Why you Should Use Airbnb….and Why you Shouldn’t
If you are a keen traveller, you will already be aware of, and have probably used Airbnb. Airbnb is loved by travellers all over the world not only for its inconvenience but also for its value for money. There is no doubt that Airbnb can give a traveller the opportunity to stay in some of the most amazing and sought after places for half the cost of a hotel. Those travelling on a budget can still reap the benefits of holidaying in style from huts in Fiji to country manors in the Lake District as well as chic apartments in Europe, Airbnb really does have a bit of something for everyone. Starting out as two roomies, founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia rented out a spare room in their San Francisco apartment when money was tight. Initially just a mattress on the floor, with a free breakfast, the concept slowly grew, aiming to allow people to visit places where accommodation was scarce, such as high-profile events. Launching as Airbedandbreakfast.com and later shortened to Airbnb, it is now one of the most popular apps used.
With the summer months now beginning, everyone is getting ready for their favourite time of year; the holiday season. Whether you be travelling on a budget or looking to indulge in a little more luxury, Customer Service Guru has decided to provide you with some of the pro’s and con’s of using accommodation provider Airbnb to make sure you’re travel ready for whenever it is you might be going. (On the one small condition that you take us with you).
Location & Culture
Staying in an Airbnb means you can pretty much stay anywhere in the world. Whilst big hotel complexes are sometimes built outside of smaller towns, Airbnb offers apartments that are literally right in the thick of it. Visit a small town in Italy and you will have a traditional apartment right in the centre, so you can wake up and breakfast it like a local. The list of locations and places to visit on Airbnb are endless and properties for rent are completely unique. For those that really love to get a feel for a place, Airbnb really is just more than a room in a house. The location of each listing is explained and rated out of 5 stars, so you can choose one that is close to town, or outside if you prefer a more peaceful trip.
Hosts & Hospitality
Every Airbnb host is introduced to you online, picture and all, before you meet, and you them. More often than not, your host will be from the town/city you are staying so will know all the ins and outs. There is nothing better than getting sight-seeing advice from a local, because although you will most likely want to see the well known tourist attractions, they will probably give yuou some interesting information that can take you off the beaten track, and see how the locals live. The amenities available in an Airbnb are listen on the app, and some hosts are known to put on a mean breakfast, often free of charge. They ill also give top restaurant recommendations and are more than happy for you to stay in their home, whether you be sharing it with them or renting it from them.
Price & Budget
Airbnb is well known for its prices. The fact that a room can be rented for a set price per night means you don’t have to pay per person. If you request a room for four, the set price means it can be split between four people, which will save you a fortune compared to two double hotel rooms. The apartments are often self catering, equipped with kitchens which means travelling on a budget was never so easy. The app allows you to choose from ‘entire home’ or just a ‘room’. If you have rented just a room, it is likely that your host will be living in the house and you will not have access to the kitchen, but an entire home will mean you are free to live in it like its yours. Prices and availability vary but you are able to pick whatever suits you, making it extremely useful for lone travellers, wanting some company, or a big group wanting to stay together.
Convenience & Ease
A huge, attractive factor of Airbnb is its ease and convenience. No more trawling through Google to find the best deal, or searching for availability for a big group of people. Simply download the Airbnb app, select the date you are checking in, the date you are checking out and search. You can filter out searches as you are doing it, for example only selecting an entire home, or picking somewhere where a free breakfast is available. Once your search is complete, your accommodation choices will be listed. Booking is extremely simple, you can press instant book and wait for a super quick confirmation from your host. Once this is done, you are good to go. Messaging between you and your host pre-stay is easy and quick, using the Airbnb messaging service. people often use this to request directions and arrange a time for check in/check out. There is something that makes the whole booking process a little personal and a little less automated than most accommodation providers.
Host & Guest Concerns
The use of Airbnb works both ways, and if you are choosing to rent out your room for a cost per night, you are putting the well-being of your home into the hands of a stranger. Whilst you may think you got to know what they were about from their profile, a group of people could throw a party and trash a place. The same goes for the other way round. Whilst 9 times out of 10 a guest and host relationship is professional and friendly, there may be times where a host is not what you expected and you don’t feel comfortable staying, or the accommodation is not as described/ what it looked like in the pictures.
Airbnb hosts may have to be aware that if they are earning a regular income from renting out their home to paying guests, they may be taxed and should ensure they register accordingly to prevent prosecution.
When using Airbnb you have to request to book somewhere, and wait until it is approved by your host. Airbnb in the meantime will take the money from your account, before the booking is approved. If the host then denies your request or agrees to a booking then cancels it, it can take up to 2-3 days for Airbnb to return the money to you. A host can also cancel last minute leaving you homeless, although this is rarer and not without good excuse. The issue is that Airbnb do not provide support in finding you alternative accommodation.