Is Airbnb’s plan to compete with hotels and serviced apartments a good idea?

Most people will not have heard of Airbnb. But the Silicon Valley start-ups latest idea is causing controversy and has raised their head above the parapet. The travel industry is being targeted with their plan to allow visitors to book and pay for a room in someone’s home, rather than a hotel or serviced apartment. But is it safe?

There is something everyone who provides accommodation in the travel industry is agreed on; it’s vital to keep guests as safe as possible. At each of Clarendon’s serviced apartments across London we have safety checks in place including secured fob entry and CCTV cameras to give guests peace of mind when it comes to their security. Ensuring guests are safe, however, extends further than making sure the door is dead-bolted. Each accommodation provider, Clarendon included, has government standards to adhere to when it comes to gas, electricity and power supply. There are legal requirements for fire safety and evacuation procedures in case of emergency. This industry standard is a vital part of our deal with the customer; we’ll keep you safe for your stay.

This industry standard is at the heart of concerns over Airbnb’s proposals. By allowing guests to book a stay in another person’s home they might offer cheaper rates but the same regulations that govern the traditional travel industry can’t extend to people’s homes. When it comes to secure entry there is no guarantee that a home will have the kind of locks and security in place that you would find at a hotel or serviced apartment.

Much of the travel industry has to pitch itself against low prices. Travellers do understand that often a service or added extra has to be foregone in order to get the lowest price available, but safety and security isn’t an added extra. While Airbnb’s plan might seem like value for money in fact it isn’t. Ensuring a traveller’s security is a fundamental and basic responsibility of any travel provider. While the firm might have plans to ensure the people’s homes their guests stay in adhere to an industry standard, for the time being there is no guarantee.

Meanwhile the added extras you do opt for in a traditional travel provider are often things that you can’t get elsewhere and they do make travelling much easier. Things like 4G or a weekly housekeeping service make it more stress-free for guests and enable them to have a more relaxed stay. Whether 4G broadband would be available in someone’s home remains to be seen.

With 26 years of experience in the travel sector, Clarendon Serviced Apartments has served many travellers, both business and leisure and knows what they are looking for. Security is often top of the list and while they are staying in our central London locations, our guests want to know they are as safe as possible.

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Lucy Rose

A Marketing Specialist working for Clarendon Serviced Apartments, a dedicated provider of serviced apartments in London for over 25 years. My passion lies in writing about accommodation, travel and all things London.

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