There are many things that the human brain takes into consideration before booking an accommodation. First of all, the localization, then the price, the features, the attractions around the accommodation, the reviews, etc. We all want the best experience for the lowest price possible. The hospitality market is huge and the actors are abundant. Airbnb is one of them. It experienced a significant growth the past years. The concept is actually attractive. Rent someone’s place to have the comfort of your home and live like a local at a good price. For some time, I thought that Airbnb was the best place to book an accommodation on. After many experiences with Airbnb, I have some slight chances to bring to this judgment.
What do I hate about Airbnb ? What do I love ? What should Airbnb consider improving ?
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I hate their website
I find Airbnb website really not user friendly. It is somehow complicated to find the listing of a place you’ve booked in the past. I find the structure of their website complex. I’ve been struggling with wish lists. I find complicated to leave a review to a host. I always need to go back to my emails and find the email about it in order to click the link and finally be able to leave a review. My overall impression is that their website isn’t intuitive.
There is probably a strategy behind it to force people using their mobile app rather than the website on desktops.
Nevertheless, Airbnb’s website is still more intuitive than 98% of hotel websites. Booking.com is still for me the easiest website to use when booking an accommodation online.
I hate how the prices are displayed
It happens often that the total price is much higher than the original price. Indeed, some hosts ad high cleaning fees to the final price. I often saw cleaning fees of 50 or 100€, so watch out. I actually don’t understand why Airbnb is allowing things like that happening.
I hate the lazy and tight hosts
I never had really bad experiences with Airbnb but I often got a bit pissed by some hosts. I know I shouldn’t expect a professional service but I consider there should be a minimum. It often happens that the hosts provide only one toilet paper roll even though we booked for two guests and four nights. Also, I hate kitchen without salt and peppers. Indeed, it is not very practical to travel with your own salt and pepper or to buy some in every destination. It happened to me very often to arrive in an Airbnb where the kitchen is not well equipped and where basic amenities are missing such as salt and peppers but also kitchen towels. I really don’t get why some hosts don’t provide these very basic amenities. Is it to save money ? If yes, that’s sad.
I hate fake homes
It became quite common now to find “fake homes” on Airbnb. I mean accommodations that are built only to be rented. These flats are often cold, and basic amenities are missing. I feel like this is not what Airbnb promises. At least, they should make clear in the listing when the accommodation is a “real home” and when it is not. Don’t get me wrong, I do not say that all “fake homes” are bad accommodations. It also happens that they are very well equipped and very clean. It is just that I would rather stay in a real home than in a fake one and I would like to know before I book which one of them I am about to book. Now that hotels are also advertising on Airbnb, I feel like there is a need for differentiation and clarification.
I love the diversity of apartments
I am using Airbnb often and there are a few good reasons for this. One of them would be the diversity of the accommodations. Hotel rooms are often impersonal and kind of cold. When looking on Airbnb, every listing is different and personalized. I always had the impression that there is a large choice of good options on Airbnb whereas on other websites after putting one or two filters, the choices are very low. I like to have a look at the apartment and choose between the design apartment or the cozy and well equipped flat with the balcony. Looking at listings is fun and inspiring.
I love the ease of instant booking
Instant booking means that the booking request is immediately accepted by the host. Without the instant booking, you need to write a message to the host and the host has 24 hours to accept or decline your request. Instant booking is very practical and quick. You choose, you book, you go. The booking process is super quick and easy. In two clicks you are done with it and you can think of something else. So far, I can’t find any other website on which it is more simple to finalize the booking process.
I love attentive hosts
Some of the hosts are really kind and attentive. You can tell in the way they answer to you and prepare their flat for you. Once, a guest sent me a Google map with her best addresses in the city, which is extremely useful. They provide you everything you need and leave some extras like a bottle of wine or a great selection of tea. When I end up in this kind of Airbnb I feel like I made the good choice booking my accommodation on Airbnb. Naturally, it makes me want to book again on Airbnb.
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I would love to try Airbnb experiences
Airbnb recently released a new concept called Airbnb experiences. Basically, you book and share unique experiences with a local person. For instance, you can book three days with a photographer in Nairobi. He will teach you how to take photos and bring you to caves and great places you would have never found on your own. From what I’ve seen and understood, the local people are often artists, sportspersons, cooks, start-up founders, etc. These interesting people partner with non-profit organizations and the money you spend for this unique experience goes to the non-profit organization. From what I’ve seen it seems really cool and I would love to try one. Check out this article to know more about Airbnb experiences. Have you tried it already ? Let me know how it was in the comment section.
Airbnb could you, please…
- Provide city guide and tips from locals (I know this is under construction)
- Clarify the types of accommodations
- Improve your website
- Make sure basic amenities are provided to guests
- Make sure bad hosts become good hosts or aren’t allowed to rent their flat on Airbnb anymore
I know Airbnb is providing guides and educational content to hosts in order to show them how to improve the service they provide. Good guests are rewarded and have a badge on their profile and listing. I know things are done to improve guests experience. In general, I use and like Airbnb but I am still comparing with other websites and hotels before to book anything because I know I can still find a better experience at the same price or slightly lower on Booking.com or Hostelworld for instance.
And you, how do you book your accomodations ? Which website do you use most and why ? What do you think about Airbnb ?
Thank you for reading. Take care