In my previous article I was dealing with alternative accomodation unlike hotels – options provided by the sharing economy system.
In this article I will be giving you a precious advice how to be a good guest and enjoy travelling even more. Besides of giving you basic help how to prevent misunderstandings or how to deal with them, you get also couple of tips to save 20%-60% of the price. Although the article announces talking about AirBnB, the information applies to any BnB service of which we already have more than 20 on the internet.
Set your preferred language
The main Airbnb page has menu settings which enable you to set your preferred language and currency. You will need this option when abroad. The page will namely set automatically the language and currency of the country you are recently in.
Select your destination place
Most people when looking for accomodation in the city they don’t know just pick the first option, be it any quarter. But there is a dramatic difference between Bronx and Mantattan, same as Nusle and the Lesser Town in Prague. Airbnb search engine offers you to specify your choice to a certain quarter. Just open the option More filters and you can tick every of them you prefer.
Another filter can be looking for providers who were awarded the ‚super host‘ title. That means they got at least 80% five star ratings and at least have been rated 10 times the last year period. They have 90% reaction rate and did not cancell any confirmed reservation in this period.
Most listings on Airbnb and similar websites are by people who aren’t rental professionals. If you reserve in advance there is always a chance to get a normal price even for the top-season time. So if you look for accommodation for the Carneval period in Venice or New Years‘ Eve always try bnb websites first.
Make your choice
Almost every rented space is reflecting the character of the owner. Base your decision preferably on photos, description and overal rating (not only given stars, but the textual reports).
Most of us have limited budget which you can reflet by setting the price interval by a slider. The price you get to see is always per night and it is a basic rate without any fees including the Airbnb fee which is another 10% of the price.
If you found what you needed on the Airbnb site it is time to register there (If you still haven’t registered follow this link to get 725 crowns for two you for the travel expenses). Your profile is your representation, so pay attention to choose a nice profile picture. If you find a smiling one people will tend to accept you easier in their homes.
Immediate reservation vs. Reservation request
Many hosts offer the option of immediate reservation. This means that if the date you selected is free you can book and pay without having any further discussion with the host. Most of them however apply filters and limits for this option. For example you must have a positif review from another host and your ID populated. If you don’t comply with these conditions you can make a reservation but first you have to contact the host, similarly to no immediate reservation process. You have to write your host the dates and something about you. No wonder they want to know at least something about you – you will be using their own apartment.
A couple of lines about yourself
Introduce yourself and then the people travelling with you. Write more about what you do and what you want to do in the destination place. You can also briefly mention the aim of your travel.
Questions for your host
You can also ask about things you need. You may be interested about the internet connection in the appartment and also its speed, especially if you need it for your work, where is the nearest stop, how to get out and in at night, or if you came to attend a congress how long it takes to its location. You can also ask about the details of the appartment if it is not mentioned in the web description – the number of rooms or the rooms allocation, if it is a shared appartment.
Two similar listings aren’t necessarily similar
This rule applies especially to cases when you travel in a group of people and you need more rooms. For instance you travel in a group of 6 people: there is a significant difference betweem having 3 separate bedrooms or just one room with a double bed, two extra beds and a couch in the living room.
Pay attention to the different cancellation terms. Flexible – until 24 hours before scheduled departure you get all money back. Moderate – only until 5 days before scheduled departure you get all money back. Strict – you get 50% of your money back until 5 days before scheduled departure, but unfortunately you never get back the Airbnb fee.
Contact more potential hosts
If you do not aim for a specific accommodation of your dreams try contacting a couple of different providers. Most likely if you contact for example 6 of them, there is a big chance that at least two of them will be already booked for your dates. Not every provider keeps their online schedule updated. Mostly because they use the services of more bnb portals and maybe they got already a reservation from somewhere else and just forgot to put it in the schedule on other websites. If you contact more hosts, you can make a choice which listing suits you best. However you can also ask for a better price. Just let the hosts know you have more offers but you prefer his listing when there will be some price reduction. One out of four hosts will be willing to do it.
After you reserved
After reserving a and making the payment, let your host know the time of your arrival. It is surely no hotel reception where you can pick up the keys 24/7.
After the reservation is confirmed, check the menu ‚your reservation‘-> ‚your travel‘. You find a list of all your travels. Every reservation has a travel overview made by your host. Before you contact him, check this list. Most of your questions (e.g. how to get from the airport and similar ones) is already answered here.
Changes in reservation
You can have a gazillion of situations when you absolutely need to change your reservation. It can even be mistaking June with July or you need to shorten, lengthen or move the reserved period. For this click on ‚change or cancell your reservation‘ and make necessary changes.
The cancellation terms are bound to rules layed down by your host which you approved upon reservation (see the paragraph Two similar listings aren’t necessarily similar).
After your arrival
- If you are renting the whole appartment your host will come to welcome you, show you the appartment, hand in the keys and give you basic directions for the city at that’s it. Make sure you know how to control devices you need (e.g. heating, air-condition etc.)
- In case your host is staying with you in the appartment, you need to make clear also other things. Not only which parts of the appartment are now yours and how are you going to use the mutual parts but also what kind of interaction between you and your host is expected. You can have hosts who genuinely love to meet new people and get to know them better, but there are also those who prefer their own privacy and renting a part of their home is just a means to earn money.
You will find out a lot about these things if talk first a bit.
Difficulties and solutions
- The worst case can be not being able to find in your host neither being able to reach them by phone. Fortunately I have never heard such thing ever happened within Airbnb. If it really happens first contact the Airbnb office. Airbnb is sending your reservation fee 24 hours after your check-in. They would souspend the payment and find you another place to stay, at least they claim to be ready to do it..
- You can meet some rather minor isuues that can be troubling you – missing things that were listed or things not working properly (like terribly slow internet, while you were promised to get really fast connection.) Other things can be flaws in the appartment or bothering noise – a loud disco until the deep night, noisy factory in the neighbourhood and so on. If you believe you should receive a discount or you cannot stay at the place at all, use airbnb.com/resolutions.
My experience is that there are seldom major issues and most hosts try to do everything they can for their guest.
Here I would like to comment on two issues that make BnB system slightly disadvantageous for the benefit of regular hotels.
Firstly it during your stay you decide to stay longer but unfortunately you cannot prolong your reservation, because someone has already booked the apparment. Most hotels have more space to keep you there longer if you need to. With Airbnb system you have to quickly look for some other place to stay which is– to be honest – not as easy knowing how bnb system works.
Secondly it can occure some technical defect: electricity out of order, heating, shower failure etc. You just have to wait until the owner takes action. Mostly you get compensation – like a bottle of wine. If you decide to cancel your reservation and look for something else, you will realize that not everything is that easy.
Make a plan about your departure soon and let your host know about the process (giving the keys back and so on). It is good to be able to handle the situation of leaving without the assistance of your host (for example leaving at 4 a.m. when necessary).
You just say farewell and enjoy your travel.
Rating has a very important role in the system of shared economy. It is one of the means for people to build reputation. We all want to have good reputation. Describe your experience, things you liked (include also things your host did not mention in the description but you enjoyed them). Do not forget to let people know if you recommend your host and overall experience.
I wish you plenty of unforgettable travel experiences at places which you would never visit without the possibility of shared economy.
If you want to rent your own appartment and earn some money, you can apply for my course How to be a good host.
If you want to become a host and get a 50 euro credit for free, please register here.