The Adrian Loveridge Column – Local Hotelier Sounds Off on FLOW ad Ask a Question of Airbnb
Seemingly never far from controversy or hoisting its own petard, Airbnb has recently claimed that it has generated US$6.5 billion for restaurants around the world in the last 12 months.
Across the 10 European cities cited in the report, including London, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona, guests have spent more than Euro 2.5 billion, Euro 700 million more than the previous 12 months.
It’s a pretty bold statement, apparently made without any substantial evidence to support it.
In London alone, guests (Airbnb) have spent GB Pounds 522 million in local restaurants since September 2016, GB Pounds 79 million up on the previous period.
According to Airbnb, its guests are spending an average of US$40 – $100 per night in restaurants.
Almost half (43 per cent) of this spending is in the neighbourhood in which they are staying.
Let’s assume for a moment that the figures quoted are even remotely credible and can be supported with facts, does this relate to increased spending in our restaurants on Barbados, with the quoted 16,000 Airbnb guests who came to our shores last year?
I sincerely hope that our restaurateurs will let their views be known and if they have benefited from the chanted Airbnb claim, either individually or through the trade body, notably the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA).
Perhaps a simple straw poll could give our planners and policymakers some more insight to the Airbnb effect and the true contribution it is making?
I would like to move slight away from tourism in this part of the column, but not too far, as sustained communication plays a critical part in the sector’s survival and growth.
Last week, hundreds and possibly thousands of land line subscribers were denied use of their paid service for at least a large part of the working day. This meant not only voice communication by access to the widely used Skype.
Tardily, the virtual monopoly provider eventually posted an advisory on their Facebook page, but the vast majority were left trying to report the faults on the 1 800 ‘Customer Service’ number which remained ‘busy’ or simply rang and rang unanswered for hours.
Most consumers fully understand that things can go wrong, but given this company’s appalling history of poor customer service across decades, despite their distinct trading advantages and a record of extracting above competitive rates, why is it they simply are not be able to get it right after so long in business?
Compound the frequent loss of service with months of challenges while they try and correct ongoing problems with their payment portal and you are left to wonder why our supposed regulatory authority, the Fair Trading Commission, has not been more proactive in ensuring the company provides us consistently with what we are paying for.
What is also particularly aggravating is that named senior managers within this company, entrusted (and presumably paid) with the responsibility of ensuring consistent service delivery feel no compulsion to respond to consumer emails.
Maybe they think posting a delayed advisory is enough to calm long suffering disenchanted consumers, but in other developed countries, financial compensation would be demanded and forthcoming. So why do they believe they can get away with it here?
Perhaps it is long overdue that the many individuals and businesses who are financially disadvantaged by this poor service consider taking a collective class action lawsuit against the company to force them into finally addressing and remedying the issues.