Air B&B

Old Aug 27th, 2014, 04:37 PM
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Air B&B

I have never used Air B&B, but in fact have viewed the website to check there listings along with prices, pictures, etc. Would be very interested in getting some first hand feedback that some of you have had with this alternative lodging experience and some tips if in fact I do choose to use this in the future.
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 05:08 PM
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You'll get opinions on both sides of this issue, but I suspect if you narrow your inquiry to those who have actually used the site you'll find a high degree of satisfaction.

I started using the site 4 years ago as a guest when I traveled and still do, have 2 reservations booked now for a future trip. And now I also host guests in my home. The site tends to be a bit complicated but my overall opinion is positive. It's been of great value to me both as guest and host. Definitely an idea whose time has come.

My primary advice is to look closely at the listings that interest you. Details vary from listing to listing and you want to be sure to get what you want and not be surprised by something you didn't notice before booking.
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 05:12 PM
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There are MANY threads w/ info about airB&B bookings. Most are on the US and Europe forums but they are probably on every board.

Unfortunately the search function won't locate recent posts (apparently the data base hasn't been indexed in months so all you get are older entries)

But posts about airB&B searches or bookings or stays happen just about every day. I can't help you personally because I haven't used airB&B (and likely wouldn't) but maybe if you look at the other forums you'll find what you want.

I'd say about 80% of the reports have been quite positive.
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 05:20 PM
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I didn't see MmeP's post - she is one who posts quite often about airB&B
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 08:07 PM
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We've used them several times with good results. When we travel we much prefer apartments to hotel rooms, and have ben very satisfied with AirBnB.
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 08:14 PM
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I've used AirBnB only once, everything about the place I booked was as described on the website, and payment was easy.

Carefully check the location via google street view. Like many accomodation sites, descriptions can vary somewhat from reality.

I would use AirBnB again, it's easy to navigate their website, and has secure payment options.

To secure the best accommodation, start looking / booking as soon as you know dates, noting the cancellation policy of any property.

Happy travels.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 08:50 AM
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A word of caution. Airbnb is coming under increased scrutiny in many places. Some cities have now starting enforcing bylaws that do not allow a property to be rented for less than 30 days.

San Francisco, Seattle, Malibu, New Orleans, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Berlin, have all started taking action and the list is growing. So it is YOUR job to insure that what you plan to rent is a LEGAL rental. The risk you take is that you could arrive and find someone knocking at the door the next morning telling you that you must vacate the premises immediately.

Do some Googling to make sure you understand the issues. Here's a start:
http://www.theguardian.com/travel/20...are-the-issues

There is one way to use AirBnB safely and that is to rent space in a property where the owner is living. In other words an actual B&B. Nowhere is there any objection to that. It is only when the owner is absent(not living in) from the property that an issue exists.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 09:35 AM
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Was interested in Sojurntraveller's comments since AirB&B seems to constitute a real threat to established hotels/motels from a cost standpoint. Thanks to everybody.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 10:27 AM
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Soujourntraveller's advice is good, although city governments are beginning to see the light, for instance, "the city council in Portland, Ore., unanimously approved pro-home sharing legislation that Airbnb heartily supported." San Francisco is drafting a law to legalize many Airbnb offerings there.

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfranci...omeowners.html

The idea is relatively new so there are bound to be bumps in the road. But no one seems to suggest it'll be going away anytime soon. The idea is too good for too many people for that to happen and the world will adjust, despite the hotel industry's efforts to the contrary.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 10:04 AM
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As I wrote, there is no objection anywhere that I know of to someone using Airbnb's website to advertise their B&B. Or any bylaws anywhere that do not allow a B&B.

The biggest issue is around exploiters who see this purely as a way to make money and are not 'sharing' anything.

Probably at least half the properties listed on AirBnB today are by asbsentee landords. Not someone away for 2 weeks offering to let you rent for that 2 week period, but people who have bought or rented a property with the sole intention of renting it out by the night. These exploiters are where the issues come up.

AirBnB has had exponential growth in the last 2 years. From an idea of offering someone an airbed on the floor in your home during peak times (major events in town etc.) when hotel rooms are scarce and priced at a premium, it has moved to a direct competitor to hotels.

I don't care about the hotels complaining but I do see all the other issues. No taxes being paid as business tax, hotel tax or individual income tax. No regulation of health and safety issues that protect the consumer. Neighbours having to deal with strangers arriving/departing at all times of day and night as well as their behaviour while there.

