A day in Paradise or how to work in a 5 stars hotel

Hotel room in West LondonThey are the cornerstones of the 5 star hotel in West London. This is certainly the view of the head housekeeper, Marieta Polska, the Director of the housekeeping section of the palace. “Without them, there’s no hotel and even less luxury.”

Start of the day: 7 am. Clients are departing or arriving, others continue their stay in one of the 153 rooms and suites where the rate varies between £300 and £3,500 per night.

The head housekeeper gives the instructions for the day. The golden rule: everything must be perfect. Here, the household are technicians. The furniture is made of precious wood; there are marble floors… “We use specific products for each of these materials,” explains George Brown, the Manager of the hotel.

“On the mirrors or tiles in the bathroom, no smears. On the sheets, no folds! Doing the housework at home is one thing but in a hotel with 5 stars, it is very much another!” said Marieta Polska. “There may also be special instructions, adds the Director. For example: spread rose petals on the bed; place a gift; a bottle of champagne; remove alcohol from the minibar and replace toiletries with other products according to customer’s request.”

pillow for hotelFrancesca, one of the four nannies of the establishment, on the subject of pillows: “Some do not want pillows, others want more. Once, a client requested 12!

Throughout the day, the head housekeeper controls with precision the tasks that are performed. “In this business, you need the sense of detail”, she insists. Not only this… being a hotel housekeeper in a large hotel is an art. You need to have the flawless look – uniform, tight bun and light makeup – a look and a sense of discretion. “You have to keep composure and smile at any moment; even when the customer gets annoyed or requests the impossible”, adds Marieta. The highest achievement for the housekeeping staff is that clients forget that you are always around but at the same time you are always available for them, and he or she knows this. “Hotel housekeepers are in the front line,” declares Marieta Polska. “Whether a customer has a message or a requirement, it is assigned to us to deliver.

A housekeeper must be versatile, reactive and master several languages. Marieta recalls a situation where “A client, scheduled for an appointment, had a problem with the fastener on her dress. We had to find a solution in minutes.”

At 1 pm, it is the turn of the evening team to take over the service. One of its missions is called ‘The coverage service.’ During dinner, they must prepare rooms for the night. A clean bathroom, carpet slippers at the foot of the bed, a breakfast menu for the next day…

“When recruiting, we hire staff with experience, professionals who have already held positions in major hotels, says the Director.” We also take in young learners; people undergoing special training at ones of the best schools in the UK ”.

“In short, we are looking for rare gems that have a passion for the profession.” concludes the head housekeeper.

Cheap Disposable Bed Sheet – Go For Good Quality!

Cheap Disposable Bed Sheet – Go For Good Quality!

hotel room bed sheetIn any business, the goal is to have more profits. This can be done in two ways: more guests staying in

and lessen your expenses. Between these two, it is the latter which you can have control of. Do you

know that you can get more customers even when you lower your expenses?

This is where going for good quality cheap disposable bed sheets comes into the picture. When you are

able to avail of this kind of sheet for your rooms, you are at the same time satisfying your guests. Why?

You are giving them a nice, comfortable and clean bed to sleep on. Every guest would want this every

time they go to a hotel or guest house and yours is no exception to this rule.

Why you should go for good quality cheap disposable bed sheet? Here are the reasons:

1. Lasts longer.

The thing with good quality bed sheets is that you can be assured that it will last longer. This will keep

you at peace that you will have a sheet to use without having to worry about too much wear and tear.

This alone is a good characteristic of a cheap disposable bed sheet. Therefore, you must be very picky in

choosing which one to go for.

2. Makes the guests feel comfortable during their stay.

You are in the hospitality industry. The main goal here is to make the guests feel they are comfortable

while they are staying at your place. What better way to do it then to go for a bed sheet made from

quality material and priced much lower compared to the rest? The more guests who will feel good

during their stay, the more the likelihood that they will visit your place again.

3. Looks clean and fresh.

Guests are very particular and keen on the bed they are going to sleep on. It is your job to make sure the

bed is looks clean and fresh and at the same time comfortable to sleep on. It is a big disappointment to

any guest to be relaxing on top of an old linen that smells awful. Invest in quality bed sheets sold at a

cheap price.

