Ventnor businessman John Battista runs a popular Bed & Breakfast called the Carisbrooke Inn. Ventnor and other Downbeach / Jersey Shore towns are paying closer attention to AirBnB, especially after a crowded New Years Eve party turned violent inside a Ventnor AirBnB rental.
The following are some of Battista’s thoughts on the fast, yet bumpy rise of online rental sites like AirBnB.
The best way to fix the AirBnB model is for consumers to realize they are not always booking a professionally run hotel, motel, or b&b; bed & breakfast. Airbnb can seem attractive because the cost is lower in many cases, but you get what you pay for.
Being professionally run does not guarantee a good experience but there are certain basic requirements most professional establishments must have (like fire safety or emergency exits for example). Professionally run businesses are in business to turn a profit while many AirBnB listings are simply a way to rent out spare space or make a few extra dollars.
I own a real Bed & Breakfast here in Ventnor, we’re required to do things Airbnb renters are not.
For example we need to have a manager or owner on site or in close proximity when we are occupied (of course as a professional business we want to do this anyway because our customers need quick and easy access to us).
We need annual fire inspections which may seem overkill to some, but are designed to make sure the transient guest (one who is unfamiliar with a property or area) will be safe and have proper notification and exit routes in the event of a fire.
We have state inspections to make sure our buildings meet basic multiple dwelling unit codes again designed to protect transient guests and be sure basic requirements (such as locking doors) are met. We also pay sales and occupancy taxes which work their way back into the government services needed to support tourism and safety. My point is our approach to running the business, in most cases, is different.
My guess is many people use AirBnB with a subconscious expectation of the professional run business not realizing there are few real guidelines and requirements and in some cases can have very bad experiences.
We do use AirBnB as do many real B&B’s but it is very hard for the consumer to know this when they book. I do think AirBnB is recognizing these issues, and are finding ways to improve.