HOW TO AIRBNB LIKE A ROCK STAR:
TIPS & TRICKS FOR A HASSLE FREE VACATION
I initially heard of AirBnB through my now property manager and friend. In the past I always used an “Adviser” site as a renter. That site has a wonderful user friendly platform and I loved the reviews. I poured over them.
But since I have taken the plunge to the other side as a property owner instead of just a renter I have learned so much about the renting game! Reviews are a must but some other concerns as an owner are the extra fees passed onto you the renter. I’m not even talking about the fees that are taken from us the owners as that’s part of the game we signed up for. There are fees that are tacked on for the renter to pay for the privilege of being connected with their host. They differ from site to site. But not all sites are created equal.
Firstly let’s all agree that we are all tired of staying in overpriced and under-accommodated hotel rooms. Although I was familiar with hostel-living, I do have children and a husband who leans towards Five Star Accommodations. With that in mind I can only get away with so much in the realm of Hosteling. The overwhelming success of AirBnB and the assurance from my Manager was enough for me to at least try it out. I could always delete it if it turned out to be a dud. Right?
I was pretty tired of staying at dingy motels or pricey hotels in sneaky shifts. You have to understand I have three young children and an older step-daughter who also comes along once in a while. Making our family five to six people. When traveling on a budget you tend to sneak in the extra child. When they are younger it is so much easier. Just push the one queen bed up against the wall and have them all sleep in the one bed sideways. Three in one!
But as they are getting bigger I decided to finally step-up my traveling game. AirBnB allows property owners to rent out their various spaces to those passing through. I was immediately impressed with how easy it was to navigate through the site itself. Not only did it allow for a multitude of personal choices, it let me interact with other users and renters.
When we had taken the plunge and bought a rental/vacation home for our family I was of the mind that I needed to flood the market with my newly acquired Condo in Playa del Coco. I needed it to make at least some money so it wouldn’t break the bank at home. But I had high hopes for it to be so successful that it became self sufficient or even dare I say it maybe it could fund our vacations down there every year. A girl can dream. With that in mind, I was on a mission. TripAdviser, Flipkey, VRBO, were all on the list, so why not add AirBnB? Sign me up. Bring on the renters!
A year later, I’ve become a committed AirBnB devotee and almost never direct people to any other rental site. I use it exclusively myself and rarely book a hotel room unless the AirBnB option is exhausted.
Now, what do you need and what do you want? My husband says there are Nice-it-ees and Need-it-ees. Ones you need, others are nice to have.
The perks of staying in someone’s home are that you’re often able to use the amenities provided by that particular property, such as a full kitchen or en suite laundry. If you’re looking for something in particular, like a short walk to the beach or 24 hour security simply input these details in the search engine to ensure you’re getting the most suitable results.
Many hosts are more than willing to provide you with additional items such as bath towels and toiletries. At our Condo we provide all these as well as a spice exchange, pool toys, movies, a book exchange, a prepaid cell phone with local taxi drivers numbers etc. Just be sure to double check these details to ensure best results.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Paying a little bit extra for a prime location can end up saving you in the long run. My husband went to Vegas once with some friends and they got a place off the beaten path for über cheap. But by the end of their stay thay had more than paid out any savings to taxi drivers.
Instead of spending money on taxi fares and travel fees; splurging on a higher rent to find a home closer in proximity to the majority of your expeditions will be more efficient.
We are more inclined to chose something if it’s been recommended to us, which is why our society has become so review based. Just like a friend suggesting a restaurant or a movie. AirBnB, as with other rental sites, follows the same principle and utilizes feedback so you can see how many people have stayed at a particular residence and get their honest opinions about their experience.
Make sure you read through both the five star responses as well as the low ones to get a feel for the accommodation you’ll be staying in. The place might be beautiful but what are the neighbours like? Is there a troop of monkeys living in the area. This might be a selling point or a deterrent depending on the experience you want to get out of your trip.
Keep in mind the number of feedback entries as well. A residence with 50 reviews is clearly more popular than one with two or three. Ask what might be the reason for that? Is the place not performing well for people’s expectations or are you dealing with a new member to AirBnB? If you’re feeling bold and want to save a few dollars, you can always message the new AirBnB member and ask for a discount while staying there. It can help build up their reviews.
I think it is also extremely important to read the responses to bad reviews made by management. How did they handle a client that was upset. It also gives clarity to the renters frame of mind as well. I.e. If the renter complains about things that to you seem ridiculous then take it with a grain of salt. This property still might be your little slice of paradise.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE FINE PRINT
Since properties are owned privately, you will need to pay attention to things like check-in and check-out times. These tend to vary dramatically from host to host. If you need a special time you may need extra instructions for arrival like a code for a key box if you are arriving late or even paying for an extra day if your arrival is early in the morning.
Be sure to clearly discuss a needed change with owners for set hours. And be sure you do so far in advance. Hosts have to make sure there is enough time between visitors to clean and prepare their home for your arrival. Hosts often include a list of house rules particular to their place. Included in this list can be hours of quiet, smoking instructions, where to recycle, etc.
At our condo we have to remind guests that our dinning room roll down curtains are semi-see through. At night other people by the pool can see into the condo so our guests might want to wear at least underpants. Just say’n.
Along with check-in times, be sure to take note of any additional fees. The AirBnB service charges will cost you around $30.00. This is the fee you pay them for connecting you to your new host. It is added onto the final total which you then pay the whole sum in one payment.
Each homes’ listing indicates how many people it accommodates. Often additional guests can bump you up $. Bringing home New Bar Friends might put you in the bad books and you could get a hefty charge for doing so. You may want to just leave the party firmly at the bar. Most hosts do charge a clean-up fee and/or a security deposit. Be sure to read the rules before hand so you can decide if the house rules are a set you can follow. This will ensure you get that security deposit back.
TO SHARE OR NOT TO SHARE? – that is the question…
You may want to consider staying in a property that either has other visitors or the host themselves lives there. I’ve found that hosts are more than willing to answer any questions about the local area…like the best restaurants, attractions, local transport etc. Having a personal contact for the city can help you get better acquainted during your visit.
I personally have only gone to one multiple listing property. It was in India with a few girlfriends. We met people from the US, Canada and of course our host family from India. They catered to us for meals as part of the stay. When I arrived and asked when we were going to have authentic Indian food, they were so excited to showcase their beautiful cuisine. It was a lovely experience.
AirBnB is a wonderful way to truly immerse yourself into an adventure. Just living like locals rather than being holed up in a lonely conventional hotel room. It can allow you to save some extra cash so you can afford that excursion you’ve wanted to take part in, and it also gives you an insider’s experience you can’t always find with other sites.
Wanderlust to you all!