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Tourism: Lebanon increasingly more active in the Airbnb community

Jun 17

Tourism: Lebanon increasingly more active in the Airbnb community

BEIRUT: Airbnb, An online platform that has been offering lodging and tourism services all over the world since 2008, is progressively becoming a preferred option for citizens and tourists in Lebanon.

The story of this exciting online marketplace, which has grown into a $35 billion business, started out as a simple idea for three penniless college students to pay rent. Designers Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia rented out the spare room of their shared apartment in San Francisco to three travelers who became the very first Airbnb guests.

That same San Francisco apartment became Airbnb’s first operating office, and a little over a decade later, the company now has 34 offices worldwide with almost 4k employees.

When Chesky, Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk first began their hosting website, they named it in reference to the “airbeds” they scrappily provided their three first guests with, and “bed and breakfast,” a service that provides breakfast following an overnight stay. Shortly after, the name was shrunk to Airbnb.

Ever since its launch, half a billion guests have stayed in Airbnb listings. These guests have six million unique homes worldwide to choose from, including shared rooms, castles, tree-houses, houseboats, lofts, tipis, automobiles, and much more, starting from a minimum of $10 per night.

Through creating a free Airbnb account, millions of hosts and travelers have the ability to advertise their space and book accommodations in over 100k cities in almost 200 countries, one of them being Lebanon.

“I’ve been an Airbnb host for almost four years now,” Hani Hasbini, who rents out two mountain chalets in the Faraya village, told Annahar. “It was always my intention to rent out these properties, and Airbnb gave me a platform to advertise to a wider audience,” he added.

Hasbini explained how in Lebanon, tourists and locals searching for a less formal lodging experience, such as that offered by hotels, are preferring Airbnb accommodations.

“The Airbnb experience is more akin to a host handing you the keys to his/her home,” Hasbini said. “Lots of people feel more comfortable in a home setting than a hotel room. It is a more relaxed and intriguing environment, which tends to be cheaper than hotels,” he added.

Airbnb guests have the option to choose from listings based on their preferred price range, amenities, facilities, property type, neighborhood, house rules, and even the host’s language.

Giving your property’s keys to a complete stranger or staying at a complete stranger’s place may seem strange and perilous to some, but within the Airbnb platform, danger is not a concern.