Lisa and I hate the cold. Of course, it wasn't always like that. Who doesn't want to go sliding down a hill with kids? Make a snowman on snow day. Build a warm fire when it is sleeting out.
But that was then, when our kids lived with us, and this is now where the winter is bleak and the sun too weak to entice us to stay. We don't want to huddle where it is freezing out, waiting for a Shipt delivery because we fear catching someone else's "cold".
So this weekend she resolved to get a place in South Florida for a couple of months. I was perturbed. Why not just get away for a couple of weekends? But she wouldn't hear it. She wanted to go Airbnb.
We used to love going to Miami Beach and staying in one of those cool hotels on the ocean. But Lisa said, no way: first, they are expensive, second they are crowded, third, you have to be in an elevator with others, fourth, you can't go to a pool anymore because there are no masks and finally, the places are a fortune.
Instead, she showed me five places that were all, for a month, the price of a week in a typical hotel. All had pools. All had nice kitchens, a necessity when you fear restaurants and their flimsy social distancing rules, and all were a bike ride away from whatever is needed.
We looked at the places together. We have a friend who lives down, there, a Jersey émigré, and we asked her to check out the properties. I am confident we will get one this week.
I am not telling you about this to brag that my wife has enough dough to go to Florida for a couple of months. Far from it. What I am saying is that Aribnb turns out to be another one of those forever-changed businesses to the positive, not to the negative when their business first felt the brunt of Covid-19. We had fear about staying in someone else's home back them. But we have subsequently realized is that we know how to make our house clean. We have learned. We cannot, however, make our hotel room clean or get that pool to ourselves or endlessly take the stairs because we fear the elevators. One of my absolute places down there has a fantastic bar off to the right that I loved to hang out at. Did during Super Bowl Weekend.
That's why we have a deal on our hands that might end up being the steal of a century: Airbnb. It pretty much has the market to itself. The hotel and restaurant workers unions that were so powerful when combined with the hoteliers no longer can fight to keep Airbnb out. The tax dollars are too needed. And now about 25% of hotels are in arrears and I don't see how it can get better before it gets worse.
The company was always the clear cut category winner. But it always had lots of competition from hotels who were willing to do what they could to derail the operation. Now people want the extra money. They want to monetize their homes. Their homes are often much nicer than hotels but they lack all of the accoutrements that we loved about hotels: the ease, the bars, the location, the restaurants, the prospect of being taken care of.
Now we don't' want any of that stuff. It's a recession. We still want to travel. We want a bargain. We don't want to raise our chances of getting Covid. We want Airbnb.