Booking travel accommodations has changed in the last few years, all thanks to the Airbnb platform.
The Start of Something Great
Airbnb was came into existence in 2007, when friends and housemates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were having trouble paying their rent. Seeing that all the hotels were booked out for professional industrial design conference, they bought a few air mattresses and launched a website called, “Air Bed and Breakfast.”
Guests were charged $80 per night.
Airbnb wasn’t an immediate success. It took a few years to gain traction, and now around 2 million stay in an Airbnb each night.
How to Get a Good Airbnb
Staying in an Airbnb makes both work trips and fun travel easier. Instead of staying in the “touristy” part of a city, you can be close to the meetings or experiences you want to be close to.
But, we’ve all heard Airbnb horror stories. Yikes.
When you stay at a hotel, you generally know what you’re getting, but Airbnbs can have… not so fun surprises in store. Here are 5 things to check out on your Airbnb before deciding to check in:
Airbnb Tip #1: Check Google Street View
If you’re visiting a new city, be sure to check out the Airbnb on Google Street View. Type the address in on maps.google.com, and use the little yellow figure to see what the street looks like. Does the area fit in with what you’re looking for? (Airbnb also has this feature on their platform, but it can be buggy.)
If there’s a nightclub or 24 hour instacare next to the Airbnb, you may not be in for a restful night’s sleep!
Airbnb Tip #2: Business Travel
If you’re traveling for business, there are things you’ll likely need that a vacationer can live without. Does the Airbnb have an ironing board and iron? Is there a desk? Most importantly, does it offer WiFi? Not all Airbnbs do, so don’t assume!
Is there a Keurig or coffee machine (with coffee available!) or will you need to get some on the way to your meetings or conference?
Airbnb lets you filter results by Trip Type, but don’t assume that they all have the same amenities.
Airbnb Tip #3: Negative Reviews Are Good – Sometimes
In life, you can’t make everyone happy. An established Airbnb will likely have negative reviews, and that can be a good thing. When looking at the reviews for an Airbnb, look for a negative review, and analyze how the owner handled it.
Did they resolve the issue? Was the guest being a little ridiculous? How professional is the host in their response?
Use reviews to determine how the host resolves issues. If they’re defensive or rude, move to the next listing!
Airbnb Tip #4: Check Cancelation & Cleaning Fees
Do yourself a favor, and thoroughly read all the terms associated with a deposit and fees.
Airbnb hosts can charge different fees for your stay, and some travellers have been surprised to find the fees are almost as much as the charge per night! In addition, some Airbnbs don’t have flexibility in dates, meaning you’ll lose out on your deposit if you end up having to cancel.
Airbnb Tip #5: Test the Host
A good host is critical to having a good experience. Message the host with a few questions, and note their timeliness and friendliness. A few questions to try:
- Do you have a guest book?
- Are guests able to control the temperature and adjust the thermostat?
- Is there public transportation nearby, or do people generally take a Lyft or Uber?
- Do you manage the property or do you have a property manager?
- What restaurants or cafes would you recommend in the area?
The first question, “Do you have a guest book?” really differentiates hosts. Not having one doesn’t mean the Airbnb will be terrible, but its presence does show an extra level of care.
Traveling with Your Knack Pack
The Knack Travel Backpack is the perfect travel backpack, as it easily goes from a carryon bag to an everyday carry. The expandable luggage compartment means you can pack your clothes and toiletries in the back, and keep you other items (camera, laptop, books, etc) in the other pockets.
After unpacking at your Airbnb, you can compress the luggage compartment and use your Knack Backpack for sightseeing or meetings.
What things do you look for when booking an Airbnb? Tell us in the comments!