like being able to have more flexibility for check-in, free high speed wi-fi, kitchens in almost all listings, better work spaces, etc. So it's a matter of ironing out a few things to make booking easier, adding a good rewards program, and ramping up marketing to compete and steal market share.
But I've gotten guests who nit pick everything and then ask for a refund. I had one guest ask for a refund because there was snow in Tahoe, and they stayed for the full time anyway. Another guest wanted a refund because my shower curtains were expanding tension rods and not permanently mounted.
Generally it still makes sense for me, but running an Airbnb well takes a lot of effort. I have a great support team, and I still struggle at times.
I had guests complain once that there were a few things in one of the bedroom closets (still tons of storage for their stuff), some things in a small pile in the garage and some food in the cupboards (usually have ketchup, hot chocolate, popcorn, etc).
I had my head of turnover go over and chat with them in person and removed all the stuff just to be nice. She told them that some of the things were destined for Goodwill and then the lady who was complaining started picking through it and her tone completely changed! They also showed up with a small towable U-haul full of stuff and a crazy amount of canned food for a short trip. This was a big trip for them.
So sometimes people are just unrealistic. Complaining about some things in the bedroom closets - you're staying at my house! And the stuff in the pantry is for you to use!
However, some people are spending a lot more of their money proportionately and they have different expectations because of this. They want everything to be perfect. Maybe they're being guilted by their spouse or family for spending that amount. They'll complain about really trivial things.
I don't really like instant book because anyone can book. You have to do legal discrimination - AirBnB doesn't do much to help and hosts are often hesitant to leave bad reviews on renters for some reason.
We had a group of 30+ sorority girls message us wanting to stay. Legally we're approved in our area for 16; if you're doing it right and you pay your TOT taxes and are registered - you get approved based on square footage. So of course we declined their request. If they instant booked, I'm not going to be able to kick them out, I'll get more wear and tear, and I could be fined by the city or get my license revoked. Not worth it.
I see why Airbnb is pushing instant book but not participating helps me minimize risk.
Sure, you can follow up w/ airbnb, but since they outsourced their staff to a Clearwater, FL and Ortigas, Metro Manila call center their SLA dropped from 24 hours to 2 weeks.
I do think people have unrealistic expectations, but my house is pretty damn nice. My cleaners are amazing. I'm pretty happy to stay there myself.
I don't know of a better value for the consumer. One of my family members purchased a place up there about a year ago and she's starting to do better but it's been a grind. She told me that her renters are often unrealistic. I find it odd given the amount of money up there and the low nightly price but it's probably just the supply and the fact that a lower price means people aren't forced to really evaluate the value as they should. That and the fact that primary housing prices are so damn high, that when people get away they don't/can't spend a lot.
My wife is a superhost on AirBnB and it's not challenging - you just have to be responsive. The challenging parts are when you have difficult guests but I also pay my head of turnover to handle those issues a la carte if needed locally, otherwise my wife handles remotely.
It would be very hard to turnover my place without using a company that has staff due to it's size. Laundry takes about 5 hours alone. You have to have multiple sets of clean laundry if you're doing it right. I have a license and pay 10% TOT tax. Other operations aren't registered, don't pay hotel like taxes and don't replace with clean sheets. I did 80k in revenue on one property alone last year and I'm buying another soon. There's a lot of opportunity but you have to buy it right, meet guest expectations, and be compliant.
Update: I'm on phone with AirBNB support about this right now. Frankly their phone support is pretty poor, eventhough I'm a "super host." They can't seem to answer basic questions about how the wifi network and password is provided to guests
The biggest problem to me is poor expectation setting. There are hosts that run BnB quality services, ones that run a mock-hotel like you described, and ones that just rent out a spare room in their apartment.
As a guest, it'd be great to know what I'm walking into. As a host, having guests that understand they are staying in my home and NOT a hotel would be great.
My guess is, dividing up the listings into service tiers would lead to legal issues (like you saw last year in NYC), but it would surely help with the guest-host relationship.
Usually, the description and previous reviews gives you all you need. When it doesn't, I simply ask the host. It's never been a problem.
Very often. I'm counting motels, because I'm comparing the same price points.
My experience with AirBnB has been both positive and negative. For the negatives, I never felt I got less than what I paid, and motels would have been more expensive. For the positive, it has always been cheaper than a motel.
I got to stay in downtown San Diego, renting a whole apartment, for a really good deal. No hotel would have been that cheap.
It was a nice apartment, not a super cheap-o place. And free parking.
I will say I don't demand too much. I'm not the type of person who wants fancy service. Just make it clean. And offer basic stuff (tissues, soap, etc).
Once people make careers out of this, it really ruins the spirit of the service and then it's not much more than someone getting around paying hotel taxes.