4. Worth the value you have paid for.

You are purchasing bed sheets to be used in your place for guests. You do not want to get hold of these

sheets, not in good condition, and designed cheaply. It would be a total slap on your face if you did that.

Therefore, go for quality cheap disposable bed sheets. Never compromise quality over the price but you

need to take into consideration the budget as well. If you can find a supplier that gives off what you

need – quality and cheap bed sheets, you are in for a treat!

The key here is to be able to find for a supplier that offers cheap bed sheets without sacrificing the

quality. It is now up to you to start on the hunt for that one reliable supplier for bed sheets.

Hotel Bedding – The endless endeavour to maintain maximum hygiene for your Guests stay.

hotel roomKeeping your hotel clean is as we know of the essence, but sometimes maintaining that standard can be a choore. With hotels having to cut their service staff budgets, turning the room around has to be efficient and well planned.

The advantage that we have today over hotels just 10 years or so ago, is that we have access to tools that can make our work substantially easier.

The cleanliness of a hotelroom may not be amongst the top topics of the average persons life, but be assured that when guests find a room that is not up to their standard of cleanliness they will remember that for a long time to come.
Dr. Bonnie Knutson (Michigan State School of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management) conducted a study on behalf of the Dial Corporation in 1987, with the bold finding that the primary reason for a guest’s return or non return to a hotel is the level of cleanliness. In actual fact the statistic shows that 56.2% of the guests staying in economy or budget hotels, did not come back for another stay because the room was not up to their expected standard of cleanliness. Although this isnt as astounding as the 93.6% of the guests who had stayed in a luxury hotel, who said they would happily return for another nights stay.

Single use bedsheets, mattress covers (with and without zip), disposable mattress protectors (water proof), single use pillow case covers and that is just the start.
Being able to have a quick hygienic turnaround, and saving the costs of transporting and washing the linen is phenomenal. Another advantage being, that you can now stock these linen and never be let down by the laundry supplier.

Another advantage of using single use bedsheets, is the protection of the mattress itself. The lifetime of the matress can be prelonged substantially by looking after it correctly.

from Caractère Paris

Disposable Fitted Mattress Cover

First and foremost you need to maintain dryness of the mattress, which can be done by using a waterproof mattress protector.
You also need to make sure that the sheets you are using are clean enough to not make the mattress dirty or damp. All of these things can be prevented by simply using single use mattress protectors.

The key to a successful hotel venture is the maintainence of cleanliness. This can only come from the hotels employees understanding of the brand’s core values. If the room attendants are trained sufficiently on the standard procedures for cleaning a hotel room and they are given the right tools, such as disposable pillow covers, disposable bedsheets etc., you can be assured that your guests will return for another stay.
Lastly, hygiene is not only a question of guest satisfaction, but it is also a very important factor when it comes to health and safety, as well as complying with the industries legislation and standard requirements.

In closing:

– Train your employees on the core values of your brand
– Give them ample supply of the right tools
– Maintain a strong auditing process to retain standards

An explosion of Chinese tourists: The potential and expectations of Chinese travellers in the UK and worldwide

Relative newcomers to international tourism market, the Chinese traveler is the new target for a tourism industry that suffered major losses during the crisis. Thanks to a bustling local economy and the government’s relaxation of travel restrictions, in 2013 Chinese tourists took a total of 97 million trips abroad and spent some $102 billion, becoming the “world’s biggest spenders” according to a report by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). A study conducted by the Chinese government predicts those figures will rise to over 100 million overseas voyages by 2015, and 200 million by 2020.

Taken in perspective with the recent past, these numbers represent a spectacular amount of growth, when in 2004 only 29 million went overseas. However, when isolated on a per-country basis, the growth can seem even more shocking. For instance, the number of Chinese tourists who visited Thailand last year more than doubled over the year before.

According to Abagail Haworth of The Guardian, the Chinese tourist represents “a global phenomenon, an unstoppable trend, a lucrative opportunity… Now millions are on the move.” CNN labeled the new found market, “the biggest phenomenon to hit the global travel industry since the invention of commercial flight.” International travel has been growing among the Chinese over the past decade, with rising prosperity at home and the relaxation of Communist government travel restrictions.

