What Is Airbnb and How Does It Work?
If you’re an avid traveler and you haven’t heard of Airbnb before, you’re missing out on one of the best travel accommodation sites out there. Airbnb can be a great financial benefit, whether you’re saving money on your next trip or earning some with your own property!
What is Airbnb? How does Airbnb work? Let’s take a look and find out how you can save (or make) money with it.
What Is Airbnb?
Airbnb aims to match two kinds of people together; those who have empty beds or houses that aren’t being used, and those who need a place to stay while on holiday.
Airbnb isn’t really designed for people who want a bed for a night—while it can accommodate those kinds of people, you may find a hotel will suit you better. What Airbnb does offer, however, is a place to stay if you’re looking to stay for several days or weeks in a row.
At the same time, if you have some extra space in your home (or even an entire home) that you’re not using right now, you can loan it out to people who need somewhere to stay for a few nights.
That’s not to say Airbnb is the only website that offers this service. We’ve covered plenty more websites on our guide to high-quality alternatives to Airbnb.
What Is Airbnb Plus?
Airbnb Plus is the luxury option for travelers. Homeowners with a very high reputation on Airbnb can apply to have their residence marked as an Airbnb Plus. This is an extra level of authenticity that lets travelers know that these accommodations are of a very high standard.
How Airbnb Can Be Better Than a Hotel
You might wonder, “how does Airbnb work?” and why not just use a hotel? While Airbnbs are not always better than hotels, there are practical reasons why you’d want to use one over the other.
For starters, Airbnb allows you to personalize your location. Why stay at a soulless hotel when you can rent a home at your destination? By living like the locals do, you can experience how it feels to live in the country.
It also means you can explore the local shops and food stores while you’re on your trip. Why settle for a hotel breakfast when you can hit up the local cafe for an authentic start to the day? Being in an Airbnb gives you plenty of opportunities to mingle more with the local scene.
Airbnb also has a larger selection on offer. Not all of them will be strictly cheaper than a hotel, but with the variety of places to stay, you’re more likely to find a home that suits your budget level compared to a hotel. This makes it the perfect choice for someone who wants to save some extra cash for spending on the local shops!
We’ve compared Airbnb to several other homestay services in the past, including hotels. If you want to know more, try our guide to Airbnb versus the most popular options out there .
Can You Make Money With Airbnb?
For property owners, Airbnb can be a great way to rent out unused space temporarily. If you have a vacant property, a holiday home, or just a spare bedroom, you can talk to travelers and do short-term rentals to accommodate them during their trip.
The best part is, you get to set the price for your lodgings per night. This means you can set a price that you deem fair for your accommodation, and be matched with people who want to pay you that much to stay at your residence.
If you want to make money hiring out cars and boats instead, you may be out of luck with Airbnb. Thankfully, there are Airbnb clones that list cars, boats, and even office space too.
The Problem With Airbnb’s Legality
There are some cities and countries cracking down on Airbnb usage. This is because the service Airbnb provides is technically short-term renting, and with it comes its own web of legal issues.
As such, it’s worth double-checking if the destination you’re going to is okay with Airbnb before renting. Some unfortunate homeowners have met legal trouble after they unknowingly let out their properties without realizing it’s illegal in their city to do so.
How to Book a Place With Airbnb
Getting a place is very easy. Simply head over to the main site at airbnb.com, then enter the location, date of stay, and amount of people on the trip. Airbnb will then show you a list of every residence that’s available for that time.
When you find a place you like, click on it to see more details. Here, you can see all the charges that come with the residence, the amenities that come with it, and reviews of previous tenants. You can use all this information to gauge whether the residence is right for you or not.
Once you’ve found a place, you can get in contact with the owner. You can then arrange the details of booking the place to stay on your arrival.
How to Host Your Place on Airbnb
Listing a place is a little more complex than booking one, but it isn’t too tricky. When you’re on the main site, click the Host a home text at the top right. Then, log into the site to begin the listing process.
The site will ask you questions about the property, so it’s a good idea to prepare the details beforehand. It will ask you what the property type is (house, flat, etc), the address, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in it, if it’s a dedicated guest house or if you own belongings there, and other details. You should also get photos ready so that your potential guests know what the location looks like.
You can set your schedule. This allows you to dictate when people are allowed in your residence. For example, if you only want to let it on weekdays, or you have family using the residence for a specific week, you can forgo it on the calendar. That way, if people look for properties for a period that crosses over your forbidden dates, your property won’t appear in their search.
Is Airbnb Safe?
This is the big question for first-time renters and travelers. Airbnb is an aggregator, so experiences around the world vary. But in general, Airbnb comes with several benefits.
Airbnb Safety for Renters
Before you rent a home on Airbnb, you should ask yourself one question; are you totally fine with living in a strangers house for a few days? If the answer is no, or you feel unsure, Airbnb is not for you!
Airbnb is a great way to pair up travelers with strangers who have places to stay, but that’s just who they are; strangers. You may find you’re staying in a spare room owned by someone you don’t trust.
When you feel like that, getting a place in a hotel can be safer. You have doors which you can lock yourself and you’re not obligated to meet anyone past the receptionist.
Even if you rent a house where the owner is out (such as an out-of-season holiday home), the house itself may not abide by safety regulations. Problems such as mold and mildew could be lurking without your knowledge.
Airbnb Safety for Homeowners
At the same time, Airbnb isn’t perfectly safe for homeowners either. It takes one bad egg to enter your home and cause serious property damage. Though, Airbnb does provide Host Protection Insurance against unexpected damages.
But it’s a good idea to not let out any home you can’t really afford to maintain. While Airbnb can be a great income maker, your property can also drain your finances as you keep the place running.
From accidental breakages to deliberate theft, there’s a lot that can happen while someone is staying in your property. It’s up to you to decide how often you’ll let guests stay and for how long.
Get Smart With Your Travel Plans
If you want a more personal and cheaper residence to stay at while you travel, Airbnb is a good choice. Of course, it’s not perfect, so be sure to exercise your own diligence when using the service!
For any kind of trip, it’s always better to plan before you travel with all the tools available on the web.