Airbnb Is Even Worse Than I Thought

Airbnb makes sense in towns where there aren’t suitable hotels. It makes sense to rent a full house for a large family or when traveling with a group of friend. But the current homesharing model is very broken, and as a result choosing Airbnb makes no sense for most stays.

There are several issues with Airbnb, to name just a few:

  • Airbnb doesn’t have your back. They’re a brand when they want you to rent through them, when something goes wrong they’re just a platform connecting guests and owners. They’ll ‘kind of sort of try to help find you another property’ if the owner cancels on you.

  • Cleaning fees but you have to clean yourself anyway – wash the towels, run the dishes, take out the trash, move furniture back to its original position to name a few items.

  • Doesn’t work well for short stays. You need a lot of nights to amortize cleaning fees and other fees across for it to make sense.

  • 4pm or 5pm check-in, 10am check-out. a hotel, with all its rooms and guests coming and going at different times, can often accommodate early check-in and late check-out (and standard times are often more generous than with Airbnb). A single unit has people leave, gets cleaned, and turned around for the next guest. And they don’t have housekeepers on staff so they need a buffer for whatever service they’re using.

  • Too many scams. You need to carefully parse listings and all of their rules, read every review, and still you might find yourself with something very different than advertised.

  • Airbnb adds too much to the cost. Airbnb’s value add is you, they sell you to homeowners. And Airbnb’s value is that because they have a lot of users, people list their homes, and so you keep coming back. They aren’t just taking a couple of points for this, they may add 20%+.

  • Too much risk. The biggest reason I avoid Airbnb whenever i can is nonrefundable rates. The model sort of requires it – one person owns one property, and if a person cancels and they cannot resell the place they’re out of luck and income. But life situations happen, I do need to change travel plans, and hotels are much better for this.

The concerns I have with Airbnb, though, are hardly the only ones. Others have had far worse experiences.

Cameras are actually permitted in common areas of home rentals but pervs sometimes place them in the bathroom or bedroom (this happens at hotels too). You know a common area of a hotel is public, but most people expect privacy throughout the home they’ve rented.

You’d think with all of Airbnb’s problems hotels – which do face a substantial threat from having such a huge supply of rooms to compete against – would lean into their advantages. Instead many hotels are walking away from their unique selling proposition, dropping services and room cleaning. That may save money in the short term but will cost them greatly over time.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. We can all make a list a mile long why hotels suck. This is absurd. Twitter, the news and fact set for travel blogs.

  2. The only way I’ve come out ahead with ABNB is by renting a room in a home for a short time, and then negotiating an off-the-books cash deal with the host. I’ve met a lot of great people this way, and both host and myself have come out ahead.

    Screw ABNB. Hope a more traveler-friendly/host-friendly site comes to fruition, especially for those of us single, low-budget-but-not-doing-a hostel, travelers.

  3. It’s easy to find tweets with anybody complaining about everything. But that doesn’t make it so for everyone.
    I’ve rented with Air BnB about 20 times–three more skedded for this summer–and almost always it’s met or exceeded expectations. Luck? Maybe. But there’s also a lot of due diligence. True, some hosts get what being a host entails more than others. But when it’s right, it blows away a hotel experience any day.
    To say that Air BnB “makes no sense” for most stays is a gross generalization and wildly inaccurate in places like Hawaii, where I’ve had some outstanding Air BnB experiences on four islands for a small fraction of what a decent hotel room would cost.
    Cleaning fees too high? Don’t stay there. I don’t. And I don’t think it’s too much to ask to leave the place pretty much as you found it. The cleaning staff can vacuum, polish and wash the sheets. But even for three-night stays, you can justify the fee compared to a hotel in many locations.
    And I’ve never had a check-in later than 3 p.m.
    As the saying goes, your mileage may vary. But especially when traveling a family–and even when you don’t–having the space to stretch out is worth the price, especially when the price is a lot less than at a hotel.

