I was in London this week for the Planet Of The Apps conference and to meet with some people. The event was held in a hotel called the Royal Garden (West London), so it obviously made sense for me to stay there.
The event organizers, even though I was chairing the entire conference for a full day and moderating a whole bunch of panels, didn’t have a budget reserved for fees, transport or accommodation, so I had to pay for things out of my own pocket.
Unusual, but hey, I knew that going in.
My employer (TechCrunch/AOL) covers work-related expenses, but the hotel was so utterly expensive, particularly the non-complimentary Wi-Fi connection (£20 per day), that I quickly decided not to book a room there.
Needless to say, it’s not because someone else covers your expenses that you should accept getting ripped off.
Anyway, I decided to try Airbnb.com (not for the first time, mind you), and the experience was nothing short of amazing. Quickly found an available (and quite luxurious) bedroom with private bath and shower room not too far from the event venue.
Getting in touch with my (phenomenal) hosts was easy, the online payment process was smooth, and a small hickup with the reservation was quickly dealt with by Airbnb support.
My hosts – a lovely young couple – made me breakfast and coffee every morning, and gave me great tips with regards to public transport. They also offered complimentary Wi-Fi, free of charge. Oh, and they love Airbnb, too.
Airbnb may have been overvalued with its latest funding round, or it may not have been.
One thing is for sure, though: the general idea behind the company’s service can prove to be enormously disruptive to the vacationing industry, particularly when it comes to short (business or leisure) travel to major cities throughout the world.