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AirBnB Culture: The evolution of global hospitality industry

We live in a world where anything you need is a click away. Need groceries? Order it online. Want to go to the mall? Choose between your Uber and Ola apps. Travelling has become easier than ever. Every little arrangement can be made on your phone- from plane tickets to accommodation. That’s where AirBnB starts trending.

AirBnB is a digital broker for temporary accommodations. Established in San Francisco in 2008, the idea was conceived when the founders turned their own apartment into a temporary bed ‘n’ breakfast to make rent money. Their mechanism lets property owners

  • rent out rooms, apartments and houses through the app and users can book them online, and
  • list their property for free in exchange a commission on bookings.

The app has several security measures in place, for both hosts and guests, including insurance against theft and property damage.

The emergence of the app, has inspired competition and caused the hotel industry to undergo several changes and risks. The major impact can be observed in the following trends:

  • Large establishments now face low business during peak seasons. But thanks to AirBnB, smaller establishments end up driving business through AirBnB lowering the market prices on room rent.
  • The legality of short-term sub-lets is highly debated in many countries. And with the advent of AirBnB certain authorities have banned short-term sub-lets altogether, while others have made it mandatory to register with the government.

There have been some controversies about the safety of both hosts and guests using the app, despite the several safety measures in place. These issues, however, haven’t stopped similar platforms from cropping up all over the place.

The AirBnB phenomenon is the front runner for many similar apps and service establishments. Some of these are:

  • Couchsurfing offers similar services but without the financial factor involved. Hosts and guests pay each other in cultural exchange. Participants of the community can choose to host people in their home and or stay in hosted homes while travelling.
  • Oyo Rooms offers budget rooms all over India, letting people book off of their app.
  • Outdoorsy is known as the AirBnB for recreational vehicles a.k.a. RVs, letting people host and book mobile homes for an inexpensive experience accommodation.
  • Booking.com is a much older platform, allowing guests to book anything from private accommodation and villas to hotel rooms and hostels. Similar to AirBnB, it lets property owners list for free and charges a brokerage.

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