  4. Not entirely related to AirBNB, but we just rented a vacation home on the beach and paid five figures for a seven night stay. We got an email a week before arrival (long after we made full payment in advance on a non-refundable basis) with their “check out” procedures, which involved washing, drying, putting away all dishes, taking all of the trash out, wheeling the bins in from the roadway, stripping all linens from the beds (and when we arrived, the linens were wrapped in saran wrap and placed on the unmade beds so we had to spend half an hour making up the rooms before bed), and sweeping to broom clean everything. The implied threat was a $650 extra cleaning fee they “reserved the right to assess” if these things weren’t done, despite the fact none of these procedures were published to us before booking where we’d have a chance to say no. This $10,000+ rental also included a single roll of single-ply toilet paper for the entire 6 bedroom house, a single Jet Dry dishwasher pod, one off-brand laundry pod, and an envelope with the cleaners’ names requesting a tip.

    Sometimes we bitch and moan about hotels but the value for the money here was poor.

  5. “4pm or 5pm check-in, 10am check-out”

    This isn’t the norm. I’ve rented several times and always been able to find 1pm check in and late checkout.

    The one time I had a problem was a prepaid-only option that canceled the morning of check-in. I didn’t wait for Airbnb to fix it for me, but I did make sure they refunded the stay.

  6. What a strange post. Reads like – not saying you were obviously y – paid by the hotel industry to bash Airbnb !

    As for early/ late check in / out, I’ve personally had far more luck with Airbnb hosts tian hotels are requesting flexibility !

  7. I only book Airbnb in small villages around Europe, as otherwise it’s just investor real estate everywhere else.

    Side note – since I tested positive and was actually sick with Covid during what was supposed to a short stopover at home, I cancelled the Airbnb I had booked in Ireland, only 24 hours after booking. Since I had chosen to pay for a fully refundable reservation, I got it all back, and so far have kept the VentureX $200 credit.

  8. Spent 62 days in 4 European countries recently. 5 Airbnb and 2 hotel stays. Had no problems with the Airbnb’s or hotels. One Airbnb in Florence was in a 300 year old building. Only had a small cleaning fee in one of the Airbnb’s but I would stay there again. Great hosts and saved a lot of money. Have been staying in Airbnb’s since they started operating. I’ve had 3 bad properties but I managed. Do your research before renting. Ask questions and if the host doesn’t give you the answer you expect, immediately cancel the reservation.

  9. I am with all the other positives. I have rented from AirBNB hosts in Tokyo, London, Rome, The Netherlands and the US. I have not had any bad experiences. That can’t be luck…
    As someone else noted above: it is easy to find complaints for every service and product, but combining them in a cute post does not proof that business or service is bad.
    Try Googling Marriott or Motel 6 and you can write a similar post (boy, do I have a Motel 6 story about roaches and drugs…). But equally, I have mostly positive stories about my hotel experiences.

  10. @roundtree
    “The one time I had a problem was a prepaid-only option that canceled the morning of check-in. I didn’t wait for Airbnb to fix it for me, but I did make sure they refunded the stay.”

    So what did Airbnb fix?

  11. As you’ve observed, Airbnb is really just a rental agent, and the evils which arise are because of the property owners. But to the point, when a dispute does arise, Airbnb sides with the property owner and does nothing at all to help the guest with any sort of remedy. Case in point: Amsterdam apartment owners decided to remodel and switched us elderly couple to an upstairs unit with a tiny staircase and a specific notation on the listing that it was unsuitable for anyone with full sized luggage — but owners would not refund the substantial deposit claiming (1) the unit was equal or superior and (2) because Covid was starting to disrupt travel, they needed the funds. Airbnb did absolutely NOTHING to intervene and assist.

  12. Problems with airbnb are at the margins. Very high end and low end rentals are the most problematic for both guests and hosts from what I’ve experienced (100+ airbnb rentals over 7 yrs) and read. The problems with hotels are from low to high end and everything in the middle. This guy is not a thought leader but just another guy with an axe to grind and his own biases. Perhaps he can just rent an uber for 24 hrs and sleep in the back seat?

  13. Gary, you are obsessed with attacking airbnb…not cool man, there is people who live off of airbnb, how would you like attacks on your own profession, for example that you make your money from credit card commissions?

    As an airbnb host for a full decade let me first agree with you that some airbnb hosts can have ridiculously strict policies. But, many of us are fully flexible and easygoing, we offer free early check in and free late check out when we can, allow guests, are not picky, do not require that guests clean.

    And sure, i agree that there is cases when hotels make more sense.

    Consider this for next time. A large hotel employing 20 cleaning staff does has a LOT lower cleaning cost per room than an airbnb where hosts need to hire private cleaning services to go clean at a particular time on a particular day.

