Airbnb stands for Airbed and Breakfast. Airbnb is a platform that allows people to share their home, apartment, cabin, or even a room for money. Nothing in this world is without advantages and disadvantages. Airbnb, too, has some pros and cons.
Airbnb has two parties. A host who lists and shares his home on Airbnb for money, and A guest who reserve Airbnb rentals to stay for a few days.
So, the pros and cons of Airbnb come from both sides.
- Pros of Airbnb Hosting
- Cons of Airbnb Hosting
- Pros of Airbnb For Guest
- Cons of Airbnb For Guest
Pros of Airbnb Hosting.
These are the pros of Airbnb hosting.
The only reason people host on Airbnb is to earn money. Airbnb has made it very easy for homeowners to list their property on its website and start earning money. Anyone can list their entire home, apartment, or even a room at whatever price they like. Airbnb does not dictate the rental pricing; as a homeowner, you do.
No Listing Fee:
Airbnb does not charge any fee to list a property on its platform. Instead, Airbnb only charges a flat 3% booking fee to the host for each reservation.
Get Cleaning Fee:
As a host, you don’t have to spend money from your Airbnb earnings. You can charge your guest a cleaning fee. You can use this fee to hire some cleaning personnel who will clean your Airbnb rentals after guest departure.
Cons of Airbnb Hosting.
There are various disadvantages of hosting for Airbnb. Here are a few of them.
Damage to your Property:
As an Airbnb host, you will host many types of guests. All guests are not equal. Some guests will respect your house rule and treat your property with respect. However, a few guests would damage your rental property. If you notify Airbnb with sufficient proof, either guest or Airbnb will reimburse you; but on some occasions, you will get a runaround. Moreover, with a high Airbnb turn over rate, your property will have more wear and tear. Bathtub, toilet, faucet, fridge, air conditioner, etc. will wear out faster.
Fear of bad review:
We all buy products after reading reviews left by others. Airbnb is also the same. The majority of the time, guests will book a place with those hosts who have better reviews on Airbnb. If your guest leaves a bad review (even if that is incorrect), you will lose significant business on Airbnb.
Hosts always fear this terrible reviews. A guest could leave a bad review in retaliation. For example, A guest does damage to your rental property. You ask the guest through Airbnb to compensate you for this damage. Because of this, the guest may leave a negative review in revenge.
Problems with guest:
You rent your property on the Airbnb platform. As a host, you expect everyone to be respectful of your property. It is why most of the host posts house rules on their property. But some guests do not follow house rules. As a host, you will face many different types of problems. Here are a few examples.
- Guests smoke in your no smoking rental.
- Guests throw a party in your Airbnb.
- Some guests do not check out on time. Similar to the hotel, every Airbnb has a specified checkout time, For example, 11 AM. This checkout time helps the host to clean the house before the next guest arrives. But, often, you would face that your guest is not checking out on time. It creates a huge problem if your next guest is coming at 3 PM on the same day.
- On some occasions, guests would arrive with unexpected friends or family members you did not approve of. For example, when the guest sent you — the host — a reservation request, indicated that they are coming with 4 people. But later, you found that your Airbnb guest came with 8 people. Extra people mean more cleaning after the guest leaves. Moreover, If a host charges a fee per person in an Airbnb rental, it means loss of revenue.
- Though rare, but on occasions, you may get guests who will steal from your Airbnb rental. It is problematic, especially in shared room Airbnb. Where a guest could take other guests’ stuff or your stuff, it happens. Without proof, Airbnb will deny any compensation, it’s frustrating. A guest could steal your laptop, jewelry, money, handbag, toothpaste, even yoga mat.
I have talked to many hosts. According to them, Airbnb does not care about hosts. For example, you accept a guest reservation. But later, for some urgency, you need to cancel the guest reservation. If you cancel the guest reservation, Airbnb will penalize you in several ways.
- First, Airbnb will withhold some money from your next payout.
- Second, Your calendar will stay blocked, and you won’t be able to accept another reservation for the same dates of the canceled reservation.
- Third, If you are a Superhost, you may lose your superhost status for this single cancellation.
- Fourth, If you cancel 3 or more bookings, Airbnb will deactivate your account.
Airbnb hosting is challenging. On top of this, these penalties are frustrating for an Airbnb host.
Pros of Airbnb As a Guest.
These are the pros of Airbnb for guests.
Rent House or Apartment:
At Airbnb, you can rent an entire House or Apartment. For a family vacation, it’s very convenient. All of your family members will stay in the same house. It’s not possible if you stay in a hotel, where each member will sleep in different rooms.