This. Something I hate is when people think that 5 stars have to be given "by default". For me, an uneventful stay in a clean place should mean 3 stars. If the place is specially nice or the owner was really kind, 4 stars. And 5 stars should only be for my _favourite_ places.
I stopped doing airbnb when, for several times, I booked 4.5 star places and they turned out to be honestly crappy.
Typically the cheapest places are also the ones where people don't have high expectations so they will rate 5 stars but leave a comment describing the quirks of the place
I've also Airbnb'd over several continents. I've had one sub-par experience out of many stays.
I think with Airbnb it's also "you get what you pay for"...
Uber also expanded everywhere and it only increased its loses. It could be that their business model is not based on subsidies borne by investors as in case of Uber.
As a user, Id rather they err on the side of amateurish. Airbnb can't be the whole market. It works best for recreational travel. Even people who buy or rent to Airbnb generally do it on a small scale.
I think they don't have that requirement anymore because most properties I see locally have smartphone camera quality pictures with improper lighting.
I get that it's cheaper, but after a certain age, I just want to be comfortable on a vacation, not have to think "will it be terrible?"
The only exception is if the property offers something hotels don't (like a lodge in the forest or a rooftop apartment overlooking the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem)
An interesting question is: is it better to optimize for more inventory or better quality?
I was at Dropbox for a while and left in no small part because of the frustrating lack of potential liquidity on my equity.
I guess, though, in this case, the employee is the party without power, as they are offered a price (which is probably lowballed, since they don't have a choice) in a take it or leave it fashion...
So yes, if they were willing to do it in 2011, I am sure that they are doing it in this round too.
 - https://techcrunch.com/2011/10/01/chamath-palihapitiya-airbn...
Investors get paid before employees. What if airbnb had answered to him "we will do that, but also, you cannot make any money at all until employees get it, otherwise this shady way of things will harm you long term".
> My basic principle on this stuff is that if you want liquidity, that’s fine, but you should make it available to everyone.
Think also that the least money the founder gets off the table, the investor gets lets capital into his investment itself, he is interested in getting as much money into the business itself, not into the founders pockets.
Arent the investors preferences clear in this point? HE prefers the founder not to get money off the table, and puts a requirement on it.
Another way to put it, he recommends a course of action, but is he the one adding extra money so that course of action goes to his preference? If he is, then by all means its at least a great gesture.
Addition: and also, think of it the other way around. What if a founder told the investors "you are not getting any money unless my employees are getting money as well". Becuase thats not how the deals are structured nowadays.
If you're in such a position, you better hope that your founders _really_ like you.
This probably leads to an overly high valuation it wouldn't hold up to on the stock market, though, (i.e. Uber) so then the company feels pressured to stay private until they can justify that overly high valuation. In Uber's case, though, they'll keep raising money at absurd valuations and keep the cycle going.
Palantir is an exception: If they were public and had to disclose much information, their value would plummet, so it'll likely stay private in the foreseeable future.
The market telling them would be a loss of billions for the investors/founders, both on the value of their own equity and the increased equity they'd have to offer employees (many exceptions apply, but this seems to be the case particularly with startups who lack an easy path to profitability but can show substantial growth).
Its the best thing to do if you want to make a lot of money from your money machine and are largely apathetic about the outcome of the business itself. Easy enough to find the next MBA graduate to feign passion for you while they are just trying to sell the company.
Because employees actually gain out of it. That's also a benefit as it gives more people financial freedom and they can go off and do their own companies. Instead these people get locked in to AirBnB for years.
Private companies even issue bonds on public bond markets, these can be as large or larger than equivalent equity offerings on the stock markets.
Don't let the mechanisms pursued by a handful of VC firms in Silicon Valley distort your understanding of capital formation.
It's one route to take, but not the only one.
That would be through an IPO or acquisition, either way you loose control of your company.
Last year around Nov, I tried to book a Lake Tahoe cabin for 2 families (1 is mine, another is a friend's) for a simple trip for our young children.
I booked via Airbnb few days in advanced. The day before driving to Tahoe, we even called Airbnb to confirm that the listing is OK. The host accepted, but didn't answer to any of our questions.
The next morning when we woke up, we packed everything, then out of bad habit, I opened up the app and checked again. I was caught on surprised that the host cancelled, just 4 hrs before our suppose arrival time. We were very shocked and pissed. I was booking for a friend's family and it was very embarrassed. I immediately contacted Airbnb support, and all they call do for me was to give me $100 back for my NEXT reservation. And they couldn't do anything about my existing. I thought they would put a penalty on Airbnb's host who cancelled on us in less than 24 hrs, but they said they don't have such policy. I was upset because I knew they had such policy for the renter. They also mentioned the best they can do is to find me the next 10 houses to book in the similar location, but cost 3x more as it is bit last minute. They did not anything else to help me.
