My Conflicted Relationship With America's Biggest Real Estate Company

Did you know that the biggest American real estate company owns no real estate? It is true. AirBnB does not own real estate, but they leverage millions of rental listings.

Most of the biggest real estate companies have thousands of employees. That is barely the case with AirBnB. Despite being the most popular real estate company, the business only has less than 2,000 employees.

Their journey has been impressive to say the least. Many people (including myself) have benefited from the online platform. It is the most convenient resource for any traveler. Moreover, it could be the cheapest option for the budget traveler.

Within the United States, many hotels, bed and breakfast inns, and hostels are looking for ways to mitigate any potential loss of customers resulting from AirBnB. It can be quite difficult because brick and mortar hospitality businesses are held to a higher standard.

In actuality, many city governments are not holding the company to any standard. As a result, several BnB inns have been affected due to the rise of AirBnB listings in the area. The rise of their listings may have caused Raleigh to lose its last bed and breakfast inn. New York City, San Francisco, and Santa Monica are a few cities that have implemented strict regulations to make it difficult for the company to operate in their city.

Bed and breakfast inns are unique because they are not like AirBnB or hotel chains. Monica Edwards (Owner of Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast) stated that she sees herself as an ambassador for the city. As a BnB innkeeper, she offers a personalized experience that you will not experience in most hotel chains. Her award-winning BnB will be reaching its 20th anniversary on April 19th.

AirBnB has rental listings in 100+ countries and faced challenges in only a few U.S. cities. Their reach and growth has prompted me to wonder how current BnB innkeepers feel about the bed and breakfast industry. Is the company really hurting physical bed and breakfast inns?

"To some degree, yes. Anybody can put their property on AirBnB ... [and set their own price]. They do not have to go through the same vigorous inspections [required by the government]," says Monica Edwards (Owner of the TripAdvisor award-winning BnB, Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast).

The Morehead Manor owner has never used AirBnB. Conversely, I have used it multiple times. When I am traveling to a new country, it is my best option unfortunately.

AirBnB relies on the host to deliver a great experience to the traveler and depend on the travelers to provide insightful reviews. Although, what is the outcome if a traveler submits a complaint? Nothing! The traveler can write a bad review, which hurts the host's reputation to a certain extent. Unfortunately, AirBnB does not intervene in the situation.

My worst experience occurred during my stay in West Drayton (a London suburb). Sadly, I had no other nearby options for consideration and endured hell for a few nights. After my departure, I reported my dissatisfaction to AirBnB. They never addressed my issue despite waiting four months.

For that reason, I will stay at bed and breakfast inns whenever possible. It may cost more, but I prefer to pay more for a stress-free experience.

There is nothing more satisfying than coming downstairs to be greeted with breakfast and enjoying it with conversation from the BnB owner. That is one of many things that you experience during a stay at a bed and breakfast inn like Morehead Manor.