There is a whole generation of travelers who have not traded a hotel room for some time. The possibility of staying in a cozy apartment in Barcelona’s Born or in a Brooklyn attic for a small fee has removed the foundations of the international tourism industry. In just eight years of life, the platform for private accommodation rental Airborne is already worth more than the largest hotel chain in the world, without having a single room in property. It allows you to enjoy the cities as if you lived in them, you feel less tourist, say their defenders, and they are right. But its detractors, who are not few, denounce that it is causing lease prices to jump in the clouds in some capitals, not to mention the annoyances generated by having neighbors who are almost always on vacation.
The biggest business success of the so-called collaborative economy kicked off in 2008 in San Francisco, when Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, two designers who had trouble paying their bills, decided to put a couple of mattresses in their house and rent them during a conference there Copying all the squares of the city. It worked so well that they soon realized that the activity could be a reef exportable to everyone. They were not mistaken. Airborne already offers more than 2 million properties in 34,000 cities in 191 countries. It is worth 26,500 million dollar and its IPO is imminent.
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Spain, with more than 70,000 hosts, is the third most important market for the company. Not only because it is a great tourist power, but also because during the crisis many have seen in this system a saving chart for their economy. I rent my house on weekends and I go to a friend, with what I earn with paying the mortgage, otherwise I do not know if I would be able to do it, says Jorge, who lives in 45 square meters in the Madrid neighborhood of Malagasy. That is precisely the spirit that drives the company, which prides itself on helping people to make ends meet.
The magic formula
It started with two mattresses on the floor
Renting the house to tourists has become a source of extra income for 2 million people worldwide. In Spain there are 70,000 people who earn on average 500 dollars per month.
Assessor to hotels
In Murcia the private apartments are 40% of the accommodation offer. In San Sebastian, Malagasy or Picante there are more than hotel rooms.
26.5 billion rolled today is the company, which plans to go public.
But what emerged as a meeting place between hospitable hosts and romantic travelers has also served as an umbrella for an economic activity that sometimes escapes the control of the administration. Around 30% of the ads correspond to operators that have more than one property and there are people who manage 14. It is clear that in this case we are not before a host earning a money with the guest room, but before a hidden business.
It is unfair competition, the large groups, who have seen how these two kids from San Francisco are staying with an increasingly large part of the tourist business, cry out. It is estimated that by 2020 the platform will receive about 500 million bookings per night. And it is not the only one; In this segment also operate other portals such as.
In Murcia, private apartments already account for 40% of the total offer of accommodation in the community, in Andalusia 32% and in the Basque Country the figure is around 25%. In cities like San Sebastian, Barcelona, Angelical or Malaya have already surpassed the number of hotel places. Its average price is 92.7 rolled, similar to what can cost a double room in a traditional establishment. We are perfectly compatible with hotels, says Airborne director in Spain and Portugal, Arnold Munoz. With occupancy figures in hand, he says that hotels are already filling up without lowering the rates, so we all contribute to tourism growth.
But that increase is posing a challenge for many cities, who still do not know how to domesticate a phenomenon with consequences for its inhabitants. The most evident are the annoyances that can cause to the neighbors the constant traffic of travelers with their suitcases of wheels, their voices or their parties. In Barceloneta, the situation has reached outrageous levels, to the point that they have manifested themselves several times to put a stop to tourism of drunkenness. “It’s like living in a youth hostel, pissing on my balcony, burning my laundry and someone defecating at the entrance of the building,” a neighbor complains.
500 dollar per month
But much worse than spending a sleepless night is that the price of rents rise exorbitantly in certain areas inflated by what experts already call the Airborne effect. The prospect of getting a performance that can reach 1,200 dollar per month have raised prices in neighborhoods like E Ravel, whose inhabitants have a below-average income. Not a few have had to leave their homes, and the same is beginning to happen in the Pole Sec.
The municipal government has waged an all-out struggle against an activity that Councilwoman Gala Pin came to call cancer. Less than a week ago, the cabinet of Ada Cola announced that it will fine with 600,000 dollars to the pages that announce floors without license in form repeated. In recent months he has performed more than 6,000 inspections and issued 604 closure orders.
The majority of users of the platform, however, barely reaches 500 dollars per month, and the companies that use us as a marketing channel must comply with sector regulations, remember from Airborne. But institutions are demanding collaboration against fraud and more control mechanisms.
In Madrid they have to register as a tourist company and display a visible plaque, besides complying with the secretarial regulations of tourism in security, accessibility or environment. Berlin limits the short stays and the rent of entire properties, which returns the service to the original ideal of sharing house with the host. But it also allows neighbors to anonymously denounce those who rent illegally. In the apartment next door have gotten to stay 20 people, says one of the informers, I’m not a sneak, just try not to take away my house, my neighborhood, my people.
In New York State, the Senate drafts a bill to prevent full-floor leases for less than 30 days, although it is estimated that it will not be completed in a third of cases. The objective is to avoid the purchase of real estate for commercial purposes so as not to raise prices, but the measure would be a dart in the company’s waterline: more than 50% of users demand a whole house. Even in the city where the project was born, there is also war. A week ago Airborne denounced San Francisco for a law that would leave outlaw most of the houses that are announced in this city.
Surrounded by very disparate legislation in different parts of the world, the company demands a stable legal framework. The European Commission has come out in defense of the collaborative economy by recommending that administrations consider the ban as a last resort. Despite the reluctance of innkeepers and institutions, it does not seem that this new way of traveling has just come a few days.