The hotel industry has had enough of Airbnb. They accuse Airbnb of undercutting their profits by offering stays at a lower rate. And maybe that isn’t fair, but I would argue that hotels charge far more exorbitant rates than are necessary. The American Hotel and Lodging Association has a plan to take down Airbnb, recognizing it as a threat. the AHLA represents over $1.1 trillion from the hotel industry. Essentially what they are doing is lobbying the powers that be to bring down Airbnb. And not necessarily because they’re doing anything wrong. Or at least that’s my view on it. Airbnb, in my opinion, is an alternative option to staying in a hotel. In some cases, it is not always the better option. Sometimes it is worth the money to stay in a hotel, but I think that we need these options. But the AHLA is claiming that Airbnb is changing the housing market and driving up the price of houses. But is it?
I would argue that there are other factors that are driving up the cost of buying a house. And what Airbnb does is allow someone to rent out their house for a short period of time in order to make some extra cash. But I don’t think that the two are as closely correlated as the AHLA would have you believe. Further, why are there not more options for short term accommodations? If you’re going somewhere for a week, sometimes renting a house is a better option when it comes to cost. But the downside is that you don’t get fresh towels every day. In my opinion, you have to decide if that’s worth the money.
Last year, I ventured to a southern state in an attempt to gain some perspective, and to distance myself from my life at the time. I really needed that trip, and I was willing to spend whatever it took to be able to get there. For a week, including transportation and a hotel, I spent around $1000. I stayed in a nice hotel. Part of the reason I wanted a nice hotel was because of security as I was travelling alone. No, it wasn’t high on my list of things I wanted out of this trip, but it did factor into my decision. I looked into vacation property rentals (houses or even condos) and those that were comparable to the hotel that I stayed at were super tiny. I mean, the bathroom and kitchen were in the bedroom. And while I didn’t necessarily need the space, I had to factor in additional costs. There are deposits, and cleaning fees, and and and. By the time it was said and done, I would be better off to stay in a hotel as everything was included. When I go onto the Airbnb website today, to book for the same week this year, you’re looking at $200 + per day.
While I’m not a fan of what the AHLA is doing, I think that you need to weigh out your options. Back in September, I went to a wedding in a resort town in British Columbia. The wedding was at a ski lodge, so accommodation options were limited. I could have stayed in the neighbouring town, which would require me to drive and not be able to participate in any of the festivities. Or pay out over $250/night for a beautiful chalet that I really wasn’t going to have the opportunity to enjoy. I ended up finding one of the chalets offered through the ski lodge, but from Airbnb. It was about half the cost, and I was able to split the cost with a friend. In that case, the extra fees were worth it, and I was only a short walk away from the fun.
I think that we really need to understand the pros and cons of the service that we’re trying to use. I stay in hotels quite a bit, so I know what they offer. But sometimes they can charge additional fees for things like parking, which can add up over the course of a week. Airbnb, in my opinion, is not the enemy of the hotel industry. In fact, I hope that it helps to lower the fees that either charge as I think that is a big deterrent for some people when planning a vacation. In this case, more competition is a good thing, but that’s just my opinion.