We have never yet had a bad Airbnb experience, but certainly some have been better than others. We definitely now have a pattern in how we choose our Airbnb destinations and perhaps our experience will help you.
We have stayed, to date, in 18 Airbnb’s and have an additional 10 booked in the queue.
We don’t use Airbnb if we are staying somewhere less than two nights. In our travels we often book early morning flights and stay in an airport hotel the night before. Or we choose a hotel if we are in a city for a brief layover. But in most other situations we
look for an Airbnb.
Another reason it’s not practical for one or two nights is because you pay the same service and cleaning fee no matter how many nights.
When we are ready to find an Airbnb we begin by searching the city and first narrowing down the area of the city we want to be in. For instance, near the beach or in the old town etc.
Next we apply the filters. This is an important Airbnb tool that saves a lot of time. Our filters usually include price range, kitchen, AC, wifi and depending on the location sometimes pool.
Then Airbnb narrows down the choices of which properties we should look. Next we put in our dates which narrows down further what is available.
We then begin to look through the options starting
by reading the descriptions of the property and the neighborhood. I always look at the photos and if the owner has not made the effort to include good quality photos I usually eliminate that option.
Next and very, very important we read the reviews.
We put a great deal of weight on the reviews. Which is unfortunate for those Airbnb’s that are new and have yet to have any reviews. But for us knowing what other guests found good and bad about the property plays a major role in our decision process.
Lately since we are living almost exclusively in Airbnb’s I’ve begun to use the recently revised “wishlist” tool in Airbnb. This way I can save in a file say, certain properties for Seville, and come back later to make a decision. Giving how much travel information we are currently managing, both in our brains and online, this tool is helpful.
We have had a couple of experiences where the “kitchen” that was promoted was hardly a kitchen at all. Or in our most recent place the “1.5 baths” that was promoted was actually only a half bath on one floor and a shower on another. This is when the review process becomes important.
Airbnb is constantly improving, but until they can come up with a way to ensure that listings use consistent language in descriptions there will always be surprises.
On occasion we will send a note to the Airbnb owner before we book to clarify any questions we have. This comes in handy regarding public transportation, laundry and of course kitchen and kitchen equipment and utensils.
My husband does not always agree with me on this one, but I try very hard to leave the unit cleaner than I find it. I do this for one simple reason. Our review.
Because the Airbnb owner will review me as well as us reviewing them. The reviews we receive are available for viewing by future owners we want to book with. We are very conscientious guests and I want that to always be reflected in our review.
When I write a review I am always honest, but always kind. If you have done your homework before booking, read the information as well as the rules and regulations, then you should be prepared for the most part as to what you are booking and what the owners expectations of you as a guest are. For example quiet hours, doorman, parking, smoking, etc will all be laid out in the rules. Knowing the rules and abiding by them are your part of the contract. Not following the rules will get you a bad review.
When you write a review it becomes public, so choosing your words carefully is important. Some Airbnb’s have been ruined by one bad review. It’s a powerful tool that should not be abused. However at one point in the review process you will also be given the opportunity to send a private note to the owner. This is where I might let the owner know about things like a leaky faucet or burned out lightbulb or just thank them for their hospitality. We have had enough absolutely amazing Airbnb experiences and I have used this place to shower our hosts with our gratitude.
There is also a place in the review process where you can send a private note to Airbnb. I have never yet used this tool but if you feel you have been discriminated against or the property was completely misrepresented than this is when you let Airbnb know and they will handle it from there.
As Airbnb has grown (and it has grown in leaps over its short existence) the company has worked to put in protections against scams and most recently against descrimination. Very, very early in our Airbnb forays we were involved in a scam where someone hacked our account and booked a house in Florida. I immediately contacted Airbnb and they took care of everything. Today Airbnb’s website has secure fraud protection and we have never had a problem. Additionally Airbnb has recently added a feature where you can book activities in the town or place you are visiting.
To me the advantages of Airbnb make it a much better choice than a hotel – it is always less expensive and we can often find something unique and special – like the Airsteam trailer I stayed in near Bend Oregon or the cozy cottage in Hoi An Vietnam or the tiny flat in London England. These places always feel much more like “home” than a hotel and for me I find that very relaxing.
I’m happy to answer your questions so let me know. Get out there and give Airbnb a try.