As an optimist, I love that travellers are able to stay in unoccupied living quarters -- bedrooms or castles or Tesla trunks (pictured) -- in order to save themselves money, provide income for property owners, reduce waste and gratuitous consumption and, yes, deliver what is often a more authentic travel experience than what's offered by cookie-cutter hotels. Travel is an exercise in uncertainty, after all, and I've found that the most rewarding experiences usually involve an element of risk.
In fact, I believe there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who would be comfortable listing their homes on Airbnb, and those who wouldn't. I'd be perfectly happy renting out my Toronto semi -- Pan-Am Games, anyone? -- but my wife would never agree to it. My brother, meanwhile, sides with my spouse. Why wouldn't he rent out his Edinburgh flat? "Because!"
I'm not exactly sure what separates us on the issue, but I think it has something to do with this Onion article.
So I wonder: Which camp are you in, and why?
More to the Globe article's point, why is Airbnb ignoring the element of risk? It is disingenuous at best, and dangerously misleading at worst, to make welcoming strangers into one's home seem like a risk-free proposition. Airbnb can't control how people behave, after all, and can't control the fallout or circumstances of bad behaviour.
Guests and hosts can be positively rated and encouraged to act responsibly -- as I'm sure the vast majority of Airbnb users do -- but the company shouldn't downplay risks, or even the potential for risk, in order to grow a business that depends on the property of others.