The pros and cons: Airbnb review
Today, I have another guest post for you from Marie Neives, a student and blogger who enjoys travelling, poetry and surfing the web. You can read more about her on her previous guest post or follow her on Facebook and Twitter. She is doing a warts and all review of Airbnb for us today, so if you have yet to use Airbnb, and are unsure what to think, this post is for you.
Since its launch in 2008, Airbnb allows people to rent lodgings for short periods. However, the company does not own any of the offered lodgings. It’s basically a middleman that charges a percentage of service fees. Did you know it has over 3,000,000 listed lodgings in 191 countries? It’s a popular alternative to hotels, but the question arises – is it better? Just like any other service, Airbnb has pros and cons.
Pros of Airbnb
If it’s a matter of finances, Airbnb accommodations are statistically cheaper than hotels. In fact, the average savings are pretty drastic – roughly speaking, they clock around a whopping fifty percent! However, you should know that this is not a universal rule – you can find an expensive private apartment that’s costlier than any hotel in the city or the surrounding area.
This depends on the city and your preferences, but in most cases, you can find an affordable apartment that’s more comfortable and beautiful than any hotel room. In fact, Airbnb is giving most hotels a run for their money to such an extent that some hotels choose to list their rooms on Airbnb to attract more guests.
Anne: I can personally attest to this. I have just booked 3 Airbnb in South Africa for our tenth wedding anniversary next year. We have found some stunning properties and have paid just £1,539 for two weeks accommodation for four people. Each property is super swanky and has saved us a fortune on hotels, not to mention they are in fabulous locations.
Airbnb offers a unique experience. Some of the apartments are true treasures. If you could live in an intricately set vintage apartment that harkens back to the roaring twenties, why would you choose to stay in a hotel? Not only that but, in a way, you will be living like locals do – in a building with other community members.
On the other hand, hotels are trying to attract customers by offering unique experiences and immersive surroundings. The rise in popularity of boutique hotels has occurred because of the same frame of mind among the tourists that launched Airbnb to such status.
Anne: This is one of my favourite things about Airbnb. I love that you can be immersed in less touristy areas and interact with your neighbours.
It’s the oldest story in the book – what you bought does not match the description. Even though it happens rarely with Airbnb, sometimes the pictures paint a different story to reality. Lodgings can often be much stuffier, less hygienic, and more run down than what the description shows.
Thankfully, information transparency on the Internet has become the name of the game and Airbnb property management in Sydney offers details of each lodging. The substantial details, that are preferably both textual and visual, are the hallmark of a good business plan when it comes to these sorts of services.
As mentioned before, it happens rarely – most hosts go well out of their way to spruce up their property and present it in the best possible light as bad reviews can come back at owners with a vengeance. If you think you have a justified complaint you can check out Airbnb’s Guest Refund Policy.
Since Airbnb hosts are not professionals (with a few exceptions here and there), your experience can be hit-and-miss as far as communication goes. The upside of this is – you can pretty much tell what kind of person you are dealing with before the deal has been struck. This might end up being a chance to meet extremely likeable and exciting people, and maybe even make friends for life.
Anne: This is definitely true. We found our hostess in Albania a little hit and miss but the hosts we have dealt with for South Africa have gone above and beyond.
Marie: Unpredictability is the key feature here. If you generally like surprises and out-of-the-box sort of traveling, Airbnb is perfect for you. Some experiences might end up on the iffy side, but they are very rare since Airbnb has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to unpleasant excesses. Hotels are indeed a safer choice for those who are not ready to jump into the unknown, but what’s traveling without some adventure?
I have just returned from Albania where we rented an Airbnb and our experience reflects much of what Marie states. Yes, the communication was not fantastic but the apartment had fabulous views over the bay and modern furnishings. It lacked some of the basic supplies, but we paid just £442 for five nights for four people.
Personally, I think Airbnb is a great value way to experience some extra luxury in a more traditional setting. You will find some really unique and authentic properties using the site, and unlike traditional holiday booking sites, there is usually no requirement for a minimum stay of a week.
If you are a Airbnb virgin, sign up using this link and you will get a whopping £30 credit towards your first booking. Now that is how you travel the globe 4 less!
Have your say
Maybe you have used Airbnb. What do you think? We’d love to know about your experiences both good and bad.