Airbnb has taken the lodging industry by storm the past 10 years. Yes, they really have been around 10 years, though it doesn’t seem like that to me. Airbnb features thousands of properties around the world where you can rent a room or the whole house for your vacation or business trip. But, it has its drawbacks.
One of the primary drawbacks is the inconsistency in the accommodations. Amenities vary property to property. There are also inconsistencies between the listings and actual on-site conditions. It looks like Airbnb is moving to solve this issue, at least in a small way.
They’ll announce “Airbnb Plus”, a curated collection of properties that meet specific standards Airbnb will outline. Special thanks to Mike L for bringing this to my attention. According to Conde Nast Traveler, that could include:
The inspection checklist requires that the home has an ironing board, closet and drawer space for guests, comfortable mattresses, a bathroom free of the host’s personal items, and toiletries like shampoo, among a myriad other points.
So, how does a “host” become part of Airbnb Plus? According to the NY Times, a local photographer will visit the property once the application to be part of Airbnb Plus has been approved.
Does This Solve A Problem?
Airbnb was born out of a need for alternative lodging. While I’ve been a skeptic, it absolutely fills a need in the marketplace. I think it’s done so while avoiding regulations that should apply to it over the years, but that’s another matter. Airbnb provides more affordable options in markets, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Airbnb Plus doesn’t appear to solve a problem, though. There don’t appear to be any clear answers on how a guest can guarantee all those “Plus” elements are there when they arrive. Sure, Airbnb can punish/demote the host property. But, that doesn’t help the person who shows up and finds needed items missing.
Plus (no pun intended), it appears these new hotels have a higher average price point. Eliminating the price gap over traditional hotels minimizes Airbnb’s competitive advantage.
The Final Two Pennies
Looking for a grade for the new Airbnb Plus service? I’d give it an incomplete score at this time. Maybe it’ll be great. Maybe it’ll still be cheaper than a hotel and have plenty of amenities. This Airbnb skeptic is still just that, a skeptic.
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