I was listening to one of my favorite morning radio talk show hosts this past week, and the subject inevitably turned to the World Cup. What was interesting was that he wasn’t talking about soccer, but instead about how packed the hotels are down there currently. Apparently, it’s just about impossible to find a room, so a lot of people are turning to Airbnb. Airbnb is the hotel version of Uber. They connect people with extra space in their house or condo to those who are looking for a place to stay. I think that Airbnb is a great example the new Uber economy. An economy focused on taking drastic inefficiencies, like empty rooms or idle limo drivers and turning them into highly productive resources.
Airbnb also makes it easy to find a variety of options for overnight stays. If you want to rent a house on the beach for a week just for your family, it’s a quick search away. If you are travelling a town over for a friend’s wedding and don’t feel like making the drive back, you can book a single room for the night. Are you trying to backpack the USA like a college student in Europe? We don’t have hostels, but you can book a shared room through Airbnb to keep your costs low! If you’re feeling really fancy, they even have yachts you can rent.
Airbnb takes unoccupied homes and spaces within homes, and allows the owners to fully utilize them. On the flip side, Airbnb allows travelers to choose their overnight accommodations, so people aren’t stuck choosing between hotel rooms. They can instead enjoy someone else’s home. To be fair, I’m completely biased. I used Airbnb to rent a house north of San Francisco a few years ago with my family, and I absolutely loved it.
I thought it was interesting that the radio host I was listening to talk about Airbnb actually said that it was something he had no interest in trying. He didn’t want to use Airbnb – and “didn’t want to stay in someone else’s condo”. So clearly this program isn’t for everyone and there are some things to be mindful of if you want to use Airbnb. Some cities have laws restricting residential verses rental spaces. Airbnb has been in hot water with New York City about this in the past few years. You should also be mindful that you are typically just dealing with an individual rather than a company, so there’s more margin for human error.
I would highly recommend using Airbnb (or at least trying it) based on my personal experience, and also because the Uber Economy it is perpetuating. This economic evolution is the wave of the future. Let’s take what we already have, and make it more efficient.
Wes Moss, the Chief Investment Strategist for Wela, writes a weekly blog for AJC.com. You can find his original article here.