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Airbnb Launches Media blitz...with Bird Houses...

Airbnb Launches Media blitz...with Bird Houses...

Dec 16th, 2013, 05:38 AM
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Airbnb Launches Media blitz...with Bird Houses...


Interesting story about airbnb - the entity that links folks wishing to rent out their residences or rooms in them to travelers - how they are launching their first real advertising blitz - featuring cozy bird houses.

I enjoy staying in B&bs in Europe and an keen to know about any experiences or recommendations Fodorites have in experiences with airbnb - any good ones you've seen. It says Paris and Barcelona are two of airbnb's biggest markets.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 16th, 2013, 05:57 AM
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Pal; You can view a thread in process that starts with 'Frustrated'.

Perhaps someone can copy and paste to this thread.
iris1745 is online now  
Dec 16th, 2013, 06:03 AM
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Thanks - I see the 'frustration' but I guess will not throw the baby out with the bathwater until I hear a variety of reports and experiences - but thanks for that tip!
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 16th, 2013, 07:12 AM
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We just started using airbnb this past summer. Had a good experience in London and more recently in New Orleans.

In France, I would rely on Gîtes de France as a primary source, at least outside large cities.
Michael is offline  
Dec 16th, 2013, 07:50 AM
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Our experience with Airbnb as guests has been mixed. The first time we used it, a few years back, we got stung badly in Amsterdam. That was before Airbnb had a 24/7 hotline to resolve problems, and we lost some bucks and had to scramble for a place to stay on a Friday night.

My wife also had a bad experience more recently in Portland, Oregon. The listing was a fraud in which the renter tried to rent out a place he was renting while he was away. The person who was supposed to let DW in did not show up. When she did get in the place was completely unlivable. In the meantime, however, Airbnb hotline was quick to pay for a hotel room for the night while things got ironed out.

On the positive side, we have had great stays in all the other places we booked through Airbnb. That includes NYC, Portland, OR, (different place), Syracuse, NY, and Milan, Italy. We currently have a place booked in Paris for two weeks in May, in the 10th. I'll post how that went in my TR.

From the viewpoint of a host, I can't say enough good things about the site. We have been renting out our private guest room in the small Washington town of Anacortes for almost four years now, through Airbnb, without a single problem. Since we can screen and talk to our guests both before and after they book we have hosted only nice and trouble free people, without exception. Things started off slowly but, now that we have over 150 positive reviews, this Summer we were full over 50% of the time from May to November; a major factor in being able to afford Paris again this year.
nukesafe is offline  
Dec 16th, 2013, 07:59 AM
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You left out a part PalenQ.

"the entity that links folks wishing to rent out their residences or rooms in them to travelers -"

You should have added, 'legally or illegally.'

While there are many legal rentals to be found through third party sites like AirBnB et al, there are also many illegal rentals. What that should mean to the person looking at renting, is that they need to do their due diligence to insure the apartment/house they rent is a legal rental.

I'm not saying don't rent, I'm just saying be careful and do your homework. You don't want to end up somewhere you are not welcome.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Dec 16th, 2013, 08:20 AM
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"Its largest markets, for hosts and guests, are Paris, Barcelona, New York and San Francisco.
Well in Spain they may be in for a shock.
Licences are required and they are clamping down. Licences are in short supply.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 09:24 AM
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I never gave much thought to private vacation rentals in the past. However, in the last few years, the number of rentals of this type has jumped dramatically. This has led to a rise in problems with it all over the world.

The internet has made it possible for third party websites like Airbnb (which only started in 2008) to provide a place for an owner of a property to advetise that property to travellers.

This is a travel forum and from a travellers perspective, these rentals may appeal to many people. However, there are 3 groups they do not appeal to. Governments who see money not being declared as income. The hotel industry who see a signifigant percentage of loss of business. Third and in my opinion most important, neighbours who live next to these properties being rented.

As travellers, we should not look at things only from a narrow perspective. How would you feel if the property next door to your home was rented out every week to different people? Perhaps, six 18-25 year olds planning to 'party hearty' for a week?

I happen to own a condo in the Cayman Islands. On my last stay there I had a conversation with the property manager who has been there about 15 years. He told me that last year for the first time, they had a problem with rentals.

The condo agreement states you you are entitled to have guests stay WITH you in your condo. It also states you are NOT allowed to rent it out. Not even for the fairly common 30 days or more a lot of places allow. No rentals, ever.

One new owner had chosen to ignore that rule. I believe the condo corporation is still working on wresting ownership from him through the courts.

In the meantime he had started renting it out by the week to tourists and the property manager had had the uncomfortable job on the half a dozen occassions last year that it happened, of having to go to the people renting and tell them they had until the following morning to leave or the police would be called.

Those people were no doubt 'innocent' victims of a fight between the owner and the condo board. But were they really 'innocent'? Whenever you enter into a contract with another person or business, it is YOUR job to do your due diligence and make sure that what you are doing is legal. Obviously, they had not done so.

