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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

All Things Must Pass

I understand that Airbnb is no longer the darling it once was. Why is that? A few reasons.

* There’s no full time staff to address issues (from the place smelling of vomit to broken locks).

A 2021 study of more than 125,000 Airbnb complaints on Twitter found that 72% of the issues were related to poor customer service and 22% were related to scams. (source)

Basically, while customers may not be expecting Hilton levels of lux, they still want clean, safe digs and quick fixes. Of course. Given that most Airbnb hosts are doing this as a side hustle, it’s unrealistic to expect professional hospitality levels of service.

* Scams can include fake reviews, doctored property photos, bullshit property damage claims and more.

* So many properties are being/have been scooped up for Airbnb-ing that the amount of available affordable housing for people who actually live in the already obscenely expensive cities (like NYC, Boston, San Francisco) is reduced and what's left is even more expensive.

In New York City, the popularity of Airbnb has increased the median long-term rent by 1.4 per cent over the last three years, translating to an increase of over $700 USD in monthly rent…(source)
A Greenwich Village one bedroom apartment that used to rent for an already sweatingly expensive $3,290 a month, now goes for $4,000. Venice, Italy, comes to mind.

Venice’s resident population has sunk to little more than 59,000, down from about 175,000 at the end of World War Two.

Lagoon die-hards are finding it ever more difficult to live normal lives as the city’s infrastructure and stores are increasingly morphed to cater to tourists instead of residents.

Any attentive visitor who leaves the beaten tourist path and ventures through the meandering alleys that give way to the sublime, seductive but eerily silent tiny squares will ask: Where are all the real Venetians?

“This is not a normal place anymore,” said Fersuoch, a sprightly woman with an easy laugh, looking wistfully out from a flat-bottomed skiff plying the choppy waters of the lagoon.

“Some people have to take a vaporetto (water bus) if they want to buy fresh vegetables but they can buy a $2,000 watch or a $400 carnival mask within meters of their homes,” she said. (source)

The Disnseyfication of the world continues. Real is replaced by idealized fantasyland. Oh wait, if going to EPCOT to “experience” Venice will keep the tourist hordes away, this is good. Will there be/is there already an EPCOT version of Manhattan? Boston? Please, please.

* Apparently you must now check for hidden recording devices after you get into your vaca rental. Yeah, creeper spy cams are a thing.

On November 27, (of 2017) Jason Scott of the Internet Archive posted to Twitter that his colleague had spotted a suspicious "motion detector" on his Airbnb's bedroom wall. When he looked closer, well, it turned out the device was actually a concealed webcam.  (source)

I’ve never stayed at an Airbnb property. When I travel, I go to B&Bs and regular hotels. Why? I like places where cleanliness, safety and quality are things that can be counted on. Ya know, a place where, if the sheets are dirty or there's no towels or I've just bitten the head off a bat and now there's blood everywhere, the front desk will have things fixed up in a jiffy.

More than a few chums of mine have gone the Airbnb route and had brilliant experiences. Fab for them. I just don’t trust strangers that easily AND there’s the whole business of cutting into affordable housing. I know what it's like to be priced outta town because of condoization and gentrification. Fuck that shit!

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