I was very upset and went to Homeaway.com and found something immediately, even cheaper than the original reservation I had with Airbnb.
My story was a clear first-hand witness on how I believed Airbnb failed at customer service, and will be very difficult to become a successfully company.
The reason I don't believe in Airbnb simply because they lean toward the hosts, but offering no protection for the renters. In some cases, they have policy only applies to renters, but not at the hosts.
Last I checked, the host cancelled on my reservation is still listing and hosting. I believe they can do better. Even Uber lets both driver and rider rate each other.
So why in the name of sweet baby Jesus would investors, founders, or anyone else delay an IPO at this point? Can anyone explain it?
Edit: Appended another question.
It also makes the value of your corporate equity much clearer which can enable acquisitions.
It's interesting to think about.
Recessions are always and everywhere a monetary phenomena.
The bill was well intentioned. But it has had the unintended side effect of locking retail investors out of many of the highest returning investments. There is overall a shrinking number of companies publicly traded on US markets as more companies merge, go bankrupt, go private, or never go public in the first place. This is a growing problem for defined-contribution retirement plans.
maybe there's a narrative that by preventing retail investors from investing in high return investments they have also protected retail investors from high-risk investments (if we believe the returns are proper risk premia!)
I don't know enough to have an opinion about whether it's affecting IPO decisions, but I think it's more than just procedural stuff.
When it's just landlords short-term renting a furnished apartment on the side, the experience tends to be subpar. The worst experience I had was in Chicago, when it was clearly a condo owner breaking the terms of the HOA for their building--they told us to say that we were 'just visiting' the occupants of the apartment, not to unlock the door if an actual resident was nearby, etc. The general feeling of "sneaking around" was unpleasant.
It's a mixed bag--the original idea of home sharing is a great experience, but clearly not the most profitable aspect of their business. I wonder if they could figure out ways to support that better...
oh...it's not a very appealing prospect you say? well, hmmm, errr, awkward.
I never thought that injecting even more uncertainty into travel was a winning proposition, but they've clearly found a willing market.
Perhaps a better way to look at it is "There was an underserved market that had a higher tolerance for uncertainty, and AirBnB seized the opportunity."
Any reason to believe Airbnb is really growing?
A researcher at UBC estimated that commercial operators were responsible for generating 77% of Airbnb revenue in Vancouver. The City of Vancouver is planning on legalizing Airbnb, but will ban commercial operators that rent out entire residences. This will likely significantly reduce the amount of commercially operated Airbnbs in the city and this could result in significantly less revenue that Airbnb generates from Vancouver.
If this researchers’ numbers are at all reasonably accurate, and other cities have similar levels of commercial activity, and the trend of cities banning commercial operators catches on, that would be a major impact on Airbnb revenue.
If you're checking in at some place you've never been to in the middle of the night, then of course a hotel is a better option. Likewise if you can't be bothered to tidy up a bit before checking out, then a hotel is the way to go. Personally, for short stays, like a few days or a weekend, I'll go with a hotel. But for anything of a week or longer, AirBnB is terrific.
Through AirBnb I was able to book very nice condo apartments, with awesome amenities (rooftop swimming pools, brand new gym facilities etc) and very gracious local hosts who showed me things I never would have been able to discover on my own. Moreover, with AirBnb I don't have to worry about landlords ripping me off like I would if I actually signed a rental contract in a foreign country.
I think most of this criticism is rather petty. AirBnb isn't a hotel or hostel replacement and it isn't supposed to be.
Some of the ways to burn cash:
(1) Expand operations: hiring people, hiring external services, leasing offices, leasing capacity, etc. All that happens far before any additional revenue comes in.
(2) Capex: capital expenses (buying servers, equipment, etc.) require cold, hard cash (or debt, which "costs" more than equity for a startup, so it is better to do equity funding).
(3) Working capital (current assets - current liabilities): some companies have positive (they receive the revenue cash before dispensing the costs cash) working capital, using their customers' money to expand the operations, others have negative working capital, requiring external funding to expand their operations.
My guess is that (2) and (3) don't apply for AirBnB, they are not a capital-intensive business, and as they get paid when the booking is done but pay out when the guest arrives, their working capital might actually be positive. So they probably need it to expand operations.
Then you need to publish your results for this year. How do you do it?
Cash flow statement:
Cash from sales: $0
Cash paid to suppliers: $50
Net cash flow: -$50
So you had a negative cash flow, but was profitable.
Is airbnb losing money, because it now has 1 billion dollars less in cash, and 1 billion dollars more in gold bars?
No, it is not.
Gold is highly liquid, and from what I've read, it can be considered (in bullion) cash equivalents, except for banks, that due to Base 3 regulations can only consider part of their gold holdings as cash equivalent for liquidity purposes.
So it's profitable - as long as you exclude such meaningless items as "interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation". Nice.
