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AirBnB - What can WE do about this?

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JunieBJones (JBJ)

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This message is for Jay at PAII and John at Bandb.com and any other industry folks - Have you see this website? http://www.airbnb.com/
I see they have the list at the bottom as an endorsement - what can WE do to stop this nonsense? We don't need illegal - unlicensed, uninspected, unapproved uninsured, unsafe phony B&B's being promoted to the public - any advice?
 

swirt

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I don't think we need to do anything about it. $45 per night rooms in non-established businesses speak for themselves.
I think any guest that is unable to differentiate between what you/we offer and what is offered on airbnb you don't want as a guest anyway.
 

Morticia

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I think John posted this here quite awhile ago. I'm not sure it's such a big deal. The 'as seen on' is not really an endorsement, it only means there was a story. The story could be really bad. It's pretty much the same as all of those 'guest house' places where you get someone's spare bed.
Think about it like flea bag motels not really putting a dent in the high end hotel biz.
 

happykeeper

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I would concur with Swirt, it's not our market. I would also say that this is something that would catch local attention if it began to impede regulation (they aren't paying taxes and it is hurting the community)
That has already been a very big deal on Maui and they are actively regulating it.
 

EmptyNest

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I wouldn't do anything. anyone that wants to pay $45 a night to stay somewhere is NOT someone you want at your B & B anyway. If their town gets wind of what they are doing illegally without a business license...someone will report them.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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The term BnB is there, that is what bothers me, I don't want them to be perceived as a legal B&B's or even borrow our terminology.
I know Hawaii has an epidemic of this and in fact is in the news often. Maybe homestays fall in the same category - but at least they call them homestays, to be fair.
The diff between a vacation rental vs a B&B is what is at stake. As a B&B we should be concerned when anyone uses our name falsely. I am not worried about guests they will have, I think anyone who rents a couch or an airbed, well maybe the hostels are the ones they compete with.
I know many cities overlook all regulations when they have major people events such as the Olympics. Again, the city looks at money talking and wants to rake it in and overlook health and safety issues. Which is never a good idea. We discussed this recently about food vendors and concessions, let me be frank, it is called the CARNIE mentality. They can skate along and avoid all laws, regulations and taxes.
 

Hangfive

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Looks like I have a couple in my area. There are also some listed on VRBO. These illegal businesses don't pay sales tax or occupancy tax. I for one would rather see guest to my town stay at a hotel, that way the taxes would be paid. In these days of shrinking tax revenue I can guess that our local and state officials would not look so kindly on these businesses if they had knowledge of them. I'm not really a rat...I guess I'll just mention it to one of the Inn Keepers that can't keep their nose out of others business.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Copperhead

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Looks like I have a couple in my area. There are also some listed on VRBO. These illegal businesses don't pay sales tax or occupancy tax. I for one would rather see guest to my town stay at a hotel, that way the taxes would be paid. In these days of shrinking tax revenue I can guess that our local and state officials would not look so kindly on these businesses if they had knowledge of them. I'm not really a rat...I guess I'll just mention it to one of the Inn Keepers that can't keep their nose out of others business..
I had to look myself. None in my town yet but the big city near me has 17 ranging in price from $40 for a airbed in living room to a cottage for $350 per night. Oh, and one is listed as a B&B...not known by my innkeeper friends there. This city has this type of problem all the time though due to a lot of festivals that fill our legit businesses - or the hotels raise their rates over the top....
 

Morticia

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Looks like I have a couple in my area. There are also some listed on VRBO. These illegal businesses don't pay sales tax or occupancy tax. I for one would rather see guest to my town stay at a hotel, that way the taxes would be paid. In these days of shrinking tax revenue I can guess that our local and state officials would not look so kindly on these businesses if they had knowledge of them. I'm not really a rat...I guess I'll just mention it to one of the Inn Keepers that can't keep their nose out of others business..
I had to look myself. None in my town yet but the big city near me has 17 ranging in price from $40 for a airbed in living room to a cottage for $350 per night. Oh, and one is listed as a B&B...not known by my innkeeper friends there. This city has this type of problem all the time though due to a lot of festivals that fill our legit businesses - or the hotels raise their rates over the top....
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Closest one here is 20 miles away. $300/night. Hmmm, what am I doing wrong? I pay all the taxes, have all the required licenses and charge half that price. Ah, but I don't try to squeeze 6 people into one room.
 

