11 Pros And Cons Of Using AirBnB You Need To Know

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Pros and cons of using airbnb

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AirBnB has become an enormous disruptor in the hospitality space. I won’t go into deep detail about the history of AirBnB, but, in summary, AirBnB was founded by two guys renting out air mattresses in San Francisco and turned that into a travel revolution. AirBnB is now valued at over 10 billion dollars, and is the premier platform for unique travel experiences.

I have stayed at a few AirBnB’s and wanted to talk about the pros and cons of my experiences.

Pros of AirBnB

First, the platform itself is BEAUTIFUL! UX nerds like me love this stuff. I strongly encourage visiting AirBnB.com if you have never been to the site. The platform has now extended from renting homes, to experiences, and now restaurant reservations!

If you are looking to rent through AirBnB for the first time, get $40 off your first stay with my referral link!

Here are just a few pros I have found to using AirBnB’s throughout my travels.

Local Flavor

In cultured areas, homes tend to reflect the place they are in. Many standard hotel rooms tend to be very cookie-cutter. AirBnB’s can be plain jane, or unbelieveable one-of-a-kind experiences.

Hospitable Hosts

Hosts can be incredibly hospitable. I’ve had my host make my fiance and I breakfast and coffee in the morning!

Insider Knowledge

Hosts have great knowledge of the area. Best restaurants, activities, etc. Think of them as your own personal concierge.

Flexibility & Communication

Many times, hosts are open to texting back and forth with you regarding questions you may have. Whether it be late check in or prolonged stay.

Customer service

Just like hotels, AirBnB’s have not so perfect experiences. Their customer service has been incredibly helpful in my questions and needs.

Value For Your Money

It was founded on the premise of saving people money. I’ve stayed in homes that cost $25 where basic hotel rooms are $200+. If you just need a bed to sleep in, this can be a great way to save money!

Save Money On Food

Most AirBnB rentals will include a kitchen, unlike a majority of hotel rooms. You can grab some groceries from a local market and save money on food while traveling by cooking a few meals in the kitchen instead of eating out the entire vacation.

Cons of AirBnB

While AirBnB has been a revolutionary company, it does come with bad sides.

Here are just a few cons I have heard about/experienced.

Fees & Required Minimum Stays

While the service promotes flexibility and affordability, sometimes it does fall away from that. Here is an example below.

This apartment in Salt Lake City stays it is $85/night. Not bad, right?

airbnb

However, when I go to book, I find that there is a required 2 night stay. If I were needing just a one night stay, I would have to look at a new place.

Even if I were looking for a 2 night stay, my final price all of a sudden jumps to $214. A 26% increase from the per night rate!

airbnb

In my eyes, the service fee is very similar to a “resort fee”. This is definitely my least favorite part of the platform. Very deceptive.

Lack Of Privacy

Privacy can be limited if you are in a home with the host. Of course, this comes with saving money. There have been some very public horror stories with hosts. Again, these types of things can happen in hotels too.

Where Are My Points?

Of course, for us points and miles enthusiasts, there isn’t a cobranded credit card. However, many credit cards do categorize AirBnB charges as “hotels” or “travel”, so you can take advantage there!

And there aren’t any loyalty programs with AirBnB, so you won’t get any better accommodations, free upgrades, or benefits through status like you would with a hotel chain.

Disruption (For The Worse)

Working in the Silicon Slopes (Utah’s version of Silicon Valley), I taste disruption every day. On my most recent Delta flight, I came across the BBC series, Secrets of Silicon Valley. I highly recommend it!

I won’t give away too much, but there is a portion highlighting the AirBnB website in Europe. Let’s just say the results aren’t very good.

The Bald Thoughts

For those looking for a unique experience or to cut costs, AirBnB is a great alternative instead of a hotel. But you need to weight the pros and cons of using a service like this versus the experience you are used to while staying at a hotel. Have you used AirBnB recently? What was your experience like?

Let’s hear it in the comments!


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4 COMMENTS

  1. For me the scariest hidden truth of airbnb is that the host can cancel the reservation at any time with little recourse: $50-100 fine on host and no restitution from airbnb. I saw this when I was looking at a place in Singapore and the host cancelled at least 5 times and will still allowed to host.

  2. Caveat Emptor. The availability of AirbnB, at least in London and Honolulu, is fictional. I would try and “book” and receive emails back saying the property wasn’t available despite showing online availability. I would then get shunted towards other less desirable properties. The one time I did get a booking, it was canceled a week later when the host (actually a lessor, not an owner), got evicted for subletting her residence on Airbnb. That’s why Airbnb advises you to make multiple bookings, they know the availability is phantom. I now stick with traditional hotels or residences booked thru actual companies, like Marriott vacation clubs.

    • Steve, thanks for sharing your experience with AirBnB. What a shame that availability shows, yet isn’t actually usable. I hate dishonesty like that. And that they would move you to a less-desirable property instead of something nicer is an even bigger slap in the face. At least, with hotels, they will generally upgrade you if the room you booked is not available. One of the reasons I like using my hotel and timeshare points to travel more than booking an unknown like AirBnB.

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