In brief: Airbnb issues $50,000 insurance guarantee
Tropical storm Emily is forming, Venice is levying an extra hotel tax to keep the city afloat, Airbnb issues apology, amends its policies, and more. Here are the stories that travellers are buzzing about:
Airbnb issues apology, $50,000 insurance guarantee
The rental site, which directly connects property owners with renters, issued yesterday what many deemed was a long-overdue apology and announced changes to its policies — including a $50,000 insurance guarantee — in light of a recent incident, TechCrunch reports. The company was widely criticized for its handling of a highly publicized issue in which a woman’s home was ransacked and essentially destroyed by guests who arranged their stay there through Airbnb.com. Gawker posted about additional Airbnb horrors.
Tropical storm develops in Caribbean
Tropical storm Emily began to form in the Caribbean yesterday, and nearby areas are under a tropical watch. Meteorologists expect tropical storm conditions to materialize over the next few days, CNN reports. The storm signals the start of peak hurricane season, which is expected to be more intense than last year.
Venice to tax tourists
To offset the sinking city’s maintenance costs, guests staying at five-star hotels in Venice will pay an extra tax of 4.50 euros starting 24 August, Time reports. Guests at less-pricey hotels will pay reduced rates. Taxes will be levied primarily during high season when the city sees up to 60,000 visitors per day.
Two sisters kicked off Southwest flight for crying
Southwest Airlines’ customer service track record keeps taking hits. First employees kicked off overweight passengers like Kevin Smith, then one of the pilots went on an offensive rant, and now yesterday, two sisters flying to see their father who had just suffered a heart attack were kicked off the plane. Jezebel reports the women were booted for crying, though after a verbal altercation between one of the sisters and a flight attendant, the attendant assumed the woman was drunkenly crying.
“The hotel’s 100 permanent residents will be allowed to stay, but they have been told nothing beyond what the startled hotel workers learned late last week: that all reservations after Saturday were cancelled”.
–The culturally historic Chelsea Hotel, favoured lodgings of such legends as Bob Dylan and Patti Smith, shuttered for an indefinite amount of time over the weekend. It is still unknown what will come of the place, the New York Times reports.