Airbnb Hosts Never Have to Set Their Own Prices Again

On Thursday, a new set of tools for Airbnb hosts will go live, amid the happy fanfare of 5,000-odd home-sharers gathering at the the company’s annual host conference in Paris. Among them is a feature called “smart pricing,” which VP of product Joe Zadeh says will answer, for good, a question that they get all the time: What price is the right price?

The new features are being presented as a means of making hosting more attractive and easier than ever. Some of the tools are meant to foster a sense of community among home-sharers — like a host mentoring program, through which more experienced hosts can earn credit for helping newbies, and a “toolkit” that includes instructive videos made by hosts, for hosts. The company also launched a new certification program that will allow hosts to earn a “Business Travel Ready” label for their listing in the hopes of getting more bookings from Airbnb’s corporate partners.

It’s the updated smart pricing feature, though, that could make the most difference for the site’s users. Hosts can now opt in to letting Airbnb analyze scores of factors and set a price,

A Judge Dismissed A Lawsuit Against Taylor Swift Using Taylor Swift Lyrics

at Singapore Indoor Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Singapore.

It’ll leave you breathless or with a nasty scar

Last month an unknown R&B singer named Jesse Braham sued Taylor Swift for $42 million over the lyrics to her hit song “Shake it Off.” This week a U.S. Disctrict Court judge in California dismissed the suit using, appropriately enough, lots of Taylor Swift lyrics.

Braham had claimed that the phrases “haters gonna hate” and “players gonna play” were plagiarized from his 2013 song “Haters Gonna Hate.” But the judge found that the phrase “haters gonna hate” was already a meme and a popular item in Google searches before Braham’s song debuted, according to evidence cited in the ruling. That’s to say nothing of the seminal 2000 track “Playas Gon’ Play” by 3LW, which the judge also cites.

The judge embraces the ridiculousness of the suit fully in the conclusion of her ruling, as she writes:

At present, the Court is not saying that Braham can never, ever, ever get his case back in court. But, for now, we have got problems, and the Court is not sure Braham can solve them. As currently

How to Discuss Salary During a Job Interview stock photos Money Dollar Bills

Be honest and diplomatic

Discussing salary is always a bit uncomfortable — but it’s especially tricky when a hiring manager asks what you currently make during a job interview.

Why? There are a few reasons.

First, maybe they were going to offer you, say, $90,000 — but you tell them you currently make $65,000. Once they hear that, they might decide to offer you just $70,000.

Second, maybe they can only offer you $60,000 because that’s all they have in the budget for this particular position. When you say you currently earn $65,000, they might think they can’t afford you or assume you wouldn’t be willing to take a pay cut, and therefore decide not to move forward with you as a candidate.

Third, if you make much less than the average person in your job, the employer might assume you’re not a highly valued employee. If you’re paid a lot more than the average worker in your position, they might assume you’re overqualified.

And lastly, it’s just awkward to discuss how much you earn, especially with a stranger.

But whether you like it or

How Four Seasons is fighting back against Airbnb

There was a time, less than a decade ago, when a clever concierge could impress hotel guests with a bit of foresight—maybe hold a dinner reservation for them on a busy night when their flight gets in late or have a taxi waiting before they’ve requested it. This level of service has always been one of the defining traits of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, but even CEO Allen Smith admits it’s no longer enough.

“Guests now expect you’ll be able to anticipate what they want,” he says. He points to services like Apple Music and Amazon, which know what customers will like before they even know it themselves. Consumers have become accustomed to this kind of personalized algorithmic assistance in their lives, Smith says. (Four Seasons has adapted by offering an app that will soon let guests log customized personal preferences, from room temperature to pillow firmness.)

But that’s not all hotel customers have grown accustomed to. According to a recent report by Skift, a travel industry intelligence firm, today’s luxury travellers are looking for more than rest and relaxation—they want “inspiration, a sense of personalization and a drive toward self-discovery.” Whether it’s a wine tour in California or a manta ray

The Sandwich Generation’s Financial Slog to Retire

There’s a rock and a hard place, and then there’s the place those in the sandwich generation American find themselves in when trying to pay for three generations of family financial needs.

