Does Airbnb Provide More Value Than Booking A Hotel?
The first thing many of us do when we start planning a vacation, weekend excursion, or work trip is to look for hotel accommodations. While this is a logical first step, many Filipinos are starting to try a different approach by replacing hotel stay with a more personal experience. Enter Airbnb. You may have heard the company name before from family and friends, or maybe seen ads online or on television, but you may not have an understanding of what the service actually is. This article will help you better understand exactly what Airbnb is, the pros and cons of using Airbnb over a hotel, as well as a comparison of amenities between a hotel and an Airbnb rental in different situations.
What Is Airbnb?
Essentially, Airbnb is an online booking site that connects travellers seeking accommodations with hosts who are renting out homes, rooms, or other unused spaces in their home. At first thought, it may seem odd to book your stay at another person’s home. You may even question your safety. Rest assured, Airbnb prides itself on providing consumers with a “trusted” marketplace for people to list and book travel accommodations. The main reason many people choose to stay in an Airbnb rather than a hotel is the personalized experience that comes along with it. There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a new city or country than to stay with a local.
How Does Airbnb Work?
You book your accommodations on Airbnb just as you would on any other travel site. Simply enter a destination, the duration of your stay, and indicate how many people you are traveling with. Airbnb will return an abundance of options for you to choose from. From entire homes, to a private room, to a room in a shared area of the home, your options are endless. Now that you know the basics of what Airbnb is, let’s dive into the pros and cons of booking one over a hotel.
Benefits of Using Airbnb
- You Have the Potential to Save Money
It can be a much cheaper option to stay in a rented home or apartment via an online service like Airbnb. With Airbnb, you often get more for your money as well. For instance, if you opt to rent an entire home, you will most likely have access to a kitchen, which can save you big money from not having to eat out. In addition, Airbnb can be much cheaper for large families, since you have the option to rent out an entire house with many rooms, eliminating the need to book several hotel rooms.
- Unique and Personal Lodging Experience
Many hosts will go out of their way to make sure you are as comfortable as possible during your stay. There are even some with stock-filled homes, accompanied with a warm welcome, will insist that you sample their local food and delicacies. The level of hospitality you get at an Airbnb can far surpass the level of hospitality offered at a major hotel.
- You Have Access to Quality Reviews
Airbnb provides reviews on all properties and hosts listed on the site. We all know that online reviews for companies can be misleading, and are often written by management and employees. With Airbnb, you can rest assured knowing that the reviews are left by actual customers who have stayed on the property.
- You Have Flexible Check-In & Checkout
Though hosts list check-in and checkout times, most hosts are willing to work with you and accommodate your request for an early check-in and late checkout.
- Hosts Are Often Close By
We have all stayed in a hotel room where something has gone wrong. Chances are, you probably had to call down to the hotel lobby, and wait for maintenance to show up. With Airbnb, many of the hosts are on the property or very close by. Thus, it can be much easier and quicker to get something fixed.
- You Can Get Insights on What You Should Do on Your Trip
Most people are proud of where they live, and are eager to provide advice on must-see attractions and restaurants to visitors in their city. Sure, hotel staff will provide you with popular restaurants tourists visit, but an Airbnb host can provide you with the options the locals love, and we all know those are the best places!
Disadvantages of Airbnb
- You Could Pay More Depending on The Season
Airbnb allows hosts to use dynamic pricing to change the price of rentals based on supply and demand in the market. There are three main reasons hosts change the price of a rental: seasonality, day of the week, and special events in the area. You will find that most experienced Airbnb hosts use dynamic pricing instead of static pricing, thus, it’s important to remember prices will be higher during peak travel seasons.
- You Don’t Always Know What You’re Going to Get
Unfortunately, there are situations where the photos of the property or the descriptions are not what you had in mind. This can be a huge let-down, especially if you are going to be staying at the property for an extended period.
- Cleanliness May Not Be Up to Your Standards
Each of us has a different definition of what clean is. While most Airbnbs are in pristine condition, there is the possibility that the rental will not meet your standards. Always make sure to check the photos of the property before booking, as well as look for any reviews in regards to cleanliness.
- You Must Abide by The Host’s Rules
Every host has different rules that you must abide by. For instance, some hosts will request quiet time after a certain hour, have requirements of how you must leave the property at checkout, or have a strict pet policy. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the host’s rules before booking a property so there are no surprises or problems once you arrive.
