Sometimes I forget how well accustomed I am to the subject matter. And then stop to think someone might want to start from the beginning to understand the very Airbnb basics. I agree it’s not rocket science. But it’s always useful to receive funnelled information which has been accumulated over the years. So here we go:
Tips for renting on Airbnb for the first time
Surely you have ever at some time heard of Airbnb. You might even have used it on some trip and had a great experience. For some, it’s still a big unknown and they are reluctant to give it a shot when they are looking for accommodation or looking to host their accommodation.
That is why I have compiled some basic tips to book via Airbnb for the first time so it becomes a guaranteed positive experience.
What is Airbnb?
It’s basically a community for two types of user. On one hand, the hosts that share their space and on the other, the guests who need that accommodation. The engine that makes this work is trust. If there is trust from both sides there is a deal. Airbnb is the intermediary who sets the rules and facilitates the necessary tools for that trust to exist. All this obviously takes place in return for a commission.
Where do we start?
To use the service, you must first register here. In using this link you will receive 35$ in travel credit. Once you register you can recommend it to your friends in the same way and for every one that registers and travels you will receive credit too.
Submission of personal data is essential to start with. Your profile on the site has to be as complete as possible. That will help them identify you as a genuine user (trust) and transmit to the hosts that you are reliable. Everyone does this, no exceptions.
In addition to the personal data, you can link several social network accounts as well as write something about yourself; what you do, what you like, why you would be good guests, etc. Remember that the hosts are opening the doors to their homes. Just as you choose where to stay and judge by what you see, they choose who to host also judging by what they see.
In my opinion, it is most convenient to look for all types of accommodation and then compare and evaluate which is the best. There are destinations where for practical reasons a hotel or hostel is a more suitable alternative. Simply due to a limited Airbnb supply. Online booking nowadays has been made super easy. Hotels’ own websites can offer some great prices.
However, most destinations will have great Airbnb facilities. Either the price or the opportunity to connect with the place and feel like a local will be what makes the difference. Who doesn’t like to submerge him or herself in some top-notch London or New York location? In addition, the feel of the place is quite hard to replicate in a hotel. The contact will be personalized. After all, the host won’t have 1000 other people to attend to.
Once you have decided to stay somewhere using Airbnb you can search according to your interests and need for space. It is important to correctly enter the date of arrival and departure and the number of people you are intending to travel with. The price adjusts automatically and is passed on to a potential host when you make an enquiry about a specific place. Always double check the kind of space you are about to book so you are not confronted with unwanted shared facilities.
Now that we have the results of possible locations we are going to start analyzing them. I suggest that being an Airbnb first-timer you choose from a host who has enough (great) reviews. Not only quantity but definitely quality. Also, take a look at how they respond to possible dissatisfied guests. It says a lot about who they are, especially if the reviews are inconsistent in their rating. Gradually you will become more accustomed through continuous use of the platform. You will be able to distinguish between several options, finding a place which is tailored to your needs. When viewing a property it is important to go through all the info of the listing thoroughly; the photos, the description, the rules of the house, the map with the location, the evaluations and especially the profile of the host.
Some properties have had beautiful pictures taken which truly represent the property they are hosting. The quality tends to differ a lot. Other hosts have so-called verified photos. These have a sufficient amount of lighting and an exaggerated wide-angle to make the environments appear larger. Which is something our trained eye is accustomed to but also something you should be aware of. The same applies to when you buy or rent a house (long term). My advice is to look carefully, ask questions to the host if you are unsure about anything and read the evaluations to see if the photos are really representative of the place. A good host will gladly answer any of your questions. After all, you’re his or her business.
A great host will communicate everything you need to know beforehand; giving you very useful information how to get there, do’s and don’ts as well as some super advice on what to do while you are at your destination. This will remove any possible leftover doubt. For those who care to do so, it is also a good opportunity to get to know each other.
Because there could possibly be some competition from other guests with lots of good reviews from other hosts, it’s important to present yourself in the best way possible. If you really want to stay at that place that is. Start by introducing yourself, mention who will be accompanying you and why you chose that property. At the same time, it’s an opportunity to ask anything you would like to know. About possible shared facilities, mentions in the listing which aren’t entirely clear, amenities, location, places to eat, transportation, arrival time, if the host will allow you to leave luggage on the day of departure et cetera. The list is endless. A large number of hosts were guests at some point in time. Ask away!
Do not ask for contact information to get in touch to rent outside of the platform. It’s asking for a temporary or permanent ban from the platform. A good host won’t supply this information as he knows there are consequences for him or her too. In addition, any inconvenience that you may have with the reservation or the stay won’t be eligible for any form of compensation or support via Airbnb.
After reading about various properties and having exchanged several messages with hosts you will find that some of them declined your request and others have pre-approved it. It isn’t until the reservation has been confirmed and paid for that a booking is definite.
When the decision is final on your side and the reservation has been confirmed through payment and a confirmation by Airbnb, the accommodation has been booked. From now on you can communicate with the host via messages within the site or if it has your preference you can have contact by phone. Generally, it isn’t necessary until a few days before the actual trip. In case there are doubts or that events occur out of your power which unfortunately require you to cancel or modify the reservation, the Airbnb app and desktop application are the ways to go about contact. On that note, please check if you are ok with a host having a strict cancellation policy. If you need to cancel for whatever reason it is at their discretion to refund you or not. All the information about your reservation will arrive via email. Alternatively, you can choose to enable all notifications on your IOS or Android device.
You have arrived after having followed the very clear instructions of the host. Generally, the hosts try to tend to the preferences of the guests. Knowing they have travelled from afar, they will do their best to pertain to a good stay. It goes without saying that you should do your best to respectful of the rules of the house and towards the neighbours of the place. Then when you leave, you can leave an evaluation on how you experienced the whole thing. In turn, the host will leave you a review as a guest too. This allows you to build a social profile on the Airbnb platform.