Based in San Francisco, United States, Airbnb is a website where you can rent out your home to people looking for accommodation. The service is currently available in over 191 countries and 81,000 different cities worldwide. If you’re a host, Airbnb is a great way to make money by renting your place and if you’re a guest,this is a relatively inexpensive way to lodge.
Since the company requires your ID for verification, you must be older than 18 to host or book an Airbnb. It is against the terms and services to let a minor travel alone hence you should either be of the appropriate age or have a guardian travelling with you.
Advantages of Using Airbnb
Here are a few reasons why using Airbnb may be a great idea:
Wide Range of Selection
The Airbnb website includes a wide range of living spaces from a single room to a suite, an apartment, houseboat, mooredyachts, an entire house and even a fortress! You simply have to put in the dates and check out the availability of the place you’re planning to book.
If you’re planning to list your property on the site, you can do it for free. While listing, you can include the description of the place, a few photographs and abrief introduction about yourself to let your guest know who they’re going to live with. This can increase your chances of getting a guest to book your property.
You Choose the Price
It is totally up to the host to determine the rent for the day, week or month. Thus, there’s no fixed price. This is a good thing because if you’re not travelling during the tourist season, you will have to pay a lot less. The host is likely to decrease his or her rent due to reduced demand.
You can make a search not only based on your travel dates or location but also other wide range of specifications for example: the price range, amenities, the kind of property and even the language spoken by the host.
In the last few years, Airbnb has increased its market by including restaurants and experiences. If you’re searching for a property by location, you will also be given a catalogue of experiences which includes sightseeing and classes offered by the host. Similarly, the restaurant listings consist of ratings by Airbnb hosts.
Protection For Hosts And Guests
To ensure the protection of the guests, the payment is kept on hold for a day after the arrival before the funds are released to the person hosting the guests. The company provides an “Airbnb Guarantee program” for the host which ensures protection against damages that may cost up to $100,000. But this damage cover is limited to a list of eligible countries.
Disadvantages of Using Airbnb
Not Always The Same As The Pictures
If you’re booking a property at Airbnb, there is no guarantee that the place will be as just as the host advertised it. Unlike a hotel chain, these properties are listed by hosts and you only get to see what they want to show.To make sure that the property is just as good as advertized,it is best if you check the reviews of pervious guests. This will give you a more unbiased view.
One of the biggest risks is property damage. Your guests may not be who they claimed to be. While most of the time there aren’t any major incidents, there are instances when you’re expecting a quite family to lodge but in actual the guests are a few part-goers and end up trashing your place.While the Airbnb “host guarantee program” does cover the damages,it does not include theft of or loss of cash, jewelry, pets or artwork etc.
There issome additional fees imposed by Airbnb on guests. To cover the Airbnb customer support and other services, afee as much as 20% is included that is separate of reservation charges. Similarly, while listing your property is free of cost, the company charges around 3% per reservation; this money is used for the payment of all the transactions that are made.
Payment of Taxes
If you are a host or a guest from Switzerland, Norway or the European Union, you will be subjected to value added taxes. Moreover, depending on your location, you might have to pay an income tax. To assure compliance with the United States tax policies, the company collects information from their hosts to determine their earning per year via the 1042 and 1099 forms.
Not Legal at All Places
Before renting out your property on Airbnb, hosts must check out their zoning ordinances and make sure that it is legal to list their property on the site. Moreover, you may have to get a license and special permit to start renting out your property. For your own safety, make sure that your host is listed on the site on legal bases.
The overall experience of most hosts and guests is satisfactory. However, before selecting a property don’t forget to check out the reviews. Furthermore, make sure the property is located in the neighborhood you are most comfortable with. While some people prefer living in a central location, others prefer staying somewhere more peaceful.
The company also provides you information regarding the host; make sure you go through that information thoroughly so you know beforehand what your host is going to be like. All in all, Airbnb is one of the best and cheapest ways to lodge and save money while travelling. If you are tight on budget but wish to travel, you will not only save money but in fact you can use that money for other experiences such as food or visiting the different tourists spots around the area.