    And yes, a large property that has a same day changeover may need 5-6 hours to clean, hence the official check in/out differences.

    There is an explanation for everything.

    Also, consider the value offered by a 2-3 bedroom airbnb that sleeps 6 persons or more compared to a hotel (especially in Europe where many hotels allow only 2-3 persons per room) before you do these relentless, completely unfair snd unjustified attacks on airbnb. Unless you think doing so will help you promote some Bonvoy, HHonors or IHG cards…

    (See, i ‘m sure you dont appreciate my last comment, i also dont appreciate this airbnb bashing of yours…)

  14. I’m both an airbnb user and host. I’m sorry the writer has had a few bad stays. They don’t represent my stays (I’ve had a dozen, all good) nor what I deliver to those who stay at my place. I do charge for cleaning, which goes directly to my maid, but I don’t expect guests to clean up. Some are tidy, most are not. What the writer fails to note is that one can read reviews on the site and unlike hotel reviews, all reviewers are verified – you can’t leave a review unless you’ve actually stayed at a place. So read the reviews, which I’m sure will call out some of the most offensive practices. BTW I do read the reviews of every guest before accepting them.

  15. I’ve had good experiences with airbnb. It’s always an option, though I do end up in hotels more often. The one bad experience was when air conditioning failed on a very hot summer day in the south. Owner allowed free cancellation and I found a better place. I’m not sure why all the hostility toward airbnb.

  16. My concern with Air BnB is a safety issue. I don’t know how many people have keys/access to the place. Not only from a property (theft) concern but also for my well-being. Air BnB has a dedicated task force to put a lid on situations when they go really wrong. Wasnt there a multi-million dollar settlement for the woman who was raped in NY? Hmmm. As a woman, HARD pass.

  17. In my city. You can get an airbnb for 150-200 a night with free parking. And a hotel in the downtown area. Is definitely over 200 and 30$ for parking. Seattle is a bit unique because there is only one scummy and one mid range hotel on this side of the highway. While just looking at the mid range hotel. Its 380$ tonight plus parking. So you really only have the two options or Airbnb.

  18. We have been staying at Airbnbs all over the world, Africa, Europe, South America, and Asia, for quite a few years. Never had a place that was not what we expected. Never a significant problem. Always got funds back when the policy we signed up for allowed it and even when it did not. We could not travel as we do for months at a time a couple of times a year worldwide without airbnb, and airline points.

    We do extensive messaging with each host. If not a prompt and detailed positive reply to all our questions we skip that place. We have done that a number of times. We only get lower end pricing. That has never been a problem in terms of functionality, although one does have to have some tolerance for differences from the USA. Check in and out has always been flexible. Once in Santiago Chile at 3am checkin.

    Airbnb has millions of rentals a year so some are bound to be poor. We have had bad hotel experiences but will still stay in them for short (less than a week trips). We almost always have two bedrooms, one for us and one to lay our our luggage etc. Often two bathrooms, so much more flexible than a hotel room in terms of ease of usage.

  19. The Seattle example from Dustin Evans is apt. We were there for three nights in the summer of 2019 and found a two-bedroom property in the Ballard neighborhood for about $150 a night, plus taxes and cleaning fees. Stay was hassle-free. The property was well-appointed and enabled us to walk into the heart of Ballard within 15 minutes. When you’re traveling with four people, a hotel room or rooms doesn’t make sense from both fiscal and sanity standpoints if you hit on the right property. And usually we do.

  20. As an airbnb host in Austin and a Marriott Ambassador Elite, I have a good idea of both sides. My airbnb is an ADU beside my house in an up an coming neighborhood close to downtown but in an area with no hotels. We have lots of beers gardens and restaurants within walking distance and guests get to experience a “truer” Austin lifestyle. I don’t do same day check in/check outs so I let guests know they can arrive early or check out later…they just need to let me know. I charge a cleaning fee that is what I get charged from my cleaners ($75). For a 1BR, 1.5 BA private place that has a kitchenette for only $110/night, my guests get a really good deal. Proudly, I stay booked and have a 5 star rating.

  21. Seriously. This reads like an article by someone who spends a lot of time on Twitter but has done very little actual traveling. Notably, no mention as to whether you’ve spent a single night in an Airbnb anywhere.

