Some Tips Might Help To Improve Your Airbnb Experience
8 tips to share with you ….
1) Know Your Needs
Be very clear about what you are looking for – price, location, size of place, required amenities (parking, air conditioning, laundry, gym, pool, etc). Know what things you might be flexible on. This will help you to both narrow down choices and add in a bit less perfect choices. It will help you to rank your choices if you are considering more than one.
Getting what you really want will improve your Airbnb experience and might make you miss home less.
2) Act Quickly and Decisively
In most cases, the best places will go quickly. Remember that you are competing with others in a short supply market. If you find a place and the host accepts you, be prepared to book. They may often have other options and will need to act quickly too. I hummed and hawed for only a few days and lost the first 4 at the top of my list. Being decisive will improve your Airbnb experience.
3) If You Don’t Ask You Won’t Get It
The property listings are not always complete or comprehensive. Contact your host and ask detailed questions if you are not sure or if something matters. Not all “parking” on the listings we looked at represented the secure parking garage that we wanted!
If you have special needs, ask and the host may be able to handle your request. We needed an indoor place for our bikes and it was not clear from listings how this might be accommodated.
If you do get additional amenities added, make sure you know what it will cost. The condo we rented was listed with “no parking” but when we asked, they said it was simple to add in a parking spot but it was at an additional cost.
4) Your Host Should Be There to Help
If you have questions or issues with a property, you need to be able to get in touch with your host in a very timely manner. We had both phone numbers and text numbers and our host was very responsive whenever we had a question – and we did!
You should not feel at all bad about contacting your host. Nor should you look at them as your concierge. While we have lots of experience with living in a condo, there were things that we felt it was the host’s responsibility to deal with and we were never disappointed. There were a few maintenance issues that the host had to have someone come around to fix (e.g. broken fan and baseboard heaters not working in one room). Having a responsive and helpful host will help to improve your Airbnb experience.
5) Carefully Consider Your Rental Term Commitment
Be aware of the minimum periods of rental for a property and check out the discounts for longer stays when you are booking. We knew we needed a longer term for our fall stay in Vancouver and wanted the discount for this longer term but we maybe should have started with a shorter term to check the place out first. Had the condo not met our needs, we would have got a great rate on a less than great place.
6) Read The Reviews
Some of the risk in using Airbnb is mitigated with reviews and ratings provided by both hosts and guests. We are big contributors and readers of TripAdvisor reviews, able to weed through the positive and negative comments to get a sense of what we might find in a hotel. You need to do the same thing with Airbnb listings, however, most of the time there may only be a few reviews.
Read the reviews that are there and use them to ask your host pointed questions. Until we spent the summer in Vancouver, we had no idea that most private places had no air conditioning. When we read reviews about a place being warm in the summer, it meant that host would get a question about cooling options.
7) Know The Area
It is always good if you know the basic area that you are looking at. Where is the public transportation, shopping, local restaurants, etc.? Is the area safe to walk in at night? Is there construction in the area (and will this produce a lot of noise or access restrictions)? This depth of detail is usually not in the listings and unless your host actually lives in the area, they may not be able to provide information beyond what a google search might get you. The right area is as important as the right property to improve your Airbnb experience!
We had never been to the False Creek area in Vancouver before we took our Airbnb condo although we did have a general idea of where it fit into Vancouver and we did our google surfing. After a few days wandering the neighbourhood we figured we knew the area better than the host!
8) Check In and Check Out Constraints
Make sure you are clear about check in and check out. How do you get and return the keys and anything else you need for building or parking access? Not all hosts live in the property or close by so you will need to coordinate the timing. Our host on our second visit to the same property just told us to leave the keys in the unlocked condo. But we were not leaving without a physical handoff or with the property left open!
I was very surprised to see that some properties provided only one set of keys. This would have been an issue for us given that we often were in and out at different times. This may be something you want to confirm with your host.
Arranging to check in and check out may be hard if you are travelling early or late in the day. Unlike hotels which have front desk services 7×24, the hours for check in and check out for most of the Airbnb properties we looked at where much more constrained. You may want to consider a hotel for a night before or after your stay at the Airbnb property. Missing transportation connections, missing nights that you are paying for or wasting a lot of time hanging around with your luggage may not improve your Airbnb experience!
These are just a few of the tips that we learned in our early Airbnb trials on things that we think will help to improve your Airbnb experience. We will be sure to update this as we try more Airbnb properties in different cities and countries.
Do you have other tips that worked to improve your Airbnb experience? Are our tips reasonable for Airbnb newbies?