So aside from the economic and political explanations, why are so many Chinese flocking abroad? The firm Morgan Stanley predicts that in two years, Chinese tourists could spend $194 billion on vacations abroad, much of it on luxury products. Despite government policy to encourage spending at home, Chinese flock abroad in droves to take advantage of the lower prices on foreign designer products. This is because the government imposes import duties and taxes that can mean an additional 60% added to the price one would find in another country. A researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences called his compatriots “walking wallets,” due to the amount they’ve become known to spend abroad.

Thus it becomes clear why London, Paris and Hong Kong have become favorite destinations for the Chinese: luxury shopping. To put things into perspective, by 2015 the total amount of spending from Chinese abroad will exceed total sales of luxury goods worldwide, when compared to 2008 when it represented solely one third of that figure. A government crackdown implemented two years ago reinforced this phenomenon, as the growth in the domestic luxury market grew a mere 6%, whereas Chinese luxury spending abroad increased 37% over the preceding year. Some sectors, such as high end liquor and watches even saw a decline in sales.

This potential market has inspired Paris to invest in a manual for the city of light’s business owners to better understand the new wave of boutique-obsessed clientele. French-speaking guides do their best to meander giant tour groups through the crowds at department stores and on high streets. They much watch out for the guests, who have become an easy target for pickpockets and other criminals. New campaigns have begun by tourism officials to raise awareness among tourists of the dangers of dressing conspicuously and showing fancy electronics or jewellery in public. In London, the famous department store Harrod’s has hired 70 Mandarin-speaking employees. An additional one hundred China Unionpay registers permit direct payments by Chinese tourists from their home bank accounts.

The growing presence of Chinese tourists comes along with it a greater exposure and international visibility. However, surveys about the perception of tourists worldwide do not characterize Chinese tourists in a very positive light. One analyst even called them the world’s new “ugly” tourists. While self-organized trips are on the rise, the majority of international travel still occurs in tourist groups. Sociologists believe this “increases their collective visibility and amplifies stereotypes and cultural unfamiliarity on both sides” by limiting individual interactions between the tourists and locals. Media reports flourish about the negative impression left by Chinese tourists, that they “are loud and rude, or that they refuse to queue or give tips…”

Other complaints range from the practical to the surreal. In July, residents of the small Swiss city of Lucerne protested that up to 120 Chinese tour buses a day were paralysing local traffic, as they deposited tourists who wanted to buy luxury watches. Then there were bizarre reports, picked up by the Chinese media, of competing Chinese honeymooners brawling in French lavender fields over the best spot for photos to capture a “Monet moment”. A group travelling to North Korea drew scorn for throwing sweets to children as though they were “feeding ducks”, while a number of Chinese tourists in the Maldives were reportedly caught giving fake marriage papers to upmarket resorts in order to get free dinners offered to newlyweds.”

Beijing has been so bothered by the potentially negative perception of its people in other countries that the government has instituted a new clause that applies to Chinese citizens specifically when they travel abroad. Section 13 of the new bill states, “Tourists shall respect public order and social morality in tourism activities, respect the local customs, cultural traditions and religious beliefs, take care of tourism resources, protect the ecological environment and respect the norms of civilised tourist behaviours.”

In terms of which countries can benefit from the growth in demand of accommodations and travel services, Thailand tops the list. For a mere £500, Chinese tourist can spend a week in the country with an organized tour, with flights included. The combination of historically and architecturally significant temples, pristine beaches and duty-free shopping brings Chinese here for the first time, if not on return trips. In fact, Thailand ranks as number three on a list of the most visited foreign destinations by Chinese, not far behind the “satellite Chinese territories” Hong Kong and Macao. London still leads at the top destination in terms of cities, but faces a threat from Bangkok, quickly gaining steam as a potential replacement.

uk colour flip flop

Disposable slippers from Caractere

What does this profound change in visitor composition mean for hotel, resort and Bnb operators? First of all, they’ll have to adapt to Chinese cultural standards. Since the ability to travel abroad for a Chinese person already assumes a certain standard of living and income level, one can expect that these travelers will not be the easiest to please. Standards for hygiene vary quite a bit in Eastern Asian from those typical of Europe or on other continents.

How can managers of accommodations adapt? By trying disposable products, of course!

At Caractère, we make a variety of popular disposable slipper and sandal solutions to prevent the spread of infections on the floors of hotels, resorts, salons, saunas, showers, locker rooms, changing areas, baths, pools, hot tubs, spas, etc.