To me the biggest issue is that of the neighbours. Consider how you would feel if you owned a condo somewhere and suddenly, the unit next door to you is rented by someone who then puts in 10 bunk beds and starts renting them out by the night to airline flight crew. The security code or key to enter your building is now being handed over to countless people every day for starters. Then there are the 3am arrivals/departures etc. A nightmare.

Or you live next door to a unit that someone rents for a weekend and then advertises a swingers weekend online, open to all. http://happyplace.someecards.com/new...xx-freak-fest/

You'll read about AirBnB having $1Mil in insurance for those who rent out their property but they have on interest whatsoever in how neighbours feel about a property next door to them being rented.

AirBnB takes no responsibility for anything. They don't refuse listing in places where it is illegal. They obviously knowingly do take listings where it is illegal. If asked they will say 'no one should break the law'. How do you feel about someone who says, 'don't break the law' and then turns around and knowingly accepts business from people that are breaking the law? To me that's a simple case of being 'two-faced'. Not the kind of people or business I want to have anything to do with.

People who rent a property from someone and know that it is an illegal rental are also not people I want to know.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 10:43 AM
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I take back my phrase above, "Soujourntraveller's advice is good". The above rant is so full of absurdities I hardly know where to begin.

1. "...exploiters who see this purely as a way to make money and are not 'sharing' anything."

I enjoy my guests but I wouldn't have them stay for nothing. I guess I'm an exploiter.

2. "No taxes being paid as business tax..."

Wrong again. Where I live there's a 10% bed tax. I'm registered with the county, have a license and pay my taxes quarterly.

3. "...knowingly accepts business from people that are breaking the law?" and "AirBnB takes no responsibility for anything."

Airbnb has obviously spent a great deal of money to get laws updated to reflect what people want, places to stay that are more interesting and less expensive than what's traditionally been offered. They could do nothing, take the money and look the other way, but instead are actively pursuing change.

Bad neighbors are a fact of life everywhere. Airbnb users have not invented the behavior. I suspect there are few stories making the rounds of websites and that it's so rare as to be not worth discussing. Except by people on forums who I'm very sure I don't want to know.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 03:29 PM
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Obviously you have a vested interest and are biased as a result MmePerdu.

Bear in mind that I did not say ALL properties are being rented out by exploiters. Many are no problem to anyone and as you say pay their taxes and are registered as required by law.

However I think if you did some digging and looked at it without bias you would find that a great deal of the exponential growth of AirBnB is not of an acceptable nature.

AirBnB grew at a reasonable rate from 2006 through 2011. Then suddenly growth went through the roof in terms of listings. Something happened to cause that sudden growth. What do you suppose it was?

There have been sites such as VRBO, OwnersDirect, etc. for years that people could use to rent out a property such as your own. They have never resulted in what has happened since AirBnB came along.

Somehow, AirBnB attracted the attention of exploiters. These exploiters range from someone renting one unit in a building and then renting it out by the night to tourists, to someone buying or renting multiple units and then renting them out by the night. They are knowingly contravening city bylaws and condominium rules. They don't care about anything except money.

Regarding point #3 that you quoted MmePerdu, read what AirBnB had to say to the building owner on page one of the following linked article. "Podziba sent an e-mail to Airbnb, explaining how the renegade tenant was breaking various laws on his property and requesting that Airbnb remove her illegal listings. Airbnb e-mailed back a terse response: “As a platform, we do not arbitrate disputes between our users and third parties.”"

I think my point you quoted was accurate MmePerdu, don't you? Please read all of the article as it gives a very good overview of the issues and talks about the 'third parties' who are involved in this 'peer-to-peer' sharing business. It's not just about two people.
http://www.businessweek.com/articles...gest-market#p1

Those involved, whether renting out a property or paying to rent a property make choices. You choose to do so legally. Others do not.

At the end of the article linked it talks about a meeting of hosts in NYC asking, 'what's going to happen to us?' as if they are being wronged in some way. If they were not breaking any laws or condominium rules and have registered their business and are paying the appropriate taxes, nothing is going to happen to them. So who do you think these hosts are who are asking what's going to happen to them. Answer, lawbreakers and tax dodgers. They need to be afraid.

It is not a 'few stories' MmePerdue it is a serious problem affecting many people. I have no objection to the concept of someone renting out a room in their house or even their vacation home or condo (when all others are also vacation homes) in Hawaii. That bothers no one. But I do think that everyone should first make sure what they are doing is legal and not participate (on either end) in something that is illegal.

Regarding what you read on travel forums, I think if you do a little looking you will find people saying in forums, 'oh yeah, I know it's illegal but if caught it's the owner they go after not me for renting it from him. So it saves me money and I'm gonna rent whether it is legal or not'. It isn't just those renting out who are exploiters by any means.

