The future of sustainable travel
Since Airbnb entered the hospitality industry, society has focused largely on the popularity of the service. The short-term rental platform is revolutionizing the lodging business by keeping hotel prices in check and offering rooms in the hottest spots around the world.
Airbnb, founded in 2008, has listed more rooms for rent than any hotel chain in the world, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The business’s popularity stems from its intimate nature and low prices.
“I wanted a more personal experience,” Michelle Johnson, a regular Airbnb user, said. “I wanted to give back to the local community and the folks that live here, rather than a corporate business.”
Aside from the convenience of an Airbnb, it reduces mass tourism traffic. The online rental service helps to spread visitors throughout the city so popular sites aren’t oversaturated with tourists.
Airbnb listings are often spread out geographically, according to Jonathan Tourtellot, founder of the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations.
“I’m not against hotels, but I think that consumers should have a choice for both,” Johnson said. “There are more pros for an Airbnb than cons, and while there are still a lot of pros for a hotel, I think an Airbnb outshines the hotel everytime.”
The disruption of pre-existing hospitality industries has received media attention in recent years.
Hotels have traditionally earned their largest revenue when the number of available rooms were scarce and travelers had to pay higher prices—such as New York during the holidays, according to the Forbes website.
Florida, like other states, has noticed the impact that the short-term rental platform is having on the economy.
A recent ban in the state of Florida allows the City of Miami to block residents from renting out their homes for less than a month at a time, according to the Miami Herald Coalition.
While this law does not only apply to Airbnb, it would be the most affected.
“I think Florida is being a little greedy about it just because they’re not getting as much income from the hotel industry,” Johnson said. “Tourist and travelers alike should get to use Airbnb.”
Airbnb has proved itself to be the most popular option in the hospitality industry.
“It is a more personal experience, feels more like home and usually cheaper,” Johnson said. “You’re giving to the little guy who is trying to earn a little bit of extra income.”
Johnson prioritizes a sense of home while traveling over anything else, which is why Airbnb is her go-to.
For many avid travelers, establishing a “home on the road” is vital to their experiences abroad.
“I’m not going to an Airbnb just in spite of hotels,” Johnson said. “I am doing it to have the best experience, and to me, it is a better experience.”
By Sofia Jas