Everyone deserves a getaway now and thenand it does not have to break the bank. The idea is to know how to make the most of your vacation and business trips. For families, groups or individuals, renting can be a lot cheaper than paying for the same number of beds in a hotel. Renting is also a good alternative in places where hotels are scarce, or in major cities where hotels are quite expensive.
You can actually take a vacation without spending a fortune on accommodation. Finding a cheap yet convenient accommodation is one of the most difficult parts for budget travellers, and this is where Airbnb (Air Bed and Breakfast) comes in.
Airbnb.com is one of the major innovators of online vacation property renting, and its strengths lie in its community-based approach. Hosts and renters verify their identity information, tools are provided for guests to contact hosts and other users, and both hosts and guests can rate each other.
How Airbnb Works
The first step is to create an Airbnb profile to book your accommodation on Airbnb. After you are successfully registered, you will fill an online form that will be on each listing page. Once you click “Book It” button and enter payment details via a secure payment system, your reservation request will be submitted.Travellers will only be charged after the host confirms reservation.
>>Being a guest
- It is free to create an account on Airbnb.
- Airbnb has listings from over 190 countries, Nigeria inclusive and 34 000 cities.
- The only search criteria you need are where you want to go, when you want to check in, when you want to check out, and how many guests will be staying.
- You can also add extra search criteria, such as neighbourhood location, price, type of property, space availability (i.e. having a private room vs. having the whole place to yourself), and more.
- While your billing details are needed in order to hold a booking, you don’t pay until a host accepts your reservation request. Wimdu.com and Roomorama.com have similar systems, where your payment isn’t released to a host until you actually check in.
>>Being a Host
- It is free to post a property for rent on Airbnb.
- Accurately describing a property and listing its amenities helps match it with the right guests.
- Professional photography services can help guests know exactly what they are renting and show off how nice the place is.
- Prices and availability can be set according to a host’s schedule, or what they work out with a guest.
- The host has the final say on whether or not they want to book someone.
- A host can set up their property listing to auto-book anyone who is interested in their property and meets certain specified criteria.
- Travellers need to create an Airbnb profile to book their accommodation on Airbnb.
- After they have successfully registered with Airbnb, they have to fill an online form that will be there on each listing page.
- Once they submit “Book It” button and enter payment details via a secure payment system, their reservation request will be submitted.
- Travellers will only be charged after the host confirms reservation.
- If you are travelling alone, and want to travel without feeling lonely, then you can meet some great home owners using Airbnb. You can get to know about your hosts and make new friends in a completely new place.
- You get personalised service, from both hosts and from Airbnb’s customer service.
- You can find accommodation at cheaper prices and it’s a different experience from standard hotels.
- Before booking an accommodation, take a careful look at the pictures provided.
- Go through your potential hosts’ Airbnb profile and also do some Google search about them.
- Before making a final decision, it is always good to go through the reviews present on Airbnb website. Select the host with the maximum number of favourable reviews.
- Once you have narrowed down your choices, talk to your potential hosts about their house, places to see around etc.
Am I Safe?
- Multiple Verification Methods — Both hosts and guests have many different personal details that they can confirm, such as email address, phone number, professional photos of their property, social media account, and even government-issued photo ID. The more information someone has, the more likely it is that they’re trustworthy. Airbnb’s staff, however, does not verify the hosts themselves.
- Community-centered Reputation System — Both hosts and guests can rate or review each other, and only after a booking and stay is complete. People can also comment on reviews that they have received or viewed publicly. Finally, people can request letters of reference from others whom they know. All of this means that other guests know who is safe to stay with, and other hosts know who is safe to book.
- Internal Email System — You can use Airbnb’s internal email system to privately ask a fellow guest who has stayed at a place before to give you their feedback on whether or not you should book it. You can also use it to contact a host directly and ask them questions about themselves and their property.
Irrespective of a traveller’s accommodation needs, one thing most travellers have in common is that nobody wants to overspend on accommodation; so why not give Airbnb a trial. Airbnb has listings in major cities in Nigeria, Lagos, Abuja,Ibadan, Port-Harcourt and so on. Just in case you want to move from one state to another on a business or casual trip, the company has you covered with cheap accommodation.
Although, Airbnb is the most popular in online rental service, there are other similar options you can consider, especially when travelling abroad. For example,HomeAway.com (U.S.), 9flats.com (Europe),Roomorama.com (U.S.), Wimdu.com (Europe) and FlipKey.com(Europe).