18 Apr 2017

How Airbnb can help communities

I got a few ideas on how to address Airbnb's main problem of disrupting communities while talking to a reporter* about my post ("Airbnb is harming Amsterdam's communities").

First, Airbnb should require that any owner get the permission of their neighbors before they can list their apartment or condominium on Airbnb. In most cases, this will happen via a home-owners association (it's verenigingen van eigenaren or VVE in Dutch, meaning "association of owners"). The requirement for permission will force neighbors to agree on who, how and when Airbnb should be used.

Second, Airbnb should allow the neighbors to see who is staying in a place at any given time, to reduce (our normal) fear of strangers. In most cases, neighbors and guests will not interact, but the knowledge that they can see each others' profiles and have each others' contact information will make it easier to say "hi" (or "hola") and harder to be mean.

Airbnb can connect each host with neighbors' Airbnb accounts or new "neighbor" accounts. The neighbors would then check the "I-approve-my-neighbor's-participation" box to let the flat appear. Those neighbours would then see who is coming and when.

Neighbors who have bad experiences with guests (or their neighbor/host) could withdraw their permission at any time, for any reason. Is this too much power to give neighbors? I think not if Airbnb actually wants to strengthen communities. This system would also help Airbnb avoid lawsuits, bad press and bans by various city governments upset by Airbnb's impact on communities.

Bottom Line A neighborhood is made of connections, rights and duties among its neighbors. Airbnb can protect neighbors and preserve neighborhoods with a few simple changes to its platform and contracts. If Airbnb prefers instead to make profits by damaging communities, then it should be banned as an anti-social vandal.
*Addendum: Here's the article (in Dutch). The title is "Why drug dealers run their business better than Airbnb."

1 comment:

Thomas Oberhäuser said...

Good idea. People should live together, .. if they can. - But the opportunity "to cancel" the situation, can help, when conditions are going bad.

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