The sharing economy has brought great choice for consumers. It is satisfying more demand every day. Taxis, bicycles, fashion and even private lending are all active verticals successfully operating in their respective industries. None, however, has achieved the same market penetration and disruptive ability quite like Airbnb. In 2018, they opened their 21 office around the world, achieved $1B in revenue, and is valued at over $30B.
When dealing with the public, especially on both sides of the fence, there is risk. Standards are incredibly difficult to streamline and trust is necessary to build inventory quickly. Issues become inevitable as people and business try to game the system. This adds unknowns to the purchase, and makes for important consideration in identifying what type of consumer one is.
In 2017, Travel blogger Asher Ferguson accused Airbnb of failing to close dangerous loopholes allowing for scams by hosts and putting greater risk on travelers. In countries like Canada, USA, and the UK, Airbnb does not require hosts to provide any form of identification. In fact, it is very easy for previously banned ‘accounts’ to recreate their listings in a new name, with a new email account, and new PayPal details. People could theoretically list a property they don’t even control. Undoubtedly, Airbnb has, and will, compensate against this risk, but if you are on business travel for 3 days of intense meetings, can you afford the inconvenience?
There are also legitimate unforeseen risks when you’re renting a space within a home. Homes and apartments can be subject to less stringent health and safety requirements. They are, after all, non-commercial properties. Cancellations due to issues like plumbing, heating, or electrical services will be far more common. Even basic items like a fully-functioning iron or a lock-box, may leave one disappointed or frustrated. What if you wanted to turn the heat up, does your room allow for you to control the temperature?
When one is travelling for business choosing cost and comfort is always key, but peace of mind may be of equal or greater importance. Airbnb can be a wonderful option if your travel experience comes with less in-destination pressure, meaning less demands on you, the traveller. Traditional lodging and hotel providers offer you more inventory options in the event you need a new room. They offer you managed expectations something and that’s you can call peace of mind.