Air Bed or Real Bed -- Airbnb's Brian Chesky Airs All at the Hôtel de Ville
French Property Insider Volume XIII, Issue 9 Thursday, February 26, 2015 • Paris, France
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Chesky and JulliardIt was a rare moment to have the opportunity to participate in a press conference this morning at the Hôtel de Ville featuring Airbnb CEO and co-founder, Brian Chesky, hosted by Bruno Julliard, First Deputy to the Mayor of Paris responsible for culture, heritage, crafts and relations with the arrondissements.
The goal was to discuss the links between Paris and the world famous company in the presence of Parisian entrepreneurs. The room was filled with young entrepreneurs hanging on Brian's every word. I was there for a very different reason -- to learn more about how the city is dealing with Airbnb as well as its counterparts, such as our own rental agencies, Parler Paris and Parler Nice Apartments and the owners of vacation properties professionally managed.
Chesky is a young guy who fell into the business quite by accident. An art student, not of entrepreneurial parents who just wanted him to 'get a job,' he and his roommate, Joe Gebbia, decided to earn some money to help pay for their expensive San Francisco apartment by blowing up their air beds and invite guests -- conference attendees who had a hard time finding hotel rooms -- to stay and pay...hence "Air Bed and Breakfast" -- later to become "Airbnb."
Chesky interviewedHe talked a lot about his background as a young entrepreneur and the trials and tribulations of getting investors who thought the idea of 'strangers hosting strangers' was simply crazy. How they went from zero to an international $10 billion company with over one million listings in 33,000 cities and 192 countries is a story Brian Chesky told easily that mirrors many other bright-ideaed and energetic entrepreneurs: a tale of how to stick to your mission; how to try not to do everything yourself by hiring 'senior people' fairly early on; how to have 10,000 ideas, not just one; how to believe in yourself and your idea even if others don't; how to watch and observe your customers, not just listen to them; how to be your own customer first and how to focus on making 100 love you rather than 1 million just like you.
While his story was compelling and inspiring to the room of young entrepreneurs, and that it's clear the city is working better now WITH Airbnb, rather than AGAINST his "Uber-style hotel" idea, it didn't address the real issue that underlies it all...for us...and that's the fact that the city still does not allow rental of property less than one year unless it is your primary residence -- and even on that, there is a limit of four months.
Airbnb is brilliant for the resident who wants to rent their own apartment when they are not there, but what if you're a non-resident of the city and want to supplement the costs of your investment property by renting it out? No doubt, Airbnb lists many of these types of properties, too, but is not the responsible party as it is only the platform for the owners on which they can advertise their properties -- much like Parler Paris Apartments and Parler Nice Apartments are for individual owners (but that also offers management and guest services).
Julliard and Chesky speak to the group What took place behind closed doors with Brian Chesky and city officials was not for our ears. What we know is that Paris is the number one Airbnb rental market with 40,000 homes on their site. With only 27,872 hotel rooms in Paris, they city can't support the approximate 30 million annual visitors without the addition of rental apartments, which also offer accommodations at much less cost than the average room rate of €172 per night.
You can download the Key Figures of Tourism in Paris (2013) published by the Hôtel de Ville. Note that there is no mention of apartment-style accommodations in their figures, other than "apart-hotels." That's because until Airbnb came along, the city wouldn't acknowledge the industry of private apartment accommodations.
Let's face it, it's not regulated nor taxed and that's the city's biggest problem, aside from their excuse that investment properties reduce housing for the city's full-time residents. In talking with city representatives in advance of Chesky's conference, it was obvious that these young people who have no stake in the issue themselves, that own no property of their own, are totally blind to the bad consequences of the current regulations. Even non-tourists who need accommodations less than one year and the owners of these properties are suffering from unfair laws. No one is addressing this issue, while they focus on "short-term" for "tourists."
We need to help enlighten the city officials -- to show them not just that they are hurting many, but that they COULD regulate and tax the industry, if they would just take a more global look at the issues.
P.S. The Adrian Leeds Group is now listing properties for sale in Paris and other parts of France -- visit Parler France Properties to see four outstanding properties. We only represent properties of exceptional quality, on as high a standard as the properties we have represented for rental, so you can trust you will make the best purchase and investment.
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