Hawaii apparently has a huge problem with illegal rentals and instances of neighbours getting involved in physical confrontations with tourists are not unknown.

So it isn't just Spain ribeirasacra, it's everywhere. That nice Airbnb rental in Seattle by the nice old lady who doesn't pay income tax on the income, has no city license to rent (and so isn't complying with fire safety etc.) and doesn't give a darn what the neighbours think, may not be such a great deal as someone thinks it is.

Caveat emptor.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 01:47 PM
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I see your point Dulci; valid concerns. As a matter of fact, the apartment we will be renting in Paris in May is in an apartment building such as would fit your description. I intend to write the owner to see if the rental is legal, seeing the fuss the city of Paris is now making about short term rentals, and whether I am going to have trouble with the other residents in the building.

The guest quarters we rent as Airbnb hosts are in our private home, so the aspects of short term rental you cite aren't applicable.

One point, I don't know how it works in Paris or Barcelona, but I'm sure the "nice old lady" in Seattle who rents her place through Airbnb certainly better pay taxes on her income. Airbnb reports our income to the IRS, and we dutifully give Uncle Sam his pound of flesh each year.
nukesafe is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 02:05 PM
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the Times article mentions New York City's laws that must be paid by hotels as a sumbling block for airbnb there:

The campaign also does not address legal challenges faced by Airbnb in New York, where many hosts are violating a 2010 state law that prohibits them from renting their apartment for fewer than 30 days if they are not present. Airbnb would like the state to revise the law to make short-term rentals legal. In exchange, it has proposed that renters pay the city’s hotel tax.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 18th, 2013, 08:53 AM
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Actual B&B's where the owner is present have been around forever of course nukesafe. That is what you are doing and I don't think anyone is bothered by them. It is the absentee owners renting out their empty property that are the main problem.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Dec 19th, 2013, 06:15 AM
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>Perhaps, six 18-25 year olds planning to 'party hearty' for a week?<

Maybe in a vrbo condo on an island somewhere. There's major evidence that disturbances do not take place in Airbnb properties. Airbnb seems intent on building a following of like-minded people. I think their concept is unique and may have lasting power. Airbnb is no ordinary gateway to vacation rentals. They look like a revolution.
wesleymarsh is offline  
Dec 19th, 2013, 08:18 AM
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Well obviously you are a fan of Airbnb et al wesley but let me ask you this. Would you want people arriving every week to stay in the apartment or house next door to the one you live in?

When a place is purpose built as a vacation property then there is no reason to complain about any kind of tourists who end up there but when a place is intended to be residential then there is indeed reason to complain when people start showing up for a few days or afew weeks at a time.

If 12 owners in an 18 unit building are resident and the other 6 owners rent out weekly, just how happy do you think the 12 resident owners are likely to be? Regardless of how well behaved the tourists who rent might be, they will be disruptive.

Try telling me that when they arrive on a late flight and are hauling their luggage down the hallway and into the apartment at 2am. that they are going to tip toe.

Airbnb, is a business like any other. They have NO concern whatsover for the neighbours of the properties rented out by their clients. They're only concern is the people paying them, no one else.

Where a property is located is irrelevant. "Maybe in a vrbo condo on an island somewhere.", is what you wrote. Do you think there are not people who LIVE on that island somewhere who have the same rights as anyone else to their privacy or peace and quiet in their neighbourhood? Do you think that somehow if they live on an island or anywhere else that tourists wish to stay that they should expect to give up their right to privacy and a peaceful life?

Try looking at it as if YOU were an owner living next door to this vacation rental property in a normal residential building or neighbourhood wesleymarsh.

Airbnb, do NOT come and ask owners if they're OK with the next door apartment or house being rented out short term. Nor do they vet what kind of people that rent a place. If six 20 years olds want to rent all Airbnb and many of those owners who are renting ask is 'do you have the money?'

The revolution that is occuring is also a revolution by resident owners who quickly become annoyed with rentals.







In this one, note the remark, "The big surprise for us was when we tried to contact Airbnb (to complain)," said Thieme, a writer and editor. "The phone tree had no option remotely relating to people in our circumstance — neighbors." When they finally got through, "the first gentleman didn't seem too concerned about our problem."


The list goes on and on wesley in any place you find these rentals. You can't build a hotel in a residential street but you can turn your house into a hotel. Sound right to you?
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Dec 19th, 2013, 09:34 AM
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wesleymarsh, AirBnB properties most certainly do cause problems in non-tourist areas. Here in San Jose, there is a property in my neighborhood that has caused tremendous problems for neighbors. The house is considered an illegal BnB and the people that rent party and don't care about the neighbors at all because after all they're on vacation. The neighborhood association is trying valiantly to shut them down, and the owner is retaliating by threatening the nearest neighbors to the point where they're afraid to continue to complain.
MonicaRichards is offline  
Dec 19th, 2013, 09:50 AM
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well as they say don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 19th, 2013, 02:13 PM
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Agreed PalenQ.

