What Is Airbnb? What You Should Know Before Being a Guest or Host

What Is Airbnb? What You Should Know Before Being a Guest or Host

Airbnb takes a distinct approach to housing. Airbnb, a part of the “sharing economy,” lets you stay in someone’s home rather than a hotel. You can locate somewhere to stay on Airbnb while traveling around Europe or a place to rent for a month during your internship in Los Angeles. It’s also a terrific opportunity to explore a town before living there or to find an alternative to standard hotel options in 2022 if you’re simply passing through. If you wish to rent out an extra room in your house, you can host on Airbnb and earn money for letting a guest stay the night.

This all sounds quite straightforward, but there’s a lot more to Airbnb than you might think. What exactly is Airbnb? Before you book a stay or become a host on the famous home-sharing website, here’s what you should know about it.

The Origins of Airbnb

Airbnb was founded in 2008 by Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky, and Nathan Blecharczyk. Gebbia and Chesky began by running a bed-and-breakfast out of their home to supplement their income. With a large design conference coming to the San Francisco area at the time and a city full of sold-out hotels, they spotted a potential market for the idea and created the website airbedandbreakfast.com.

The startup went through multiple ups and downs, including at least three separate launches. Finally, in 2009, with additional finance, Air Bed & Breakfast became Airbnb, which marked the company’s turning point. Airbnb will go public with the ticker ABNB in 2020.

Here Is how Airbnb Works for Visitors.

Airbnb does not own any real estate. It operates as a middleman between those wishing to rent space and those looking to rent space. Creating an account with Airbnb is free and straightforward. You enter your name, email address, birthday, and password to do so. Additionally, Airbnb requests that you commit to treating everyone fairly, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, or other criteria. Your account will be activated once you agree. You can also sign up with your Facebook or Google account.

Airbnb has listings all throughout the world, from Savannah, Georgia to Honolulu, Hawaii, and even internationally. The service currently contains over 5.6 million listings in about 220 countries worldwide.
When you click on a listing, you’ll discover a variety of details about it, such as the size of the space and its amenities, check-in, and pricing information, a thorough description of the space, house rules, safety features, and availability. You will also find reviews from previous guests as well as information on the hosts. The hosts of a listing in Honolulu, for example, state that they “enjoy surfing, scuba diving, kite surfing, running, and trekking the gorgeous nature trails on Oahu.”

If you enjoy the listing, you can request that it be booked. The site encourages you to complete a few additional steps, such as inputting more of your personal information. Once you’ve completed those procedures, you’ll be able to submit your request and pay for your hotel. The process becomes considerably faster and easy after your first booking.

However, before your reservation is finalized, you must wait for host permission, unless your listing is a “quick book” listing, which does not require host approval.

Airbnb also recommended that guests message hosts before booking non-instant book listings to double-check availability. If you don’t hear back from the host within a reasonable amount of time, you can message other hosts in the region until you find one you prefer. You may view the host’s response rate and response time under the host details section of each listing to get an idea of how quickly a host will respond to your message.

Airbnb Plus is a higher “tier” of houses, consisting of an elite selection of residences that stand out for their exceptional ratings or for something particularly unique about them (part of a local landmark, etc.). These often have a higher average price.

Airbnb hosts and guests do not meet in person to exchange money. When guests make a reservation on the Airbnb website, they pay for everything, including the opportunity to split costs with friends, and hosts are paid by Airbnb. PayPal, direct deposit, and other payment methods are accepted by Airbnb.

Here’s How It Works for Hosts on Airbnb.

Airbnb offers a variety of hosting choices, including renting out an extra room in your house, renting out your complete home, and hosting local experiences.

You must first create a free Airbnb account before renting out an extra room in your home. You should also investigate any fees or limits imposed by the places in which you live. Then, in the upper right corner of the website, click “become a host.” Following that, you must create a listing for the space. A listing is similar to a profile page for the place you want to host; the better your page looks, the more attention it will receive. It’s a good idea to make your area as attractive as possible and to take flattering photos of it in ideal lighting. What should you charge? Airbnb assists you with pricing by displaying averages in your area.

You may also generate money by hosting an experience on Airbnb. “Airbnb experiences are activities created and conducted by inspirational locals.” “They go beyond traditional tours or seminars by immersing guests in a host’s unique world,” according to the Airbnb website. If you wish to host an experience, study Airbnb’s quality guidelines, which outline experience requirements.

Essentially, the guest must acquire access to something, participate in something, and provide a unique perspective. After studying the quality requirements, create an experience and submit it for approval to Airbnb. You are now ready to publish and host your experience after it has been authorized.

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Fees and Room Pricing on Airbnb

Airbnb imposes a guest service fee in addition to the cost of the room, which normally tops out at 14.2%. In addition, hosts must pay a service fee of about 3%, which Airbnb adds to each transaction. Experience hosts are subject to a 20% service fee.

The price of an Airbnb accommodation is determined by a number of criteria, including location, listing quality, and amenities. Prices are also subject to market inflation (which will be especially noticeable in 2021) and may vary significantly based on local demand. The lowest room prices are currently under $50, which is typically less expensive than a hotel, but they can be tough to find depending on the area.