Disposable bath robe

Bathrobe by Caractere

Another favorite product in finer establishments is our popular line of luxurious Bath robes, available in several designs. For perfect hygiene and the ultimate protection of your clientele (not to mention your business investment), try our other disposable, recyclable solutions, and discover the reason why we’re the buzz of the most luxurious hotels of Paris, the world capital of fashion and design. Our products will be sure to meet the standards of even the most difficult to please clients, including Chinese tourists on luxury shopping sprees.

Sources
Haworth, Abigail. “Chinese tourism: ‘Finally, we are seeing the world.’” The Observer, Dec. 22, 2013
http://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2013/dec/22/chinese-tourism-changing-the-world
Kuo, Lily. “By 2015, Chinese tourists could spend more than all the world’s luxury shoppers combined.” QZ.com, Nov. 15, 2013.
http://qz.com/147703/by-2015-chinese-tourists-could-spend-more-than-all-the-worlds-luxury-shoppers-combined
M., K. “Chinese tourists: Mind your manners.” The Economist, Nov. 6, 2013.
http://www.economist.com/blogs/analects/2013/11/chinese-tourists
“‘Walking wallets’: Chinese tourists the world’s biggest travellers.” The Sydney Morning Herald, Jan. 10, 2014
http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-news/walking-wallets-chinese-tourists-the-worlds-biggest-travellers-20140110-30lce.html

Caractere’s Disposable Linens Mobilized to Aid Syrian Refugees in Germany

This fall, Germany’s administration broke apart from the position held by its neighbors and other members of the European Union on the subject of a pressing humanitarian aid crisis: Syrian refugees. Germany became the first country on the continent to accept a large contingent of asylum-seekers from the war-torn country.

The pilot program will allow 5,000 Syrians to relocate over the course of one year, thanks to the organisation of 25 private flights by the German government. Counting those who will receive this assistance and other refugees who migrate on their own, estimates place the number of people to flee Syria in recent years for Europe at 17,000+ by the beginning of 2014.

Germany and the UNHCR are lobbying other European members to contribute space for the refugees or other resources to help smooth their resettlement.

The UNHCR, or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,  selected the initial group of refugees according to a number of factors.

Those considered “particularly vulnerable,” such as single mothers, minorities and the chronically ill were atop the list.

For the purposes of integration, German speakers had an advantage over other applicants. Additional consideration was also given to applicants with a connection to Germany, such as time spent in the country studying or family currently located there.

Finally a certain number of spots went to the intellectual, academic and professional elite of Syria, judged the group most important for the reconstruction of the country after the resolution of the current crisis.

The first group landed in Hannover a few weeks ago, sending a message the German government wants its neighbors to notice. The government then transported them to Friedland, a transit camp where the refugees spend two weeks.

Germany is no stranger to waves of refugees, as it decided to welcome 300,000 during the wars in the Balkans of the early 1990s. Nearly a million refugees have passed through Friedland over its history.

Given the basics of shelter and food, the newcomers attend German language and culture classes every day. Administratively a step ahead of other asylum-seekers, the Syrians are granted instant refugee status, which means they can start working whenever they want.

After the two week integration and orientation period, the different states of Germany each accept a number of refugees for permanent placement.

Certainly Germany’s actions represent a noble gesture, but this recent decision risks being seen as merely “a drop in the bucket.” This is because some two million Syrians seek asylum abroad, in addition to the four million already internally displaced, according to figures released by the United Nations.

This represents one third of the country’s population, a figure the UN estimates could reach as high as one half by the end of the year. More than 700,000 Syrians have officially registered as refugees in Lebanon. This has overwhelmed Syria’s neighbor, a country normally with a population of 4.5 million.

Unfortunate for the refugees, airline regulations impose a 44 pound limit per person for luggage. Within this limit, refugees must pack all the personal items and effects intended to prepare them for a stay of two years in Germany. Many left their homes in a rush, fleeing violence or destruction, without the time to pack up properly.

Often because of these constraints, refugees come to airport with little more than the clothes on their backs. For these reasons, it’s essential for countries planning to welcome refugees must prepare adequate infrastructure and supplies in advance.

