Airbnb was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in San Fransisco. Airbnb has lodging available in over 34,000 cities and 190 countries. Airbnb is unique in the fact that it offers vacation homes as well as the ability to rent out simply a private or a shared bedroom in someone’s home. AirBed & Breakfast was originally created for a unique business networking opportunity for those who were unable to book a hotel in an oversaturated market. The founders started by creating a bed and breakfast in their San Francisco apartment because they could not afford the rent. They would accommodate three guests in their living room on air mattresses and provide them a homemade breakfast. It started as a simple idea, but now their website includes so much more. Not only can people book a shared room, but also they can book their own private rooms or choose to rent out an entire private home.
- Great options
- Easy to use
- Mobile app
Traditional vacation booking sites try to get users to book as many accommodations on their site as possible. In this attempt, several travel sites provide the exact same services without providing anything unique to the traveler. Fortunately, there are platforms like Airbnb that make up the difference. Rather than spreading efforts thin to obtain as many reservations as possible, Airbnb solely focuses on their accommodation booking service.
Airbnb has a variety of options for vacation homes. Airbnb has over one million listed vacation rental spots so you know you can find a place in your desired location. Here is how you know:
- Over 1.5 million listings
- Lodging in over 34,000 cities
- Available in 190 countries
- Over 1,400 rentals in castles
- Convenient search options to find your perfect place
Airbnb makes it easy to find your vacation location by giving easy search features. These features include searching by price range, room type, amenities, property types and verified hosts. Keep in mind, some hosts are not verified so look for lodging that has a super host badge, which indicates that the vacation rental is verified.
Additionally, Airbnb is a great place to find the cheapest pricing. Since you can rent an entire house or just one single room, you are guaranteed to find a cheap rental if you are okay with renting out just a single room. Airbnb also includes features such as reviews from previous tenants, pictures of the host, and customer guarantees.
Airbnb is also focused on convenience. They offer quite a few options so can have the best experience while booking your vacation rental. These features include:
- A mobile app for easy booking on the go (compatible with iOS and Android)
- Instant booking features once you have an account
- Popularity information such as "This place is typically completely booked"
Most importantly, Airbnb has a great 24 hour customer service line that is there to support you if you have any issues with your vacation rental. Airbnb also withholds the payment of hosts until 24 hours after check-in this means your vacation rental is a secure investment. Airbnb will refund you if you have any issues with your rental such as appearance, overlapped bookings, amenities, or if you are unable to access your vacation rental.
- Additional fees
- Time consuming
- Varied cancellation policies
Airbnb goes out of its way to make sure each guest has a positive experience while booking his or her vacation rental. However, these guarantees are costly and in order to pay for that service Airbnb charges an additional 6-12% fee for each booking. Depending upon the price of your rental, a 12% booking fee could significantly change your cost. This is especially a problem if you are booking a high-cost luxury rental.
Since Airbnb has millions of properties for travelers to choose from, finding the right accommodation can take some time. To minimize the research process, Airbnb instituted a sorting tool. This feature allows users to filter based on the following criteria:
- Pricing (range or low to high, high to low)
- Guest star rating - based on what real customers have experienced
- Amenities - what is included in the property
- Proximity - distance to landmarks or airports
- Type - accommodation type whether it is condo, apartment, house, etc.
Additionally, cancellation policies are decided directly by the host. Airbnb does not have a policy to assist travellers with last minute cancellations and the host chooses the terms of each cancellation. This means travellers should be cautious of cancellation policies when booking, make sure to make a note of the deadline for a full refund. Keep in mind that if you are booking within a month or two of check-in you might not be able to cancel your reservation at all.