Too much disruption?

Let me start by saying that I’m a big fan of Airbnb. However nice a hotel room can be, it is often quite small. For a similar price, I can find an entire apartment or in some cases even an entire house on Airbnb. Since my wife and I are often working while we travel, having separate rooms that we can take our calls from is pretty useful.

So for us as tourists, Airbnb is terrific. But the thing about disruption is that while it can be great for some people, it can also cause massive problems for others. This, in turn, can lead to unfortunate setbacks, like Barcelona’s recent pledge to ban all of its 10,000 Airbnb rentals by 2029.

Who knows if they will actually follow through on that but the drastic nature of that decision highlights just how dissatisfied so many locals have become with the short term rental industry.

But why does it appear that short term rentals can be so bad for certain communities?

Well, in heavily touristed areas like Barcelona, Lisbon as well as countless small towns all over the world, it can lead to skyrocketing rent prices for locals because property owners can make a lot more money on Airbnb than they can from long-term rentals.

In some places, like this small town in Kent, things have gotten so out of hand that many residents are left without regular neighbors. The town has 542 properties listed on Airbnb and just 8 properties listed for rent.

Picturesque small towns can benefit a lot from thriving tourism, but too much of it can have the opposite effect as towns become less liveable for locals, leading to poor long-term living conditions and workforce shortages.

I’d like to see disruptive companies like Airbnb continue to succeed because I’d like to be able to continue enjoying everything that they can offer. But success at that scale takes more than revenue growth. It takes a responsible approach to growth and development that doesn’t ignore the needs and interests of the communities that they rely on.

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Personal Recommendation

This week’s personal recommendation is a website that I’ve been using regularly for probably more than 7 years now and that is

Because I write often, I want to ensure that my writing is easy to read and the Hemingway Editor gives me instant feedback about how easy or difficult my text is to read. It gives me a readability score and shows me where I can aim to reduce the complexity of a sentence. More recently, as most tools have, it also integrated some AI magic into its functionality. But I’ll let you explore more on that if it sounds useful.

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