To millions of Americans aged 45 through 64 (aka the sandwich generation), a rock and a hard place seems highly preferable to their predicament – paying for their kids’ college, saving for their own retirement and helping with their senior mom or dad’s long-term care needs.

“Individuals who fall into the sandwich generation are often financially stretched, extremely busy and find that time comes at a premium,” states a new report from BMO Harris Premier Services. “As it’s not uncommon for them to prioritize the needs of others above their own, these individuals pay a toll emotionally and financially.”

BMO reports that 50% of Americans aged 45 to 65 are juggling the demands of caring for their children or aging relatives. Another 10% really have it rough, balancing the financial needs for their kids, themselves and their parents (another 17% expect to be doing the same thing soon, BMO states.)

Those scenarios pose challenging financial consequences: while 92% view retirement as a top priority, only 16% of the sandwich set are confident in their

How to Trade the Too Big to Fail Banks and How to Make Them Safer

Big banks have been getting bigger since Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, allowing banks to become financial services supermarkets.

The Glass-Steagall Act was enacted in 1933 following the Crash of 1929. It sought to resolve abuses that caused the stock market crash and began the Great Depression. During the eight years of economic boom that ended in a bust, the stock market became a bubble set to pop. Market manipulation and pump and dump schemes were the order of the day and law and order needed to be re-established.

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Investigations revealed obvious fraudulent activities which were prevented from happening again in 1933 when Glass-Steagall became law. Oversimplified, banks would be banks taking deposits and making loans. Brokers would be brokers underwriting and selling securities.

Must Read: Will MetLife Be the Next Too-Big-to-Fail Insurer to Face a Breakup?

Today, it would not be that difficult to separate these business functions once again. Each of the four “too big to fail” money center banks have huge businesses on both sides of the ledger.

For example, Bank of America (BAC – Get

Supersize me

THIS week Amundi, one of Europe’s biggest money managers with €950 billion ($1 trillion) of assets, took a step towards becoming bigger still. On November 12th it listed on the Paris stock exchange in the biggest initial public offering of a financial firm in continental Europe since the $2.7 billion flotation in Amsterdam last year of Pershing Square, an American hedge-fund manager. Société Générale, a French bank, is selling its 20% stake to increase capital buffers; Crédit Agricole, another bank and the owner of the rest of Amundi, is selling up to 5%.

By moving Amundi out of the shadow of its two parents, the listing will make it easier for the firm to attract new partners and, in particular, pave the way for acquisitions. That is not because Amundi is retaining the proceeds of the IPO (those go to Société Générale and Crédit Agricole), but because future takeovers can now be financed by issuing more shares. Moreover, once a company is listed it is easy to value, something that could ease a big merger in future. In addition Amundi has €1.3 billion in cash that Yves Perrier, its chief executive, has promised to return to shareholders if he does not

Straitened circumstances

THE Chinese theory about economic integration with Taiwan is that it will bind the two together politically. Taiwan will become ever more reliant on China for its prosperity, paving the way to eventual unification. Many in Taiwan fear this process is under way. But now the premise of the theory—that closer ties with China are essential for growth—is being tested by a sharp economic slowdown in Taiwan.

Over his nearly eight years in office, Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan’s president, has pushed for a detente with China. A flurry of deals, including a limited free-trade agreement, has fuelled business ties. Taiwanese exports to China have soared, as has Chinese investment in Taiwan. A recent meeting between Mr Ma and Xi Jinping, China’s president, in Singapore—the first between leaders of the two countries—was meant to show the promise of more co-operation

Awkwardly, though, Taiwan’s economy is in a slump. GDP shrank by 1% year on year in the third quarter, its first contraction since 2009. Last year Taiwan grew by 3.8%. Many analysts had expected about the same this year. Instead, it will do well to hit 1%, says Gordon Sun of the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research.

The global slowdown in trade is partly to