11 Pros And Cons Of AirBnB You Need To Know

Pros and cons of using airbnb
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AirBnB has become an enormous disruptor in the hospitality space – for better or worse. The company was founded by two guys renting out air mattresses in San Francisco and turned that into a travel revolution. With a market cap of over 70 billion dollars, it is the premier platform for unique travel experiences. I have stayed at a few AirBnBs and wanted to talk about the pros and cons of AirBnB from 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!

Here are just a few pros I have found to using AirBnB 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 unbelievable one-of-a-kind experiences.

Hospitable Hosts

Hosts can be incredibly hospitable. I’ve had my host make us breakfast and coffee in the morning! Or they’ll leave baked goods for you to enjoy or extra supplies to make your own meals.

Insider Knowledge

Hosts have great knowledge of the area. Best restaurants, activities, etc. Think of them as your own personal concierge about the local area. Listen to the We Travel There podcast for the best things to do in cities around the world.

Flexibility & Communication

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

Customer service

Just like hotels, AirBnBs have not-so-perfect experiences too. In my experience, its customer service has been incredibly helpful in answering my questions and addressing my needs.

Value For Your Money

It was founded on the premise of saving people money. I’ve stayed in homes that cost $25 compared to basic hotel rooms at $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 include a kitchen, unlike a majority of hotel rooms. You can grab some groceries from a local market. Then, 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 has negatives as well. 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 one-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 two-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 share a home with the host. Of course, renting a room from someone is why you’re saving money. But you have to ask yourself if it is worth it. There have been some very public horror stories with hosts, so be careful out there.

Where Are My Points?

Of course, for points and miles enthusiasts, there isn’t a co-branded AirBnB credit card. However, many credit cards do categorize AirBnB charges as “hotels” or “travel”, so you can take advantage there! With travel credit cards, these charges often earn bonus points and may be eligible to use with annual credits.

And there aren’t any loyalty programs with AirBnB. You won’t get 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 weigh the pros and cons of AirBnB versus staying at a hotel. Have you used AirBnB recently? What was your experience like?

Let’s hear it in the comments!

11 Pros and Cons of Using AirBnB

This article originally appeared on BaldThoughts.com on February 8, 2018.


  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.

  3. It’s a shame that you don’t mention the enormous cons and negative effect that Airbnb has on cities, especially heavily touristed European cities. I’m assuming that’s what you’re referencing in mentioning that series, but the reality is most people are not going to go to that series to find out why Airbnb is bad, they’ll just read your article and not consider the effect that their Airbnb stay is having on locals, raising rents and making cities unlivable for former residents. We lived in Madrid for three years and witnessed it firsthand, it’s truly horrible and definitely something that I think is worth a longer mention here. Cheers!

    • I just watched a video on YouTuibe on how this is destroying neighborhoods in Venice, Italy and making it impossible for the locals to find affordable rental space. Working class people are made to suffer so that the more prosperous property owners can rake in the big bucks and the City of Venice is doing nothing about it. As the old saying goes…the rich keep getting richer while the poor keep getting poorer. And…more and more middle-class people are holding on by the skin of their teeth to avert slipping into poverty. 🙁

      • I hear you, Charles. When situations like this occur, cities will start to crack down to limit or eliminate the option. It’s a tough balance between travelers trying to find better accommodations and locals who have to deal with the bad apples.

  4. Being a lifelong resident of New Orleans, LA I can tell you firsthand the travesty that Airbnb is in my beloved city. Lack of housing, soaring rents, disruption of quiet enjoyment in neighborhoods; the list goes on. I lived next to an Airbnb for a year before NOLA instituted the short term rental ordinance. There’s basically no recourse for homeowner or tenant neighbors when inconsiderate guests of that property cause trouble. Many “owners” don’t even live in the city. They live in other states, pay a cleaning person to maintain the property and reap the rewards without having to bear any responsibility to the neighborhood they’re operating in. New Orleans had a housing shortage before Airbnb became popular. Now it is almost impossible to find affordable and adequate housing, meanwhile slum lords capitalize in having cornered the market on what’s left.

    • That’s such a shame. The gig economy is supposed to help equalize the ability to earn money, but it seems that Airbnb has bastardized that opportunity. They need to get a handle on it before even more cities boycott them and put them out of business.

    • I can definitely relate to what you are saying, Laura. What is happening in New Orleans, is happening in every major city of the USA including New York City where residential as well as commercial rents have soared into the stratosphere. As a homeowner in a quiet neighborhood of Queens, NY, i object to my neighbors utilizing their homes as a place of business. It is for that reason that residential neighborhoods are zoned as residential as opposed to commercial. I pay $20K a month plus to rent and operate a retail store in downtown Manhattan plus paying more business taxes than I can shake a stick at. I own a home in Queens so that I can get away for the noise, traffic and hubbub of a commercial venue at the end of a long, tiring day in the city. My house is a home…not a flophouse for strangers and I strenuously object to my neighbors/renters using their homes as such. Airb&b is doing the same thing to neighborhoods that Uber and Lyft are doing to the taxi business….both of which are also impacting my lifestyle with their cursed, privately owned cars continually parking in my driveway to pick up and discharge passengers on my block.

      • Sorry that you’re having to deal with all of this. I’ve personally never rented an AirBnB. Some friends swear by them, but others (like me) prefer hotels and timeshares. Hopefully, your city will take action to give you some relief.

