Because I began traveling in my early 20s, I have actually visited 30+ countries. While taking a trip that much may have been excessively costly in decades previous, Airbnb, the popular home-rental service, has actually made taking a trip budget friendly.
Listings on the platform are normally a portion of the expense of hotels, while offering a lot more space and something like a regional’s viewpoint.
For a long period of time, it’s been a great offer. But over the last couple of years, I’ve observed a modification that may turn me off the platform forever. It all comes down to pillows.
I know what you may be believing: pillows? He’s grumbling about pillows? Let me explain.
When I initially started using Airbnb in 2011– about 3 years after the company introduced– the majority of the listings on the website were someone’s actual home. Either you were renting the extra bed room in the apartment or your host was remaining somewhere else for the days you existed.
It was a communal ambiance where you felt like a real exchange was happening: You were assisting them offset their rent, and they informed you their preferred restaurants and bars in the neighborhood.
But somewhere over the last couple of years, the dynamic shifted. Now, in my experience, you are practically constantly renting from a host who handles Airbnb listings for a living or for a financially rewarding side-hustle.
Typically, they own– or rent, depending upon how rigorous a city’s laws are– numerous properties and utilize all of them for Airbnb. In result, they are running a makeshift inn expanded throughout the city.
While Airbnb hasn’t released official statistics, a 2017 report from CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research Study found that the business’s development in the United States is being driven by hosts leasing numerous units or entire homes. The report discovered that revenue from hosts with several listings was the fastest growing on the platform, and 64% of hosts in the United States were leasing out an entire home.
As the report was released for the American Hotel & & Lodging Association, take it with a grain of salt, but I have actually also seen the shift towards expert hosts in my individual experience.
Simply in the last 6 months, I’ve remained at 14 Airbnbs, from Athens to Seoul. And what I have actually seen doesn’t bode well.
Airbnbs are losing their charm
that made it what it is. Airbnb Those two shifts– Airbnb pushing standardization and hosts ending up being more professional– has actually altered Airbnb from its idealistic home-sharing roots to a scheduling site for cheaper, ad-hoc hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts.
That modification is required in a lot of methods. People are using Airbnb for work travel now, myself included, and more casual users expect a level of standardization.
My concern with the professionalization of Airbnb is from a user’s point of view. As a growing number of the residential or commercial properties listed on Airbnb come from expert hosts (individuals operating the residential or commercial property exclusively as an Airbnb area or running numerous areas simultaneously), the residential or commercial properties begin to look like each other.
It is a company after all.
You can see the hallmarks of such properties: cheap furnishings, simple decors, a few wall prints, a cooking area with the barebones necessities. Of course, the expert, light-filled images on the listing always make the apartment look dreamy.
In the process, you lose much of Airbnb’s beauty– from remaining in a local’s house, getting to browse their bookshelves– and its function– like access to a kitchen equipped with spices or getting to utilize their fancy Argan Oil hair shampoo.
About those pillows
And the fact is, for me, all of that would be great … if wasn’t for the pillows.
Let me put it to you in this manner: Many people don’t buy lousy pillows on their own. They’re vital to a decent night of sleep. So if you remain in an Airbnb that is someone’s actual home, you can be quite sure you’ll have decent pillows to sleep on.
Not the case with the professional Airbnb homes.
The home being the professional Airbnb hosts’ main service, they try to outfit the property as cheaply and effectively as possible. That normally indicates you are getting cheap bedding and cheap pillows, some that might be better referred to as a couple of pieces of stuffing shoved into a fabric. It does not produce an excellent night of sleep.
While taking a trip for Company Expert over the last 6 months, I utilized Airbnb a lot in the start. In lots of ways, it’s my ideal way to travel.
However as Airbnb residential or commercial property after Airbnb residential or commercial property that I leased had crappy pillows, I was increasingly switched off. Getting up night after night exhausted from a bad night of sleep is no fun.
Recently, I began scheduling boutique hotels or bed and breakfasts, a lot of which are around the exact same price-point as Airbnb nowadays due to the fact that they know they have to contend.
And at least with a hotel or bed and breakfast, I can be pretty sure they will have good pillows.
In some methods, the pillows are a metaphor for where Airbnb is at right now as a platform: stuck in between the professionalization and standardization it needs to grow, while attempting to keep the home-sharing suitable that made it what it is.
Pressing the platform one way or the other will likely fix the issue. Until they do, I’ll be utilizing it less and less.