Why Uber Is Great And Airbnb Is Awful

This more or less nails it, in the limit:

Uber ended up being a much better version of taxis and Airbnb ended up being a much worse version of hotels

— Daniel (@growing_daniel) June 11, 2022

It’s easy to forget how awful taxis were when Uber burst onto the scene. You couldn’t request cars by app, you couldn’t see where they were or know when they’d arrive, and you couldn’t track your rides. Cabs were usually in terrible condition (with regulated prices and limited numbers of cabs, it made no sense to invest in the product because doing so didn’t help a business earn more). And you had the whole payment process thing at the end of the ride rather than just getting out of the car.

We can wish for ‘a better Uber’ but baked in is the idea that vehicle transit has already been revolutionized.

Ironically, Uber isn’t profitable while Airbnb makes money. And Airbnb is awful. It’s full of scammers, it’s often more expensive than hotels, and of course you pay a cleaning fee but still have to clean the place yourself.

Plus when you’re renting a specific unit rather than one of many, and the owner wants to turn that unit over without missing a night, it’s tough to do anything than 10 a.m. checkout and 4 p.m. check-in with enough time for cleaning in-between.

There are edge cases where Airbnb makea sense,

  • large groups traveling, a house is cheaper
  • location where hotel options are limited or nonexistent

I like just walking out of my hotel room and leaving. Someone else takes out the trash. But hotels are ‘trashing’ their unique selling proposition by eliminating daily housekeeping and other services.

The biggest reason I avoid Airbnb whenever i can is nonrefundable rates. The model sort of requires it – one person owns one property, and if a person cancels and they cannot resell the place they’re out of luck and income. But life situations happen, I do need to change travel plans, and hotels are much better for this.

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