New brand comes to Airbnb
Travelers who book a stay through Airbnb can never be quite sure what they’ll find at the property. Will the kitchen be fully stocked? Is the home clean or cluttered? Now, Airbnb has introduced a new brand of accommodations. To coincide with its 10th anniversary, the company started Airbnb Plus, which offers lodging guaranteed to meet 100 different criteria and have certain amenities. At a recent news conference, Airbnb’s chief executive, Brian Chesky, said, “Some travelers want predictability and certain comforts, and Airbnb Plus will give them these.” Airbnb Plus is debuting with more than 2,000 homes in 13 cities, including Los Angeles, Milan, Shanghai and Toronto. By the end of the year, Chesky said, those numbers will grow to more than 75,000 homes in 50-plus destinations. Airbnb’s main platform has more than 4.5 million listings in 81,000 cities.
New York Times
Cruise cleanliness problem
In 2017, more cruise lines failed sanitation inspections than ever since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vessel Sanitation Program started holding cruise ships to its Operations Manual guidelines in 1990. Fifteen ships earned failing scores last year; the average failure rate is about two to four ships a year, a Miami Herald analysis of the CDC’s historical inspection data found. The 2017 failures included five ships from Carnival Cruise Line, one from Norwegian Cruise Line, one from Oceania Cruises and one from Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. A Caribbean ferry, Ferries Del Caribe’s Kydon, failed its inspection twice. Carnival has responded by adding staff training and changing procedures. The line says the failures correspond with a greater emphasis on administrative details during inspections that don’t necessarily reflect a ship’s cleanliness.
Disney welcomes dogs
In September, Walt Disney World allowed guests evacuating inland from Hurricane Irma to bring their pets with them. That experience prompted the company, which has 28,000 rooms at its Florida location, to pilot a one-year program that designates as dog-friendly 250 rooms at four properties. Resort rooms at the Art of Animation, Port Orleans-Riverside, Fort Wilderness (in the cabins) and Yacht Club that host canine guests are given the same cleaning provided for rooms occupied by service animals, a company spokesperson said. Disney is somewhat late on accommodating pet owners. Thirty-seven percent of them travel with their companions, up from 19 percent from a decade ago, according to the American Pet Products Association, and more than half of U.S. hotels are already pet-friendly, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
The Cape Town drought
Cape Town, South Africa’s second-largest city, is suffering from a severe water shortage and expects to run out of water on July 9. To conserve the precious resource, government officials are encouraging visitors and residents to limit their showers to 90 seconds, among other measures. “We are recalibrating our relationship with water,” said Sisa Ntshona, chief executive of South African Tourism, “and we want tourists to be part of the solution.” Beyond Cape Town, the rest of the country, including Johannesburg, the Cape Winelands and the whale-watching hub of Hermanus, is drinking and rinsing as usual.