    I’m on the terrace of an Airbnb in Liguria (that’s in Italy) right now, in a town with no chain hotel for probably 50 miles, overlooking an incredible hillside with olive trees and flowering gardens. One of my buddies (we’re three, each with our own bedroom) is inside cooking the kilogram (that’s 2.2 lbs) of langoustines we picked up at the morning market (that’s like a supermarket but with different vendors for different items). The host lives on the first floor of the building; in the morning I can see him in his garden.

    Both Airbnb and hotel stays can go wrong. And it’s true that there’s the possibility of a spectacular fail with Airbnb. But a simple examination of the market (in this case, NOT like a supermarket but rather the economic mechanism that conservatives pretend they consult to determine the efficiency and quality of the distribution of goods and services) indicates that a substantial portion of the time apartment shares are more desirable to more people, and therefore by definition better than hotel stays.

  22. ridiculous article.The author clearly phoned in this embarrassment. families can save a fortune, especially on stays of five nights or longer. Whining because one has to perform due diligence is insane. I don’t care about gross free breakfast and I’d rather not have to pay for eating out 3xday.

  23. “AirBnb hosts can cancel on you… For that reason alone, hotels are now my preference.”

    Because hotels are any different????

  24. Hope people who have these bad experiences with airbnb leave a review detailing their issues.

  25. I would love to get your take on the Marriott Homes and Villas program. I just tried my first one and I have very mixed feelings. I have had both good and bad AirBnB and VRBO experiences, and I have found that, when it is good, it is usually great, and when it’s bad, it is REALLY bad.

  26. Well, it’s nice to see all the Airbnb hosts replying to this story.
    For my Airbnb story, my colleague rented an apartment in Rome. She and her husband (also a colleague) had the bedroom, and I got the living room couch. This building had an elevator whose door didn’t quite shut on its own, and so, if someone didn’t shut it, it’d be stuck at that floor. The tenants posted a strongly-worded note about it in Italian. So, basically, everyone in the building new about it, except the Airbnb guests. And everyone else in the building was constantly pissed off at the “resident” on the floor of the Airbnb rental who rudely ignored the rules.
    So, come the weekend, I and my colleagues husband go to a conference on the Adriatic, and she runs around Rome by herself. We return Sunday night. As I’m going to bed, I screw up, and the false door separating the kitchen area from the living room/my bedroom slams.
    The dude living above us snaps. Probably believing that there was just a small woman living alone in the apartment, he comes down, bangs on the door and demands she open. He tries the handle.

    So, I’m left wondering what happens if he got in. What’s our legal status? Is Airbnb going to protect me against some dude who thinks I’ve been abusing the whole building for months? What if there were just a small female on the other side?

    I think Gary’s right to call out hotels for trying to compete. Both models have their issues.
    FWIW, someone ran an Airbnb in my building a few years back, and I was the only one who noticed. So they’re not all bad, but nobody chooses to live in a building with such a unit, and I’m never comfortable with the neighbors.

  27. I’ve rented hundreds of nights for my family in europe and all over the world for over 6 years, all in airbnbs, every summer and many other breaks. Never had anything other than minor issues.

    Hotels suck when traveling with children, teens and anybody you aren’t ok sleeping in the same room with. There’s no privacy at all. Hotels is basically sleeping in one giant room with beds just shoved in the room! That’s no vacation. With airbnb, I can always rent a nice place with multiple bedrooms and a real kitchen for $100-$150 anywhere. For a couple in europe its easy to get a place for $60-$100.

    For a couple or solo dude, a hotel “might” be a comparison to a good airbnb, but for families and large groups airbnb is a relaxing experience.

    This is the worst post I’ve ever seen. I hope you got a kickback from hilton.

  28. AirBnb: *release credit card*

    Bloggers *initiate shilling* 37 reasons why you should get the AirBnb card!

  29. I love me some Airbnb.
    4 nights upcoming at the end of the month for Tybee Island with lots of drinks, fresh seafood, and adult activities. The perfect tail end of vacation after spending a week cruising on the Mardi Gras.