: original post.
You can upgrade your description to "most expensive area in central London". It's the final, £400 property on the London version of the Monopoly board, and is still worthy of that position.
The woman would probably prefer the term "high class escort". I think it's supposed to mean you can have a conversation afterwards.
Example -- NSFW, obviously: http://www.hautegirlslondon.com/
The Airbnb service startups now have limitations on their business plans and on the ground issues, residents abuse and legal challenges. This is disruptive and not necessarily a good thing.
Airbnb has opened up new tourist routes and brought income to airlines and local businesses, so the economic contribution has been interesting.
But what is the real message. "Live like a local". I know personally that even if you live in a foreign land for several years it's hard to live a like a local. Its smart marketing, the offer of shared spaces and local people. This was the shared house approach it all started with. This is long gone. Head off to airdna.co and check out the stats on whole apartments. It's a misnomer and still carries through in the press.
Is it better than a hotel? Depends: If its more space and similar price then maybe, always depends on this vs location, its quality, is it really licensed or allowed, and how convenient is entry.
You can of course have parties that hotels may frown on! Hotels have front desks, are quality controlled and for most business people so much more convenient with bars and breakfasts. They also tend to have well organised support and be in convenient locations, You can always use Uber to get a cheap taxi though...Uber and Airbnb, neat merger.
As this thread shows all the latter can be a problem and hence the "SuperHost" status.
Do Airbnb love Super Hosts? Yes of course. Reviews pay booking dividends . But Super Hosts don't always let their places all year and being smart cookies realise being paid at checkout, being charged a commission and the guest paying up to 12% extra could mean more money in their pocket if they did it direct.
Many are direct marketing too and certainly doing rebookings direct. Do Airbnb see this as a problem? Of course, they want 24/7 and all the margin. This is why they hate leakage and try to force instant book and convenient cancellations. This is also guest centric and owner impossible for so many. The two are hard to equate. Booking.com's mantra "Most rooms with free cancellation" is the killer, but does NOT apply 90% of the time to their rental inventory. Clever marketing again!
Airbnb also want to ensure quality inventory and no come-back. Hard with a thousands of unstandardised accommodation. Bad review police-ing is expensive!
Do Airbnb want to be in the main holiday rentals seasonal space? Yes, they just bought Luxury Retreats for $200m, but even this is a slippery fish as these are mainly managers and owners who market everywhere and want/need maximum margin. It's an unusual play but maybe just paying to understand the market more. Trying to forcing any form or control on these properties may well see further industry rebellion.
Add in the Trips launch and other revenue streams and you can see strategically they realise a zenith is approaching on the main models and which company needs so much litigation?
Best prices? Lots of comments on this. The best price is always likely to be direct, price parity slipped out the backdoor years ago. The "Guest Service Fee" is not charged direct. Imagine paying $2000 and then seeing a further $200+ as a service fee. Look under the question mark at checkout, it's their fee not the accommodations. This is beginning to annoy people (a lot).
They could often just book direct with a little searching. It may take 10 minutes, and that's $1200 per hour work! Even lawyers struggle to get that!
The big brands: Expedia (inc HomeAway), Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, essentially offer the same thing and thousands of properties are advertised on all of them simultaneously as they sit out front and use the guest fees to pay Google Search (the real controller).
The smart guests are using them to identify great places and then phoning and emailing direct (using Google again) but saving money and getting more information.
These large companies (FB, Google, etc) may no longer be bootstrapped and employees may no longer have versatile roles, but they still resemble what we'd call 'startup culture.' It seems reasonable to define a startup based on culture rather than size, though it's not so etymologically sound.
edit: If you disagree, please comment why rather than downvote!
This is a question I've heard people discuss extensively and would appreciate input or an opposing perspective.
It comprises numerous affiliated businesses, most of them united under the Samsung brand, and is the largest South Korean chaebol (business conglomerate) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung
Microsoft/Google are multinational companies but their core business has remained. Samsung on the other hand did food processing, textiles, insurance, securities and retail and only got into the electronics industry after close to 30 years.
What do you even mean by "startup culture" in an ad-tech company with thousands of employees that has been doing the same thing for years? Open office plans with skateboards? Free food? Making the world a better place?
Although Facebook as an individual product isn't creating any more value than it already has, the company includes Oculus VR and an AI lab which seem like they'd be fascinating places to work. Additionally, it just seems like an interesting, fun place to be where one could network with interesting people.
I'm not defending its dependence on ad-tech, but the experience (yes, including working conditions + benefits as you noted) seems closer to what I've found in small, new startups than companies like Samsung.
Thanks for the input!
It might be more useful to differentiate based on target or expected future growth. Real startups are intended to be scalable. A company can only reasonably be described as a startup if it expects to grow >10× in revenue or employee count over the next few years.