The internet has made short term home rental a snap for both renters and hosts. We live near Boston but have a second home in upstate NY. And I recently took a job that requires me to be in New York City for several days a week, and I have a tiny place there. So our housing costs are stretching us and we have started to rent out.
We thought about the relative advantages and disadvantages of VRBO, the leader in such rentals, and the newer, hipper alternative, AirBnB. We opted to rent the upstate house on the staid and family oriented VRBO, and have not been disappointed.
Hello, We’re traveling to NY to visit family and are considering spending a few days near Fair Haven. Possibly heading to the Sterling Renaissance Festival and doing some fishing with the kids. According to VRBO, your home is available on the dates we are considering, but I was wondering… how is the water near your dock? I know there’s been a drought so I’m concerned that the water may be too low to actually fish from the dock. Also, how far is the dock from the house?
By contrast I use the ultra-trendy AirBnB to rent my micro-apartment in Brooklyn Heights, in an old mansion right on the Promendade overlooking Manhattan. I list it as “weekends only” and even as “multiple weekends only” since NYC is cracking down on short term rentals when the host is not present, as is typically the case with AirBnB.
I have been somewhat successful getting the pied-a-terre crowd to use it for longer periods over multiple weekends. Still, the pictures of the Manhattan skyline on my listing have great appeal, and AirBnB’s reach is broad, so I am forever getting emails from the international set–Maria from Caracas, Bella from Prague, Simone from Provence–looking to rent for a few days or during the week when I am present. A lot from single women, too, as it turns out. But not all:
Hi Fenster, how are you?
Your home look great for me and one friend! we are two young florist in paris and during our montreal’s holidays we come to NYC!
i’m fall in love from brooklyn last summer and i would like find a place in williamsburg!
you flat is it available between 06.29 and 07.02 ?
have a nice day
I wanted to write back:
Dear Jefferson&Simon, how are you?
I am old professor and will be for myself resting at my apartment there then there! My futon will not fit comfortable a professor and two florists! Also, we are not williamsburg!
I typically get 1 or 2 of these requests a day on my iPhone, and summarily dispatch them with a “weekends only; read the ad asshole” note, more artfully put bien sûr. But I didn’t really check out much about my correspondents in my haste to deny them access.
Then the other day I went back and looked at the actual correspondence logged in at the AirBnB site, which includes the photos of the folks writing in. Below is a collage of a number of inquirers from Brazil, Russia, France, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Germany and other locales.
Used to be women thought it risky to travel alone. Now with the provocative photos!
[Dear Simone/Graciela/Majorie/Dawn, et. al., how are you?
Zoot Alors, my place while yes small is very very nice! And so available! Do you mind sharing if I cut price?]