NewsWorldANALYSIS | Enjoy your Airbnb, but don't forget...

ANALYSIS | Enjoy your Airbnb, but don’t forget to do the laundry and take out the trash

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Airbnb will ban parties using this technology 0:48 New York (CNN Business) — Anyone who has stayed in an Airbnb knows that the experience is unpredictable. Anything can happen when you arrive at the rented space. That’s part of the charm: you might be pleasantly surprised by a free bottle of wine waiting for you in the kitchen, or have an adventure just trying to open the door with the weird skeleton key you had to dig up from behind a tree in the backyard. .
But renters are increasingly fed up with the do’s and don’ts waiting for them inside. Cleaning the beds, washing the linens, loading and unloading the dishwasher, watering the plants, mowing the lawn, not touching the record collection… And that’s on top of the sky-high cleaning fees. The backlash against picky hosts is growing, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. One traveler told the newspaper that her $299-a-night Airbnb in Sedona, Arizona, came with a $375 cleaning fee, plus a to-do list. This is pretty much the last thing anyone wants to do on vacation. Airbnb hosts say there are two reasons for the higher rates and task demands: Covid-19 raised sanitation requirements and, you guessed it, inflation. The cost of hiring cleaning staff has gone up, as have utility bills. And hosts don’t rent out their properties just for fun, they run a business. Airbnb allows hosts to set their own rates and encourages them to avoid cleaning fees if possible. The company claims that just over half of its active accommodations charge these fees, which on average amount to less than 10% of the total cost of the reservation. For some travelers, those added costs and task demands have served as a reminder that long ago, before the sharing economy, there were those other places you could rent in buildings across the country where the cleaning was done for you. Oh yes, the hotels! Do you remember them? One frustrated traveler told the newspaper that the lakefront cottage she rented didn’t have a dishwasher or vacuum cleaner, so she spent the last day mopping the floor by hand. The host then gave it a low three-star rating for cleanliness. On your next trip you will stay in a hotel. “It’s $50 cheaper,” she told the newspaper. “And we don’t have to clean anything.” To be sure, some travelers with bad Airbnb experiences are fleeing to hotels, but there doesn’t seem to be an existential threat to the stay-at-home model promoted by Airbnb. It’s a bit like choosing between Starbucks or the local indie coffee shop when you’re in a new city. At Starbucks, you know what you’re going to get. Will it be the best cup of coffee of your life? Probably not, but at least you can count on her. The venue probably has unexpected charms, quirky wall art, and even superior coffee, but it could also smell weird or play recorder music or just take too long to place your order. The hotels cater to the Starbucks crowd; Airbnb has the people who would flock to the independent cafe, who often want to feel like they live in the place they visit. Bottom Line Social media outrage over cleaning fees and housekeeping duties is certainly a PR headache for Airbnb, but it’s far from a crisis. The Airbnb model has become fully integrated into the fabric of the hotel industry, although it still has to solve some problems caused by its growth. Pent-up demand this year has helped the company turn a profit in the second quarter, even as inflation has hit travelers’ budgets. Airbnb is also leaning toward the work-from-anywhere model: Its own CEO, Brian Chesky, announced earlier this year that he was going to live full-time as a digital nomad, jumping from one Airbnb to another every few weeks. That’s something hotels can’t sell in the same way (according to me, someone who spent three full weeks in a 100-square-foot hotel room earlier this year and almost lost his mind in the process). For more information on the Airbnb vs. hotel, check out our latest show Nightcap, where host Jon Sarlin and I take a deep dive into all of this. Plus, Jon talks to Redfin’s chief economist, Daryl Fairweather, about what homebuyers need to know about mortgage interest rates. And Jodi Kantor of The New York Times explains how employers can monitor you while you work from home, which is as creepy as it sounds.

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