Our neighborhood is quiet except for the time when a neighbor has a Super Bowl Party or has a graduation party and invites all the friends. Then it is hard to find a place to park. What if it’s hard to find a place to park more frequently? What’s going on? You may be experiencing check-in and check-out traffic thanks to a 2008 startup. Airbnb in Baltimore.
That startup Airbnb, short for Air Bed B&B, is now the granddaddy of what has come to be known as the “sharing economy. You can decide that the next time you visit any city in Baltimore, you don’t want to stay in a hotel, but in a treehouse or someone’s home, maybe at a rate cheaper than a regular hotel. You can go to the Airbnb website, select the city and see what is offered. I checked for the city of Baltimore. There were 799 listings and the prices started at $32 a night. Alongside of the listings is a map of the area, so you can see where each listing is located.
The Guardian in September, 2013 wrote, “At the start of 2012, one million people had used the site. By the end of 2012, it was 4 million.”
“Airbnb takes a booking every two seconds, and there are now 300,000 rooms, apartments and houses listed on the site (including 500 castles, 200 treehouses and 1,400 boats).” How does that compare to a major hotel chain? Airbnb is approaching parity with a large chain at 50,000 to 60,000 bookings a night.
Now local, government officials across the country feel they are losing control over the lodging rules and regulations, and wonder whether or not Airbnb and their competitors, of which there are many, will have an adverse impact on local neighborhoods or the hotel industry as a whole. I’m sure the hotel industry is worried! Think what could happen if more homeowners decided renting out a room two nights a week at a $100 a night was worth the extra $10,400 a year?
Now there’s help to spot those neighbors renting rooms. The LA Times writes that two Silicon Valley engineers have launched a service that “…helps homeowners find out if neighbors are renting rooms through the service Airbnb.”
This just in: Airbnb has announced that U.S. travelers can now use its short-term rental service to book lodging in Cuba, marking what the Associated Press said is the “most significant U.S. business expansion on the island since the declaration of detente between the two countries late last year.”
More than 1,000 listings of short-term rentals in Cuba are now available for booking on Airbnb’s website.
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