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