When you are planning holidays or business trips, we face a modern dilemma;
Splurge on a traditional hotel, or potentially save money by renting someone’s home on Airbnb?
We’ve all heard the horror stories about Airbnb, the platform that connects travellers with people who are either making some extra cash by renting out their homes or property management companies who professionally manage investment properties.
Plenty of guests have groaned about hosts who have cancelled reservations at the last minute. Some even say hosts falsely accused them of property damage, demanding compensation.
Yet Airbnb is proving an irresistible hotel alternative for travellers. Two million people worldwide stay at an Airbnb rental each night.
The perks are enticing…besides the savings, some homes are more spacious, in a better location than a hotel and provide more than your standard amenities.
As a Superhost on Airbnb, meaning we have hosted many guests that left a flawless review, there are shortcuts and loopholes that some dishonest hosts take to maximise their profit at the expense of guests.
So, here’s our advice for ensuring you have a smooth stay at an Airbnb, along with some tips on becoming a well-reviewed guest….
Review Listings Carefully
This may sound obvious but Read….don’t skim an Airbnb listing.
Airbnb hosts and their homes vary widely in quality, and you can learn a great deal just from closely reading the listing and most importantly its reviews.
Don’t assume that an Airbnb offering will have all the perks of a hotel, because, well, it’s someone’s house.
Many hosts will be transparent in their listing and mention a lack of air-conditioning or a driveway that is difficult to find at night. Other hosts may say they have strict house rules, for example, no parties. Sometimes, hosts will say up front that the night area can be noisy…
Hosts, too, have imperfections, so read guest reviews to learn about them. Perhaps the linen was dirty, there’s a train line across the road or the house had no niceties (like coffee, tea, salt, pepper etc…)
We recommend booking only listings with reviews that are 4.5* stars &/or SuperHost status.
Look out for Price Fluctuations
One thing that some Airbnb hosts have in common with hotel, is they may raise prices during peak times. Airbnb has smart pricing + others may use dynamic pricing tools that automatically push prices when demand is likely to be high, similar to Uber’s surge pricing.
In some cases, Airbnb may be even pricier than a comparable hotel. If you find a listing you love and you are looking to save some cash, there are methods to determine when prices will be lower.
An Airbnb listing will show the base price set by the Host, however this can be used as bait advertising as they may never have the base price.
The easiest way to see a listing’s fluctuations is to open its calendar and click on dates that will probably be in high demand, like the Christmas or New Year’s Eve.
Weekend prices can also be higher than weekday prices.
From there, you can calculate a modest price for that listing and look for dates with that pricing.
With Airbnb, generally there’s no security personnel or manager to help when something goes wrong. So, you need to protect yourself.
Try to keep all your conversations inside Airbnb’s messaging, instead of texting the Host. This is a helpful in case something goes wrong & Airbnb will have records.
For example, if you arrive and find something is broken, take a picture and send via Airbnb’s app, so that both the Host + Airbnb are aware that this was like this when you arrived, and the Host cannot blame you.
If you fail to reach a resolution with the host, you can ask Airbnb to mediate and all your communications with the host will be visible to Airbnb
Be a Good Guest
All of these tips are irrelevant if you can’t book on Airbnb in the first place based on your performance as a guest. Fortunately, being a superb guest is relatively easy.
It’s best to fill out your profile with as much detail as possible, including completing all verifications (identification, email address, phone number, selfie)
This helps give a host trust that you are a real person with nothing to hide.
The rest is common sense…Be communicative and polite + abide by their house rules and treat the property as you would your own home.
That’s usually enough to earn you a perfect review from a host.
Remember, it’s not just about the reviews that you leave as a guest…the host also leaves a review about the guest.