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What Is Airbnb?
Airbnb is an online marketplace where guests go to find a bed to stay and hosts list their room/property for rent.
It is very much like a hotel, however, guests stay in the hosts home, and guests don’t get the usual frills of hotel concierge. I’ll go over the pro’s and con’s of airbnb later.
Airbnb operates in roughly 35 000 cities and in 200 countries. When you travel to another city, you need somewhere to stay. You may choose a hostel, or maybe a hotel, but Airbnb gives you the opportunity to live in someone else’s home. This may be just what you’re looking for, or it may not be. But Airbnb is typically cheaper than your traditional hotel. And that’s a huge advantage for Airbnb.
How Does Airbnb Work? The process
How Guests Use Airbnb
As a guest, you scroll through the properties listed in the city you are looking for a room in. One of the coolest things about Airbnb is that they have just about every type of “room” available. You can find just a single bedroom (like renting a single room back home), an entire house, apartment, a mansion, villa, and even boats like yachts.
As you filter your results, you can view pictures of accommodations and read the host’s profile to see what kind of person they are. Sometimes you will be living with the host, and sometimes the host won’t even be there (you have the entire accommodation to yourself). Whatever the case, you want to know who you will be renting from.
You’ll find out this information as you read the accommodation description. You will also want to message the host if this information isn’t clear. You can message the host and ask questions about the accommodation or anything really. I think this is an extremely important step, because you get to see what your host is like. One of the biggest complaint about using Airbnb is that the host wasn’t adequate.
You can filter your results by many things, namely price, location, type of accommodation, amenities, and near certain points of interest. Once you find something you like, I’d message the property host and ask some general questions you’ll no doubt have. Most importantly, you want to make sure the property is available for the date you want it.
If you want to go ahead with the reservation, you submit your reservation with your payment information. Now, Airbnb will collect your payment after the host accepts your request. If the host declines your request, no money will be collected. Once the host accepts your payment, your money will be “held” by Airbnb until 24 hours after you check in. They have this policy in place to ensure both parties are happy with their transaction. I guess 24 hours is enough time to figure that out. The funds are released and given to the host, minus fees. Happy days.
Airbnb operates in 190+ Countries
How Hosts Use Airbnb
As a host, you get to make some money from the property you own. Many types of people put up their personal homes for random strangers to use. For example, you may have an extra room in your home and you want to make a little bit of income from it. You could rent locally, or use a service like Airbnb to help rent your unused space.
Or perhaps you travel a lot and sometimes you’re away for a few months. Instead of leaving your home empty and unused, you could make money off it while you are away by renting it out to people who could use your home. In any of the cases, you can make a bit of side cash with the real estate you own.
To list your property on Airbnb, you’ll need to sign up for an account, be approved, and enter info about your property for rent. It’s a fairly easy process. Once your property is listed, sit back and wait for the reservation requests and personal messages come through.
Just like how guests can view your personal profile, you can view guest profiles as well. Often though, the guest may not have much to their profile, but you should open up an avenue of communication to see who will potentially be living your property.
Remember, you are offering your home up to others. The biggest potential problem hosts have is that people will damage, steal, or otherwise wreck your property. Airbnb offers $1,000,000 in damages to protect their hosts from these types of problems (with certain restrictions and limitations).
The Pro’s and Con’s of Using Airbnb Summarized
Pro’s of using Airbnb
Can find all sorts of properties, from single bedrooms to mansions
Price of Airbnb accommodations is usually cheaper than a typical hotel
You get the chance to live “locally” in the city you are traveling to, and get away from the traditional hotel vibe
Your host can be really awesome. He/She can really make your visit exceptional by cooking foods, recommending you things to do, and show you culture
Can rent property for just a day or two, or settle down for a few months
Hosts get to meet guests, sometimes frequently, making life interesting and fun
Hosts can make extra money on otherwise wasted space
Con’s of using Airbnb
Hosts can be weird or not as expected, or have bad habits like being loud late at night
Property listed could be different that depicted
You have to pay fee’s, anywhere from 6%-12%, and foreign transaction fee’s if required, as well as a VAT tax in some countries
Summary of What Airbnb is
The next time you go on a family vacation to Hawaii, or visit Chicago with some friends for the weekend, have a look at Airbnb properties. You just might find yourself looking at a private beachside villa for just you and your family, or a small downtown apartment room close to night life in Chi town.
As a guest of Airbnb, your options are plentiful in every city Airbnb operates in. Just more choices in the array of accommodations available to travellers. However, prices of Airbnb accommodations are usually cheaper, and money talks! As an Airbnb host, you can make extra money with your otherwise unused property.
Having said all that, there are some potential issues with Airbnb, like the host and their property not being as described or depicted, or bad guests who damage your property or steal your stuff. But hey, I recommend you try it out at least once. You might just find you’ll want to do it again.