Travelling has never been as easy as it is nowadays. There are low-cost airlines that make flying accessible to everyone, websites like Kayak or Skyscanner to help us find the cheapest flight, and a well varied range of accommodation options, from Couchsurfing to five-star hotels.
If we watch the news or read the newspapers, there is a company that has been on the spotlight recently: Airbnb. Airbnb is an American start-up that was founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky (CEO and Head of Community), Joe Gebbia (CPO), and Nathan Blecharczyk (Chief Strategy Officer). What started as a way to earn some money to pay for rent during their student days has turned into a home sharing and vacation rental business worth $31bn.
Last weekend I had the chance to attend Oscailte 2017, an event organised by Airbnb in their warehouse office, located in the Grand Canal Docks in Dublin. It brings together people from all over Ireland to discuss about the latest updates from the company and share ideas and concerns with one another. I attended different keynotes by senior managers of Airbnb and members of Fáilte Ireland, and participated in several breakouts regarding trust and safety, new features and tools, how to make perfect floral arrangements for your house, etc.
The keynotes were full of interesting facts about how people are travelling nowadays. Did you know that there are more than 3 million hosts, in 65,000 cities, in 191 countries, and that they have hosted more than 160 million guests since the company was founded? If we look at Ireland, the country received almost 900,000 guests last year, with more than 400,000 only in Dublin. Amazing, isn’t it?
After this day, and being an avid user of Airbnb, I thought it would be a great idea to put together some tips for people that would like to stay in Airbnb accommodation, or that already do and would like to know more about it.
Top tips to be the perfect Airbnb guest
1) Fill in your profile
Your profile is to your host what a cover letter is to the company you want to work for. Introduce yourself, write about your hobbies, why you love travelling,…Don’t forget to upload at least one picture where your face is clearly visible. Avoid those pictures taken from 3 miles away. If you upload a group photo, make sure it is clear who you are.
2) Get your profile verified
Adding your e-mail and your Facebook accounts is fine. However, your hosts will feel safer if you add your ID/passport to prove that you are the person in the pictures. Don’t worry, only Airbnb has access to it.
3) Read your host’s profile thoroughly
You want to know which features their accommodation includes, their accepted times for checking in/out, as well as their house rules. Some places might not have a TV or WiFi, and this could impact your trip.
4) Read your host’s reviews
Reviews are very important, as they give you a clear idea of how the experience for previous guests was and how they felt after checking out. If you want to guarantee the best stay, try staying with a SuperHost. These hosts have not cancelled a booking during the last twelve months. They have also been rated with 5/5 stars by at least 80% of their guests.
5) Elaborate the text in your request
Some hosts have the “immediate booking” option on, but others will read your request before accepting it and will want to know a bit about you. Introduce yourself and tell them why you would like to stay with them.
6) Include your check in/out times in your requests
Remember that you are not staying in a hotel with a 24/7 reception. Some hosts might not be available to check you in at midnight or feel comfortable knowing that you are checking out early in the morning, especially if they are working that day. Some places will have safes with a code where you can get the key from to check in and then leave it there when you are leaving. Double check this with your host.
7) Be careful with the copy&paste approach
Sending the same message to several hosts is not ideal. If for some reason you have to, make sure you change the name to the correspondent host. Avoid saying “Hi Peter” if your host’s name is David.
8) NEVER make payments outside the Airbnb platform
If you contact your host through Airbnb but then decide to pay them by cash or bank transfer, you will NOT be covered by the company should any problem arise. There have been several cases of scam because of this. Only process your payments through the Airbnb website.
9) Leave a review for your host
Tell them what you liked about their place or how they could improve the experience they offer. There is a section of your review that is private and only your host will read. Future guests will rely on these reviews, so take the time to write yours.
Interested in giving Airbnb a try but don’t have an account yet? Register using my link and get a discount on your first booking! Click here.