I don’t know about you, but letting complete strangers into my home doesn’t sound like a stress-free experience. And on the flip-side, neither does staying in a complete stranger’s house. Now, thanks to Airbnb, this has not only become acceptable, but it’s also a brilliant way to save some serious moola on your vacation. Most of you might already know that Airbnb is the largest accommodation-sharing site in the world, but if you are an Airbnb first-timer, you probably have a ton of questions.
Everything you need to know is right here:
1. Seriously though, how does it work?
Airbnb is an easy-to-use, online marketplace that allows people from all over the world to rent out their properties or even their spare rooms to guests. You can list or search a property according to a wide range of criteria: from a single room to an entire home, having a swimming pool to having internet access.
Airbnb only takes 3% commission of every booking from hosts, and between 6% and 12% from guests.
2. What makes it so popular?
Although there are many benefits, I’d say that Airbnb is great for your wallet. Not only does it mean extra income for the host, but guests also get to save on their travel expenses. You can get amazing accommodation, and often in prime locations, without the soul-crushing price of a normal hotel.
Apart from that, many hosts enjoy meeting new people and showing off their home, like the guest house they have always dreamt about. And some guests enjoy the simpler ways of travel and living like a local for the time-being.
3. Now for the real questions, how do you book?
Once you’ve created your verified profile, booking accommodation has never been this easy. You can search for any location in the world, and the listed accommodation in that area will appear. Hosts must show calendars of availability and they will inform you of what they will provide like towels or wifi.
If you like what you see and it’s available for the requested period of time, you can contact the host and either book instantly, or submit a request for later booking.
4. Are there any hidden costs?
Some hosts will charge for cleaning on top of their basic fee, but it’s not really ‘hidden’ as this is clarified upon making your booking.
5. If there’s no reception like with a hotel, how do you get in?
Once your booking is made, you and the host will arrange a meeting time and place, depending on your arrival time. This could either be at the property itself, or if it’s more convenient, you can agree to meet at a more central location. The host will give you the keys, show you around the property and discuss where you can drop the keys when you leave.
6. How do you know if you can trust people?
This is where peer-to-peer reviews come in handy. Airbnb has a system where both hosts and guests can leave honest reviews for each other. All available to the public eye. This way you avoid falling for false descriptions and photos. There is also the Verified ID system which confirms people’s identities by linking them to social media and other offline ID-documents.
7. What about the payments?
As a guest, you will pay in full as you book through a secure platform. The money goes into escrow and the host will receive the money 24 hours after you’ve checked in.
Have you discovered some rad places, or are you an Airbnb first-timer? We would love to hear about your experience in the comments below.