For many people, Airbnb has some advantages over hotels. Users of the service often end up with nicer accommodations that are more central to their destination. Oh, and there is that nice advantage that they are usually less expensive than nearby hotels, in part because they haven’t been charging guests the typically 10-18% taxes that hotels are required to pass along.
Beginning soon, those days will be coming to an end for Airbnb. The startup has agreed to begin collecting hotel taxes in many major cities.
Obviously these costs will be passed along to Airbnb users but they are smart to do this nevertheless. All along, the governments were asking for more money. Of course, they said transient housing like Airbnb generated safety concerns but it’s funny how fast those worries disappear as soon as the money begins rolling in. Safety concerns? What safety concerns?
Uber could learn a lot from Airbnb. Instead of paying into city coffers, Uber has taken the position that they are not a taxi service, merely an app that connects non-employee drivers with passengers. While everything they say is true, Uber had to know they were going up against existing taxi services that do pay taxes and fees and just happen to have either a monopolistic advantage or a near-monopolistic one. If Uber was as smart as Airbnb, they would roll over and pay to play. When the big bucks come rolling in to the government, everything else can fall into place.