The Need for Connectedness... and Airbnb September 6, 2015 18:30

I am in Rome for the World Retail Congress. The conference is being held at a landmark Rome Hotel, the Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria. I could have stayed in the hotel, or others close by, but  have opted to stay in an apartment a short walk from the hotel, via Airbnb - The question is why? A cost saving is an obvious answer but I don't think that is it. I think Airbnb have tapped into a primal human desire for connection and belonging.

I have stayed in a number of magnificent hotels, when travelling for work and pleasure. But despite the fantastic service and convenience,  when I travel alone I find hotels can be somewhat alienating, even lonely places. Is it just me? It can feel sometimes, that one is looking at the passing world from the 'outside in'. For me, the Airbnb experience provides a deeper and somewhat fast tracked connection to the environment you find yourself in. That starts with meeting the host, who invariably is a local and is able to point you quickly and authentically in the right direction. I have been in Rome for a day or so,  and in this short time, have greeted and chatted to local residents, have had coffees, lunch and dinner in the local eateries below the apartment, bought some provisions from the small grocer downstairs. Pretty much made myself at home!  Ok, I might be getting a bit ahead of myself and I certainly appreciate I am not about to be gifted the keys to the city by the good people of Rome. But still, in a short day or so, I do find I have a small sense of place in a busy environment. Dare I say, I find I am looking at my environment from the 'inside in?' Read more...