Almost exactly three years ago, I received an email from AirBnB founder Joe Gebbia. “Any ideas on how to get the word out in Buenos Aires?”
AirBnB – the online network for peer-to-peer apartment rentals – had launched a year earlier and was making serious waves in the global market (I was writing about it for other publications, hence the email exchange), yet the site was struggling to gain traction in South America.
“We have 43 listings down there, but it takes a few hundred listings to get a city really going,” he continued.
Such concerns seem almost laughable now. As I type this, AirBnB has over two thousand properties listed in Buenos Aires. Argentina at large has a total of 3,500. The site is doing so well in South America that the company has opened a hub office in São Paulo. It is even gaining on the original US market: there are currently 55,000 listings in North America compared to 20,000 across Latin America.
The site is a perfect fit with a city such as Buenos Aires, where a booming tourist industry combines with an entrepreneurial, web-savvy population. It seems it just took a little longer to get word out. (Also taking into account that B&B means nothing to a Latin audience.)
The global economic turndown (and inflation in Argentina) has further fueled the growth. Travellers are keener than ever to keep their accommodation bill down, while homeowners are pleased to have found a way to make some extra money on the side.
AirBnB may now be the most famous name in the field, but there are many more including Wimdu, HouseTrip, FlipKey and Roomorama. Tripping.com has also moved into an interesting role, as aggregator of all other peer-to-peer rentals sites (excluding AirBnB). Unlike Craigslist or similarly basic listings sites, they all tend to feature plenty of photos, as well as references from past guests.
Today there are so many Argentinian properties (entire apartments or private rooms) being advertised online, it is hard to know where to start. As a springboard, we’ve picked out some of the most enticing offers from all networks and across the entire country. How would you like to have the front-door keys to one of these fabulous places?
Cosy, two-bed log cabin with panoramic views and an exit right on to the lake. Kayaks available. Sleeps five. From $85 per night via AirBnB.
Panoramic View Log Cabin in Bariloche; photo courtesy of AirBnB.
Room to rent in a hillside home with great views. Owners run an art and education programme for local children; volunteer placements available. From $60 per night via Roomorama.
Private room for rent in a huge, detached wooden house at the end of the world. Sleeps two. From $149 via Wimdu.
Cute country house near Guleguaychú, with games room and library. Sleeps up to 12. From $40 per night via AirBnB.
Luxury two-bedroom house with outdoor Jacuzzi and garden. Sleeps up to four. $150-$250 per night via Flipkey.
Luxury house jacuzzi & garden in Mendoza; photo courtesy of FlipKey.
Pretend you’re living one of the neighbourhood’s famed bric-a-brac stores with this apartment decorated in vintage style. Sleeps up to four. From $70 a night via Wimdu.
Fashionable loft in a 100-year-old apartment block, with a large private terrace. Sleeps up to six. From $127 via AirBnB.
Minimalist Loft in Palermo; photo courtesy of AirBnB.
Snazzy little studio on the edge of Palermo, with a balcony and parrilla. Sleeps 1-3. From $30 a night via Roomorama.
Live the high life by staying in one of the privately owned apartments at the Philip Starck-designed Faena complex. Sleeps two. From $140 per night via HomeAway.co.uk.
Cool split-level apartment near Avenida Corrientes that claims to be a Palermo Brooklyn. After Palermo Soho, Hollywood and Queens, we hope this one is just a joke. Sleeps two. From $82 a night via Housetrip.
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