How technology has transformed hosting

For many years, hotels and inns were the only options for those traveling. Today, thanks to applications, portals, and social networks, the traveler has new lodging options in the most diverse price ranges – including free alternatives.

The most disruptive of these tools is Airbnb. In this app, the traveler will find from shared rooms to entire mansions for rent. Its interface is simple and intuitive: just register and cross information such as location and date of travel to find available accommodations, all with photos and description of the rooms. Each type of accommodation has specific rules of use which need to be explicitly stated on the platform.

The app allows the user to evaluate and recommend the properties that have been rented, creating a reliable network of renters and lessors. To ensure the security of both parties in the process, every form of payment is processed through the application, thus avoiding fraud.

Alternative and inexpensive options

For those traveling with low budgets, mainly backpackers, there are many more economical and attractive options that combine low prices with the possibility of meeting other travelers in a similar situation. One of them is Couchsurfing a social network that bridges the gap between people looking for free hosting and hosts willing to receive them.

The service goes beyond finding a mattress to sleep on without paying anything. The intention of the site is that the travelers have a full experience with their hosts, seeing the city through the latter’s eyes and that this creates new friendships and connections.

Another interesting concept for those who do not want high expenses when it comes to hosting is the Work Exchange: the exchange of hosting for services. One of the biggest examples of this type of service is WorkAway, a site that offers more than 32 thousand work opportunities in exchange for hosting in more than 170 countries. To find an opportunity, the users only need to search the destinations that interest them and find, in those regions, job opportunities matching their personal skills.

Another similar platform created by Brazilians is Worldpackers. In addition to connecting travelers for work opportunities in exchange for accommodation, the site also has social impact projects, NGOs and ecovillages in its register.

New challenges

Even if you prefer to stay in a more traditional kind of accommodation you can count on the technology for cheaper and best hotels or hostels. Sites like Booking or Trivago compare prices of hotel rooms and even allow reserving rooms with gratuitous cancellation. The arrival of applications has forced many traditional hotel chains to review their pricing and customer service policies.

Just as these platforms create new opportunities for travelers and hosts, the novelty also has unforeseen negative impacts when launching these services. Airbnb, for example, has been accused of causing real estate crises, as it encourages lessors to purchase real estate in historic sites, raising the price of apartments and houses in the vicinity. The practice makes whole neighborhoods full of houses for rent and drives out native owners to more remote areas where property prices have not suffered from real estate speculation.

To combat this kind of reaction, some cities are creating specific rules for Airbnb. In Los Angeles, for example, a series of norms have been recently approved restricting the application, establishing a maximum number of registrable households per neighborhood, and decreasing the number of days a traveler can stay at the destination.


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