While the core of our activities stem from the hotel industry or public institutions like hospitals and schools, Caractere already has experience in the field of humanitarian aid. Thus, it was with great honor that Caractere recently received a substantial order from Germany to help welcome Syrian refugees in their transition to life in Europe.

Some of our most popular items to deal with natural disasters and large population migrations include those from our hotel supply unit, including warm blanketssleeping bags and children’s linens. Caractere also manufactures a variety of uniforms and work outfits to properly equip the staff and volunteers associated with the reception of refugees.

baby sleepingbag by caractere

Caractere’s Baby Sleeping Bag

To learn more about the different types of products that can help with the reception of refugees,  check out the English language version of the website for Caractere Paris, Disposable Linen!

Caractere UK’s Disposable Linen on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/CaractereUK

Caractere UK’s Disposable Linen on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/CaractereUK

Sources
Amos, Deborah. “For Some Syrian Refugees, A New Home In Germany.” NPR, Sept. 12, 2013.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2013/09/12/221764124/for-some-syrian-refugees-a-new-home-in-germany
Heine, Friederike. “Gateway to Freedom: Camp Preps Syrian Refugees for German Life.” Der Spiegel, Oct. 11, 2013.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/second-syrian-refugee-group-arrives-at-friedland-transit-camp-a-927372.html

A Revolution in Bedding Protection: Wet Protect Mattress Covers by Caractère

Tired of traditional mattress protectors just not cutting it, or not doing the job well enough? Experiencing leaks, stains and odours even though you thought your beds were thoroughly protected? Try the new Wet Protect Mattress Cover from Caractère Paris!

Caractère Wet Protect

The new Wet Protect system from Caractère Paris!

Caractère is proud to introduce a series of new technological innovations rolled into one: Wet Protect! A cutting-edge, new line of mattress covers and protectors that assures your beds will be able to withstand even the heaviest of leaks, yet still remain soft and silent to the touch.

Did your hotel or guesthouse recently acquire new mattresses? Always a costly endeavour, those experienced in the tourism industry know that new bedding can prove a worthy investment over time. While expensive up front, this sort of expenditure will pay for itself through positive reviews and word of mouth from satisfied clients.

However, once you’ve bought top quality sleeping arrangements to make everyone happy, how can you make sure to guarantee a quality night’s sleep for every client, all the while keeping your mattresses in shape? Too often, hotel owners sacrifice comfort for safety. How many times have you tried to fall asleep on a bed while traveling and felt that crinkly, odd plasticized layer pressing against you through the sheets? Often, guests wake up in the middle of the night in these situations, covered in sweat and unable to fall back asleep. The next day, they cannot understand the exact cause of their fatigue, but it certainly makes it more difficult for them to enjoy their holiday. In the end, this can all be due to a low quality mattress protector that prioritizes covering the mattress rather than providing a restful sleep.

Caractère thought long and hard about how to resolve this conflict between the interests of the client and the interests of the accommodation owner. Finally, we believe we’ve reached the perfect compromise: The brand new Wet Protect system! Now you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for hygiene. At the same time, you can ensure your mattress investment won’t need to be replaced as frequently thanks to Wet Protect’s full mattress protection system against leaks and incontinence. Don’t throw out anything more than the sheets if you don’t have to! While you can easily wash and replace linens as part of typical daily maintenance and cleaning schedules, there’s no simple way to remove the stench of urine or defecation from a mattress. Too many of us know, there’s nothing worse than paying for a top-shelf hotel room or suite and than discovering your place of sleep, the most sacred part of a stay, will be bothered by unwanted odors, dampness or a noisy mattress cover.

mattress protector for hotel bedWet Protect answers all these needs with its combination of spongy cotton and polyester fibres sewn together in tiny, almost micro-fibre rings. Washable and breathable, this new mattress cover is one of the most sophisticated mattress protection system available on the market. Combined with a layer of polyurethane as a liner on the inside, no rival product comes close to this perfect combination of attributes. The unique and innovative materials prevent Wet Protect from causing those noisy, crackling disturbances so common in guest houses.

the mattress protector Wet Protect can resist 50 washs

Caractere’s Wet Protect  mattress covers can easily resist 50 washes

Resistant against the use of a washing machine, these sturdy new covers can withstand more than fifty wash cycles in lower temperature settings without shrinking or losing their leak resistance. The technological advance of polyurethane provides a never before seen or felt experience of softness, while still ensuring total impenetrability, even during the heaviest of leaks and accidents. Increased width of the ridges on the sides of  the covers, from 25 to 35 cm (10 to 14 inches), offer the highest quality protection possible for the top of your mattress, as well as the sides and corners of the bed. Manufactured in a neutral white tone and sold individually, Wet Protect guarantees maximum versatility in establishments both large and small, from the most basic to the most prestigious. When you’re looking for mattress protectors, choose a product that will make your accommodations stand out from the rest! Choose Wet Protect for a better night’s sleep, for both you and your guests.

