Diversity Woman Magazine

FALL 2013

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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DW Life > Power Trip Comforts of Home—On the Road Dreading another generic, impersonal hotel room? Rent a localÕs house or apartment instead. By Eddie Lee s she packed her bags for yet another business trip and began trolling online for hotels, June Kim found herself wanting something diferent. She had stayed at her share of hotels and had crashed on friends' futons enough times. So for her upcoming visit to New York, she decided to look into a housing alternative. She had been urged to try a company called Airbnb to book a room in the home of a local New Yorker. "Initially I was a little unsure because I didn't know what it would be like or who the people were," says Kim, a former account manager with Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. "But I think most people would be THINKSTOCKPHOTOS A di ve rs i tywoman. com surprised by the experience they get out of it, and I really encourage people to try it at least once, even if it's just for a night." Kim has become such a convert she has used Airbnb to stay at people's homes on four occasions in the past year. Founded in 2008, Airbnb is one of the largest online services that allows people to fnd and list housing accommodations in cities around the world (others include FlipKey, HomeAway, and BeWelcome). Travelers looking for a place to stay in a certain city can seek out hosts in that area who are ofering to rent anything from a spare bedroom to an entire home. With listings currently in 33,000 cities in 192 countries, Airbnb has booked more than 10 million stays to date. "Tere's a whole swath of travelers out there who want to feel like a local wherever they go," says Jeralyn Gerba, cofounder of the travel website Fathom. "Renting an apartment or house in a cool neighborhood, or being hosted by locals in their home, means that a traveler can instantly connect with his or her surroundings." Travelers start by searching for a place that suits their needs based on destination, dates, and number of guests. Ten, a message can be sent through Airbnb to the host with any questions and to confrm availability. To book the accommodation, the traveler submits a formal reservation request. Te host has 24 hours to respond. Once the booking is confrmed, the traveler and host exchange correspondence leading up to the reservation and discuss any further details. Generally speaking, Airbnb is more cost-efective than staying at a hotel. A study done by Priceonomics comparing Airbnb rentals versus hotels in major American cities found that renting an entire apartment through Airbnb was on average 21.2 percent less than a hotel room. Guests needing just a room in a host's house saved even more, paying on average 49.5 percent less than for a hotel room. In some cases, a traveler may be searching for a special experience that hotels can't provide, like a fve-bedroom, 4,000-square-foot luxury home. Fa ll 2 0 1 3 D IVE R S IT Y WO MAN 61

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