There is a lot of talk right now about whether renting through Airbnb would be a better deal than booking a hotel. Never heard of Airbnb? It is simply an online community marketplace that connects people who are looking for accommodations with people who are interested in renting their home, condo, apartment, etc. They have become a huge company, offering accommodations worldwide in more than 192 countries. Airbnb began primarily to serve the budget conscious community; however, they are now attracting a large number of business and professional clients. Why the appeal for something that sounds a little risky? Many travelers say renting an Airbnb gives them a more unique and memorable experience. Before you decide to give up on hotels, give the following points a little thought.
Will your lodging booked through Airbnb look exactly like those pictures you found online? Will you be able to resolve any issue quickly and to your satisfaction? When you book a well known hotel brand, there are rarely any surprises. Whether it’s cleanliness, special amenities and service, or room size, you know exactly what to expect.
Are Airbnbs safe? Although many travelers report that they’ve been happy with these kind of accommodations, there have also been horror stories. Recently, renters in Paris actually found a dead body in the garden of the home! Of course, that kind of incident is rare; however, hotels have surveillance systems, security guards, cameras, and other measures to keep you safe.
What kind of service can you expect in an Airbnb rental? What will happen if you have a clogged toilet, the television doesn’t work, or the door won’t lock? In a hotel, a quick call to the front desk will usually get any of your issues resolved.
Is location important to you? It is easy to find a hotel located right in a city’s center; however, it’s reported that 74% of Airbnb properties are outside of main hotel districts. That could cause a problem if you can’t get to public transportation or tourist attractions easily.
Have you ever arrived at a hotel with your reservation in hand, only to find that they are overbooked? Although it doesn’t happen often, when it does, the hotel will find a way to accommodate you, even if it means upgrading you to a suite or taking you to another hotel. An Airbnb reservation can be cancelled at any time, leaving renters frantically looking for a new place to stay.
Finally, there are no loyalty programs for Airbnb renters. Travelers who are loyal to a particular hotel brand will accumulate points for each stay that can be redeemed for free nights or other amenities.
Airbnb is definitely growing in popularity with both travelers and renters. The company states that it is constantly working to improve some of the issues discussed. And who doesn’t like to save money? But, in my opinion, there are too many risks I’m not willing to take. I’ll stick to my favorite hotels!
Ann Jones, MCC, CTC Trip Quest Travel Services