Airbnb, the app that helps travelers find local houses to rent out, is offering its customers the chance to stay on the River Thames in a cute, floating houseboat. Guests will presumably eat fish and chips and sip tea, while classily floating down through southern England. The Airbnb publicity stunt is taking place in celebration of the passing of the Deregulation Act, which allows Londoners to rent out their homes through the home-sharing app for up to 90 days without facing fines or fees.
The adorable blue houseboat features two bedrooms, a living room, bathroom, and a miniature yard, complete with dog kennel and apple tree. While the house is an Airbnb structure, the domain will mostly be used for community events and publicity-related functions like the most recent promotion: A raffle to win a free stay in the houseboat.
Some overnight stays will be offered throughout the week, and Airbnb is offering a group stay for free from May 22 to May 23. In addition to getting an overnight stay in the adorable houseboat, he four-person group will be treated to a Michelin star meal by chef Robet Ortiz of London Peruvian restaurant ‘Lima’ after docking in Putney. If interested, you can enter to win on Airbnb’s site — The house won’t be floating along forever, so don’t miss your chance.
Airbnb is growing fast, and the California-based company has ballooned to a $20 billion valuation. The company now has 800,000 listings in almost 200 countries. However, Airbnb is facing legal issues in a number of different locales, as local government seek to ban the company’s operations based on hotel laws. Hotel unions are likely not too happy about renters taking up spaces in local homes instead of at their hotels. Airbnb houses currently do not have to charge hotel taxes on their properties, and much like Uber, local governments are struggling to adjust laws and regulations for the service.
Besides these few issues, the company has grown 86 percent in the UK year over year. James McClure, of Airbnb’s UK operations said, “London is already Airbnb’s third largest city globally and one of the world’s top tourist destinations. With these new, clear rules on home sharing we expect more and more Londoners to open their homes to visitors from across the globe.”