When we opened our doors to My Little Home in Paris more than eleven years ago, we had no idea we were on the brink of a whole new era in travel!
Hotels ruled the vacation and business travel market.
Only a few ‘brave souls’, and those seeking more affordable lodging, considered renting an apartment from a total stranger, in a strange land.
So many doubts and suspicions. Travelers knew what to expect from a hotel.
A hotel had a reputation, star ratings, a sure address. Hotels were legitimate.
But who could be certain that the apartment you chose to rent actually existed?
And who were the ‘owners’?
Who, in their right mind, would rent their apartment to strangers?
The few who were attracted to this way of travel were searching for a different type of travel experience: They wanted to ‘feel and live like a local’, to be part of the neighborhood, to frequent their boulangerie, their local café, their local market…
To feel ‘at home’.
How wonderful that the owners often lived in the same building or close by, and were so willing and happy to share information, advise, and be available.
And to top it all off, the owners invited their guests for drinks, to a local concert or event.
Over a short time, the vacation rental market boomed, coincidentally at the same moment the economy crashed.
As vacation rentals mushroomed around the world, travelers evolved, too.
Renting an apartment for vacation or business quickly became fashionable. VRBO, Homeaway, Expedia all helped to make the ‘Industry’ mainstream.
When Airbnb entered the scene several years ago, the market simply exploded.
Airbnb ‘equalized’ travel, making it affordable for everyone.
Chapeau! Bravo to them.
But along with the explosion came consequences: new rules and regulations, extra fees for the owners and travelers alike, more and more companies and investors wanting their share of the market…
The ‘pioneer’ traveler of a decade ago, searching for that ‘local experience’ and looking forward to meeting the owners, has become almost mythical.
Today, vacation rental apartments are run more and more like hotels. And many of today’s travelers, used to a fast-paced, technology-driven world, rarely consider the ‘local experience’. Nor do they expect to meet the real owners and, least of all, to have a drink or a conversation with them.
Are we owners becoming an endangered species? Today’s ‘owners’ are often companies, multiple property owners or investors who live afar and hire management agencies to look after their acquisitions.
Even ‘greeters’ are becoming a a dying breed.
Many rental flats now opt for ‘Key Lock boxes’ which are opened by a code sent to the traveler.
It is no longer necessary for anyone to be there to welcome the guest.
Inside many of today’s short-term rental flats is a check-list with Dos and Don’ts and an emergency phone number.
There are strict check-in and check-out times.
In all fairness to these new models of vacation rental apartments, there is often a binder in the apartment filled with information about the neighborhood and, generally, the apartments are clean and efficient.
As travelers, we have used Airbnb and have not been disappointed. Yet, we are both amused and disheartened by how impersonal it is –
which only fires our determination to make the experience of staying at our Little Home in Paris all the more personal for our guests.
We hope My Little Home in Paris will remain a haven for travelers who still desire that ‘local experience’ and who enjoy the personal contact the owners – as much as we, the owners, enjoy meeting you, our guests!
Okay. So what sets My Little Home In Paris apart from Airbnb and other major vacation rental site apartments?
1/ We manage the flat ourselves: We handle all communication, booking & cleaning.
2/ We are there to welcome our guests – no matter what time of day or night.
3/ We do not ask for any security deposit or down payment.
4/ We live nearby and are available by phone, text or email, at any time.
5/ We do not have check-in or check-out times.
6/ We value our return guests and offer them special rates to show our gratitude.
7/ We enjoy meeting our guests and look forward to having a drink with them during their stay – but only if they want to! We respect their privacy.
8/ We are the real owners. Our Little Home is our only rental property.
9/ We are available to help our guests plan and maximize their stay in Paris.
10/ We have a dog. Her name is Mulane.
She is also there to welcome our guests!
Do you have some vacation rental experiences you would like to share with us?
We would love to hear them!
What is most important to you when choosing a vacation rental apartment (location, price, communication with the owners, mode of payment…)?
Merci! We sincerely appreciate your feedback.