  30. Since my first Airbnb visit in 2011, my travels have taken me to a total of 99 Airbnb rentals in 33 countries: thirty-four places in the USA, three in Spain, three in Ukraine, four in Sri Lanka, six in India, two in Estonia, four in Guatemala, two in Canada, five in Italy, four in Croatia, three in Mexico, two in the UK, five in Sweden, two in Norway, two in Azerbaijan, four in Belgium, three in France, and one each in Moldova, UAE, Singapore, Iceland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Panama, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Ireland, Netherlands, Denmark, Georgia, and Armenia.

    I have not had any of the problems cited here. Note that just because there are some unscrupulous home owners or visitors doesn’t make the corporation itself at fault.

  31. The weird thing here, from the point of view of Gary Leff, the proprietor of this site, is that he shilled the Chase Sapphire Preferred card with 100K points, which my spouse and I applied for and received. That means we’re his target financial demographic.

    And wonders! We got 4 trips to Mexico over the last year almost entirely paid for by that Chase Sapphire Preferred card, with the 25% bonus for AirBnB stays. About $3000, so far. In the previous comment thread I talked about those stays. Yet silence about that from Gary about that benefit.

    I wonder, Gary, if you’re burning up credibility here, for something else?

  32. Every AirBnb rental has overpromised and underdelivered. Sure they all look great in photos and have great reviews, but in person they are always older, smellier and the linens and towels are inferior to hotels. And as Gary notes, the pricing is deceptive, if the search results show a rate of $250 a night that really means $300-350 per night depending on the length of stay, cleaning fees, taxes and the vig to airbnb.

    Hotels are not perfect, the low budget or off brands are always disappointing. But the higher end hotels in the top brands (Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton) almost always deliver as promised and no surprise on the rates. Rarely do I feel bait and switch.

    The only reason to rent airbnb is when hotel rates are insane, or you want to bring a pet, or perhaps a lack of chain hotels in the area (Martha’s Vineyard is a good example, as are some ski resorts). But if feasible I would gladly take 2 hotel rooms (one for my kids) instead of airbnb.

  33. The cleaning fees are ridiculous in some cases they cost almost as much as the nightly rate. So Airbnb needs to cap these to a certain percentage based on the room rate or limited it somehow as savh owners are using that to pad their profit

  34. No one has ever been walked from a Hotel at check-in?
    Forgot to mention that one but sure you point out 24 hour cancel by AirBnB!

    Talk about an independent unbiased article.

  35. I don’t doubt the stories in this article. But I’ve rented with AirBnb 30 or 40 times and never had a problem.

  36. I’ve stayed at AirBnb once and had a horrible experience. Actually had to file charges against the owner. Never again…

  37. I just wonder if some of these critics have actually used airbnb. When you get an airbnb quote it is all in, including fees, cleaning, etc. so the comment about the increase from the quoted nightly price to the actual price is suspect. Compare that with hotels who advertise a rate, afterwards adding taxes, service charges and the very dodgy “resort or destination” fees. Don’t like airbnb, don’t use it; like hotels, use them. But don’t spread falsehoods to justify your choice (unless you are a Hilton or Marriott employee doing so conciously

  38. Don’t let yourself be trolled people!! this guy is clearly paid by the hotel industry!!!
    Comparing a hotel with an Airbnb is comparing apples and pears! You can’t!
    A hotel can have more flexible check in and check out times, because they have many rooms that probably where not used the same day. If a host doesn’t have a same day checkin usually coming in earlier really isn’t a problem.
    Yes a hotel can be cheaper: but there is no kitchen in a hotel so you are forced to eat and drink their expensive food and beverages!
    In an Airbnb I don’t pay extra for laundry. A nice hotel will charge me $5 to wash my g string!
    In a hotel I’ll need to worry about other guest bringing in monkey pox or god knows what, in an Airbnb there is less people coming in and out, so less disease risk.
    A Airbnb is more family friendly; I don’t want to stay in a hotel where my neighbor just welcomed a prostitute in his room ( usually about 20% of hotel guests!!)

    A hotel can charge a smaller cleaning fee because they’ll slave immigrants for the minimum wages!! (I was F&B manager for the intercontinental hotel so I know!)
    Also if people had only spend one night, lazier housekeeping staff had tricks to not change sheets but just make everything look clean.
    They had ridiculous time schedules, to overturn everything, so they would cut corners sometimes.
    Blankets in hotel rooms NEVER get washed, and loads of people smoke illegally in their rooms, so you’ll end up in a room that smells like ozone and old cigarette smoke in many of the cheaper non 5 star hotels, because let’s be honest most people out there cannot afford the luxury of a 5 star hotel stay.