- Your Rental May Not Be as Secure
Since you are not from the area, you may not know the good and bad parts of town. Thus, it could be easy to book a property in an unsafe area if you do not do your research. In addition, hotels have a lot of built in security. From security guards, to locked hallways, to locks on every door, you’re almost guaranteed a safe stay at a major hotel or resort. You cannot be certain that your Airbnb will come with the same amount of security. Make sure to investigate the area before booking your stay.
- The Chance of Fraud
Airbnb takes a commission from the host for each booking, which is the reason why some hosts are requesting guests pay for their room via a third-party payment service such as PayPal, wire transfer, or check. The problem with doing this is you have no way of knowing your accommodation will actually be available until you show up. If your listing is not booked on the Airbnb site, and the host does not take the listing down for those dates, the room or home could end up being double booked, and someone will be out of a place to stay. In addition, booking and paying outside of the Airbnb site can also lead to increased instances of fraud. Always book your stay through Airbnb using your credit card online, and report any host who tries to get you to go to a different website to view additional properties, or request payment outside of Airbnb.
Comparison of Accommodations
As we discussed earlier, the accommodations between an Airbnb and hotel room are very different. Below we compare hotel and Airbnb accommodations in three different scenarios.
- Capital City: Metro Manila
One of the most popular hotels in Metro Manila is the New World Manila Bay Hotel. At this hotel, you have four room options: a guest room, a residence clubroom, a suite, or a suite in the Residence Club. On average, a family of three can get a Residence Club Room anywhere between ₱10,400 to ₱14,000 per night. A Residence Club Room will provide you with either one king-sized bed or two twins, complimentary Wi-Fi, a flat screen TV, a bathroom with walk-in shower, a mini bar, and a coffee maker and tea-maker.
With Airbnb, a family of three has 79 homes to choose from, all of which offer a large range of amenities. For instance, you can rent out an entire home in Metro Manila with 11, 5-star reviews for just ₱1,336 per night. With an entire home in Metro Manila, you get all the great accommodations that you would have at your own home including a kitchen, free Wi-Fi, free parking, etc. In this instance, Airbnb would be perfect for the weekend traveller or business traveller.
- Secondary Major City: Cebu
If you plan to travel to a provincial city like Cebu, it is probably first nature to look at resorts and hotels in the area. If you are looking for a beach getaway, it may be a better option to stay at a resort on the beach so you can be close to the ocean and tourist activities. The prices really depend on the amenities and location you desire, but much like Metro Manila, you will have a choice on the amount of beds you require and amenities you choose. The price will be dependent on how many people you have in your party, and the type of room you request. Some benefits of choosing a hotel for a stay in a provincial city like Cebu include access to a pool, access to activities, direct access to the beach, and peace of mind knowing you are in a safe area.
Airbnb again has many options in terms in all provinces, including Cebu. Currently, there are over 300 properties available in Cebu all offering different types of amenities. The only drawback of staying at an Airbnb in a province city is being away from the tourist hotspots. If you prefer a more secluded experience, and don’t mind a short drive to the beach, an Airbnb may be the way to go. In addition, Airbnb could be the perfect option for a large family, allowing you to save money on additional hotel rooms, and instead spend the money enjoying family-fun activities.
- Local or International Travel Destinations
If you plan to visit notable travel spots whether local or abroad, either for business or pleasure, deciding where to stay will depend on your level of comfort with the area. Prices will vary depending on demand and location you are visiting. Since you already know all the pros and cons associated with Airbnb, it would make sense to thoroughly research hotels and Airbnbs in your planned destination before making a decision either way. If it is your first time using Airbnb, we would suggest not using it when you are booking a destination far from home. However, an Airbnb could be a great option for a seasoned traveller who has visited the city before, and desires a completely new and unique experience.
How Do I know If Airbnb Is Right for Me?
Airbnb can provide you with a different way to visit a new city at a very affordable rate, all while providing you with a personal touch and warm hospitality that traditional hotels simply cannot offer. The only way to really know if you will like Airbnb is to try it. Start by planning a short weekend trip with Airbnb to a nearby vacation stop. Make sure to pay special attention to the reviews, and investigate the area before booking. Airbnb is not for everyone, but has the potential to deliver a truly unique travel experience for you and your family.
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