Building your own DIY dream vacation? You may want to familiarise yourself with Airbnb and make the most of your holiday. Read on!
A few years ago, people heavily relied on travel agents and tour operators to help them plan trips abroad. The operators made the most of this heavy reliance by specialising in destination packages and giving people value-for-money travel tours and hotel packages. The customers, on the other hand, enjoyed great rates and were also spared from the tedious task of doing all the bookings on their own.
Today, however, times have changed. The new generation views the concept of a fixed tour itinerary as a very restrictive and mechanical way to travel and explore destinations. Youngsters today want independence and control over not only what they want to see but even how they want to see it.
It’s safe to say that the demand for customisable travel and accommodation options is higher than ever today. As consumers move towards more DIY vacation habits, businesses and services are also evolving to serve these renewed needs. Today, we’re going to take you through one of the prominent online platforms in this current era of customised holidays – Airbnb.
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How does Airbnb work?
It’s not that hard to understand, actually. Here’s how Airbnb works – property owners put up a listing of the lodging facility they have on a daily basis. Once this list is populated, it shows up on the Airbnb website or app directly, thereby allowing interested customers to book rooms with just a few taps of a button.
As a platform, Airbnb handles payments, communications as well as disputes between the host and the guest, if any.
A reliable and transparent platform for bookings
Airbnb, with its daily updates, ensures that hosts capture every little detail as per the latest changes in their property to give prospective guests a clear picture of what to expect when they react. This practice saves guests from being taken for a ride.
Secondly, Airbnb’s Superhost programme, which recognises over 400,000 hosts who really leave no stone unturned to provide guests with a flawless holiday experience, gives prospective guests a sense of reassurance when it comes to booking their stay.
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How do I know if someone’s a Superhost?
Simple! When you check out a particular property listing on Airbnb, the top section will clearly mention the term ‘Superhost’ if the host has earned this distinction.
Ok, why should I book with Airbnb? Can’t I directly google some options?
Nobody can stop you from doing that. However, finding places on your own sans a platform like Airbnb or even a conventional tour operator will demand a lot of time and research on your end. Secondly, establishing smooth communication and payment channels will be another burden. Why deal with these complexities when Airbnb can handle it all for you? A simple Credit Card booking should be good enough to confirm your holiday!
Like what you hear about Airbnb? Great! Let’s give you a simple overview of navigating through the website.
Now, Airbnb is a slightly unconventional website, and this is why it may confuse a few of you, first time around. No worries; you can keep this article handy next time you’re booking your holiday accommodation – read on!
Okay, so Airbnb offers three primary categories – shared rooms, private rooms, and entire places.
Shared rooms – These give you the cheapest deals. They’re primarily hostel-style accommodations that may need to be shared with other people.
Private rooms – These rooms offer more privacy. You’re assured of a private sleeping area even if you may be sharing kitchens or restrooms.
Entire places – Well, this is self-explanatory. Listings under this category can be anything from apartments, homes, cabins. They are the most expensive lot on Airbnb, but they offer you privacy at its best; an entire property all to yourself.
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So, how do I find my ideal stay on Airbnb?
Let’s assume you’re on the Airbnb website. Start by searching by location (obviously, we’re talking about your destination). Once you get your search results, you can further filter them out. You’ll see a filter on the top of the page that lets you choose what type of room you’re looking for.
You also have a “More Filters” option where you can add attributes such as amenities, parking options, etc. By now, you should have narrowed down on a handful of good places that suit your need; here’s where the reading starts. Go through each listing thoroughly – don’t miss out on any details like the guest policies and fees. Also, make sure that the host has put up a picture of every room in the property.
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Next, read up guest reviews and see what they have to say. As mentioned earlier, if the host is a Superhost, you’re bound to see great reviews. Finally, try and gauge if the location of the property suits your need; a traveller who wants to walk around town would love a conveniently located accommodation, whereas someone who wishes to unplug from civilisation would prefer a remote location.
Once you’ve picked the property of your choice, you can create a profile on Airbnb (this is recommended as it will make future bookings easier). Now, just like you’d expect transparent information and photographs from hosts, keep up your end by posting your pictures and sharing details on your profile; this way your host will know that you’re a decent guest.
By the way, did you know that Citibank Credit Cards have special offers on Airbnb bookings?
Check your eligibility
Once you’re all set, you can either ‘Instant Book’ your property or ‘Request to Book’ it. This entirely depends on the host’s flexibility. If you do see a ‘Book’ button, it simply means that the host allows instant bookings. If not, you’ll see a button that reads ‘Request to book’.
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What happens when I click the ‘Request to book’ button?
Your host will be notified of your request, and will accordingly do a check of your profile and inform you whether your request has been approved or not – within 24 hours.
Once your booking has been confirmed, you’ll be able to connect with your host directly through Airbnb’s messaging channel. You can feel free to share your arrival time and any minor last minute changes.
….and there you go. Now go enjoy your holiday!
Psst…don’t forget to review your stay on the Airbnb website once you’re back, it’ll help fellow travellers like you in the future.
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