Who Wants To Sleep In My Bed…?
Now before I lose any of you, this isn’t some indecent proposal type of proposition I’m talking about AirBNB.
Some of you may be thinking I’m arriving a little late to the party, given that AirBNB was established in the USA seven years ago. However it’s only really started to get traction here in Australia over the last 18 months or so.
To be honest, I only heard of this phenomenon about 3 months ago and after querying several friends and colleges who also had never heard of it, let’s just say I, like countless others appear fashionably late to the party.
What is AirBNB?
In simple terms, AirBNB is an accommodation booking website.
It works like any holiday booking site: prospective travelers go online, select the dates they wish to travel and pick from a list of options.
But there’s one major difference – the properties on offer aren’t hotels, they are people’s private homes who are looking to bring in some extra cash or meet new people.
Anybody can register their home for free on the website. Then they set a price per night, add some photos of what’s on offer and away they go.
They have the option of asking for additional information from those booking, so they can find out a little bit more about them or they can just have the booking accepted automatically.
There is also a section where both the guests and the hosts can write reviews about each other.
The thinking behind the service is that it is cheaper than a traditional hotel.
Does it work?
The short answer is yes, the company opened in San Francisco in 2008 with the founders offering airbeds in their loft for travelers coming to the city for a conference.
From those humble beginnings according their website, the service is available in over 190 countries, covering 34,000 cities and has serviced over 40 million clients.
With those types of numbers it’s no wonder that the company has reached a multi-billion dollar valuation, that some have put as high as $25.5 billion USD (CNN Money June 27 2015)
Would I do it?
My first thought was, it would be kinda cool to get some extra cash while I was on vacation. I mean the house is empty anyway. But then the doubts started creeping in, who are these people really? What will they be doing in my house? And the main one for me personally, do I really want complete strangers sleeping in my bed?
The answer is no, no I don’t want strangers sleeping in my bed, that seriously creeps me out. Which I know may seem a little odd considering that we all at some time sleep in a complete stranger’s bed when we check in to a hotel. But that’s a professionally run establishment, so I can deal with that.
Obviously, based the popularity of the site thousands upon thousands of people don’t think like me, in fact the company just keeps growing and is even pushing into the Chinese market. So I think it’s safe to say it’s here to stay.