Cheaper Than Hotel For Larger Group:
If you are visiting an area with a large group, Airbnb could be less expensive than hotels. For example, if there are 10 people in your group, you may need up to 5 rooms in a hotel. However, if you only rent an apartment or a house that allows 10 people, you can save a lot of money.
However, some Airbnb hosts charge money per person. In that case, you might not save significant money.
Stay Like a Local:
Hotels do not give any experience of staying like a local, but Airbnb does. Most of the Airbnb is a private house or apartment inside a residential area, unlike hotels that are in a commercial space. It allows you to mingle with locals and know about local culture.
Cons of Airbnb As a Guest.
These are the cons for staying at an Airbnb.
Airbnb is expensive for Small Groups:
Whenever you talk to someone about Airbnb rentals, they would say that Airbnb is good. It’s cheaper than Hotels. But, the reality is, it’s NOT. Nowadays, Airbnb, no way is less expensive than hotels.
For a small group and short term stay, hotels are better than Airbnb. You can compare both by yourself. Go to Booking.com and Airbnb.com, and compare room prices for a few nights. For 2-4 people, Airbnb is uneconomical.
Cleaning Fee But No Daily Room Services:
Airbnb is not a hotel. A hotel never charges a cleaning fee to its customers. Every hotel charges its guest a flat nightly price. In return, the hotel provides many amenities to its guest, including daily room service or room cleaning.
However, Airbnb rentals never provide any daily room cleaning services. You may ask, “Then why Airbnb charges a cleaning fee?”. According to Airbnb, a cleaning fee is there to help the host clean your Airbnb rental before your arrival and after your departure.
You are paying a cleaning fee, but the host is not cleaning your rental property during your stay. If you stay at an Airbnb for one week, that place will become a mess without cleaning. So, either you — the guest — has to clean, or you have to ask your host exclusively to clean your Airbnb rental. It is a great inconvenience. Then why are you paying the cleaning fee? If hotels can clean rooms daily, then why Airbnb can’t provide this essential service? Because of this, nowadays, Airbnb is not cheaper than hotels.
If you book a hotel room through Booking.com, Expedia.com, Hotels.com, or any other travel site, no one charges you — the customer — any service fee. However, Airbnb charges you — the guest — a 14% service fee. When you combine all the room costs, cleaning fees, taxes, and this 14% service fee, Airbnb is the most expensive rental you can get out there.
Strict Cancellation Policy:
If you book a hotel but later decide not to stay, most of the time, the hotel will not charge you any money. But, if you cancel an Airbnb reservation, most of the time, you would lose all of your booking money. Even if your Airbnb host decides to return your booking money, you will lose the 14% service fee that Airbnb took. That’s unethical and unfair.
Hidden Property Address:
A hotel publicly advertises its location. You can choose a hotel at your desired location. However, Airbnb never reveals the actual location of the property. It only shows an estimated position on the maps. It creates confusion in the real world. For example, Airbnb may indicate that a rental property is near the beach, but in actuality, it is 15 minutes away from the beach.
Airbnb only reveals the property address after you book a reservation. But that’s very inconvenient. Many times a guest may visit an area without a car. So, if the Airbnb rental property is off by 500 meters, it would be 15 minutes walk. Moreover, for older adults, this could be a huge issue.
Airbnb Host Does Not Respond:
Some hosts fail to respond to guest queries on time. Also, there are many reported cases where a host stopped responding during the guest check-in time. It creates a very stressful situation for the guests. It happened to me once. I was waiting in front of my Airbnb rentals, but I could not enter the property as the host was not there and was not responding to my texts and calls. It was very stressful. I had to involve Airbnb and cancel the reservation to find alternatives.
I have seen hosts who are tone deaf and unresponsive. It is problematic for long term Airbnb rental. For example, your bathroom is leaking, or AC is not working. But the host refuses to fix those issues. Moreover, he is also refusing to return some of your rental money because of the trouble. In these cases, both the host and Airbnb creates such a bad experience that it forces you not to use Airbnb for the rest of your life.
Contacting Airbnb Customer Service:
Airbnb took every effort to hide all contact points in the Airbnb platform. There is no way you can find any email address or phone number to contact Airbnb. It is very frustrating if you need to contact Airbnb. A tech-savvy person would easily find the contact details hidden inside the Airbnb app, but for the non-tech-savvy person, it won’t be easy.
In conclusion, I would say that there were times when Airbnb used to be great. But nowadays, the lack of quality control forces me not to use the Airbnb platform at all. Though on occasions, I use Airbnb, most of the time, I prefer hotels.