The concept of Airbnb is immensely popular and its example is followed by many others. This offers several advantages for lessors as well. First of all, renting out your own house via a website – as in the case of Airbnb – is easy for house owners: they can get into contact with the tenant quite quickly and directly, without the interference of an organisation that tries to get its piece of the pie.
That is also the experience of Jens van den Broek, general manager of Micazu. This Dutch equivalent of Airbnb has – in contrast with the famous example – as niche that it is only for and by Dutch people. “The big advantage of these kinds of concepts is that the lessors are mostly completely free regarding the decision to rent out their house and the payment of the rent,” he says. “Furthermore, the lessor is not limited in any way if he wants to advertise his house any place else, and there are also services available on the website that he can make use of, such as an automatic booking calendar.”
Furthermore the direct contact with the tenant can be more pleasant for the home owner, as it is more familiar. In certain cases both parties meet in person before the house is even rented out. According to Jens van den Broek tenants also find it a pleasant, open and reliable way of doing business. Tenants also like to make use of an Airbnb-similar concept because they can address their questions directly to the owner. They can also get some useful tips. It can be an added value if the lessor knows a nice little place to have a nightcap instead of having to rely on the travel guide with its standard bars. “In the case of Micazu people also prefer to do business with people of their own country.”
“Another significant advantage is the relatively low costs,” van den Broek continues. “Whereas traditional organisations often charge 30 percent of the rent for mediation costs, it is a lot less with concepts like these. Here, you often pay a fixed or variable subscription fee per year. What is also interesting is that you can make contact with other tenants.
Van den Broek is convinced that concepts like these are the future. “The youngsters of today are the bookers of tomorrow, who no longer plan their holiday by means of travel guides or travel agencies. They find travel tips online via TripAdvisor or by means of apps. I expect that traditional travel agents will keep on existing, but they will have to take some blows. The sharing economy is an absolute trend. Over the past few years, people have started sharing cars, bikes and snowboards, so why would you even buy a drill for example? Tenants are increasingly stepping away from the traditional suppliers and want to be able to determine everything themselves. There are no secrets anymore either – everything can be found out online nowadays. And the house owners? They are accepting the often high costs of a traditional supplier less and less. They are not so willing to lose control anymore.”
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