Your favorite short-term vacation rental site may soon be rebranding itself. According to a new Bloomberg report, Airbnb, which has hung its hat on finding temporary residences for nearly a decade, is looking to diversify its offerings with some long-term options.
According to Bloomberg’s sources, Airbnb has secured the services of consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to look into the feasibility of diving into a different marketplace — that of the long-term rental business. The sources also suggested that McKinsey’s research will involve a “competitive analysis of Craigslist,” as the online marketplace boasts an enormous user base at around 60 million U.S. visitors every month. Of course, one of the most popular sections on Craigslist is real estate.
That said, it seems that just about everyone has heard of (or experienced) a Craigslist horror story when it comes to finding a room or roommate. As the site does not regulate posted listings, it becomes something of a free-for-all, which leaves much to be desired by renters. But Airbnb might be able to change all that, hoping to “offer a safer, identity-verified alternative,” Bloomberg reports.
This actually wouldn’t be the first time that Airbnb delved into subletting. In fact, that has been an offered service since 2011 — there is a special Airbnb Sublets page that lets users check out houses and apartments that can be rented on a monthly basis. Some cities like New York only allow for these long-term rentals and Airbnb collects a pretty steep fee from these bookings — anywhere between nine and 12 percent. As it stands, monthly rentals are an option in more than 5,000 cities, but it’s not a heavily advertised feature of the site.
Airbnb has neither confirmed nor denied the notion that it is taking a closer look at long-term rentals. As a spokesperson told Bloomberg, “Examining different parts of the market is standard operating procedure, and we don’t have any announcements to make.”
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