On my last New York City trip I checked into a room one block from Times Square. The queen size bed was comfortable. There was a full kitchen, a very clean bathroom and small living/dining room. A balcony gave a view of the Manhattan skyline. Downstairs we had a concierge in duty with dry cleaning services if we needed it.
All this for $100 a night! Through AirBnB, “a social website that connects people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay” we got a place that was superior to a hotel in a great location. The AirBnB website along with another one called Wimdu, gives owners a chance to earn extra money while giving people a cheaper option to access accommodation. AirBnb was founded in October 2007 and now has over 200,000 places to stay in 192 countries. Wimdu started in March 2011 and has 50,000 properties in over 100 countries.
I like this option because it feels like you are a local living in that city when you stay in an airbnb and Wimdu property. Having a kitchen and dining room means that one can cook or you can buy take away and sit at a table and chair . You can eat with real plates and cutlery (silverware). It can normalise what can be a lonely existence in a sterile hotel room. The other feature is that the owner and the renter can post reviews of each other and rate the rental experience. This helps build some trust in both renter and place being rented.
AirBnB has had some controversy with an owner being robbed in San Francisco. This is every home owners’s fear. AirBnB claim they have made some changes to the model to reduce the likelihood of this happening again. I hope this is the case. On the positive side, this is the only reported incident out of the thousands of bookings made. Lets hope we do not see more.