Morticia

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Okay you made me look Hangfive. Look at =2009-05-19&r[precision]=city&r[country]=US&r[guests]=0&r[city]=Roanoke&r[state]=VA&r[checkout]=2009-05-21&r[lng]=-79.94239&r[seo_city]=roanoke&r[seo_other]=va&r[location]=roanoke,+va&r[lat]=37.272621]this one near Virginia Tech $200 and breakfast? None included. ha ha what a bargain! They can stay here at this overpriced B&B for $110 a night AND get a super breakfast!.
And the private bath is behind that attic door? How about the cat, is the cat included? I saw pix supposedly of the rental space with dogs lolling around, dog beds, etc. Are the dogs included?
I wouldn't worry until these people get a clue. Right now, at some of the prices I've seen, and the 'wildlife' in the photos, they're not getting anyone. At the lower prices, they'll get couch surfers. (At least I surf for free, breakfast & dinner included...it pays to have friends!)
 

jkarennj

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I just sent their site's management an email with some pressing questions. We'll see what kind of response I get.
It's a bit like Craiglist - what responsibility does the site management/ownership have over the content of the site, even if there is money changing hands? They folks at AirBnB may have no legal responbility to make sure the lodging establishments (term used VERY LOOSELY) are licensed or legitimate places where people can pay to lay their heads. In this Web 2.0 world, it seems site owners are fairly well-protected with regard to what content others are uploading or offering on their web sites.
What would you suggest as a course of action when AirBnB likely says, "Sorry...we're not going to do anything about this"? It's almost as though every local government that licenses lodging businesses would have to become aware of this.
 

gillumhouse

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I just sent their site's management an email with some pressing questions. We'll see what kind of response I get.
It's a bit like Craiglist - what responsibility does the site management/ownership have over the content of the site, even if there is money changing hands? They folks at AirBnB may have no legal responbility to make sure the lodging establishments (term used VERY LOOSELY) are licensed or legitimate places where people can pay to lay their heads. In this Web 2.0 world, it seems site owners are fairly well-protected with regard to what content others are uploading or offering on their web sites.
What would you suggest as a course of action when AirBnB likely says, "Sorry...we're not going to do anything about this"? It's almost as though every local government that licenses lodging businesses would have to become aware of this..
It's almost as though every local government that licenses lodging businesses would have to become aware of this.
As a licensed, insured, and tax paying legal innkeeper, I have no qualms about helping my City find cheats - and my City is aggressive about shutting down cheats if they do not have a license - I mean a City License in addition to their State License! In addition to nailing tax cheats, I would feel it was getting rid of a detriment to my industry since they refer to themselves as bed & breakfasts. It gives us a bad name - especially as long and the freakin' Media keep hyping it.
 

jkarennj

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I appreciate Kathleen's perspective! I agree and would say it's incumbent upon you as legitimate establishments to notify the appropriate authorities by sending them direct links to the pages listing lodging opportunities on the site. I certainly would do the same if I was an innkeeper in a town where someone was offering a room this way for $200 per night!
 

happykeeper

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I appreciate Kathleen's perspective! I agree and would say it's incumbent upon you as legitimate establishments to notify the appropriate authorities by sending them direct links to the pages listing lodging opportunities on the site. I certainly would do the same if I was an innkeeper in a town where someone was offering a room this way for $200 per night!.
I have to think about that.
 

EmptyNest

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I just sent their site's management an email with some pressing questions. We'll see what kind of response I get.
It's a bit like Craiglist - what responsibility does the site management/ownership have over the content of the site, even if there is money changing hands? They folks at AirBnB may have no legal responbility to make sure the lodging establishments (term used VERY LOOSELY) are licensed or legitimate places where people can pay to lay their heads. In this Web 2.0 world, it seems site owners are fairly well-protected with regard to what content others are uploading or offering on their web sites.
What would you suggest as a course of action when AirBnB likely says, "Sorry...we're not going to do anything about this"? It's almost as though every local government that licenses lodging businesses would have to become aware of this..
It's almost as though every local government that licenses lodging businesses would have to become aware of this.
As a licensed, insured, and tax paying legal innkeeper, I have no qualms about helping my City find cheats - and my City is aggressive about shutting down cheats if they do not have a license - I mean a City License in addition to their State License! In addition to nailing tax cheats, I would feel it was getting rid of a detriment to my industry since they refer to themselves as bed & breakfasts. It gives us a bad name - especially as long and the freakin' Media keep hyping it.
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I am like you on this one. We have a similar problem here with folks who do Cabin rentals. They think you just list it somewhere and rent it out and make a fortune! WRONG! We want the tourism business but we want folks running accommodations to be legal and paying their fare share in taxes etc. So when I come across someone I think is operating under the radar, I report them for investigation.
 