For more information, click here: http://bit.ly/15oAMLS

AirBnB in the UK: Trend or Necessity for BnB Owners?

Logo of Airbnb

Airbnb’s logo


 

Originally a relatively small website created to connect hosts and travellers, Airbnb expanded at an astronomical pace over the past few years. Today, the site offers its services to more than three million people per year around the globe. Some consider the growth a result of the injection of more than $120 million in venture capital a few years ago. Others consider it a product of word of mouth advertising among satisfied users. Either way, the spike in popularity means property owners have added an abundance of new listings, which now total more than 300,000 options in 192 countries. Despite recent  reporting of scandals (discussed below), Airbnb opens a world of opportunity for inn and Bed and Breakfast owners who want more exposure and clients.

A shining example of a new movement termed the “sharing economy,” AirBnb provides a direct link between the guest and the host without the need to go through an intermediary. Of course, the site takes a small commission on each transaction, a fee added in to the booking price. Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia spoke as a headliner of this year’s LeWeb conference in London, which focused on the sharing economy as its theme. In his own words, “the story of Airbnb is really the underdog story.” It all started when he and his flatmates decided to rent out airbeds in their living room (hence the origin of the name) to business travellers who had come to San Francisco to attend conferences. From its humble beginnings, Gebbia says he “wanted to create an experience for our guests: more than just a place to sleep. We wanted to cook breakfast in the morning, we wanted to provide a subway map for our guests, pick them up from the airport…”

In effect, the roommates formed an improvised Bed and Breakfast in their own apartment. Surprisingly, Gebbia and his other co-founder Brian Chesky managed to rake in $1,000 rather quickly. A third co-founder, Nathan Blecharczyk, joined the team and helped create the first proper website for the service, originally known as Airbedandbreakfast. To gain better name recognition, the group chose to shorten their name to Airbnb in 2009.

Worth a look: This Airbnb infographic “10 Million Guest Nights Booked” by Kelli Anderson

Once on the road to success, it was only a matter of time until Airbnb ascended the ranks of travel websites. Gebbia revealed some of the keys to his business advancing in this difficult economy: hire staff in the other countries, expand the community of hosts and plan meetups for users. For example, the site announced one such occasion in London the day before the LeWeb conference. Gebbia explained, “Entrepreneurship is about connecting two dots in a new and different way… My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs out there is to marry the problem. Find a problem that you’re so close to that you can empathise with it in a way that others can’t… You can see it so closely, that it gives you that ability to connect the two dots together” (1).

According to Dennis Jones, the CEO of the mobile phone and card transaction specialist Judo Payments, one cannot deny the role of mobile phones in people’s daily lives today. The shift from shopping in retail stores to internet-based vendors, and also from using computers to mobile phones and tablets, also coincides with a revolution in the hospitality industry. As far as parallels, Jones identifies companies like Airbnb, “driven by the sharing economy… are cutting into hotels, car sharing services, even plane sharing services” (2).

Now, a word of warning. Some bad always seems to accompany the good, right? With every decision comes the consequences. While registering for the site of course increases visibility, this practice can also incite the wrath of legal experts, especially in regions where one must license or register rooms for rent. Perhaps the most well-known episode of this sort of drama occurred this spring, when a prosecutor in the Big Apple brought apartment owner Nigel Warren before a judge for conducting unlicensed short-term room rentals. To defend their user (and in another sense, the site’s platform as a whole), Airbnb provided its own lawyers to help Warren out. Unfortunately, they lost the case, and the judge ordered the defendant to pay some $2,400 (£1,600) in fines (3).

