What is Airbnb?
Long Answer: Airbnb is a platform for regular people to rent out their vacation homes, spare rooms, or their skills for a while.
Why is it great for hosts?
So let’s say I own a cottage that I rarely use, but am not ready to sell yet because hello the housing market is fickle. All I have to do is put up a listing on Airbnb for whenever I’m not using it and BAM. Hello extra cash.
Hosts can also see reviews of renters (note that renters also have to meet the Airbnb verified ID check), and get the Host Protection Insurance that Airbnb will give every host.
Why is it great for renters?
For one, I love the peer review system. The extra verification systems they have like the Superhost program, where hosts must have a 4.8+ rating among other criteria, give me a little more peace of mind when I decide to book my four month stay. If you’re feeling an extra level of bougie, try out some of the Airbnb Plus homes where an actual Airbnb partner will visit the location to make sure that it’s “thoughtfully designed”.
Because I do tend to move around every four months for my co-op program at school, I’m always looking for a new place to live. A lot of apartments I look at require you to sign a lease, very few of which will let you sign for only a couple of months, or I have to try and sublet from people. This requires joining Facebook groups to meet people, or checking out sites like Craigslist. I’d much rather use a platform specifically meant for arranging housing when putting down a hefty deposit. It’s also an amazing experience to rent from locals who will be able to tell you the best hidden spots for brunch, and the weird quirks about public transit.
What I love about the experience
It’s simple to use, beautifully designed, and it allows you to have unique experiences that you wouldn’t have in a hotel or printed guidebook.
I stayed for four months at an Airbnb in Seattle and it was awesome. My host was a verified Superhost, responded quickly and always made sure we had everything we needed, and it was a super homey and Instagrammable apartment. It worked out to be about $54 USD per night, per person including taxes and fees. A quick look at some hotels in the area that I would rate equivalent in quality quote in at about 200 USD per night, per person not including taxes and fees.
QUICK TO FIND
There are plenty of search parameters you can use to narrow down your hunt including number of bedrooms and bathrooms, facilities, and amenities. You can also search specifically for unique homes and neighbourhoods where you’ll find gems like this beautifully renovated RV with a jacuzzi in LA (definitely on my list of places I want to stay at).
Bike to the Beach from an Airstream with a Hot Tub - Campers/RVs for Rent in Los Angeles…
Entire home/apt in Los Angeles, United States. Soak in a jacuzzi on the secluded, tropical patio of this pristine…
You can also use Airbnb to find experiences where locals will set up workshops or activities that you can pay to partake in. Check out a hidden jazz club or a painting workshop for two while you’re in town for a weekend visiting some family.
We millennials tend to trust, and like things more if they’re visually appealing. Airbnb is beautifully designed, and looks just on the right side of trendy for us to be sold, especially when we compare it to sites like Craigslist. We love the interactive maps, the colourful and well taken photos, and we’re suckers for nice fonts and logos. It’s aesthetic, highly usable, and gives off a level of professionalism and personality.
What I would love to see happen next
Let me quickly compare homes.
Sure I can save homes I’m looking at in different wish lists, make sure that I filter by amenities before adding to the wish list (because you can’t filter by amenities on your wish list among other filters), and make the comparison on two separate tabs, but why?
Give me something like those phoneArena comparison charts. Let me see all my options laid out on one screen, let me weight different attributes, and then churn out a final score. I envision the process like this:
- Save all prospective homes on a wish list.
- Hit a “Compare Listings” button or some equivalent.
- Open a new sidebar and allow selecting of multiple listings.
- Add optional weighting of criteria (ex. “has air conditioning: bonus 1%”, “cost: 40%”).
- Show a side by side comparison of the listings, with options to rank based on different categories (ex. cost, public transportation, amenities) or based on the weighted criteria.
Let me pay in a different currency.
I created my Airbnb account while in Canada, and I was making a booking for a home located in the US. While I had a US bank account and wanted to just pay in the same currency that the host was receiving payment in, I could not get Airbnb to allow me to switch currencies. No matter what I did, I was still going to be charged in CAD, but it would have to be converted to USD. I don’t want to pay the Foreign Transaction Fee if I don’t have to, and neither do these people!
Let me contribute to the community.
Currently only hosts can add to guidebooks based on their listings. While I totally get that you want locals giving out expert knowledge, I want to be able to leave tidbits and experiences too. Maybe add a separate filter for guests to be able to contribute beyond just reviews. I’d also love some sort of badge or reward based system for users. Even if it’s just small bonuses for referring x number of people, or staying x number of times, or leaving x reviews — I feel like this would help build a community and user loyalty.
Hi Airbnb please hire me I love you, but also hello readers if you’re going to book and want 40$ in travel credit hit here.