    The building of the hotel is often in hands of larger criminal enterprises (blackrock or other shady shell corporations) and are still to these days one of the best ways to launder money.
    And 5 star hotels are also a great way for people with illegal business dealings to spend their money! No one earning money the earnest hard way, spends $10k a night on a hotel room and pays in cash.

    And since such a large % of the hotel’s profits are paid by shady people, ethics will go right out of the door! The intercontinental hotel would be occupied in the summer months by the Bin Laden family. All the sons and family members would flee the heath of Dubai and come to London for medical procedures in the summer.
    They would rent an entire FLOOR of the hotel. They would each bring their 10 wives, 20 children, tons of Nannies and Butlers to stay in the hotel. At some point some of the kids wanted puppies, baby rabbits, and kittens for entertainment. 3 days later the animals where gone. They thought it would be funny to see what would happen if they would throw them from the roof.

    There where notes going around for the housekeeping and room service staff to never go alone into the rooms of the sheiks/butlers, because girls had gotten raped in the rooms. The both girls to which it had happened had gotten a good couple months salary and where send back to Brazil.

    That’s when I quit my job.

    Só…. Some dirty laundry of hotels! Maybe you should make a separate blog post on it and ask Airbnb to pay you for it. Lol.

  39. I still think this thread is missing the point. When you stay at a hotel, you’re dealing with the property “owner”. If thing go wrong, you complain to his boss or company and so forth. Airbnb is not the “owner”; they’re a reservation service, nothing more. And they take a big cut for this service. The problem is, other than using a computer to match you with a property owner, what good are they? Will they intervene if the property is not as described? Will they get your money back if the owner cheats you? Will they refund your deposit if you have a dispute with the owner about pre-arrival matters? We were Airbnb supporters until they deserted us in the face of an unscrupulous owner who would not return a deposit — plain and simple. Like if Expedia or Orbitz abandoned you when your airline went bankrupt. This thread has turned into a discussion of whether property owners who list with Airbnb are good people or not — a wholly different topic IMHO and obviously one with a million different answers.

  40. Different strokes for different folks is my main takeaway from the many responsive comments here. As I’ve written in response to Gary’s previous Abnb posts, Abnb works well for me personally, in most instances, and in most cities – and for me this is largely for business travel, not pleasure. I have had mostly good Abnb experiences, a few that were less so. I have also, in my lifetime, stayed in tons of hotels, and had mostly good experiences, some bad ones. Across the universe of all those subpar experiences, I have found the Abnb hosts more willing to work with me to make up for whatever problems I experienced than hotel staff. This really is a question of personal preferences, a traveler’s willingness to do the legwork to make comparisons between different stay possibilities, and relative value.

    The one primary point I will give Gary’s article is that the Abnb model itself DOES lend itself to a wide array of experiences and types of stays, whereas when you stay in a large corporate hotel brand, there is typically some measure of standardization. Some people love that uniformity. They know what they’re getting, and they’re happy to have the same general lodging experience over and over, in dozens of different cities. I personally like variety – I don’t want to eat the same Dimonos pizza or drink the same Starbucks coffee everywhere I go. I am happy to prefer Abnb for the variety that Abnb stays offer, along with many other reasons.

