Thursday, July 29, 2010

Peer to peer overnight accommodations

The NY Times reviews sites of "social network bed and breakfasts" on which you can reserve rooms for overnight stays in cities around the world: Europe Without Hotels.

The sites have various ways to protect against scams:

"In Paris, AirBnB has places in every arrondissement, including $13-a-night rooms in the western suburbs and $285-a-night houseboats on the Seine. As the first Web site of its kind to grab the headlines, the system has already developed a large and loyal user base. Some properties have as many as 70 user-generated reviews, which give paying guests a greater sense of confidence. It is similar to how eBay works: you’re more likely to buy from an eBay seller with good feedback." ...

"After the brief tour, I gave Mr. Mostaedi the code that allows him to collect my payment from iStopOver. That’s one of the safeguards that iStopOver offers to guests. If a listing turns out to be fraudulent or misstated, you can refuse to give the owner the code, and the fee is refunded in full. Other services offer similar protections: AirBnB withholds a host’s payment until 24 hours after guests check into an accommodation in order to fend off potential scammers, and Crashpadder uses credit card payments to verify guest identities (though it says it will monitor but not otherwise involve itself in any disputes)."
Here are the sites mentioned:
"AIRBNB.COM, founded in 2007 in San Francisco, is the largest of this new generation of social B&Bs and has the most user reviews.
Where: About 5,378 cities in 146 countries.
Accommodations: Air mattresses to entire villas.
Price: In New York, from $10 for a room to $3,000 for a loft.
IStopOver, founded in 2009 in Toronto, specializes in big events, like this summer’s World Cup in South Africa.
Where: Mostly North America, Europe and South Africa.
Accommodations: Apartments and houses.
Price: $10 to $8,000 a night.
Founded in 2008 in London, operates mostly in Britain, with a surge expected during the 2010 Olympics in London.
Where: 898 cities, including more than 1,000 listings in London.
Accommodations: Bedrooms to houses.
Price: From £15 (about $21 at $1.43 to the pound) a night, plus £3 booking fee.
Founded in 2008, focuses on higher-end properties, especially in New York City.
Where: 36 cities, including more than 1,000 listings in New York.
Accommodations: Bedrooms to houses.
Price: From $30 to $5,000, plus an 8 to 12 percent booking fee. "

1 comment:

Mohammad Mahdian said...

airbnb is pretty good, i've used it a couple of times in NY and Europe. But this business might become illegal (repugnant?) in NY soon: