Author Archives: Klaava

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Planning a trip to the northernmost region of Europe, Lapland? This is what you need to know

2017-02-23

The northernmost region of Continental Europe, Lapland, is a vast wilderness area where the great outdoors invite people to hike, ski, fish, ride a mountainbike or simply just admire the scenery. Located north of the Arctic Circle, Lapland is also the home of Sami people and their reindeer.

Since Lapland is quite far away from large centers of civilization and distances in the region can be long, it is important to plan ahead and prepare for a trip to the region. The best way to explore the region is to drive, and it shows during the summer when the roads of Lapland see the number of motorhomes, cars and motorbikes considerably increase.
Lapland travel guidebook, book cover image
Some road travelers have a mission to reach Europe’s northernmost place Nordkapp (North Cape), whereas others explore fells, fjords, hiking paths, Sami culture and small towns of Lapland. There is something for everyone, except for those who require big-city sights.

Now, you can plan your Nordic journey with a Klaava Travel Guide titled Lapland – North of the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia. The book features the sights, destinations, activities, events, wildlife, and everything needed for a successful trip to the north. Special sections for road travelers highlight the best routes and tips for driving in varying conditions.

Information on the book’s availability and prices can be viewed at this page.

Below a few sample pages from the book.

hiking destinations in Lapland (Klaava Travel Guide)
Scenic drives in Lapland (north Finland, Norway, Sweden)
City of Tromsö, Norway in travel guidebook Lapland
Abisko national park in Sweden, Lapland (Klaava Travel Guide)

The modern libraries of Thionville, France and Seinäjoki, Finland have something in common

2017-02-15

Public libraries all over the world have a new problem to solve: how to provide the best possible services to citizens when the core service of a library – printed book – is transforming to digital format. Ebooks can be checked out from a library at home sofa, at beach chair or at hospital bed. We firmly believe libraries as public spaces are needed in the future as well, but how they will look like and what they might actually do is another thing.

One of the first real life experiments with next generation library is being conducted in Texas, USA. Bexar County has opened an all digital library called Bibliotech. There are no physical books for people to loan, but computers, tablets and ereaders where library card holders can loan and read ebooks (or hang out on the Internet). Library staff is always there to help with books and with technology.
Thionville library in France
The town of Thionville in northern France didn’t go all digital when it opened a new library in 2016. It is a beautiful modern building with plenty of space for activities, like sipping coffee, having a picnic on the roof, or playing instruments in soundproof rooms. The architects explained to Fast Company that the objective was to build spaces for the community. Printed books are available in the library, as well as ebooks and other forms of digital media.

Thionville doesn’t even call its new building a library, but Mediatheque.

Before we continue to Seinäjoki, Finland, take a look at a video introduction to the Mediatheque of Thionville, France. Mediatheque was opened in 2016. It was designed by the Strasbourg-based firm Dominique Coulon and Associates.

Let’s jump from Central Europe to Northern Europe in order to find out what kind of libraries are being built in Scandinavia. One of the most liked and celebrated new libraries in Finland was built in Seinäjoki, in the central region of the country. The Apila (Shamrock) Library, designed by Helsinki-based architects JKMM, opened in 2012.

The primary service in Seinäjoki library is still printed books, but community spaces, activities and digital media have their own nooks, rooms and corners as well. The shadow of Finland’s master architect Alvar Aalto was a factor in the design process because buildings designed by Aalto are located around the new library.

Now, take a look at the following photo gallery of the Seinäjoki Apila Library and compare the pictures with the video images of the Thionville library. There are a number of details and large design solutions that resemble one another in these two libraries, even though the architects are different. Perhaps it is a sign that libraries are finding one common way to serve citizens in the digital future.

Seinäjoki Apila library, Finland
modern library of Seinäjoki in Scandinavia
modern library  architecture in Seinäjoki, Finland, North Europe
community spaces in Seinäjoki library, Finland
reading nook in Seinajoki library, Finland, Scandinavia, Europe

What is the Finnish way of doing things? American author reveals it all in the 6th edition of his book about Finland

2017-02-10

Author, journalist Russell Snyder moved to Finland from California in 1982. He has spent over 30 years exploring and enjoying the Nordic country. He has traveled far and wide searching for experiences, but has uncovered many cultural treasures right in Helsinki where he has mostly lived. “Finland is both a great place to visit and to live. The longer you stay here, the more you become hooked on the Finnish way of doing things.”
cover image of book: The Lighter Side of Finland 6th Ed
Here is what the author had to say about the new edition of his book about Finland.

You have just launched the 6th edition of The Lighter Side of Finland. When was the first one published?

The first edition was published 22 years ago. It reflected Finland as it was back then. However, Finland is constantly changing and redefining itself, so the book has been updated and revised to reflect those changes.

Why have you picked this year to publish this new edition?

Finland is celebration its 100-year anniversary of becoming an independent nation, so I wanted to celebrate the occasion with this book.

You use a lot of humor in your writing.

I believe humor is the best way to encourage people to keep reading. And if people are entertained and get a few laughs, they may even remember something.

What have been your favorite experiences in Finland?

Sledding on a hill with my kids. Walking around in a forest in Lapland during the autumn to experience the fantastic colors. Fishing on the Ruunaa River and smoking the freshly caught trout on a campfire. Dancing on a Saturday night in a small village and meeting new friends. Trying out the magnificent smoke saunas the Sauna Society. And many more.

You have also written Analysis of the Finnish Tango and I, Helsinki. Any plans to write another book?

I hope to write a book about Estonia soon.

sauna etiquette in Finland
The book covers the basics of sauna etiquette as well as many other unique Finnish customs.

Koob is creating new types of audiobooks that even children may want to listen to

2017-01-30

During the last couple of years, the biggest growth numbers in the book trade has been recorded by digital books – especially, audiobooks. The market for audiobooks has been very small, but because audiobooks can be listened to on smartphones and tablets, they are becoming more popular.

Usually, a professional narrator reads a book from the beginning to the end, and that’s it. Now, a company called Koob has decided to make audiobooks more exciting – so exciting that even children like to listen to them.
listening to Koob audiobooks
Koob’s concept is based on the application of stereo sound. In addition to the narration, Koob’s books feature sounds that create an atmosphere and establish a feeling of presence of the characters for the listener.

The audiobooks created with the new method are called Virtual Reality Audiobooks. The company describes the method’s objective as follows: “the listener’s brain is tricked into thinking it’s experiencing sounds first-hand and become part of the story as they engage in active imagination”.

Koob is planning to publish 40 audiobooks that feature its technology during 2017.

No words can describe the real thing (and Koob is a heavy user of hype- and buzzwords), but you can listen to samples of Virtual Reality Audiobooks on Koob’s web site.

If you are traveling in Europe with your dogs, here is a tour for them

2017-01-26

It is probably impossible to estimate how many dogs travel with their families in Europe. Of course, dogs do travel in other continents as well, but rather reasonable travel distances, good road network, varying landscapes and predominantly friendly attitude towards furry companions in Europe encourage many road travelers to take their pets along for a journey. In London, an insurance company even organized special tours for dogs on a double-decker bus.
Dog tour by More Than
The special tours for dogs (More th>n Doggyessenti>ls) circled London between January 16 and 19, 2017. Now it is too late to try and book a seat for the tour, but if you are planning to travel to London, nothing stops you from following the same route and seeing the same sights as the dogs who had an opportunity to join one of the tour groups.

The 90-minute tour allowed passengers to get a glimpse of seven sights:

1. Victoria Tower Garden: Site of the annual Parliament dog show.
2. Houses of Parliament: voice your opinion on laws that affect canines.
3. Buckingham Palace: say hi to the Queen’s Corgis (if you are lucky).
4. Hyde Park: your opportunity to show off in the park and impress everyone who is anything in London.
5. Kensington Palace and Gardens.
6. The Kennel Club: dog paintings.
7. 10 Downing Street: find out who is running the country: the Prime Minister or four-legged friends.

Take a look at the video where dogs enjoy their tour in London:

What I would really like to know is how many hours or even days the filming of the video required? When you let a bunch of dogs in a small space like a bus, they start smelling, chasing, playing and fighting with one another. None of the dogs will sit down quietly for a microsecond and just stare out of the window. Still, the video is good fun.

Travel photography application shows where to take that perfect tourist postcard picture

2017-01-11

Accidental travel photographers tend to take photos at the same places where everyone else is taking pictures. If you want your travel pictures to look better than 99% of all photos taken in that same spot, you may want a little help from an expert. The travel photography expert is called Snapfindr, an app that runs on your smartphone or tablet.
snapfindr app screen shot
Snapfindr is a free application that shows you the exact locations of major sights in the most popular travel destinations where to take that perfect postcard image. At the moment, the application covers the top sights of Barcelona, London, New York, Paris, Prague, and Sydney.

Let’s say you are exploring Paris. You find the famous Notre Dame cathedral, and want to take a memorable photograph of the place. Snapfindr shows you exactly where to stand and which direction to point your camera. If you have a camera where you can adjust the settings, the application gives you tips on them as well. Notre Dame is only one of the locations in Paris the app covers. You can navigate from destination to destination using an online map or embedded sample images.

All right, that is what Snapfindr can do. Then, there is only a question of how and for what you use it for. Maybe you don’t want to take the same images as everyone else is taking during sightseeing tours. Perhaps there are even better ways to use Snapfindr?

One of the best use cases for this application is learning travel photography. The persons who have taken the images included in the app and written the notes for camera settings and related remarks are very skilled photographers. Anyone who wants to learn the first steps in classic travel photography can get many valuable lessons in Snapfindr:

– How to position yourself and your camera.
– How to frame the subject.
– Timing: what is the time of the day when you get the most spectacular images.
– Camera settings for that perfect picture.

Snapfindr even features sample images taken on the spot for you to compare your snapshot with the teacher’s mastershot.

For more travel photography, take a look at our writers’ galleries.

Snapfindr screen shots:
screen capture of snapfindr application

screen capture of snapfindr application

screen capture of snapfindr application

If you have always wanted to stay a night at a library, now it is possible in Wales

2017-01-06

There is an atmosphere of utmost safety and eternal truth in old libraries. They are like small and simple worlds inside the big and complex world we live in. On top of that, old libraries often are beautiful. So, who wouldn’t like to stay a night in a library where comfortable beds are waiting for tired book lovers. Gladstone’s Library in Wales invites guests to stay a night among books, but in bed.
Gladstone's Library, books
Gladstone’s Library is both a real library and a real hotel all in the same building.
Gladstone's Library building
There are 26 rooms for guests to choose from. Guestrooms include Wi-Fi, free coffee, vintage radios, and views to the Welsh countryside, but for book lovers the real treat is access to the library. 250,000 printed items are available until 10 pm (doors are closed to the public at 5 pm).
Gladstone LIbrary, hotel room
Room prices start at £63 a night, and they include free breakfast in the cafe Food For Thought. Guestrooms don’t have TVs – perhaps you want to spend every precious minute with books.

The nearest town to the library is Chester. In order to get there, you can drive or take a train that stops in Chester.

The library has been named after the former Prime Minister of UK William Gladstone. He was a book lover who collected more than 30,000 of them during his lifetime. He lived in Hawarden Castle in Wales when he retired. The library was built after he died in 1898.
Gladstone Library, social room

reading char at Gladstone Library
Images by Gladstone’s Library.

This is why book publishers want details about potential authors’ blog and social media footprint

2016-12-17

If you already have had an opportunity to talk to a book publisher or an agent about your terrific book concept, you may have been asked about your blog and social media presence. For you, they don’t necessarily have anything to do with your aspirations as a writer. Maybe you don’t even have a blog and your social media is mostly about watching cat videos on Facebook. Here is the thing: when a publisher is estimating the size of the market for your book concept, the audience you are able to reach yourself can be a significant factor.
man thinking what to write on aptop
Let’s take an example. You have been living and working in Berlin, the capital of Germany, for a year. You have learned so much about the culture, country and people that you are planning to write a cultural guide to other foreigners who intend to move to Germany. If you have a travel blog where you discuss about the country, the city, the language and the way Germans behave, you probably have an audience. Your blog or other social media contribution is also a quick way for publishers and agents to browse how and what topics you write about. If, on the other hand, you have only updated your Facebook page that your family and friends read during the year, it really doesn’t count as an audience.

Without going into details of blogging, tweeting, instagramming or whatever will be the next big thing in social media, the key thing is: how many people you can reach on your own?

Many experts in the publishing business call this the Author Platform. For an extensive explanation on the Author Platform (also known as the Writer’s or Marketing Platform) and how to build one for yourself, read this article at Writer’s Digest.

The Platform concept is particularly useful for nonfiction writers. Publishers and naturally readers expect that the writer knows what he or she is talking about. The writer must be an authority of the topic of the book. This doesn’t mean that he or she should be a world-renowned expert, but should have the credibility so that the audience can trust the information in the book. Experienced, professional writers can write just about anything, but they have plenty of techniques and contacts for verifying the information they write.

If we use the cultural guide to Germany as an example, living and working for a year in Berlin gives enough experiences to write a book, but probably means that the guidebook won’t dive very deep into the local culture. If the aspiring author writes the manuscript in Berlin, it may take another year, and the authority only grows.

So, these two key things are the reasons why publishers and agents are interested in writers’ footprint (both in the real world and on the Internet):

1. Audience
2. Authority

When we discuss about writing and book publishing, we easily neglect an important factor that impacts both the publishing decision and the whole book project. Especially nonfiction books are not only about text, but also about photos, schemas, tables, drawings, and today also (thanks to ebooks) about animations and videos. If you can shoot decent photos or videos, draw pictures or put together smart data tables, it is a big advantage for you.
photographer taking a photo in flower field
If you have a plan for a nonfiction book, and are looking for an ebook publisher, read this as well.

Are travel coloring books the ultimate relaxation option on the road?

2016-12-01

There are times during every traveler’s journey when it would be smart to switch off brains from constant planning ahead, working, or worrying about what can go wrong. Some (printed) book publisher believe they have a cure for traveler’s anxiety: the travel coloring book. Coloring books for adults were recently popular, but now, it is possible to find a coloring book for your special interest, such as travel.
travel coloring books, cover images
The theory is that since the world inside a travel coloring book is already organized and static, the tourist can manage the world drawn on the pages of the book by coloring it the way he or she wants. It is supposed to take your thoughts away from anything that may burden your mind and from everything around you.

Maybe that is exactly why many travelers have their music collection on a smartphone or on an iPod with them and they listen to their favorite artists when they want some distance to the world around. Some travelers, surprisingly, read books, whereas others watch movies, or sip gin and tonics.

There are many ways to relax on the road apart from coloring books. Yet, it is an interesting trend. Whoever was the mastermind that thought of producing coloring books for adults must be congratulated. Creating a new trend is once-in-a-lifetime event.

If you want to color Paris or San Francisco on your flight across the Atlantic or the American continent, it is possible (Amazon). Or perhaps you would like recolor 30 World Heritage Sites in your favorite colors? Kobo bookstore markets ebooks that contain drawings that you can print out and then recolor.

The New York Times discovered that some upmarket hotels give guests coloring books and crayons as they check in. There was a time when it was cool to have the morning’s newspaper delivered behind your hotel room door in the morning, and a time when Wi-Fi was new. Now, it is books.

What about ebooks? Are there any coloring ebooks that you could use on your Kindle ereader or on the iPad tablet? Not really. While it is possible to produce an ebook application or Apple iAuthor book that lets you change colors of objects on the screen, these types of interactive multimedia ebooks are very expensive to create. Travel guidebooks that feature reliable and useful information on your destination can be viewed here.

If the coloring book trend continues after 2016, we may see a few ebook coloring books in the market. Otherwise, it is the old, proven paper, ink and crayon technology that dominates the coloring book business.

Do marketers’ travel slogans really attract tourists to visit a country?

2016-11-23

Probably every country in the world, apart from closed societies like North Korea or disorganized regions like Somalia, has a state-powered marketing organization whose responsibility is to attract more tourists to the country. Nothing wrong with that, tourism is one of the largest industries in the world today, and some countries rely their national budgets on tourism. You may have met people from these marketing organizations at travel fairs where the marketers have been keen to offer a brochure or a plastic bag with a slogan on it. That slogan is supposed to make their country attractive for potential visitors.

Family Break Finder has published a marvelous map that shows all the slogans the world’s tourism organizations are using at the moment. The slogans tend to change after a few years, but this is how the world of travel marketing slogans looks right now.

Among the best slogans is Norway’s “Powered by nature” that really nails the essence of touring in Norway’s magnificent landscape. Among the worst is Australia’s “There’s NOTHING like Australia” (if you have nothing to say, it doesn’t get any better by shouting). India’s slogan “Incredible India” is so true just now that it makes you wonder did they really mean it (trains don’t travel along rail tracks in India anymore, and people are desperate because they can’t get cash from banks).
tourism slogans by family break finderSource: Family Break Finder.

Albania – Go your own way!
Algeria – Tourism for everybody
Andorra – The Pyrenean Country
Antigua and Barbuda – The beach is just the beginning
Argentina – Beats to your rhythm
Armenia – Visit Armenia, It is Beautiful
Australia – There’s NOTHING like Australia
Austria – Arrive and revive
Bahamas – Life Is Grand
Bahrain – Ours. Yours. Bahrain
Bangladesh – Beautiful Bangladesh
Barbados – Brilliant Barbados
Belarus – Hospitality Beyond Borders
Belgium – The place to be
Belize – Mother Nature’s Best-Kept Secret
Bhutan – Happiness is a place
Bolivia – Bolivia awaits you
Bosnia and Herzegovina – The heart of SE Europe
Botswana – Our pride, your destination
Brazil – Brasil – sensational!
Brunei Darussalam – A kingdom of unexpected treasures
Bulgaria – A discovery to share
Burundi – Beautiful Burundi
Cabo Verde – No stress
Cambodia – Kingdom of wonder
Cameroon – All of Africa in one country
Canada – Keep exploring
Chad – Oasis of the Sahel
Chile – All are welcome
China – China Like Never Before
Colombia – Colombia is magical realism
Costa Rica – Essential Costa Rica
Croatia – Full of life
Cuba – Autentica Cuba
Cyprus – Cyprus in your heart
Czech Republic – Land of stories
Denmark – Happiest place on Earth!
Djibouti – Djibeauty
Dominica – The nature island
Dominican Republic – Dominican Republic has it all
Ecuador – All you need is Equador
Egypt – Where it all begins
El Salvador – The 45 Minute Country
Estonia – Epic Estonia
Ethiopia Land of origins
Fiji – Where Happiness Finds You
Finland – I wish I was in Finland
France – Rendez vous en France
Gambia – The smiling coast of Africa
Georgia – For the best moments of your life
Germany – Simply inspiring
Greece – All Time Classic
Grenada – Pure Grenada
Guatemala – Heart of the Mayan World
Guyana – South America Undiscovered
Haiti – Experience It!
Honduras – Everything is here
Hungary – Think Hungary more than expected
Iceland – Inspired by Iceland
India – Incredible !ndia
Indonesia – Wonderful Indonesia
Iran – You Are Invited
Iraq – The Other Iraq (Kurdistan)
Ireland – Jump into Ireland
Israel – Land of Creation
Italy – Made in Italy
Jamaica – Get All Right
Japan – Endless discovery
Jordan – Yes, it’s Jordan
Kazakhstan – The land of wonders
Kenya – Magical Kenya
Kiribati – For travellers
Kyrgyzstan – Oasis on the Great Silk Road
Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos) – Simply Beautiful
Latvia – Best enjoyed slowly
Lebanon – Live Love Lebanon
Lesotho – The Kingdom In The Sky
Liechtenstein – Experience princely moments
Lithuania – See it! Feel it! Love it!
Luxembourg – Live your unexpected Luxembourg
Macedonia – Macedonia Timeless
Madagascar – A genuine island, a world apart
Malawi – The warm heart of Africa
Malaysia – Truly Asia
Maldives – The sunny side of life
Malta – Truly Mediterranean
Mauritius – It’s a pleasure
Mexico – Live It to Believe It
Micronesia (Federated States of) – Experience the warmth
Monaco – Easy going Monaco
Mongolia – Go Nomadic
Montenegro – Wild Beauty
Morocco – Much Mor
Mozambique – Come to where it all started
Myanmar – Let the journey begin
Namibia – Endless horizons
Nepal – Once is not enough
Netherlands – The original cool
New Zealand – 100% Pure
Nicaragua – Unica. Original!
Nigeria – Good people, great nation
Norway – Powered by nature
Oman – Beauty has an address
Palau – Pristine Paradise Palau
Panama – Panama Surprises
Papua New Guinea – A million different journeys
Paraguay – You have to feel it!
Peru – Land of the Incas
Philippines – It’s more fun in the Philippines
Poland – Move your imagination
Portugal – Europe’s West Coast
Qatar – Where dreams come to life
Republic of Korea (South Korea) – Imagine your Korea
Republic of Moldova – Discover the routes of life
Romania – Explore the Carpathian garden
Russian Federation – Reveal your own Russia
Rwanda – Remarkable Rwanda
Saint Kitts and Nevis – Follow your heart
Saint Lucia – Simply beautiful
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – Discover SVG
Samoa – Beautiful Samoa
San Marino – San Marino For All
Saudi Arabia – Experience to discover
Serbia – My Serbia
Seychelles – Another world
Sierra Leone – The freedom to explore
Singapore – Your Singapore
Slovakia – Travel in Slovakia – Good idea
Slovenia – I feel SLOVEnia
Solomon Islands – Seek the unexplored
South Africa – Inspiring new ways
Spain – #spainindetail
Sri Lanka – Wonder of Asia
Suriname – A Colorful Experience… Exotic beyond words
Swaziland – A royal experience
Switzerland – Get natural
Syrian Arab Republic – Always Beautiful
Tajikistan – Feel the friendship
Thailand – Amazing Thailand. It begins with the people
Timor-Leste – Being first has its rewards
Tonga – The true South Pacific
Trinidad and Tobago – The true Caribbean
Tunisia – I feel like Tunisia
Turkey -Be our guest
Tuvalu – Timeless Tuvalu
Uganda – You’re welcome
Ukraine – It’s all about U
United Arab Emirates – Discover all that’s possible
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – Home of amazing moments
United Republic of Tanzania – The land of Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and the Serengeti
United States of America – All within your reach
Uruguay – Uruguay natural
Uzbekistan – Naturally Irresistible!
Vanuatu – Discover what matters
Venezuela – Venezuela is your destination!
Vietnam – Timeless charm
Zambia – Let’s explore
Zimbabwe – A world of wonders

How to artfully cheat on Airbnb

2016-10-27

Would you buy a second hand car from an individual without seeing the vehicle and test driving it? Probably not. Would you pay for a hotel room without seeing it? Yes, because a business is running the hotel and there are rules and laws it has to follow – not to mention that it probably wants positive customer reviews as well.

Would you pay in advance for accommodation published on Airbnb that is provided by an individual? Many travelers say yes, but we hesitate. Here is why.
airbnb screen shot
This is a story that recently happened to a writer who works with us. She was traveling, and exploring southern Europe when she needed a place to stay for a week. She had (and still has) a perfect visitor record at Airbnb. She wanted a whole apartment to herself where she could rest and write. So, she searched for a quiet, peaceful place near the sea.

She discovered a place she liked: a tastefully furnished, parties forbidden in the apartment because the neighborhood is so peaceful and quiet – perfect. According to the information on Airbnb, it was located near a fishing village that was only a short walk away from the apartment.

The problems started with the address. The owner of the apartment had given an address that couldn’t be found. An email was quickly sent out, and the landlord emailed another address (in another town) that was fairly easy to find. The real address wasn’t near the fishing village or the sea.

The arrival was a shock for her. The apartment was located in a barrio, in a neighborhood where people hang out on the streets in front of the houses. Broken windows in worn-out cars. Lots of dogs and cats running around free. Litter and feces on the pavements. Constant barking of dogs, people shouting at one another and car engines revving between buildings created the atmosphere for the barrio.

It was late, she had already paid for the accommodation, there was little else she could do, so she decided to stay. Inside in the apartment it was as advertised, at least.

Next morning, she wanted to take a walk by the sea. Smartphone navigator showed the shortest way – the only way – to the fishing village. A long way to walk, but she intended to take a taxi back. It was a narrow, busy road. She started walking, but soon realized the road was too dangerous because of heavy traffic.

The moment she stepped on the pavement outside the apartment she had to fend herself from dogs and stand the looks of boldly staring residents. There was no common language, only the message that she doesn’t belong there.

So, in order to quiet down the constant unrest outside and the creeping feeling of unsafeness, she listened to her iPod for one week, wrote a lot and swore she wouldn’t rent anything without seeing it first.

Now, she has a new problem. She has to be able to check a potential apartment before booking. She has lost her trust in virtual apartments. On Airbnb, it is not possible the review a real apartment before booking. The service strips phone numbers and other information that allow setting up a meeting between parties. She has to find another way of discovering and booking rentals. For now, she is contacting local real estate agents in a destination where she is going next.

How did the Airbnb host do it? The first trick was to advertise a fishing village as the location for the property, even though the real location was in a nearby inland town. Having a car would have been the only possible way to make the trip from the apartment to the beach. The second trick was to advertise it as a peaceful, calm place. Naturally, people have different opinions on what is noise and what is quiet, but for some reason, the noise level declined considerably every time the police made their daily visit in the barrio.

Is the landlord still getting away with it on Airbnb? Yes. Airbnb or the apartment owner haven’t changed a word in the property description. She wrote a polite and truthful review about the apartment but it didn’t have an effect on the description. At close inspection, there seems to be other reviews at Airbnb that mention exactly the same problems as the writer experienced.

Why didn’t she read all the reviews before booking? There are a few reviews that mention the same problems, but she trusted the property description and having read a couple of reviews, she thought everything was fine. She had stayed in other Airbnb places before this without concerns or major problems.

Since Airbnb is the business that publishes the information on properties, it is responsible for the accuracy of the information. Plain and simple. The host, of course, may disagree and refer to positive reviews that mention nothing about incorrect information or potential unsafety of the neighborhood. Ultimately, Airbnb has to decide who to trust and what is correct. If paying customers stop trusting Airbnb, that’s it. Game over.

If Airbnb neglects these kind of cases, it is only a matter of time before something really nasty happens to a customer, or customers get fed up, and the corporation’s business model will be under scrutiny.

For ages, real estate agents have acted as brokers between people who need short-term or long-term accommodation and people who own houses and apartments. The agents are successful only if the landlords and the renters trust the agent. If something is not right, the agent has to act. In every country, laws regulate how the business works, and what the responsibilities of the parties are.

Sharing economy is here, and we welcome everything it enables, but corporations have to carefully take every aspect of the new business model into consideration.