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Travelers find properties on Airbnb’s website by plugging in a destination city. Listings don’t give street addresses but have location descriptions and photos. Once a reservation is made, Airbnb takes its cut by charging a fee to both the host and guest.
Airbnb’s security measures include having guests and hosts verify identities by connecting to their social networks, scanning official IDs such as drivers’ licenses or confirming other personal details. The website allows guests and hosts to review each other.
Airbnb also lets hosts decline a reservation request. Ross said she does that if it conflicts with her work or travel schedule or she doesn’t feel comfortable with a request, like one from a Canadian man who said he wanted her to help him find a job. “That’s not the kind of renter I want in here,” she said.
The ability to choose which queries to accept was one reason LeNor Barry recently decided to list her home in Minneapolis’ Ventura Village neighborhood with Airbnb. “It’s not a roommate staying with you forever, but a stream of visitors from all over the world,” she said.
Barry’s first guests, from Des Moines, were in town about a week ago for the Arcade Fire show at Target Center. Her next booking is with a Japanese woman staying for several weeks to attend classes in Qigong, an oriental exercise and healing technique.
Barry said both hosts and guests need to be the kind of people who are open to new experiences. “You have to not see people as strangers,” she said.
Susan Feyder • 952-746-3282