Airbnb in Mindelo
Airbnb started in 2008 and got its name when its three founders rented out air matresses on the floor of their San Francisco apartment during a conference. Now, 8 years later millions of people have booked their stay with this ‘Sharing Economy leader’. The company set out to give travellers an experience, and not just a place to stay.
In the city of Mindelo, known as Cape Verde’s cultural capital, Airbnb was quite an unknown concept back in 2013. Friends Freddy and Elzo had enjoyed this new way of traveling using sites such as Airbnb and Wimdu and decided that the city needed a fresh and affordable alternative to staying in one of Mindelo’s hotels.
Together they have welcomed hundreds of great guests and gathered over 100 positive travel reviews on both Mindelo and Santo Antão (Ponta do Sol) since they listed their very first place on the website. Their listings vary from studio’s to apartments to small family run B&B’s. Both say that one of the reasons people use Airbnb instead of other types of accommodation is because of the personal touch and costumized ‘Mindelo Tourist Information’ hosts can provide about where to enjoy the best music, traditional Cape Verdean food or the amazing Mindelo sunsets (blog).
Hotels questioned from the start if Airbnb could really become a competitor for them in the long run.
The innovative character of the company showed that many big hotel chains basically overrated their position in a very changeable market. The discussion between the more traditional hospitality giants and young start-ups like Airbnb will probably continue.
The truth is both service very different types of travelers. People looking for an authentic travel experience filled with connections with locals and seeking for budget accommodation will not find what they are looking for in one of Mindelo’s hotels. Also, booking your stay through an Airbnb host allows for your money to go to a different part of the country's economy. Consider the situation in popular tourist destinations such als Sal and Boavista, where enormous resorts by foreign investors have been built in recent years. Staying with a local could be an important boost to the life of locals.
So whether you are discovering Mindelo’s cultural nightlife, getting ready for some serious trekking and hiking on Santo Antão, or plan on visiting as many islands as your budget allows, Airbnb has listings in different price ranges, beautiful locations and hosts ready to welcome you with the special warm Cape Verdean hospitality that is known as ‘Morabeza’…