Harvard Business Review on Airbnb, Top Tourism Bureau Websites, POT-Friendly Inns

Airbnb is now charging guests (in Paris) $.83 a night occupancy tax after reaching an agreement with city authorities last year.jpeg (7)

Airbnb professes to be open to partnering with cities, but it has shown little interest in these problems; the company forcefully opposes any measures that would limit the scale of its business.

San Francisco Gets Tougher
Airbnb’s rocky relationship with its hometown of San Francisco recently took a turn for the worse. In February 2015 a new rule required Airbnb hosts to register with the city, but over a year later only about a fifth have done so. Now the city is holding Airbnb responsible for its hosts and will impose a fine on the company of $1,000 per day for each unregistered listing that the city can discover. It’s a new level of seriousness, following similar actions in New York state and Chicago.

Airbnb’s response is to take San Francisco to federal court, arguing that the city is violating three laws. And finally, Airbnb is claiming protection under the First Amendment, arguing that the new rule is a “content-based restriction.” Airbnb presents its business as a matter of speech… the company says it ultimately has no responsibility for what happens on the ground, just like a website with comments.

Cities Helpless to Control Airbnb?
If Airbnb is successful, and some experts believe it has a good chance, the CDA (Communications Decency Act) will free the company of responsibility for the impact of its business… City governments throughout the U.S. would be helpless to curb the number of Airbnb listings or the intensity of the tourist business that they bring. It’s a potent mix of bad incentives.

Airbnb a World Problem?
But all would not be smooth sailing for Airbnb. The majority of its business is now in Europe, where Berlin, Barcelona and, to a lesser extent, Paris are finding a new assertiveness in dealing with the explosion of vacation rentals. Meanwhile, the mayors of 10 major markets around the globe are starting a task force to construct a common response to the problems that Airbnb brings. Such developments are timely. Without them, authentic tourist experiences may be bought at the price of those who matter most: actual residents. Tom Slee, HBR

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What You Can Learn From

Skift chose 25 Top Tourism Websites and we chose 3 for you to review. The Los Angeles Tourism Site (seen above) exudes L.A. and what’s happening. Review the 3 tourism websites below and compare them to your own tourism bureau or to your own inn website. This is what tourism bureaus with big budgets and big brains are doing now to capture their share of the travel marketplace. A picture (and a couple bullet points) is worth 1,000 words to quickly see what you need to know.

https://www.visitnorway.com/ Unique video from a video cam mounted on sheep in Norway
1. LONG Page – very helpful to mobile searchers
2. Top lists – curated and compiled lists to help sort out the many scenic activities

1. Breakout of restaurants – featuring different categories
2. Activities that make you want to click
3. Videos

1. L.A. is complicated, so the maps help make neighborhoods stand out
2. Features recommendations from well-known locals (like Magic Johnson)
3. Page not as long as others but this is made up for by a fascinating menu at the bottom
4. Features one of the few transportation methods available other than a car

Trends – Bells & Whistles are Out
Speed, Full Width, Fast Navigation is In

Skift chose the top tourism websites noting, “The best sites are adopting a full-width modular design, flat architecture, and streamlined navigation structure due to the demand for speed and efficiency on mobile. Bells and whistles are getting thrown out in favor of load times and intuitive user experience.”

The real innovation is happening at the back-end with speed and fast mobile.

Image 7-20-16 at 3.00 PMPOT-Friendly Inns Boosting Colorado Tourism

49% of Colorado Visitors Influenced by Legal Weed
According to a study commissioned by the Colorado Tourism Office in 2015, legal weed influenced almost 49% nearly of the state’s visitors. The study’s questions may have been misleading; the poll never asked whether the influence was positive or negative. But in towns from Denver to Telluride, dispensaries are ubiquitous and easy to access; in other towns like Vail and Breckenridge, however, you have to go outside city boundaries to buy weed. Whichever town people visit, legal weed is both a curiosity and a novelty.

Bud+Breakfast Company Owns 4 Locations

Bud+Breakfast now has four pot-friendly bed-and-breakfast locations in Colorado, with a just-opened hotel in Parshall (Camp Bud+Breakfast), about 1.5 hours from Denver. It includes 14 cabins that start at $399 a night and the tagline “We’ll keep the bowl burning for you.” Cannabis smoking is prohibited inside the cabins, but allowed everywhere else…The company told Denver’s Westword Magazine that most of their business comprises out-of-state tourists… Curbed

Image 7-20-16 at 3.02 PMNew Mexico Cities Set Airbnb Fines of $250 a Day

Santa Fe and Taos plan to dock the cities’ illegal 1,000 short term rentals if they don’t list with the city. Earlier this year, the City Council voted to increase the limit from 350 to 1,000 and the amount of fines for those to be found in violation. Under the amended ordinance, after Aug. 9 those in violation are subject to a $500 fine and $250 per day if the matter is not rectified after 14 days.

Randy Randall, the city’s director of tourism, said those who submit applications to operate short-term rental units by Aug. 9 will not be subject to the fines. He said so far the amended ordinance has generated about 150 new applications for short-term rental permits.

A study commissioned by the city last year suggested that the city was losing up to $2.1 million in lodgers taxes annually from unlicensed short-term rentals.