Author: Brad Beckett
I had never use AirBnB before…
Last month my wife and I experienced our first ever Airbnb vacation. We have stayed in a lot of hotel rooms over the years and finally decided that now was the perfect time to try it. We took a small vacation to celebrate our wedding anniversary and end up renting an entire apartment for the week in a major metropolis. And, quite frankly it worked out really well. The place was just as it was pictured, in a quiet building, easy access to all the sights we wanted to see and we got it for a great price. While we didn’t have maid service we did have a full kitchen and a grocery store nearby within walking distance. The drawbacks? Sure, there were a few (some bad lamps, a crappy bathtub, etc.) but nothing that really detracted from the stay. It was great and we won’t forget our first time with Airbnb.
Interestingly, the whole experience reminded me of using Priceline back in the early days when bidding for a hotel room and not knowing was a new concept. I did it several times (many years ago) and, for the most part, I got some pretty good deals….although, I did have one or two lemons along the way after throwing the Priceline dice.
There has been a lot of press about lately about Airbnb and how it’s upended the hotel industry much in the same way Uber & Lyft have for transportation – which by the way I think is fantastic. Airbnb has even infiltrated the business travel market….if you can believe that. But as with any good thing, the “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help” types are closing in with their nanny-state regulations and cartel-protecting laws (New York, San Francisco et al). So caveat emptor, all the way around. Airbnb has, however, started pushing back with an advocacy group called Airbnb Citizen to counter some of this.
So is this a lucrative investment for [some] real estate investors? From what I have gathered after talking with many who are doing this, is yes, it can be. In fact there is a lot of pent up demand (which seems quite obvious) in many areas of the country (especially dense urban areas) for this evolving method of hospitality. There was even a story in Forbes a while back about Airbnb actually partnering with landlords in larger apartment buildings.
We know that real estate investors at all levels often play a vital role in meeting the needs of an ever-changing housing market. So why should this niche be any different? We’d love to hear from investors out there who’ve gone down this route….please share your experiences with us. And for those of you who want to tell us about your “first time” staying at an Airbnb rental, please do.