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Forum > Technical Help and Questions > HC-Airbnb. I'm shocked. What do You think?
#0 HC-Airbnb. I'm shocked. What do You think? Tue 24 Jul 12 23:34:35
Greetings for all!

One year ago, when CS became a benefit corporation, Veit expressed a strong
criticism about that. So, I was happy to be assured, that HC would never go that
way, and would always stay as much outside the money system as possible.
But 2 days ago a shocking message arrived from... Veit. HC and Airbnb join their
forces. HC becomes a for-profit enterprise as well, maybe in even worse way than
CS did. We are encouraged to create an Airbnb profile, and therefore to divide
our guests into two categories: those paying and non-paying.

Of course, everyone of us can join Airbnb, if he feel like hosting for money,
but that activity should be completely separate from HC! HC and Airbnb represent
entirely opposite attitudes towards hosting and being guest; and towards
philosophy of life at all. Therefore, they can't be partners supporting each
other, because, i'm afraid, one of the 'partners' will eventually defeat the
other one...

A non-paying guest may think "Wow! My host is so good and open-hearted. He
shared his time and his space with me, without expecting anything in reward. I
want to do the same for him and other people" 
A paying guest would rather think another way: "I'm paying him, he lets me into
his home. It's just a deal. I want to do the same to make some extra money"
Which image of the world is better?

I'm not against the paid accommodation at all, but its place is in separate
objects or parts of home intended for that purpose by owners. But if I let
somebody into my private, everyday space, he is my guest and I can't collect
money from my guest! I would then feel somehow like a prostitute - selling a
part of my privacy and companionship for money. So I'm not going to join Airbnb,
because I prefer to be lover than prostitute. It's just my subjective point of
view, and I don't force you to agree, but I just wanted to express it.

The last confusion is about legal issues. I'm afraid that advertising your place
at Airbnb as a paid accommodation may, according to some countries' law, make
you an illegal hospitality service provider. An illegal, because you should have
firstly registered, got a permission or other such stuff. Moreover, a tax office
can become eventually interested in this source of income. I hope that no
friendly person, who joins Airbnb, will experience any legal problems, but be

I'm very confused with the message about HC-Airbnb fusion and I'm strongly
afraid that it can seriously undermine the spirit of HC. What do You think about
#1 HC-Airbnb. I'm shocked. What do You think? Wed 25 Jul 12 0:05:16
Hey Witold, don't know if you read the much more detailed explanations on - especially the part about my personal
experiences with Airbnb. I explained lots of my thoughts there. Trust me, I
believe in the idea of free hospitality exchange probably more than most ppl on
this planet, so I was very surprised when Airbnb appeared on the scene....and
then grew so much.

Personally I also prefer to host guests through HC. However, with the current
option of DONATING what you would get from a guest you can still host for free.
I know that it might take some time to get used to, maybe even feel a bit
awkward for the first guests (it did for me), but over time Airbnb members will
get used to seeing profiles of people who are hosting because they want to
change the world or meet great ppl, and not because of the cash.

They might prefer that, they might get interested and join HC - THAT is our
experiment and chance here. If they don't, they will stay from us obnoxiously
friendly and interested HC hosts anyway :-)

The legal stuff is covered quite well by Airbnb - it's their in
case you do have questions about it for your country, just send them an email.
But especially if you're not taking money yourself it should never be an issue.
#2 HC-Airbnb. I'm shocked. What do You think? Wed 25 Jul 12 0:10:34
Oh, and I don't agree about that "separate spaces" for paid and free hosting at
ALL. I've stayed with numbers of friendly HC members all over the world who
sometimes rent their place, a vacation home, extra room, whatever. And in fact -
for many years I used to host my guests in some spare rooms here at home in my
granny's house that she would rent out as private rooms from time to time. It's
important to keep the PLATFORMS separate - only free accomodation on HC, no
matter what. That will never change. What people do on other platforms/in their
flats/in their life should be of no concern to us.

Quite happy though to see the strong emotions - shows me that I'm not the only
one who loves our little life changing idea of free hospitality exchange very
much ;-)
#3 HC-Airbnb. I'm shocked. What do You think? Wed 25 Jul 12 4:27:20
Hallo, Veit! 
Thank You for the very quick answer:) I'm sorry for maybe too emotional tone of
my post, but I see You can even appreciate it;)

Firstly, I want to correct some misunderstandings.
I have nothing against hosting in rentrooms. For example, if I had a hotel I
would offer HC guests staying also in its unoccupied rooms, if they prefer it. 

