Vacation rentals have been a popular means of accommodations for a long time now, but it felt out of many people’s reaches until recently. Airbnb has been the answer for travelers wishing to see the world in a more authentic way. It puts hostess’ right in touch with travelers, allowing them full control of the process, from booking to hosting. It’s the modern call to the the bed & breakfast, but on your own terms.
There are many different types of rentals out there, from loft-styled apartments to the quaint guest house out back, and everything in-between. Hostess’ can list a room in their house, their own space if their out of town, or a rental property solely used for vacationers. This style gives travelers tons of options in nearly every price point. What’s more, it provides travelers the option to stay in more residential places that are generally cutoff to tourists because of the lack of hotels. Hostess’ make money, and travelers feel more at home and less like a tourist.
After using the service a few times as a traveler (and loving it!), I have uncovered a few things that I want to share with you all, in order to make your experience all the more rewarding!
Read Reviews on the Property and the Hosts
We all get the deal on reviews, so I’m not going to tell you how to read one. But, I am going to tell you what to read.
Every property has it’s own reviews, which are important to read to get an honest feel on the area and the space. But, also make sure to read the reviews on the hosts! At the top of every listing is a user avatar of the hosts: click on that to show you their profile and track record with other travelers. You will be able to see reviews from every property they host; this will give you insight into not just the property you want to rent, but those hosts in general.
It’s important to know you have hosts that are easy to access and communicate with, so reading multiple reviews will give you some good insight into whether or not you will have an easy experience during your stay. I am not saying this is a full-proof method, and I am sure there have been circumstances where people have had different experiences, but equipping yourself with the most information possible never hurts.
Watch Cancellation Policies
If you are used to hotel travel, beware with Airbnb cancellation policies — they are different.
Airbnb uses a 3-tier cancellation policy structure, where the host can choose which they want to abide by for their spaces: flexible, moderate, and strict. Flexible and moderate policies allow for full refunds if you cancel your reservation (5 days prior for moderate, 1 day prior for flexible). Airbnb’s strict policy only allows for a 50% refund if you cancel at least 7 days prior to check in. This can be a big problem for people if they didn’t realize what they booked ahead of time and plans change.
I try to book spaces with flexible or moderate cancellation policies because it’s ultimately less of a fiscal liability to you should you need to change your plans. Be on the lookout for each host’s policies before you book.
To learn more about Airbnb’s cancellation policies, click here!
Remember, It’s Not a Hotel
Please remember, this is not a hotel. You are staying in someone’s home/vacation property, and as much as you are reviewing your hosts, your hosts are reviewing you. Respect your surroundings and the rules your hosts have established. And if you have a problem or see something wrong, contact them through the app; shooting them a quick message and, I promise, they will thank you for it.
Also, don’t forget to be thankful to your hosts. They put a lot of time into making sure your experience is positive. From stocking the place with goodies to checking in once in a while to make sure “you’re good,” be sure to thank them after your stay and leave them positive remarks for others to see. If you don’t have a good experience, make sure to get in touch with Airbnb’s Resolution Center.
Airbnb may be the new kid on the block, but it’s making waves in the hospitality industry and offering travelers like you the opportunity to experience more!
I’d love to know if you’ve used Airbnb before, and what your experience was. I know every person has had a different experience from different hosts: did you have a standout host that you loved, or a property you’d go back to in a heartbeat? Was your experience less-than-stellar? Let me know in the comments!
AND, if you’ve never booked an Airbnb before, follow this link for a $20 credit on your first booking!