Bottom line, do what's legal and moral. If you are, no one is going to complain about you are they.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 04:00 PM
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We disagree, I'll leave it there. I can't be bothered to read all that, although what I did read, the first sentence, has my position quite backwards I think. Simply put, I use the site because I like it. I wouldn't call that bias, but educated opinion. Unless any satisfying experience makes one "biased". Could be.
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Old Aug 29th, 2014, 05:39 PM
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Read the link MmePerdu, it gives an un-biased view of the whole thing.

Anyone who uses the site cannot have an unbiased opinion by definition. You are biased in favour of it by your own admission. "I like it".
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Old Aug 30th, 2014, 09:31 PM
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I haven't used it, but I have an English friend who rents a room or two in a house he lives in the Cotswolds, and it has worked well both by those who let a room, and my friend and his wife. They do live on the premises with their dog, and disclose they have a dog, and dogs are welcome.

My friend also used AirBnB when he went to San Francisco last March and apparently found a great spot where the woman owner even picked him up at the bus station. She also rents a room in her place.

Anyway, my friend's positive comments makes it appear like this is a BnB alternative, and not a hotel/motel alternative. It also has opened us to the idea of trying Air BnB.
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Old Sep 8th, 2014, 08:50 PM
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I used airbnb for a recent rip to Broome Australia and we were pleased with the accommodation-a separate apartment in the grounds of the owners house-very well appointed.
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Old Sep 9th, 2014, 12:43 AM
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We have used airbnb several times, mostly in South Smerica and have stayed in some great places. I view it as simply and interface between me and accomodation owners, much as I use booking.com or any other booking engine. It has worked as well as as I expected but until something does go wrong such as poor accommodatio etc. It is impossible to judge how good or bad they may really be in dealing with those issues that may arrive.

I have had problems when I have booked via other engines such as expedia, hostelworld and booking.com etc. And , much as I expected, they where pretty hopeless at sorting things out. Somethime up just have to deal with it yourself or just forget about the problem and move on.

As for the issues of tax and insurance mention in a previous rant, Does anyone serious believe that every B&B and small hotel owner in the world pays all their taxes?? I don't think so. Does they all have the appropriate insurance to accept guest - inmost of the world, such insurance does not exist and, if it did the chances of making a successful claim are next to zero. As for paying taxes on revenues from accomodation rental. That is a matter between the business owner and their tax authorities NOT between the client and landlord and it is ridiculous to assert otherwise.

All Airbnb is a conduit to accomodation and , it appears, a very successful one at that. It does seem to have got the big hotel chains very worried, who seem to be orchestrating the publicity against Airbnb.

Presumably, they are running scared of the competition and that their days of massively overcharging their guests appear to be on the wane
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Old Sep 9th, 2014, 11:11 AM
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I've used it in Germany & France. Both great experiences w/ helpful & courteous hosts. I like how you can rate your hosts & they can rate you as a guest as well. Make sure to read those guest comments. I tend to avoid those listings w/ none.
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Old Sep 11th, 2014, 12:15 PM
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I used it in Russia and loved it. I've looked at it for other trips as well but didn't see anything that was quite what I needed. In St Petersburg it was MUCH cheaper than a hotel, in a fantastic area and had more space and a kitchen. I think the owner lives there for part of the year and rents it out the other part of the year.

There's a huge difference between someone renting their apartment out for a handful of days or even a few weeks at a time and shoving 10 bunk beds into an apartment. Short term rentals can be done without bothering neighbors as long as the owner is a responsible owner.

I'd happily use it again, just as I'd happily use VRBO again.
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Old Oct 1st, 2014, 06:52 AM
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I used Airbnb for a trip to Barcelona and was very happy with my apartment and host. I found the customer service decent, with quick replies to any queries I sent.

I disagree vehemently with many of sojourntravellers points - to take just one, when looking through the thousands of Barcelona listings, hardly any fitted the definition of absentee landlords with a huge portfolio of properties - the overwhelming majority were live-in home owners who vacated the property for the time you were there and had no more than a handful of short term rentals throughout the year.

I would go as far as to say there is what looks like to be an organised effort to discredit this and similar organisations, with the same posters commenting every time the topic comes up. Some appear to have vested interests (at least one admitted to being in the hotel trade) and often when I have asked people what their experience has been of Airbnb it turns out they have never actually used it and their input is entirely hearsay.

This is not to say that the site is entirely problem free, and I would never encourage anyone to rent a property that had poor reviews or appeared to be in violation of local letting laws, but people need to be aware that a lot of the naysing comes from people who have had bugger all experience of renting from Airbnb and their ilk
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