Any experience with Airbnb?

Old Apr 12, 11, 12:48 pm
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Any experience with Airbnb?

I'm curious and apprehensive about dealing with Airbnb. I fear that the hidden costs and other problems might outweigh any savings for room/apartment rentals. I would love to hear about your experience. I'm thinking about renting in Brooklyn, New York and Istanbul, Turkey.
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Old Apr 12, 11, 1:15 pm
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RE: Any experience with Airbnb?

I have used Airbnb a couple of times and have had good experiences.

For cost, you should plan on 6-12% on top of the rate per night you see posted on each listing. There are no other 'hidden' costs. Since you know about that fee, you can plan for it when you are looking for places within your budget. You also have the opportunity to confirm the booking (and can see what the actual total amount is, including the fee) before you submit your payment.

My advice is to look at lots of different options and when you find something you want, reach out to the host by sending them a message. In my experience, the hosts with lots of reviews (meaning they have hosted many times) will reply to you very quickly. Also read the reviews of past guests. For me, this part isn't unlike reading reviews found on TripAdvisor or other travel sites.

What other problems are you concerned about?
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Old Apr 12, 11, 1:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Daawgon View Post
I'm curious and apprehensive about dealing with Airbnb. I fear that the hidden costs and other problems might outweigh any savings for room/apartment rentals. I would love to hear about your experience. I'm thinking about renting in Brooklyn, New York and Istanbul, Turkey.
There is a fee for using AirBnB, I don't know how it is figured, but for an upcoming stay in Brooklyn it was $47 additional for a four night stay @ $95 a night. Some places have a clearly stated cleaning fee attached, that you pay when you arrive. There should be no fees that are undisclosed in the listing.

I don't use places with a "strict" cancellation policy, only "moderate." I have not had to cancel a reservation yet, but like to know I will see most of my money returned if I have to.

The rating and review system is great, and I have had no problems in the last two years using AirBnB, renting in Manhattan, Brooklyn and San Francisco.

YMMV, but it works for me.
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Old Apr 12, 11, 9:42 pm
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I'm glad to read these positive comments. I've only even considered the listings with several good reviews, and I've contacted two landlords in Istanbul. One listing was a dummy listing with the calendar completely filled through 2012 - the landlord was upfront and truthful about it, but I still think it deceptive. The second apt listing in Istanbul was great, but that landlord would not commit more than 8 weeks out even though his calendar was open.

I know that extra fees are "supposed" to be listed, but I sincerely doubt that many are. I'm also not crazy about those airbnb filters - they seem to have many holes. What I really fear is that I might be asked to put down a large security deposit in cash, and then have trouble getting it back!
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Old Apr 13, 11, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by Daawgon View Post
I know that extra fees are "supposed" to be listed, but I sincerely doubt that many are. I'm also not crazy about those airbnb filters - they seem to have many holes. What I really fear is that I might be asked to put down a large security deposit in cash, and then have trouble getting it back!
We have our own listing on AirBnB and have also used it in several European cities.

As a host all the money is held by AirBnB until the guest checks in. The host also pays a commission to AirBnB. But all the charges are shown up front. Somebody commented on the cancellation charges. We operate through AirBnB as well as our own website. You might be surprised at the number of no-shows! So from the host point of view, we are covered and reasonable people need not fear.

From a user point of view, we have had variable experiences usually related to how much you pay, but honest feedback will soon weed out the no-hopers from - mostly - really good modest accommodation. Remember you are (usually) a guest in someone's home. If you want 4* hotel - don't do it. If you want to connect with locals - it's well worthwhile
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Old Apr 14, 11, 12:27 am
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Couple of thoughts on Airbnb. I used it for the first time in CPH last month and we got a great deal renting a house from an awesome owner who was super nice and helpful. However I would be careful about renting in NYC as many of the rentals are illegal in apartments and their's a very small chance of you having a problem. I also don't like landlords that require security deposits in cash for short term stays. I was looking at listings in Paris that required EUR 300 deposit in cash.
Cheers
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Old Apr 25, 11, 8:01 pm
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I've used airbnb once and was happy with what I got. There was an extra commission I had to pay to airbnb, but it was still a much better deal than any hotel (and I had a whole apartment to myself)
Some landlords require a separate cleaning fee, be aware of that. One landlord I contacted offered I could stay in a dirty place if I did not want to pay the fee. I declined that offer.
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Old Apr 27, 11, 1:18 pm
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I've used AirBnB twice and have had only good experiences with the rental. I think it's important to read the comments because I see a lot of questionable rentals and more often than not the true story is in what the previous renters are saying. I also like to deal with landlords who are upfront with information specially regarding cleaning, extra people, etc. so there are no surprise fees upon arrival.

