Following the destruction of a renters home, many people have questioned how AirBnB will do going forward, and view it as something of a turning point for the young company. I would argue that although the act itself is terrible, it may actually help AirBnB in the long run. While the rental industry as a whole will be at least temporarily damaged by the incident, I suspect that other rental avenues will suffer more than AirBnB. As we know AirBnB acquired a large portion of the rental inventory from Craigslist and it remains today that Craigslist hosts a good number of rental opportunities. My suspicion is that such independent rental avenues will suffer more as there is little accountability should something go wrong. AirBnB has taken a proactive approach and are working to make the situation right so renters are at least assured that if something like this does happen, the company is there to support them.
Given the rarity of these events, it also presents a new opportunity for AirBnB to provide an insurance option for renters to help further compensate them for any damages. Such an service should be in addition to their standard response of replacing belongings and bringing culprits to justice, but it would provide an additional level of comfort to renters and further add value to their service.
While we can speculate that the rental industry will never be the same, we have to remember that painful events like this find themselves in our short term memory (though certainly not for the unfortunate victim). Provided we don't see an increase in such occurrences and a successful resolution to the current situation, AirBnB and the rental industry should continue to prosper. Sad as it is, AirBnB had to go through this problem to learn how to deal with, and prepare for it in the future.
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