Tag Archives: peer-to-peer hotels

Better Bookings with Airbnb

Photo courtesy of Bela Kiefer

It’s true the internet didn’t revolutionize everything. Pets.com never delivered, well, whatever it was that it tried to deliver. In other areas, though, the internet has proven as transformative as the initial hype suggested. Newspapers struggle to cope with free content, a technology company now dominates music sales, and large book sellers are liquidating because they can’t compete with something called ‘Kindle.’ In recent years the web’s networking properties have also allowed markets to form for things that were previously unmarketable; like empty rooms and houses. The hotel industry should worry. Travelers should rejoice. Read More…

Thinking Ahead

Europe Without Hotels, New York Times

If a perpetual traveler pays an average of $100 per night for hotel accommodations, over the course of a year he’ll pay an amount roughly equivalent to the annual mortgage and property taxes on a $600,000 house.  That is kind of insane.  And it’s not like $100 per night buys you opulence in most of the developed world, or even a working kitchen for that matter.  It isn’t all that hard to find Comfort Inn’s that run about that much.  No, mostly what that steep cost buys is the convenience of a temporary location.   But that is still a pretty egregious mark-up for convenience.  Even if it were affordable, there is something basically wrong with paying that amount of money to rent a small room.  So we’re always on the look-out for alternatives.

R.V.ing is one such alternative, and one we’ve obviously taken to.  It can be a fairly economical way to see a continent, although perhaps a little less so when the depreciation expense of your rig is included.  Nonetheless, once we finally decide to leave these shores, it is entirely possible that we’ll trade our large American bus for a much smaller European “camper van.”  I understand many European campgrounds sit just outside the major cities, and it is hard to imagine a better way to explore the countryside than with a motor home.

Even if we go that route, we’ll still want to spend a couple of nights, or maybe even entire weeks, in places like Paris and Prague.  On those occasions, we’ll need to find lodging.  So it’s nice to see innovative alternatives to traditional hotels becoming available.  We’ve considered renting an apartment in select locations for weeks or months at a time.  We’ve also considered doing “house swaps” with someone who wants to trade access to our New York City area pad for a house close to a different great destination.

And now I see this, from the New York Times: web sites that act as exchanges for people looking to rent out their living space.  In practice, this seems like a mix between Bed and Breakfast and an apartment rental.  On the one hand you have the “strangeness” of sleeping in someone else’s home, but also the benefits that come from making contract with a knowledgeable local.  Quite like a B&B.  We’ve found the B&B experience worked pretty well for us in the past, and I don’t see how this would be much different, except for the lower price tag, of course.  Another benefit is the potential access to a real kitchen, something you only get with a full apartment rental or very high end hotel suites.

So called “peer-to-peer hotels” are not necessarily something we’d look to avail ourselves of now, although it might be worthwhile to try out if we make it up to Montreal or Quebec City this summer.  But it is definitely good to see alternatives to, and competition for, the chronically over-priced traditional hotels.  Three cheers for the internet!

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