Chances are by now you have heard of airbnb, an online service that allows you to rent out your house and/or rooms for those traveling (if you haven’t, I seriously suggest you go check it out right now). They are quickly replacing the concept of a hotel, allowing you to feel as if you are living in the city that you are visiting. The question is though, are they truly better than hotels? Are we soon going to stop staying in hotels altogether?
Airbnb made it’s breakthrough in 2008 and has quickly grown to have over 3 million listings in 65,000 cities and 191 countries. I know when it comes to my vacations, there are times when I plan a trip and book everything within a day. Last minute booking on airbnb can be a bit difficult. It’s not as easy as logging onto a hotels site or a site such as hotels.com or expedia and booking something within 5 minutes. Although there are properties that are listed as “instant bookings.” many of the rentals require you to be approved before you can make the reservation. This can be a turn off for anyone who is looking for something quick and easy. However, don’t let this deter you. There are still many listings that you can book just as quickly as a hotel (so long as you have an account). If you are looking at more popular airbnb’s, there is a chance that they will be booked out far in advance so be sure to be plan ahead if possible.
Airbnb’s are also great if you are looking to book a vacation with a larger group. One of the cons of staying in a hotel is that you have to book multiple rooms if you are with a big party. With airbnb, you can stay find an entire apartment or house with a certain amount of beds/bedrooms. You can also find ones with a kitchen if you feel that you don’t want to constantly spend money eating out.
When it comes to pricing, airbnb stays pretty consistent. Prices don’t change much depending on when you’re planning on staying. Beware though, many seem cheap but tack on a cleaning and service fee that can quickly make the price jump very fast. The bright side to this is that you know that things won’t be changing no matter when you decide to book.
I think one of the biggest cons that I have found with airbnb is the fact that they have the ability to cancel whenever they want. My boyfriend recently booked an airbnb and when it came time to check in, he tried to call the owner of the lodging with no success. He had to sit on the phone with airbnb for about a half an hour, get a refund, and then book a hotel for that same night. This doesn’t happen too often but there is always a chance.
When it comes to last minute planning, hotels make things a bit easier. There is no requirement to be approved. All it takes is a phone call or 5 minutes on a website. However, with this comes higher rates. Rates can fluctuate depending on the day of the week, how close you are to your stay, and location.
Hotels also tend to have more amenities. There is an entire staff working around the clock to ensure that your stay is safe and enjoyable. Need somewhere to eat or an idea of what to do? Talk to the concierge. Hungry but don’t feel like going too far? Most hotels offer room service or have a restaurant within the hotel. Wanna go for a swim to escape the summer heat or take a dip in the jacuzzi on a cold winter night? Most hotels have pools and jacuzzis for your unlimited use. If you want to save some money, going out to hotels with a free continental breakfast helps cut back on spending.
Another perk to staying in hotels is the loyalty programs that many offer. If you’re a frequent traveler and favor a certain hotel chain, they tend to offer programs that allow you to rack up points that you can use towards free nights or other rewards. This helps save in the long run.
In the end:
At the end of the day, both have their pros and cons. Personally I like both and will probably forever use both, depending on where I’m at. What’re your thoughts? Hotel or airbnb? xo