The average daily rates on Airbnb in 2021 demonstrate how much location matters. Prices in the top 50 Airbnb cities, for example, varied from $646 per night in Key West, Florida, to $200 per night in Bend, Oregon. Popular places will usually have much higher service costs.

Airbnb Security and Safety

You may have heard stories about a guest trashing a host’s home, a host putting a guest’s safety in jeopardy, or an Airbnb host spying on a guest with a concealed camera. Airbnb has taken steps to improve host and guest safety and security, including requiring users to submit identification, enhancing profile and review systems, and instituting a host guarantee that reimburses eligible hosts for losses up to $1 million. Airbnb may also undertake public records searches, such as sex offender registries, to determine whether a user has a criminal background.

Airbnb Safety Guidelines

While there are safety concerns with Airbnb, hotel and motel customers also face safety and security hazards, such as theft or fire. However, because guests are visiting someone’s house, the hazards are slightly different with Airbnb. The company provides safety advice to both hosts and guests. Other critical safety enhancements include:

People Under the Age of 25 May Be Prohibited from Renting Houses in Their Respective Areas: If a person is under the age of 25 and has fewer than three favorable ratings from previous renting, they will not be able to rent entire houses. Airbnb made this modification to combat a growing trend of young people renting out their homes for house parties. Because this situation was causing significant damage and, in some regrettable cases, even lives, Airbnb changed its policy. The corporation has also placed a blanket prohibition on all parties in whatever location.

Cleaning Specifications and Certification: In response to 2020 and COVID-19, Airbnb has implemented a new cleaning standard that hosts may sign up for and receive certification in, allowing them to stay safe while also ensuring a safer experience for visitors. This includes waiting 24 hours after a guest has checked out before entering a room and cleaning all surfaces with certified disinfectants. Those who are unable to adhere to these guidelines might use a 72-hour blackout period between guests to assist assure their safety.

New Rules Prohibiting Disruptive New Year’s Eve Parties: These regulations prohibit guests without a track record of favorable evaluations from booking one-night Airbnbs on New Year’s Eve.

Controversies Surrounding Airbnb

Airbnb isn’t only for rooms with underwater aquariums. It has sparked some controversy, and while Airbnb has been working to find methods to compromise with places that want more control and order, the process is ongoing. Airbnb has been accused by critics of aggravating the housing problem in some areas, and lawsuits have been launched in several circumstances. Overall, the number of Airbnb listings has decreased in recent years as the firm has been compelled to withdraw many from the market.

This has also resulted in another significant trend: city ordinances specifically prohibiting or regulating Airbnb rentals in order to assist keep local housing and rental rates under control. Hundreds of localities worldwide have enacted these limitations, with more on the way. Renting a property as a vacation Airbnb is forbidden in New York.

Airbnbs in Berlin must first obtain clearance from the Berlin Senate. In San Francisco, hosts must register with the city and live in the residence full-time. Santa Monica requires them to obtain a business license and to actively live in the home while it is rented. Honolulu and New Orleans simply do not allow rentals for less than 30 days, which eliminates the majority of Airbnb use. And so forth.

In the past, Airbnb has been accused of removing critical ratings. The corporation modifies its terms of service on a regular basis to address new challenges and offer new rules for hosts.

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Should You Make Use of Airbnb?

The fact that you can actually find an inexpensive room to stay on Airbnb is a significant bonus. It’s also convenient because you can get a lot of comprehensive information about where you’ll be staying before booking, and you can connect with your host before your visit. Consider the following while deciding between Airbnb and a typical hotel:

Privacy and accessibility: Hotels are typically centrally placed, while Airbnb allows you to choose cabins, cottages, and rooms that are off the beaten way. These provide greater privacy and may be closer to nature, providing a radically different experience.

Amenities: Hotels have a choice of guaranteed amenities and culinary alternatives, but Airbnb homes do not. Examine the specifics to discover if a rental includes Wi-Fi, coffee, and even electricity. Check for a kitchen if you intend to cook while staying there. Check for heating and cooling if you are visiting an extremely hot or cold place.

Check-ins: While hotel check-ins are standardized, Airbnb hosts’ check-in procedures might differ greatly.

Cleaning: Airbnb hosts have a vested interest in keeping things clean, and some may even provide cleaning services. Hotels, on the other hand, have stringent cleaning schedules.

Rewards Programs: Hotels can offer loyalty programs and incentives, and they may cooperate with larger corporations. These are not possibilities with Airbnbs.

Pets: hair can be a concern with Airbnbs, particularly if you take a room in a larger house. Airbnbs, on the other hand, make it possible to travel with your beloved pet.

Hosts should be well-versed in the laws in their jurisdiction. Renting a room in a house without a permit is permissible in some regions, but it is entirely banned in others. Before renting out space in their homes, hosts should always check local legislation and secure the necessary insurance coverage.

Aside from potential legal challenges, there are obvious safety concerns to be concerned about. When booking your stay, make sure you understand what you’re getting into by reading the terms and conditions (including the fine print) as well as the reviews.

Guests staying in an Airbnb property should adhere to the company’s recommended practices for safety. It’s never a terrible idea to share the specifics of your stay with a trusted friend or family member, just in case.

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