Start-up Fairbnb is Airbnb but with a heart

Fairbnb is a new start-up in the quad that allows you to rent your home to guests and will collect 15% commission on bookings. Where that commission will go sets the two start-ups apart. In Fairbnb, half of the money will go into the local community where that unit is based.

Fairbnb is only three years old but they’ve built responsible tourism directly into their operations and policies to make short-term rentals positive aspects to the communities in which they are located.

The money may go to non-commercial meeting spaces, community centres or social housing. The guest staying in your home will have a say how that part of the commission will be used in the neighbourhood. Fairbnb will approve and vet each of these projects and perhaps make it open to guests to visit during their stay. The idea is that the neighbourhoods would see a monetary investment into their communities rather than profits going to corporations.

Airbnb has received bad press over the years because short stay rentals have ruined the local neighbourhood as it brings house prices up and a huge number of tourists book these rentals.

“A [home-sharing] platform that is accountable and responsible”

Sito Veracruz, a co-founder of Fairbnb, said: “For a long time, the social impact of travelling was rarely taken into consideration — because at first with vacation apartments, people didn’t feel it. We are now reckoning with the damaging impact of tourism on communities, not just because of the industry’s growth, but because of its huge expansion into residential areas.”

“Three years ago when we started, the need for our concept was something we had to explain a lot. With every passing day, as public opinion changes, we have to explain the ‘why’ of our project less and less. It’s very important to have a [home-sharing] platform that is accountable and responsible, that is about including social sustainability in the economic sustainability equation,” he added.

Currently, Fairbnb has co-op members in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Lithuania, and are consulting with other cities in Europe like Venice, Bologna and Barcelona. Over 700 people have applied to list their homes on Fairbnb. It is still unclear when Fairbnb will have its official launch but the growing interest in sustainable tourism attracts travellers to companies that put emphasis on being socially responsible.

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