I'm also not an enemy of Airbnb itself. If I had some flat or another space to
rent, probably I would like to join Airbnb, as a great opportunity of
advertising worldwide and having interesting people in my property. 
But I have only my cozy room and I can't imagine charging anybody for staying
there. I pointed that it's only my personal feeling and I don't force anybody to
feel the same.

It doesn't matter whether I receive the money or donate it to HC. For a guest
there's no difference between paying directly to his host, or to the host's
club. Guest has to pay and host knows it.

I've heard about Airbnb few months ago and, after thinking about it, I decided
that it's not for me. But I wasn't surprised that such an initiative emerged.
When I'm telling different people about HC, some of them completely disinterest,
when I'm saying that it's all for free... It's very worrying for me, that, in
many societies of our modern world, money became an unquestionably leading value
and some people wouldn't do anything without money behind it.

That's why I was terrified realising, that the ocean of money came closer to the
safe island of HC;)

I understand that this partnership doesn't cause any direct threats to HC, but
I'm still aware of some philosophic confusions about it. I know that it can be
successful for HC and I hope it will be. It may be a great way of spreading the
idea of free hospitality, but it can become also a way of dispersing this idea
in the money-driven one. That's what I'm afraid of. Apart from all the possible
advantages, I still think that it weakens the spirit of HC.
HC always strongly emphasized that hosting should be free, but now the same HC
encourages us to do the same also for money, as almost equally good way of
bringing people together. Isn't it confusing?

A serious danger could come, for example, if many people would choose donating
only some percentage of their Airbnb earnings to HC. Some of them could favour
the paying guests and finally only the most passionate believers of the HC idea
would remain really active here.

Anyway, I believe that You, Veit, have analyzed deeply all the pros and cons and
probably You have dealt with the same concerns, that are harassing my mind now.
I believe that You wouldn't do anything bad to your 'child', in which You have
put so much heart and effort; no matter how strange and profaning does it seem
to me for the first sight.

Sorry for the next long post;) I wish all the best to all of you!
Gute Nacht:)
#4 HC-Airbnb. I'm shocked. What do You think? Wed 25 Jul 12 4:57:03
I'm not against paid hosting either. but the airbnb website is going to attract
a lot of people who will not understand the concept of pure generosity of

Also, I don't get the concept of "donation".  Why donate to HC by joining
What will the money be used for?  Why not just ask HC members to donate via this
website? Lots of us donated on the CS website before it became a business last
year.  How much will veit get paid?

I am not against donating or having the coordinator get paid for working on the
website.  But how much $? Where will the budget accounting be held for public

In my country, non-profit organizations have to show some financial transparency
if they are soliciting donations.  

This sounds like a sell-out manoeuvre to me.  As in "preparing to sell of the
website to a private company" (airbnb).  Otherwise, why announce the big news by
email, rather than here on the HC forum.  Why not consult, rather than announce?
#5 HC-Airbnb. I'm shocked. What do You think? Wed 25 Jul 12 5:07:25
Thanks for your long explanation vito1110 - I can understand a lot of it. In
fact, when I first signed up for Airbnb I clearly wrote into my profile that my
guests would get back anything they have to pay to Airbnb. And the guys who
actually came to stay managed to circumvent the process somehow, signed up for
HC, and done :-) I think and hope we'll attract a lot more members this way - if
I hadnt offered a place on Airbnb those Hungarian guys might never have
known/joined HC.

It was only when I had the idea to raise funds for HC this way that I
experimented with the donation idea and tried to convince Airbnb to implement
it. I do understand that many HC members might feel uneasy about it - it's an
experiment after all. Might work for some, might not work for others.

As to the last post: utter nonsense. Of course it's not a sell-out manoeuvre. I
was truly disgusted by Casey's move and could never imagine to do something
similar. Too much heartblood in here. All your other concerns/questions are
already addressed on
#6 HC-Airbnb. I'm shocked. What do You think? Wed 25 Jul 12 10:55:35
Le Relecq-Kerhuon
Hello Veit,

I would appreciate if you could reply to the questions asked by "jmk60"
especially those I have marked in bold characters:

"Why donate to HC by joining airbnb? What will the money be used for?  Why not
just ask HC members to donate via this website? Lots of us donated on the CS
website before it became a business last year.  How much will veit get paid?

I am not against donating or having the coordinator get paid for working on the
website.  But how much $? Where will the budget accounting be held for public

Asking "670 000 members" ( of the Hospitality
Club to donate what they get paid for accomodation, could give you a huge amount
of money. 

I don't find sufficient to read your answer: "...we simply need to make some
money every now and then to pay for the servers and other expenses."
( see "Is HC now becoming for-profit?" ==> "Frequently asked questions" )
Best regards


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