As I have said before, I am not against the private rental of a property necessarily. As long as it doesn't interfere with others enjoyment of their property I don't see a problem.

There are plenty of places where vacation condos are sold as such and it is clear that everyone there will not be a resident owner. Probably 90% of such properties are owned for the single purpose or renting them out for profit when the owner is not using them. Everyone understands that and everyone accepts that.

The issue arises when someone is renting a property in a primarily residential building or neighbourhood. The 'baby' isn't supposed to be in that bathwater to use your analogy.

What really annoys me about it all is the third party parasites like Airbnb et al who make money out of it with NO regard whatsover for the issues.

People using their website to find a place to rent do not realize that THEY are not Airbnb's customer. The person renting the property OUT is the customer.

What that means is Airbnb does not vet an owner to see if they are complying with the local law or having disputes with neighbours over their rentals. All Airbnb do (as advised by their lawyers to cover their ass) is say, 'we tell our owners they must comply locally'. Then they go ahead and take their money having made NO effort to ascertain if the owner is indeed complying with anything.

There is only ONE thing driving this on anyone participants part. That is MONEY. Whether it is the person renting it for a week; the owner renting too them; or Airbnb etc. Unfortunately, when money is involved a lot of people turn out to have what is called 'situational ethics' (in the bad sense of the term).

If I can save money or make money it overrules the rights of others. That's the bottom line in this story.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Dec 19th, 2013, 03:21 PM
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And I commiserate with you - I live in a condo and understand the problem and IF there was such problems coming from some absentee owner's unit I would sure make it very uncomfortable for the itinerant renters to live there - like every morning coming out to see their tires flat - they could complain to the owners and airbnb but who else (wear disguises and do it under cloak of darkness - if flattening tires don't work take it a notch higher - a few broken windows to get the message across - that is IF there is a problem as there is in yours - I would not automatically oppose it if there were no problems affecting me or my property value.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 19th, 2013, 03:41 PM
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For me, it has little to nothing to do with money. I have paid as much for Airbnb rentals as I would have for a nice hotel in the same area. What I got was a wonderful sense of privacy in the Airbnb rentals, and more a feeling of home. I like feeling part of a neighborhood, sleeping late, making some tea, and letting DH go to the local bakery and bring back croissants, etc. On our last trip, we broke it up with two hotels to be spoiled a bit, and two apartment rentals for a more homey experience. We are very conscious of neighbors and what we liked about both places is they were nice and quiet. I do not think anyone would even have known we were there.

Maybe they were unusual, but the Airbnb hosts that I worked with (those I rented from and had to cancel last Spring, and the two others we finally used) had specific arrival and departure hours. None were late at night or early in the morning, so there was no possibility of coming in during the night with luggage making noise. Every host I worked with had capacity rules and were quite clear and specific about how many and what age they would accommodate.

As long as the guests were carefully vetted and they were considerate of us, the neighbors, I would have no problem with a neighbor renting their home to travelers. One good thing would be, the owner would have to keep the property up to a high standard.
Sassafrass is online now  
Dec 19th, 2013, 06:36 PM
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BTW, why do I pay Airbnb a booking fee if I am not a customer? There are two fees, delineated in the bill. One is the rental cost (to the apartment owner) and the booking fee (charged to me by Airbnb).

I am paying the apartment owner for the use of the apartment, so am a customer of the host.

I am also paying Airbnb - for performing a service for me, so that would make me their customer also.
Sassafrass is online now  
Dec 20th, 2013, 04:18 AM
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I don't think of myself as a fan of Airbnb. I simply saw the 3 owners of Airbnb interviewed by Charlie Rose and walked away from that interview impressed. They are trying to create something quite different from the competition and it looks like they will achieve more success.

MonicaRichards, bad apples exist in every opportunity. I accept that no system is perfect. While researching Airbnb, I noticed a few properties stood out as questionable. Some owners/managers advertise there and treat the property ad as though it's any other hosting site. So what happens next? Researchers look at the owner profile. They find out the property has a manager or the owner lives across town. Researchers then look at the reviews. I think the review system on Airbnb may be the main reason why this company is rising quickly. Owners/members have no control over their reviews. They can't touch them. Negative word gets out quickly and the owners have to deal with it immediately or else. If I find out the property that caught my attention is a party house with angry neighbors, I'm not staying there. The property is dead to me.

If my neighbor is a member of Airbnb and he rents his place to travelers like me, I would have no problem with his international guests. I probably would help them if they needed help. If my neighbor was a jerk, turning his residential property into a frat haven for vacationing alcoholics and encouraging the disruption of my neighborhood, I would be sure my complaining voice would be heard on every imaginable resource. Airbnb makes it possible for angry, unhappy voices to be heard.
wesleymarsh is offline  

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