Most of us have heard of AirBnB but some of you may not know exactly what it is. Since its launch in 2007, this travel company has taken off. It now has a network of owner-owned rooms, apartments, and houses totaling roughly two million listings. Properties are available in close to 200 countries. Options range from basic bedrooms to castles. I think the appeal is not only the cheaper price and convenience of Airbnb, but also its unique lodging. Their listings include treehouses, campers, boats, underground homes, and much more. I even saw a Mongolian yurt listed on Airbnb!)
I recently read a statistic that caught my eye. Airbnb claims that on some nights as many as one million travelers are sleeping in Airbnb-affiliated properties! It is predicted that by the end of next year, Airbnb properties will be so extensive that they will force hotel rates to drop substantially worldwide. Wow!
So here’s what you need to know: There is a 3% booking fee. It is being used by business and leisure travelers. Be sure to read their terms of service and the host reviews before booking. Not only will you get a good feel for the listing/host, but also you will get a better grasp on how AirBnB works and what to expect. All transactions go through Airbnb’s website—never directly (in-person cash swaps are actually 100% forbidden under Airbnb rules). You’ll pick a place you’d like to stay and request a reservation.
Once you request a reservation, you submit your payment (credit card/Paypal/Google Wallet). AirBnB will run that payment through but they won’t release your money to the host until 24 hours after you check in. This means that if something is not as promised, you have an out as long as you contact AirBnb during those first 24 hours. The most important thing to remember is that this is not a hotel or a B & B. This is someone’s home. Do not expect maid service. Plan to clean up after yourself. Post a review to let others know you liked the property or why you didn’t like it.
Also, be aware that there are different options. Some listings are a room or such in someone’s home, which means you will not be there alone. Some listings are on your own, meaning you are renting the entire property and will have complete privacy. Be sure you sign up for the best option for you. Do you like the idea of an on-site host or abhor the idea of sharing a space with a stranger?
Visit www.airbnb.com to check it out for yourself.