Gebbia retorts to critiques about the site’s ambiguous legal status, “When the car was introduced in 1908, people could experience a brand new way to travel that was more efficient than a horse and buggy. Can you believe that cities tried to outlaw cars in the United States? Can you imagine driving a car for a year then having to go back to a horse and buggy? The policy-makers adjusted to meet the demands of the people. We believe it’s time for our invention, and it appears the world agrees” (1).

Founders of Airbnb

Airbnb’s founders

After the news broke of Warren’s plight, similar efforts arose in Amsterdam and Quebec to limit Airbnb’s ability to conduct business. Montreal hotel industry officials estimate that sites like Airbnb cause traditional accommodations to lose a massive amount of revenue through the diversion of reservations to property owners. Daniel Weinstock, Professor of Ethics at McGill University, brings up the memory of Napster, one of the earliest sites to pioneer sharing music online. Although authorities shut down Napster a decade ago, ultimately they made their efforts in vain, as music downloads (legal and otherwise) have never been more popular (4).

To respond to concerns about whether Airbnb’s growth necessarily means bad news for the traditional hotel industry, Gebbia stuck by the potential of his website for all sorts of rental locations, from small to large format. He continued with an illustration of this concept: “If you have a pie-chart of all the available combinations in a city, it’s not like we’re taking a slice out of the pie. We’re taking the pie and making it bigger” (1). Debatable? Perhaps, but as the age-old phrase says, “if you can’t beat them, join them!”

In fact, when one thinks about it, professional guesthouses and Bed and Breakfasts on AirBnb can take advantage of the best of both worlds. They can access the site’s click traffic without having to worry about the potential for legal concerns because they’ve already registered their properties. Plus, with an established reputation, these owners will rise above the rest when it comes to quality ratings on the site. At the very least, from the perspective of the traveller,  professional offerings usually guarantee privacy and cleanliness. Anyone who backpacked around Europe as a youth and stayed in hostels knows that these details count among the most important aspects of a comfortable night’s sleep, something shared rentals popular on Airbnb can’t always offer.

Finally, the company made great strides in its attempts to reassure users on both sides of the transactions. For example, they created a 24-hour crisis management hotline, added section of safety tips to the website, and “a link to contact the CEO.” In August, 2011, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky wrote in a blog post that the site’s “trust and safety center has ‘tips’ for choosing guests and putting up the right postings.” The company also claims a $1 million (£600,000) “host guarantee,” a form of insurance to cover property damage and theft.

Airbnb homepage

The homepage of Airbnb’s website

So, should you list your property on Airbnb or not? Peter Tompkins, who started subletting his London flat one year ago, felt that overall it has proven a positive experience. The worst case scenario in his words happens when “a book goes missing or some cutlery goes out on a picnic and doesn’t return.” On the flip side, he states, “I have not yet had a visitor I actually disliked. And they are gone after a few days – unlike a flat sharer” (5). After a few simple clicks of the mouse, your property can join the online rental frenzy that has become Airbnb. With some luck and internet-savvy skills, soon the online traffic will translate into foot traffic for your business.

Whether you decide to list your guesthouses or bed and breakfasts on Airbnb or otherwise, don’t forget to check out Caractère’s lines of disposable towels, linens, bathrobes, spa wear and much, much more on our site specialized to cater to customers in the UK, Disposable Linen!

1. Dredge, Stuart. “Airbnb co-founder: ‘We believe it’s time for our invention, and it appears the world agrees.'” The Guardian, June 5, 2013. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/appsblog/2013/jun/05/airbnb-leweb-london-joe-gebbia

2. Zainzinger, Vanessa. “Three thought-leaders on thinking big with mobile.” RealBusiness, May 28, 2013. http://realbusiness.co.uk/article/20058-three-thought-leaders-on-thinking-big-with-mobile

3. Stevenson, David. “City Insider: Growth – it’s back and it’s online.” Travel Weekly, June 06, 2013. http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2013/06/06/44288/city+insider+growth+-+its+back+and+its+online.html

4. “Airbnb : une concurrence déloyale?” Radio Canada, June 4, 2013. http://www.radio-canada.ca/emissions/medium_large/2012-2013/chronique.asp?idChronique=296110

5. Heyden, Tom. “Airbnb battles: Would you stay with strangers?” BBC News Magazine, February 6, 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21339891