With travel increasingly becoming a sought out activity these days, people are coming up with ways to sweeten the deal. Gone are the days when going on holiday was reserved for special occasions after ages of saving up to acquire funds. Changes in lifestyle have necessitated the availability of affordable travel related amenities. Accommodation, which is one of the major expenses to look out for when travelling has been revolutionized with different options other than hotels popping up.
People have offered their private homes, rental apartments and vacation homes to house strangers on vacation. Welcome to the era of Airbnb. Coined from the words air, bed and breakfast, Airbnb is an online service that allows people to rent out houses or single rooms for a short while during the period of their vacation. Initially originating from San Francisco in 2010, Airbnb has quickly spread around the world with listings of houses in 191 countries including Kenya. So what makes this a better alternative to the booking of a hotel room as has been the norm?
For starters, the numerous listings spread across the world are said to offer more personalized services than most hotels. To book facilities in this online platform, one either goes to the Airbnb website or downloads the app for an easier touch. Once here you may peruse the available listings depending on their location, price and lodging type.
Security. Before booking any home, one is required to provide personal verification details. Some hosts like to get to know their guests before opening their doors to them. Airbnb provides a messaging system that allows for communication between the hosts and guests. Once this is done all one has to do is to book and you are good to go. The guests’ therefore know what they are getting into and what to expect beforehand which is a personal touch lacking in the reservation of hotel rooms.
Airbnb provides the option of cooking your meals in the comfort of the house. Hotels that offer full board services can be quite expensive. Those that offer half board services necessitate catering for the cost of one meal outside the boarding fees. Eating out especially in new places can be quite expensive. Not to mention that there is an appeal to a home cooked meal. Additionally, some of these listings the option of an in house chef. This provides guests with the freedom of selecting which cuisines they would prefer to delve their taste buds in.
Another advantage enjoyed by Airbnb customers is reception upon arrival to their vacation destinations. Some hosts receive their guests at the airport or transportation terminuses. This reduces the hustle and time that comes with having to navigate your way through a new area.
One of the most attractive traits of use of this service is the relative affordability of accommodation. The booking prices in local Airbnb listings located in Kenya go as low as Kshs. 1000 per night. International rates differ depending on the city they are located in but they can also go as low as 60 dollars per night. The location of some of these Airbnbs is also close to the town centre which makes transportation to and from town convenient and cheaper.
Lastly, some of these Airbnb listings include added services like cleaning and photography services. Though they are an added cost, they are services that go a long way in make your stay that much better. The photography services provided include capturing of professional images of the apartment. Alternatively one can choose to capture their own images using their own devices.
However use of Airbnb, just like any other service has its own disadvantages. For instance, in case of any last minute cancellations, refund is allowed. However, the terms that allow for guests refunding must be in adherence to the stipulated eligibility rules. It is, therefore, possible to lose funds in the event of an emergency that requires you to cancel your plans. It is also recommended that one read through the terms and conditions very carefully before committing to any bookings.
Another major issue plaguing the use of this service is price displaying technique used on their app. Several complaints have been lodged by customers who claim that per night prices displayed exclude the per night service fee for Airbnb. The total price is normally displayed when one selects a property and is ready to book. This can be very misleading to customers.
Guests are also required to adhere to the rules and regulations set by the hosts. In cases where the guests are sharing accommodation with their hosts, they are tied down by these rules. Some of these rules may ruin the excitement of the vacation. Direct disregard for these rules can also cause complications with the hosts or legally prompt the hosts to chase the guests from their home.
From a business perspective growth of Airbnb’s has also lead to the encroachment of the market mainly served by hotels. So much so that in some countries it threatens the survival of these hotels. Airbnb’s’ have also been largely troubled with complaints that centre on tax evasion and business registration. They have suffered backlash from parties that feel that they are not monitored by the same laws that govern the hotel industry.
So with this information at hand, you can make an informed decision on the use of Airbnb. If the idea of housing guests or taking shelter in a stranger’s home does not shake you, it is probably an option you should explore as an idea to either save on costs for your travel or as a means of earning extra income. Saving for that dream holiday vacation