Airbnb has grown hugely in recent years and has changed the way people stay. You might also have heard on the news that some cities (such as Paris and Barcelona) have put limits on the amount of nights hosts can rent out their apartments. However, in London. Airbnb is still one of the best options for budget travellers.
But what is Airbnb, and how does Airbnb work?
In this post we’ll take a quick overview of how Airbnb works for guests.
What Is Airbnb ?
The concept of bed and breakfast has been updated for the digital age. Originally, the idea was that people could rent out spare rooms, or whole apartments on this platform Airbnb. The benefits often meant that Airbnb guests would get cheaper accommodation and that hosts wouldn’t need to pay tourist taxes associated with running a real hotel.
Today, there is a whole industry of Airbnb hosts, with some companies or people managing multiple properties. In London there are even companies that will manage your property (or properties) on Airbnb for you…
Airbnb now also offers extras such as tours, experiences and activities with locals.
How does Airbnb work for guests
The great thing about Airbnb is that there can be a room, house or apartment to rent pretty much anywhere. In the old days (pre internet) you would likely have to rely on hotels in a central area, or choose from the slim pickings in a small town.
Today, you can visit Airbnb, browse your chosen area and find your ideal stay. Although Airbnb’s do tend to be residential properties, there are also often options to rent villas, boats and hotel rooms.
If you’re wondering how to book an Airbnb, the process is very simple. Simply search the town (or area) you want to stay in and put in your dates and guests. You can then customise your search by:
- If you want the entire place to yourself or if you don’t mind a room in a shared property
- Length of stay
- Extra features like availability of wifi or a pool
When you run a search you’ll also see options for staying in specific areas of a city, recommendations for things to do and even options in neighbouring towns. This last feature can be useful when you have a major event happening and accommodation is all booked up.
Once you find your chosen place, you can either book it directly (often only paying a percentage of the fee until the stay is completed). Or, on occasion, you need to request the room and the host will accept if they have availability.
Be sure to only pay through Airbnb and avoid doing anything like transferring money outside of the site. This is a classic scam, so keep all interactions inside Airbnb.
Another thing with Airbnb for guests is that it can be a good option when looking for a long stay location. Although you may pay more than the average rent in your chosen city, you do get all bills included (electricity, wifi etc) and can use your Airbnb to find new digs.
The 8 advantages Airbnb has over hotels
Although a nice hotel with starched sheets and a buffet breakfast is a lovely luxury, an Airbnb has actually become the preferred option for many. These are the main advantages that Airbnbs have over hotels for many people…
- Self catering. Airbnbs usually come with kitchens, or access to a kitchen, meaning you can keep holiday costs down and make your own food.
- Home from home. A hotel room is just that. A room. But an Airbnb usually has all the amenities of home including washing machines, different rooms etc.
- More space. Being apartments or houses, you usually have access to more rooms, outside space or little touches like roof terraces/gardens.
- Get to know the area. Airbnb’s are normally in residential areas which means you get to explore a whole other side to the city.
- The hosts: A good Airbnb host can really make your stay. With personalised recommendations, insider knowledge and one to one attention (unlike busy reception desks), this is a definite advantage over hotels.
- Wifi is usually included in the price. Some hotels charge extra for wifi, which would be very unusual in an Airbnb.
- The price. Airbnbs are normally cheaper than a hotel. And, some of the higher end Airbnb’s are equal to, if not better than, their high priced hotel equivalents.
- Better for families and large groups. If you’re travelling as a family, sometimes you need multiple hotel rooms to accommodate everyone. With an Airbnb, you can get everyone into the same property, often for a better price!
These advantages mean that Airbnb has challenged the tourist market in many places and become the preferred option for many visitors. So, if you’ve never tried using an Airbnb before, take a look next time you’re on a trip.