    Most every point in the post is readily refuted:
    -“Abnb doesn’t have your back” – maybe so, maybe not. But who is the third party that steps in to fix matters for you when a hotel screws you over ? There is none. You deal with the hotel and you either prevail in your dispute or you don’t – there’s no middleman to intervene.
    -Cleaning fees. Cleaning fees are built into the price of your hotel stay, but they are separately detailed for most (not all) Abnb stays. As to being asked to do extra stuff on top of a cleaning fee with a very small minority of Abnb properties, I don’t like that either, but I have always known before booking if there was such a condition, and if I opt to stay in the Abnb anyway, it’s because the value proposition was still there and the effort required was minimal.
    -Value proposition is better for longer Abnb stays than short ones. Duh. This is where you just do the math & make a smart $$$ decision. Sometimes that decision favors an Abnb stay, sometimes it favors a hotel stay
    -Check in/check out policies. Here I think the post has it alllllll wrong. I have encountered far more flexibility with early arrival, late departure, and modifying stay dates with Abnb than with hotels. I HAVE lately been seeing some of the corporate-run Abnbs allowing that flexibility, but only at an added extra cost, which is a disappointing change from what I have historically encountered with Abnb hosts (allowing early check in / late departure & changed dates for free so long as their circumstances permit), but that add-on cost model aligns with what hotels are doing, so it’s a push.
    -“Abnb service charges add too much to the cost.” Maybe, maybe not. It depends what the hotel alternative cost is, and the numbers are there in black and white for the traveler to see, and base their own economic and value proposition decisions on.
    -Safety concerns. Bad stuff happens. It sometimes happens to people in hotel parking lots, hotel common areas, on hotel grounds, and in their hotel rooms. It sometimes happens to people in their Abnb units or in the area of their Abnb locations. Until I see an article including hard comparative data, I think this concern is vastly overblown. Personally, despite hundreds of Abnb stays and hundreds of hotel stays, I’ve not had any safety issues in either type of stay, except for getting a few things filched from a hotel room once more than 2 decades ago, and getting my car broken into in a hotel parking lot 6 or 8 years ago. Given the staggering total number of hotel & Abnb stays across the industry, I chalk a few anecdotal stories of safety problems in either hotels or Abnbs up to propaganda & click-bait.

  41. As the partner of an Airbnb Superhost (at least 10 guests/quarter with all 4- and 5- star reviews and no cancellations), I recommend the following:

    Do the verification process. Many hosts will not rent to unverified guests for their own safety and will read previous reviews to confirm that the guest’s previous stays (if any) were good.

    When searching, use the Superhost filter. This will exclude lower rated listings.

    Some listings are for standalone units; others may be in the host’s residence and may or may not have a shared bath. Read the listing.

    Read the reviews! They are all from actual guests, are not seen by the host before the host reviews the guest (and vice versa), and are not editable. Responses can be posted after both.are published.

    Read the listing carefully. A relative didn’t and was surprised to find the listing for a “suite” he rented was actually for one room with the sink shared between the bathroom and the kitchen, even though the photos were accurate. The host is responsible for the listing content, so my relative noted the discrepancy in his review.

    As with hotels, rates can vary depending on the dates, so when you search, enter your desired dates. The quoted total includes cleaning and AirBnB fees. If AirBnB collects local lodging taxes, they will also be included.

    If you’ll have a car, check if parking is available and if it’s included. Also check about laundry if you will need it during your stay.

    Be sure that Its location is where you want to be. Listings include maps of the approximate location. Airbnb’s search algorithm can show listings miles away from the desired area.

    As with hotels, late checkout and early checkin may be available — ask. Also ask about pets, smoking, and visitor policies if they will affect you. If the listing is in a host’s home, ask about kitchen privileges.

    The host sets refund conditions. These are always stated in the listing to prevent surprises, but may be negotiable if the host is amenable.

    We do all of the above when we travel and have never had a bad experience with Airbnb stays in Europe and the US.

  42. I’ve had about 100 positive experiences with AirBnB and 3 negative ones (cancellation for NYE in Amsterdam was the worst as they tried to extort more money, and a couple of places much worse than depicted) throughout the world. I would almost always pick an Airbnb for more than 4-5 nights for the benefit of a kitchen and laundry.

    My hotel success rate is much lower and the average hotel price is much higher.

    I am constantly surprised how few AirBnBs and hotels have ergonomically unfriendly desks, if a desk at all, even the options advertising a dedicated workspace..

  43. Overall, I’ve had much better luck with Airbnb and VRBO than hotels. For a large family, the cost usually works out cheaper with Airbnb/VRBO than with a hotel and you end up with a much nicer place. I’ve had some minor issues with Airbnb/VRBO but not near as much as I’ve had with hotels. I’ve also heard several stories of people who had a hotel reservation, but the hotel canceled on them.

  44. “Hotels are FUN. Room service, bars, poolside drinks, a concierge, and no chores. Airbnb is just housesitting for someone you don’t know and you have to pay them.”

    It’s an interesting way of putting it, to be sure.

    Airbnb seems useful for some purposes, but won’t replace hotels for me. Even though bad things can still happen, frankly just feel safer at a hotel (esp. major chain hotel).

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