    • Im in Tokyo right now to celebrate the New Year 2024 with my family. Got a message from the host that due to blah blah blah needs to cancel my reservation which was made in couple months ago. He just did that and Airbnb accepted it right away. I’m still in shock and can’t believe this is happening. Host was asking me to ZELLE him money out of Airbnb and use the house. But that’s fishi. Why would I do that. Becaful with Airbnb.BTW we’re from States. My first and last time with this scammers AIRBNB!

      • Hey Robbie, Happy New Year! I’m so sorry that this happened to you. This is one of the reasons why I’m hesitant to book an Airbnb unit. There’s no recourse for good people like you who are taken advantage of by hosts. I would definitely take screenshots of the host’s attempt to get you to pay outside of Airbnb and report him to the platform. This can help other travelers avoid hosts like him in the future. Best of luck!

        And, if you’re looking for suggestions on what to do during your trip, listen to our Tokyo podcast episode.

        • He was smarter than that. He added me on WhatsApp with a new name and asked me about the zelle on WhatsApp to not leave any finger print behind.I got a snapshot from the address. Going there today to make the life like hell for him. I don’t give up early

          • Airbnb isn’t stupid. They know what some of these people do. Save screenshots from WhatsApp and share with them anyway. That jerk deserves to be reprimanded by Airbnb.

    • Satyam, there are a few things. First, check to see if there are any regulations prohibiting you from starting out (eg: city ordinances, HOA rules). Then, I would let your neighbors know so that they can prepare themselves for people coming in and out of the home that they might not recognize. Create a checklist for yourself to make it easy to remember everything and maintain a consistent level of service to earn high ratings. Go above and beyond and your guests will reward you with high ratings and referrals to keep your property occupied more often. Good luck.

  5. […] Airbnb can be a perfect opportunity to find a luxury property that you can truly enjoy in the middle of the city centre. Airbnb offers a much more versatile stay if you are considering staying in a location for a few weeks. You might not want to go out for every meal and want to cook with ingredients that are fresh in your location. Airbnb properties could come with access to a gym or you can have a private pool. Hotels are not always going to be affordable especially in popular places in cities.  […]

  6. I like that you mentioned that aside from the breakfast, cooking can also be done in a B&B for other meals. I think that would be a good way to save some money for my next trip with my boyfriend. Since we live in different cities, we tend to schedule getaways that go for about three days whenever we have the chance.

    • Kitchens are key to saving money while traveling. I like to eat 1-2 meals a day in my accommodations and then enjoy local cuisine for the other meals. It allows me to splurge on something nice/exotic that I can’t get at home.

  7. I stayed at this sweet AirBB in Cleveland, TN. It was a room & Bath but the host allowed access to the den and full kitchen. It was very clean and tidy and located on a quiet street just two minutes from all kinds of food and shopping. I’ll stay there again when I’m in that area. Security cameras and a lot of lighting for parking so you feel safe going to/from your car to your room. It’s the best Air BB I’ve ever stayed at as far as clean, comfortable and cordial hosts. I guess that southern hospitality is true because the host could not have been nicer. In case you’re in that area and want to find a good room for a night or like me, for a couple of months, it’s located on Frontage Rd in Cleveland, TN and I think it’s listed as Orders Air B&B. I don’t want to tell too many people because I want to make sure it’s available next trip I make.

    • Hey PT, I’m glad that you found a good Airbnb property. While some people have had bad experiences with Airbnbs, there are many good owners out there that treat their visitors well. Thanks for sharing your experience and recommending this property.

  8. I spent hours yesterday with a friend checking accom in Adelaide for Womadelaide music festival in March this year. Tricky as it’s a busy time. Finally found an available place near CBD. Thought it sounded too good to be true. Sure enough it was! AFTER booking 2 rooms and paying $1,030AUD the host came back to say room not available and to cancel the booking in order to get a refund. I need to clear that from my credit card in order to book something else but it’s marked as pending and can take up to 31 days to clear! Host says I have to take it up with Airbnb directly. I cannot figure out how to even do that. In simpler times I was an Airbnb host myself and used it to travel. I’ll try hard to avoid it from now on…!

    • When hosts ask YOU to cancel the reservation instead of THEM, that’s a big red flag. The “mark” for canceling is then on your profile instead of theirs. What usually happens is that they have the property listed on multiple platforms and were able to find someone else to pay more. I wouldn’t cancel it on your side. I would make them cancel it.

      As for the credit card hold, when the transaction is canceled, the hold should fall in within a few days since the transaction is no longer pernding. That’s what happens in the U.S. I’m not sure about Australian banking regulations. I’m sorry that you’re in this bad situation.

      I would definitely speak with Airbnb and complain about the host request for you to cancel. They should be able to help you find alternative accommodations that are suitable for your upcoming stay. Best of luck! Please let us know how it turns out.

  9. My gripe is that they always side with the property owner no matter how blatantly obvious it is that the renter is in the right. Any company that will make 100% of decisions not in my favor is not one I want to do business with.

  10. I’ve had bad luck with finding good AirBNB options.

    Nearly every search I’ve done recently has good prices initially but when you click through a lot of fees get added such as cleaning fees, services fees etc before the taxes are added often making the booking more expensive then hotels.

    I know you can find some exceptions but those seem to becoming less and less possible.

    • Yeah, I agree because it’s like a lot of things. You hear a lot of the negatives because that’s what people talk about. When people talk, it’s generally only the negative.


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