Monday, July 27, 2015

Family loses $7000 in Airbnb scam

Hey Guys, you may have seen the latest Sun Herald News Story about the Australian family who go conned in an Airbnb exchange, If not here is the link to the story: CLICK HERE

Well...its easy to see why the attraction with these big trendy booking services offering thousands of homes, competative prices, and its just all so easy to book! We (Petite Paris are a boutique Australian B&B service and we have always tried to drive home and educate Australian travellers about the need to be very careful with such sites. Not just because we need to compete with them as naturally we must, though the difference in our services means truthfully there is no comparison, but because unlike boutique services like ours, they leave way too much room for risk and lack quality control...

Below is a little article on our perspective on the new breed of automated accommodation booking services vs old-school traditional human services, like us... 
Please feel free to tell us what you curious to hear peoples take onthis new wave of impersonal services... good stories as well as bad... we go...

Have we become Slapdash Travellers?

Paris’ classic B&Bs and professional services have dropped 30% in bookings in 2015 thanks to the new breed of ‘contemporary’ online booking services.

Millions of self-listed homes on AirBnB ( mean places to stay are cheaper than ever with booking systems one click away. Now Nightswapping offers places to stay for free if you ‘swap nights’ in your own home. These services are attractive to the growing breed of budget travellers, but why are quality and professional accommodation services being demoted by ‘sleep-overs’?

A sign of the financial and tech-savvy times, we’re happy to save time and money by avoiding human service, which, lets admit, takes time and money - about 20 percent more. We’re also being seduced by very enticing marketing campaigns promising new independent ways and opportunities to travel. As a result we‘re shopping from a supermarket of homes, like online daters; and like Tinder and RSVP there is no filtering system for quality listings.

We’ve all heard the horror stories - from disappointing homes that look nothing like they did online, to sudden cancellations by homeowners 2 days before arrival etc. Why do we trust these services then when it comes to a place to sleep? Showering in a bathroom full of strangers’ hair and trying to sleep with raging college students outside your door is no way to spend your holiday. Strange: they advertised a ‘Clean and peaceful home’.

These websites sport the veneer of professionalism and quality but are classified advertising sites.

Regina Ferreira, from Australian boutique B&B service says “we’re often ‘cleaning-up’ the mess by looking after disappointed or homeless travellers with replacement homes and offering the human help and quality control that would have helped to prevent such disappointments’. Petite Paris has less than 1% cancellation rate in 5 years of operation. Travellers who have had personal help feel confident in their home choice and are unlikely to cancel. High cancellation rates on mass booking sites are telling signs that more help is needed during the selection process as guests and homeowners cancel just as easily as they booked. That’s perhaps the appeal for today’s travellers; it’s not so much about quality as it is about ease of use. There is no real commitment necessary from the beginning.

AirBnB specifically is not a professional or a B&B service (despite using the term). Anyone can list on the site and homeowners do not have to offer actual Bed & Breakfast services that would offer real interaction with locals and authentic travel experiences. Despite promising ‘living like a local’ there is no authentic interaction with the city and its people by simply booking an empty rental or by ‘Nightswapping’ apartments. In genuine B&Bs, you are living with a local host and being provided B&B services and daily communication; a true connection and authentic insider experience ‘living like a local’, in any city.

Ironically, the few authentic registered B&Bs listed on airBnB are there due to the old ‘can’t beat em, join em’. They have had little choice but to mingle with the mangy, reduce their prices just to stay afloat and thereby lower the standards of the formerly renowned B&B quality, just to meet cheap travellers’ slapdash preferences. Interestingly an estimated 25,000-30,000 units disappeared from the rental market in Paris, being listed on AirBnB. 
(Read this little article about Paris officials cracking down on Airbnb apartments illegally listed - yes its illegal to offer an empty apartment in Paris with it being registered as a commercial space. ARTICLE: and also on Le Figaro French newspaper online:

Travellers that truly care about the quality experiences of travel, comfort and authentic exposure ought to stick to the old yet efficient professional B&B services that offer live human assistance.

Petite Paris B&Bs, a service dedicated to a select network of quality homes and personally tailored service, is the archetype of an authentic boutique-run B&B provider. Director Regina Ferreira travels to Paris annually to inspect all B&Bs in the Petite Paris catalogue. Each home meets the official B&B ‘Quality of Charter’ rules and regulations prepared by the city of Paris. One-on-one interaction ensures guests are given proper insight about each home and are guided towards the best home that suits their needs and idiosyncrasies. Customer service doesn’t only appear when problems arise. In authentic B&Bs, disappointment is evaded through the professional human booking process.

A wealth of insider knowledge and experience about the B&Bs and Paris itself, Regina offers guests looking for the perfect quality home, peace of mind with her expert tailored all-round service.

"Regina your service and website are fantastic. I felt you went out of your way to help us and your love of Paris is genuine and infectious! You provide a very personal service, which is wonderful in the current world of impersonal, online bookings and companies that know so little about their product! We loved everything about the apartment - the comfort, the personal feeling, the location, and the chance to feel like a local. Everyone was friendly and helpful."

Watch out for the new Petite Lisbon B&Bs, coming soon as Petite expands throughout Europe.

Petite Paris B&Bs versus Hotels/AirBnB/other…
·       In the genuine B&B world, there are no high or low seasons so prices NEVER change. They do, however, reduce for select SALE periods!
·       Booked guests have immediate contact with their B&B hosts, vice versa.
·       Professional Standard Seal of Quality for all homes as set by the Paris Tourism Office quality of Charter. Professionally selected and regularly inspected by B&B professionals with over 15 years experience.
·       Personalized and intimate human service offering insider B&B and apartment information and details.
·       Unlimited city advice with all bookings i.e tips, personalized guidance from the point of contact to the end of the holiday.
·       Guests who book with a professional B&B service are more confident in their choice. Petite Paris has a less than 1% cancellation rate with guests going into well-appointed and well-matched homes . 

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