NerdWallet: Has Airbnb lost its appeal? The numbers seem to say otherwise.

by | Dec 1, 2022 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.  Has the Airbnb bubble burst? According to one recent viral tweet, Airbnb
hosts have seen bookings evaporate since the busy summer travel season.

(That’s a tweet of a screenshot of a Facebook post, because this is the world we live in.) My recent story about Airbnb hosts getting sick of Airbnb made its own little splash, based on the number of emails I received in response. And anti-Airbnb sentiment has bubbled up everywhere, from Reddit to the Wall Street Journal. Yet the so-called #Airbnbust, like most social media phenomena, seems to inaccurately reflect what’s actually happening in the real world. Total demand for short-term rentals actually rose 24% in September compared with the same month last year, according to a recent report by AirDNA, a vacation rental data platform. Average daily rates rose a staggering 31.9% compared with 2019. So, based on social media, everyone is fed up with Airbnb. Based on what’s happening in the real world, Airbnb is doing better than ever. What gives? See: When is a hotel better than an Airbnb?The Apple effect Remember Apple’s “Batterygate” scandal? Back in 2017 (roughly 5,000 years ago), the company was accused of “planned obsolescence” with software updates for its iPhones. Basically, Apple
was sued for intentionally slowing down its older phones in an effort to get more customers to upgrade to newer models. Social media was filled with vitriolic backlash at the time, with iPhone users proclaiming that they would switch to Android devices in droves. Did that happen? Well, Apple was a $671 billion company in 2017 and has more than tripled in value to $2.5 trillion since. So, um, no. The problem for Apple users and Airbnb guests is that, while they might not like everything these companies are doing, they like the alternatives even less. Switching to Android means learning a new interface and becoming a possibly dreaded green bubble on iMessage. And switching from Airbnb means either going “back” to hotels, which have their own drawbacks, or using Airbnb’s competitors, which aren’t much better. Someone trying to book a house with friends in Palm Springs or backpack through South America on a shoestring is still likely to turn to Airbnb. There simply aren’t many good alternatives. At least, not yet. Also see: The best and worst days to fly this DecemberHostel takeover? I chatted with Lee Gonzalez, who, with her sister Lauren, is trying something daring: Building hostels in America. Their company, L&L hospitality, opened a new hostel in New York City in 2014, and another in Portland, Oregon, in 2021. She says they struggled with the word “hostel” early on, but have since come to embrace it. “Many travelers categorically reject hostels in the U.S. — they think of the YMCA,” Gonzalez says. “In the end, we like the word. We want people to come with that hostel attitude.” Their Portland property — called Lolo Pass — bucks the stereotypical hostel image of grimy dorms with an even grimier guy noodling on guitar in the common room (at least, that’s my image). The rooms at Loss Pass are minimal but stylish. And the emphasis is on connecting guests with each other and the surrounding area. “We make sure our programming is plugged into the neighborhood,” she explains. “The spaces are just as much for the neighborhood as for the guests.” When I asked why her host …

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