The Sharing Economy is here to stay… embrace it

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I would like to take this opportunity to advise you that the recording of today’s episode does not have the same sound quality that you, my amazing loyal followers and newbies, are used to…but I felt this conversation and topic was too important for our community to shelve it, or go back and re-record… Especially, since so many hosts are facing these issues in their own backyards.

Who is Mr. Lee A Thomas Jr.?

My dear hosting community, today I’m hosting Mr. Lee A. Thomas, Jr. I met Lee at one of the many Airbnb gatherings held in the New York City area, He is always sharing his story with the community and with the press… and today he shares it with you, the Hosting Journey listeners.

Ok, who exactly is Lee A. Thomas, Jr.?

Well, Lee worked in the Financial Industry in downtown New York City for many years when the 9/11 attacks occurred. A few months after that dreadful day, Lee became ill.

Lee´s medical expenses started to mount and quickly became quite significant, so much so that he decided to start sharing his two-family home on Airbnb to help cover the cost of his medical expenses. Airbnb has been a great help.

Though he’s still dealing with his illness, in true Lee form, he hasn’t stopped working as a financier.

Lee Thomas is currently President Board Director of the LEAD Program and Partner CEO of the Wall Street Financial Firm All Rise Enterprise.

In addition, Lee is Head of the Queen Host Club for Airbnb and a member of the North American Advisory Board for Airbnb. Oh yes, he has the ears of the big guys at Airbnb.

In addition (yes, there´s more), Lee is one of a kind…

Because of the ever-changing regulations and laws in New York Lee co-founded and is president of Home Sharing Association of America, HSAA. New York laws have been detrimental to many Airbnb hosts in our city and state.

Lee and I discussed how these new and ever-changing Airbnb rules affect us and our ability to properly host.

Airbnb's 48-hour guest grace period

Airbnb recently sent an email introducing a new rule where even if you have a STRICT cancellation policy as part of your listing profile, Airbnb will now give guests a 48-hour grace period to cancel if they book 14 days ahead. Without any penalty to the guest.

This new rule affects hosts in two ways.

#1: Before, if a guest had an issue with the listings cancellation policy, perhaps they weren't quite sure about their travel plans yet, they could always choose a listing that had a more flexible cancellation policy… Just in case.

Airbnb has STRICT, FLEXIBLE cancellation rules… There are reasons for these different guidelines… The host decides their cancellation policy.

Hosts that have selected the STRICT cancellation policies know that once a guest books their space they are serious about travel…

It's not a hold and sees policy if something better comes along… Now your listing has been off the site because you're supposedly ¨booked.¨ Unfortunately, guests can now cancel that booking free of penalties 48 hours after booking, leaving you scrambling to get another booking.

That's just one issue, but the second is even more egregious.

#2: Airbnb is revealing our listing information as hosts. There's a reason we don't give out our personal details to guests or anyone else we don´t know before they book, information like address, phone numbers, emails, etc. It's called privacy and security.

Our information is sacred and handing out our private information to guests, or anyone else for that matter, who can in turn just cancel with no ramifications, is not a good security policy. It can be dangerous. It leaves hosts very vulnerable and open to unknowns.

Yes, we understand that Airbnb is a business, a company, and a platform. At the end of the day, they want to make money. Understood. We also want to make money.

However, now anyone who wants to know where you live can book and cancel with no repercussions. At least before, if you wanted that address, it was going to cost you. Perhaps a minor deterrent, but a deterrent nonetheless.

Yes, We Can:

Here is a prime example of how the hosting community can affect policy change… even Airbnb’s policies.

The community got together and contacted Airbnb via social media, their blog, and email. Thankfully Lee and everyone got involved. informing Airbnb of the host's concerns.

It’s my understanding that they were able to get Airbnb to correct the change on the platform so Airbnb will not reveal the host address before the booking is complete. It was hard to get Airbnb to make this change but it was accomplished. The power of community.

As hosts, we cannot leave it up to lawmakers to fight our battles with our cities and sometimes even with Airbnb. That's just not a smart business practice… And we, are a business, even if all you’re listing is a bedroom or a couch. My dears hosts, you’re in business.

We Are a Business:

One of the big tips Lee and I brought up, as I just stated before, is to remember that your home is a business…and you should never forget this. Lee did a seminar at the Airbnb Open, “Making Home Share A Business,” and it's all about how to run your home as a business.

We hosts need to unite and collectively raise our voices, and that's the reason Lee and many of us in the hosting community have joined forces.

I want to thank Lee so much for sharing his story and for having this fantastic conversation with us here on The Hosting Journey. It’s all about getting involved, and it's NEVER too late.

If you want to join the Home Sharing Association of America (HSAA) go to thehsaa.org. They’re having a meeting this coming April 19th, 2018. Remember, The Home Sharing Association of America (The HSAA) is an independent non-partisan organization. The HSAA was formed to educate, promote, represent, preserve and enhance the rights and interests of homeowners and tenants who engage in home sharing throughout the United States.

Whether it’s questioning Airbnb policies or our city lawmakers, it’s up to us, the hosting community, to band together in order to make changes and make a difference.

Your host,

Evelyn

Links:

Some of the links mentioned are affiliate links. if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Commissions come at no additional cost to you.

PS: Want more…

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