We have had great success with Airbnb during our trip and as I mentioned recently, would recommend the service to anyone. More importantly, we would HIGHLY recommend the hosts and accommodations we have stayed at, but searching for a decent place via Airbnb can feel like having a part-time job when you are using it regularly.
I have therefore done my best to become a better ‘Airbnb searcher’, and I have some tips for you to do the same. There are usually two things that draw you to an Airbnb listing: the pictures, and the price. But today, I bring you three things you should pay attention to when searching Airbnb:
Reviews are invaluable when making your search. They tell you about prior guest experiences with the host and what state the rental was in upon arrival and during their stay. You can find out a lot about your potential rental by scrolling through the reviews, for example, did the hot water work properly or was there street noise? You also have to use your best judgement – often there can be a disheartening review, but it might be something like “It was freezing in the apartment” and you’re looking to stay in the middle of summer, so that review might not bother you. Finally, remember that some people can always find something to complain about. Is it really a deal breaker that the host only supplied mugs, not wine glasses? Will that ruin your trip? Don’t let the small stuff get in the way of your main goal – seeing a new city.
Airbnb offers three standardized cancellation policies: Strict, Moderate and Flexible. Reviewing a host’s cancellation policy is great for those individuals who are unsure about their travel dates or not 100% ready to make a decision about accommodation. For example, Flexible policies often allow a full refund if cancelled 24hours prior to the listing’s local check in time. Therefore, if you are trying to plan a trip and find a listing that you like but don’t love, you can book it and cancel it if you find another accommodation better suited to your interests. Always review a host’s cancellation policy before you book anything so you know if, and when, you are able to get out of it if need be!
When looking at Airbnb listings, it is important to look at a host’s response rate. The response rate shows how quickly and consistently a host responds to potential guest inquiries. This feature comes in usefully if you are looking to make arrangements within a short time. For example, if you are looking for accommodation for tomorrow, you’ll be better off with a host that has a higher response rate than taking a risk on waiting to hear from someone that might not get back to you that quickly.
Once you find a place you want to book, pay attention to three other things:
Price– I have often noticed when I go to book the price changes from the initial advertised price. Believe it or not, price sometimes changes dependant on the device you are using (eg. laptop vs. tablet). Keep an eye on it.
Cleaning fee– Some places have a separate cleaning fee which adds to your final bill.
Currency– Always verify what currency you are using as it is easy to get confused. I find it a bit deceptive that the website will show you price in “$” all the way until booking, before revealing what currency it’s really talking about.
Do you have any tips or tricks on what you look for in an Airbnb?