Airbnb started off as an app that connected renters or homeowners with travelers. The idea behind the company was to help renters and homeowners pay mortgage and rent fees while travelers found alternatives to hotels for a night or two. The concept worked rather well, but lately, the company’s popularity has been dropping off.
In order to combat this drop-off, Airbnb announced today that they will be offering home loans to some homeowners so that those people can fix up their homes to make them more hospitable for travelers. Further, the company has issued a guide that helps homeowners spruce up accommodations to make them more ‘hotel-like.’
The Problem With Becoming More Accommodating
While travelers may appreciate more towels in the bathroom, updated rooms, and fewer pictures of family pets, some people that rent homes through the site are worried. Will Airbnb make additional requirements of users? Will the company eventually require users to provide hotel-like services and amenities? This is the concern.
Airbnb didn’t just send out a guide to users and offer home improvement loans. In Orlando, Florida, the company has also invested in an apartment complex. The complex (mostly condos) that is currently being built will be funded partially by Airbnb. The company has encouraged buyers to rent out their homes most of the year in exchange for loans that can be used to help pay landlords.
Stepping Things Up
Clearly Airbnb is stepping up its game. As hotels chains have recently noted that the former startup is, indeed, stiff competition, some hotels have been offering great deals and greater accommodations. Also, unfortunately, some people that rent through the Airbnb site do not offer relaxing or even clean accommodations, and this is something that the company wants to avoid.
It is not clear at the time of this writing how much money Airbnb will dole out to users for home improvements, or what that application process might look like. However, it is clear that Aribnb is on a mission to improve accommodations through the site. This might boost rentals through Airbnb though whether or not these tactics will be enough remain to be seen.
Staying Clear of Hotels
Airbnb has also recently worked on a project in Japan where the company built a community center where travellers could also stay. Airbnb was highly criticised for building this center, since it was a lot like a hotel. However, the company argues that it is not a hotel since a large percentage of profits stay within the community.
It isn’t likely that Airbnb wants to get into the hotel business or the business of building hotels. But the company is walking a fine line by building accommodations and funding them. Helping current users update homes with loans is a different story. One that does make sense given the company’s vision of creating homes away from home for users.
If you currently use Airbnb and want to find out more about the home loan program, you can contact the company through its main website. Presumably, you will have to have good credit in order to obtain this kind of loan.