ISSN 2330-717X

Airbnb, Booking Applications For Prince Islands
 – OpEd

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For many years there have been summer rental houses in Prince Islands (Adalar) in Istanbul. These were independent apartments, villas, houses rental weekly or monthly during summer period, all established with mutual negotiation for years, without any need for internet. 
Now Airbnb covers this market and invites international guests to the Prince Islands.

Guests can come and stay for short period, then if they like the place, return in winter time when real estate prices are lower and at more reasonable levels if they wish to buy a new house. 
They refurbish the house, paint interior, change floor, install natural gas piping for heating, make the house livable for whole year. Western people, Russian families in majority due to Prinkipo Island’s Orthodox Christian heritage, are coming more and more every year.

We see them at ferry port waiting for sea transportation.
 Over the past few years, we rented an apartment or flat in Milano, and in Berlin by Airbnb.com, in Vienna, and in Amsterdam via booking.com and stayed with family.
booking.com, which works in more corporate style. Renting apart-hotels through Airbnb.com is more personal, works more in a human way, and rents individual homes.
 In both cases, there is almost everything inside the rented home, kitchen, bathrooms, TV, dishwasher, washing machine, internet modem.

In booking.com apart-hotels, cabinets are empty.
 In airbnb homes, it is more “human”, more personal. The person who rents his/her home leaves personal items, full of refrigerator, boards full of dresses shoes of owner, books, notes, half used shampoos, washing powders, half-used cleaning supplies, even alcoholic drinks. You just put them aside to allocate some space for yourself. 
Payment is done with credit card in advance. Marketing company keeps 25% of payment, and pays the remaining to the home owner after stay is completed.
 Both companies ask your detailed personal information during internet reservation.
 Booking.com apart-hotel owners ask for a photocopy of your passport photocopy and to sign a few papers, prior to key delivery. In Airbnb, there is no paper registration. Everything is done during internet reservation. Taxation procedures are not clear.

Booking.com works in more corporate style, so it is taxed in their home country, although they may use offshore accounts. Airbnb members are small home owners, so taxation of small home owners are not so feasible, since their annual income stay below specific quotas. However municipalities of Berlin, London, Paris, New York put a maximum 90-day per year rentable day limitation’ in order to leveling with normal taxable real estate markets.
In foreign business metropolis, you pay almost 100-200€ per night for hotel room for double bed and breakfast for one bedroom with bathroom. 
Here you get a home, with one or two rooms, bathroom, kitchen with all cooking utensils, and washing machine, oven, library with books, internet modem for sure.

Upon arrival you have limited or even no registration. There is no reception. A private person welcomes you, helps you to carry your luggage, delivers your key, gives you internet modem password, shows you how to use TV, kitchen appliances, answers your questions, shows you the nearest supermarket, then leaves. At the end of your stay, you are asked to leave the keys on the living room table, close the main gate and leave. You are expected to leave the house before 10:00 AM in the morning.
 Newcomer guests are expected to arrive later than 14:00PM, better if after 17:00pm. In between, the owner or a hired cleaning person, cleans the house, cleans the fridge, bathroom, changes bed linings, cleans garbage, makes the home clean and ready for the newcomer family.

We experienced Airbnb, in Moscow, where a young entrepreneur rented a room at the center of the city, in his grandparents’ house. A retired old grandmother and grandfather hosted the foreign guests in their spare empty room at the back. If you can not speak Russian, you can only exchange friendly similes during your stay. You can get a Russian breakfast if you pay a small premium. 
In New York, we experienced another case. A young Chinese-American real estate agent hired the couch at his hall for the guests.
The guests are to share kitchen and bathroom with the owner during their stay.
 In Berlin, there are DW reports that even balconies are rented during summer time.
 In our country, booking.com is forbidden due to taxation purposes, however Airbnb is free since it works in small size family business in small earning not to worth to tax.
 There are local internet pages working in the same home rent business for short stays. 
However these locations may be used for illegal purposes beyond original intentions.

This summer, an old empty house was refurbished, renewed and rented to a Russian family of four, young father- mother- 3-year old small child and old grand daddy. We exchange 1-2 words kind greetings in the morning with Comrade Russian grand daddy.

Next year we expect more short term summer rentals nearby for international guests.
 In Prinkipo island, between 10-18 hours daytime we have rich Middle eastern families, on their daily mission to the island, touring the Prinkipo island on horse carts (phaetons), having lunch at restaurants, eating ice cream.
 They watch Turkish pop-opera TV series, which take place in rich mansions of Prinkipo island, an example for their lifestyle. They wish to visit during their stay in Istanbul.
 They inspect the environment in huge numbers everyday.
 But the local life norms are not in line with their life norms at their home countries, so they return without thinking to settle here.

A brave new world is making new jobs, and new opportunities are created.


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Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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