“I make it clear on the listing that it’s a family home, so guests know what to expect. It’s still early days but it has been great. It brings in some extra cash for holidays or things for the children, and it’s a competitive price for my visitors. It works for everyone, and I don’t want to be greedy.”
Rowan Hughes stayed in Airbnb accommodation on holidays for several years before she decided to make some extra cash from her own home in south-east London, according to an article in The Guardian. When refurbishing the property, she created a room with an en-suite bathroom and its own front door, listing it on the accommodation-sharing platform at the start of this year.
Hughes, 37, considered getting a lodger, but using Airbnb offered the flexibility to reclaim the room when her own friends and family came to stay. So far, she has mainly attracted business travelers, who prefer her homely atmosphere and £50-a-night charge to nearby chain hotels where soulless rooms cost significantly more.
Eleven years on, Airbnb’s site lists more than six million rooms, flats and houses in more than 81,000 cities across the globe. On average, two million people rest their heads in an Airbnb property each night – half a billion since 2008.
London, Paris and New York have the biggest number of listings, but Airbnb accommodation is available in Mandalay, Ulaanbaatar and Brazzaville.
But critics say Airbnb’s rise has come at a huge cost to urban life – and cities across the planet are trying to find ways to rein it in.
And it’s not just tourists. Barcelona is one of the world’s leading conference venues and during the World Mobile Conference in March rents increased by as much as 500%, with apartments being rented for over €400 a day.
Whatever the authorities try to do to regulate the market, as long as demand and profits remain this high, it doesn’t look as though the game of cat and mouse between them and Airbnb is about to end.