Airbnb is becoming increasingly popular among travellers and property owners alike. For those of you who might not be familiar with the service, it is a website that specializes in short term rentals for vacationers, professionals, backpackers, etc. Home or business owners post their “for rent” space(s) on the site with a specific rate per night that is set at their discretion, as well as pictures, a brief description, and other pertinent information that is relevant to their listing(s). What makes Airbnb so unique is that the rental spaces posted are often quite out of the ordinary. They can vary from homes to condos, to hotels and hostels, to even rooms within homes, and often feature quirky staycations like boat houses and shipping containers!
Now that you have an overview of the service, let me tell you that I am a huge Airbnb supporter, because I believe the site has really revolutionized travel by featuring literally every interpretation of a the phrase “roof over your head.” To better understand why I love Airbnb so much, here are some advantages to the site from both the Listing and Renting sides.
- Cost Effectiveness: Airbnb can be extremely cost If you don’t mind sharing the space with others, but want something a little more luxurious than the hostel life, Airbnb is definitely for you! However, you also need to keep in mind that the site does charge a small service fee for making your booking, so if you see a hotel posted that you would like to book, book directly through the hotel as opposed to through Airbnb.
- Accessibility: Okay so you’re really excited because you just booked your ticket to Montreal’s Osheaga Music Festival, but when you go online to see about booking your hotel for the weekend, you realize that your preferred hotels are all booked up, and the other hotels in the area have increased their rates substantially in anticipation of the event. Airbnb is always a great solution to this problem, because you will no doubt be able to find a place nearby that won’t burn a hole in your pocket!
- Itinerary: Airbnb also creates an itinerary for you outlining the exact dates you are staying from place to place. It makes travelling easy, as you won’t have to wrack your brain trying to remember when you’re staying where!
- General awesomeness: As mentioned above, you can find some AMAZING places to stay all over the world! What other site lets you book a night in a treehouse or an igloo!?
- Offset Cost of Property: Especially when it comes to your own home, you will seldom find a tenant who agrees to rent out a room in your home if it is not a fully equipped isolated suite and neither would you really want a more long term tenant sharing your space with you. Airbnb can make home/property ownership more manageable by enabling you to rent out a space occasionally for a couple of days, without the requirement of a full suite or long-term commitment. In other words, you can rent out your guest room whenever you please and create an additional cash flow source!
- Safety: Some property owners may have some reservations about renting out their space to strangers that they make contact with on the internet. If you’re worried about the identity of the people you are inviting into your home, Airbnb allows you to review their profile, which features previous host reviews, and then confirm or deny their request to reserve your space. For this reason, Airbnb is much, MUCH safer than say Kijiji, and I would argue that it is also safer than booking a hotel using an external booking website like RedTag or Expedia because of the profile feature that allows you to confirm the guest’s identity. If you’re worried about damages, you can select an amount of your choosing that the guest will have pay if any were to occur.
- Meeting New People: In both cases, whether you are a renter or property owner, you will be able to meet a plethora of different kinds of people through Airbnb. While this has friendship benefits, it also has travel Remember that nice Thai couple who stayed at your place? Well, they have a condo in Bangkok and have extended invitations to you to stay with them whenever you choose to visit Thailand.
- Rating Users: As briefly described upon above, Airbnb encourages its users to review others on their site. After your renters have gone or after your stay has ended, the site will send you (persistent) emails reminding you to rate each other. Your ratings will show up on your profile for others to view. These ratings cannot be altered or deleted, so be the best host/guest you can be!
For these reasons, Airbnb should definitely deserve your consideration when you are making accommodation bookings for your next vacation. What are you waiting for? Create a profile and start loving the site as much as I do!