Samster

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I appreciate Kathleen's perspective! I agree and would say it's incumbent upon you as legitimate establishments to notify the appropriate authorities by sending them direct links to the pages listing lodging opportunities on the site. I certainly would do the same if I was an innkeeper in a town where someone was offering a room this way for $200 per night!.
Well, it would torque me off if there were people around here doing this after all the hoops that we jump through to be licensed, insured, and inspected!!
Don't even get me started on all the paperwork that we have to submit, taxes we collect and remit to the City & State, and everything else we do to be legitimate businesses.
Or maybe we're the ones that have it wrong & we should just go the route of these folks??

 

Copperhead

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I appreciate Kathleen's perspective! I agree and would say it's incumbent upon you as legitimate establishments to notify the appropriate authorities by sending them direct links to the pages listing lodging opportunities on the site. I certainly would do the same if I was an innkeeper in a town where someone was offering a room this way for $200 per night!.
Well, it would torque me off if there were people around here doing this after all the hoops that we jump through to be licensed, insured, and inspected!!
Don't even get me started on all the paperwork that we have to submit, taxes we collect and remit to the City & State, and everything else we do to be legitimate businesses.
Or maybe we're the ones that have it wrong & we should just go the route of these folks??

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Samster wrote: Or maybe we're the ones that have it wrong & we should just go the route of these folks??

They do this 'undercover' so they don't have to do all the things we do to become licensed etc. BUT - all it takes is ONE slip or fall and these people could loose everything they ever had! I addressed that in my comment under the article. Maybe this will make at least some of these people think! I believe some of these people think they will be covered by their homeowners - and we all know that is WRONG. One slip of the tongue about any money changing hands and the insurance carrier will wipe their hands of any claim and cancel their policy... I would not be suprised if Insurance companies will not get wise to sites like this.
As I posted earlier, the big city near us has had this issue for years and years and the B&B/hotel industry have been battling this with city officials to no avail as there is already so much on the officals plates and no money to add more employees. Of course if they were to fine these 'fly by nights' maybe they could increase their staff. With this mentioned site, and many others including sites like Craigslist, locating them is not as time consuming as before AND they will have documented proof of the illegal business activity.
 

Samster

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I appreciate Kathleen's perspective! I agree and would say it's incumbent upon you as legitimate establishments to notify the appropriate authorities by sending them direct links to the pages listing lodging opportunities on the site. I certainly would do the same if I was an innkeeper in a town where someone was offering a room this way for $200 per night!.
Well, it would torque me off if there were people around here doing this after all the hoops that we jump through to be licensed, insured, and inspected!!
Don't even get me started on all the paperwork that we have to submit, taxes we collect and remit to the City & State, and everything else we do to be legitimate businesses.
Or maybe we're the ones that have it wrong & we should just go the route of these folks??

.
Samster wrote: Or maybe we're the ones that have it wrong & we should just go the route of these folks??

They do this 'undercover' so they don't have to do all the things we do to become licensed etc. BUT - all it takes is ONE slip or fall and these people could loose everything they ever had! I addressed that in my comment under the article. Maybe this will make at least some of these people think! I believe some of these people think they will be covered by their homeowners - and we all know that is WRONG. One slip of the tongue about any money changing hands and the insurance carrier will wipe their hands of any claim and cancel their policy... I would not be suprised if Insurance companies will not get wise to sites like this.
As I posted earlier, the big city near us has had this issue for years and years and the B&B/hotel industry have been battling this with city officials to no avail as there is already so much on the officals plates and no money to add more employees. Of course if they were to fine these 'fly by nights' maybe they could increase their staff. With this mentioned site, and many others including sites like Craigslist, locating them is not as time consuming as before AND they will have documented proof of the illegal business activity.
.
I was kidding...obviously :)
 
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