It's a good concept but I think they need to thoroughly filter the listings.
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Old Apr 27, 11, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by eucalyptic View Post
I've used AirBnB twice and have had only good experiences with the rental. I think it's important to read the comments because I see a lot of questionable rentals and more often than not the true story is in what the previous renters are saying. I also like to deal with landlords who are upfront with information specially regarding cleaning, extra people, etc. so there are no surprise fees upon arrival.

It's a good concept but I think they need to thoroughly filter the listings.
The biggest thing to me is them making rules on cleaning fees and having some way to facilitate deposits. I understand people wanting some sort of security but some rentals in Paris for example are asking for 350EUR in cash which to me seems absurd and outright shady.
Cheers
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Old Apr 27, 11, 10:42 pm
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I've reserved 2 rooms for October, and I was very careful to select only those apartments with outstanding reviews. I like the fact that I'm paying upfront, and I feel that the service charge is reasonable. No security or cleaning fee was required at either location - I was careful to ask. I'll report back just how well it all went.

The Airbnb debate continues here on Fodor's: http://tinyurl.com/3ngdwg7

Last edited by Daawgon; Jun 8, 11 at 12:50 pm
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Old Oct 4, 11, 11:56 am
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We just used Airbnb in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. All were good experiences. Each was a different type of property and the interaction with the hosts were each different. I only considered places that had recommendations. The place where we had a unit to ourselves had a deposit, but it never hit the credit card, I think they just do like hotels and put a hold on your credit limit. Everything was as advertised and the hosts were all extremely helpful and colorful as well, in their own way. It is the only way to travel for me. On my upcoming trip to SFO I would have used it except I need to burn some points. I liked Airbnb so much, I put my place in there, so if any of you want to stay 7 miles on the west side of DFW, look at my place, http://www.airbnb.com/rooms/186705. Although, I must say, I have not hosted anyone yet. If you sign up, feel free to use me as a referrer if you don't already have one, I think there is a financial advantage to both of us.
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Old Oct 5, 11, 6:13 pm
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From the other angle, I rent my apartment out on Airbnb and haven't had any problems either. It's great to be able to go on vacations that pay for themselves by renting our place out. Tip to renters, I require everyone I rent to have 1) verified their phone 2) linked their account to linkedin/facebook and 3) have a profile photo. Doing that makes your a much more attractive guest.
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Old Oct 5, 11, 7:22 pm
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Originally Posted by chutchins View Post
Tip to renters, I require everyone I rent to have 1) verified their phone 2) linked their account to linkedin/facebook and 3) have a profile photo. Doing that makes your a much more attractive guest.
Thanks for the tip

Will have to do that if I decide to go that route.

Looked for a place in Lima, Peru, but didn't find anything that looked promising, so just rented an apartment via another method.

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Old Oct 8, 11, 11:52 pm
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I used AirBnB for the first time on a recent trip in Istanbul. I only looked for hosts who had been previously positively reviewed and who were conveniently located. I pretty much had a whole floor to myself with my own private terrace that had great views of the Galata Tower, and I really enjoyed chatting with the host, her roommate, and some of her friends whom I met. I definitely see myself using the site again in the future.

I'm also on couchsurfing, but I have never actually couchsurfed before. If you have used both sites before, what are your thoughts of airbnb vs. couchsurfing?
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Old Oct 10, 11, 12:54 pm
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great for oktoberfest

i used airbnb for the first time (in munich) late last month. scored a great room about 12 minutes away from Oktoberfest, for $41 a night, for 2 nights. hotels ranged from $250-500 per night for the weekend that i was there...

i actually stayed at a review-less property, but i made sure to interact with the host a few times before arriving, so i felt a bit more comfortable. be sure to click around to see whether they have 'friends' or have given/received comments before. it wasn't until i gave my comment to my host, when i realized that she had received a comment before...
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