Airbnb Guests, the Modern-Day Cinderella
Guests clean up AND still pay a cleaning fee
Airbnb, an online marketplace focused on short-term homestays, is the number one tool for traveling the world and discovering unbeaten paths. This sounds too good to be true, right? Well, Airbnb, despite all its benefits and perks, has one chunky downside: the ridiculous and unnecessary cleaning tasks that end users have to do on top of paying that pricey cleaning fee.
We took a deeper look into Airbnb in the Czech Republic to finally understand why its business model is so successful and, most importantly, why hosts ask you to do some "additional" tasks for which you have already paid money. Join our Airbnb adventure here on 24Hour Journal!
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Airbnb and its magical mattress
The idea behind the most popular short-stay platform is inspiring and, at the same time, fascinating: "The company has come a long way since 2007 when its co-founders first came up with the idea to invite paying guests to sleep on an air mattress in their living room," reported Jean Folger for Investopedia.
That is also how the mystical "air" appeared in the company's name. Every successful corporation starts in the garage or with an air mattress. Since then, much has changed, and the company has skyrocketed in the hospitality industry despite the dreadful coronavirus pandemic.
Airbnb v. COVID-19: Who wins the battle?
It is not a secret that the coronavirus pandemic shook the hospitality and travel industries the most in 2020. Airbnb was part of the significant losses. In fact, the company lost $4.6 billion during that time, and it took time to recover from such misfortune.
Nevertheless, the positive energy and thinking did not stop Airbnb from reaching new highs, and the company challenged the global pandemic by going public. "Airbnb has so far been one of the favored publicly-traded companies that went public during the pandemic (December 2020)," as stated on the Airbnb website.
Just imagine how courageous and risk-savvy you must be to challenge the pandemic, which has been sinking your business with significant financial losses!
In 2022, Airbnb showcased more than six million listings featured in more than 100,000 cities in 220 countries around the globe, as stated on the company's official website. We did more digging into the reported financials of Airbnb ABNB 0.00 , and the results were astonishing.
In Q3, users booked 99.7 million nights and experiences totaling $15.6B in revenue, an increase of 31% year over year. In the two previous quarters, nights and experiences generated $34.2 billion. Airbnb's net income was $379 million at the end of Q2 and $1.2 billion in Q3. This signifies the COVID-19 era is over, and people enjoy traveling again without governmental restrictions.
According to the financial reports, Airbnb ABNB 0.00 has an outstanding cash flow and is a money magnet. Airbnb has $960 million in free cash flow as of Q3. This means that the business is thriving and has a bright future.
Airbnb fee breakdown
While Airbnb is thriving as a business, there have been a couple of complaints from end users regarding the need for more transparency regarding booking fees. In addition, it came to our attention that some hosts ask their visitors to clean up after themselves when leaving the apartment, even though guests are charged a cleaning fee beforehand, like Cinderella of the 21st century.
For instance, here is the departure requirement from Kelly, the host from Austin, Texas, USA: "At departure, take all rubbish out of the house to the outdoor can, put dishes inside the provided dishwasher, leave any wet towels on the hooks in the bathroom, and turn off lights."
Some rules make perfect sense, such as leaving the apartment neat and clean, just like when you arrived, without mopping, vacuuming, or changing the laundry since you are already paying for it.
On the other hand, guests can get creative when you ask them to load the washing machine with dirty laundry, for example. "We recently had guests that stayed with us for two weeks, and instead of washing the bed linen in a compact washer, they turned the bottom sheet inside out and put it back to bed," shared Debra from Gros Islet, Santa Lucia.
We also could not resist asking local hosts in the Czech Republic about their attitude toward the cleaning fees on Airbnb. "This fee covers hosts' extra expenses when getting their palace ready. My Airbnb guests are not cleaning up after themselves before leaving the apartment," said Magnus, an Airbnb host in Prague.
"The cleaning fee only includes cleaning; guests have to clean up after themselves. We arrange everything for them. That's why we charge this fee," shared Josef, an Airbnb host in Prague's Old Town.
As it turns out, only some evil hosts want you to be Cinderella. Some of them are rational and do not expect to have a shiny place after your departure. It could have been the influence of Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb, and his famous tweet about transparent fees.
Thanks to Chesky and Airbnb's compassion towards the end user, everyone can see the property's final price before booking it, including all fees, whether it is cleaning, tax, or any other additional charges. Nothing would come as an unexpected gift at the end of your stay.
Airbnb fight in the Czech Republic
Airbnb has been around in the Czech Republic for over a decade, offering tourists and locals the best spots around the Old Town to stay over the night with a view of the magnificent Prague Castle. In particular, Airbnb entered the Czech market in 2009, competing with high levels of competition for other short-term stay services, such as Flipkey, HomeAway, House Trip, Vacation Trip, and VRBO, as reported by Paul Stevens for Short Term Rentalz.
"In 2018, Prague had almost 13,000 listings, mostly in the city center. In 2017, people booked 1.79 million overnight stays through Airbnb in Prague, 61% higher than the previous year," emphasized Stevens.
In other words, the Airbnb industry was thriving in the Czech Republic until the government introduced stricter regulations for being a host on Airbnb, followed by enormous fines of up to 10 million Kč (approximately 400,000 euros).
"The proposal divides professional accommodation providers from those who rent a flat occasionally. "People whose annual income from renting out a property does not exceed 30,000 Kč would be exempt," Expats.cz, an independent daily news coverage of the Czech Republic in English, reported.
People lost the magical opportunity to run a side gig renting out the space for tourists and visitors to the capital and making money on it. From now on, you have to be an official vendor. Otherwise, you will face a fine of up to 10,000,000 Kč.
"The main reason to regulate the short-term accommodation sector is how it affects housing in the historical centers of cities. Toughening the conditions for operating short-term rental businesses could help to reduce noise at night [many touristy areas resemble a drunken party, making it difficult for residents who live in their flats year-round]," concluded Expats.cz.
As of 2022, only authorized hosts in the Czech Republic can be found on Airbnb, yet the platform still needs to grow and develop further. As a vivid example, Magnus, who offers property for short-term rent, shared his experience with the introduction of stricter regulations that appeared in the summer of 2022.
"It did not affect us as we already complied with all regulations and procedures (relevant trading licenses, guest registrations with foreign police, city tax payments, etc.). I favor strict regulations rather than banning Airbnb, as they would lead to fewer unserious providers on the market," stated Magnus.
Other hosts from Prague, with whom we had the opportunity to speak, were comfortable introducing stricter regulations as they all have legal documents to be hosts and make money.
Airbnb: wrap up
Airbnb cares about its customers and their opinions. Thanks to word of mouth in a digital world, Chesky addressed the critical issue of host cleaning demands with an in-depth explanation of how this will work starting in November.
The company puts customers at the heart of its business model, which is one of the reasons why Airbnb has become one of the favored publicly-traded companies that went public during the pandemic. You can grow and reach Everest only with satisfied customers, and Airbnb is a vivid example of this business practice.