My 5 Likes & Dislikes After Finally Staying in an Airbnb
Airbnb is the first thing to shake up the hotel world in a long time. It allowed people to make extra income off of their place and it gave travelers options outside of normal cookie cutter hotels. Many people love Airbnb and others can not stand it. I had actually never stayed in one until my recent Amsterdam trip and I wanted to share my 5 likes & dislikes after finally staying in an Airbnb.
My buddy who had his issues with Airbnb gift cards still had the credit on his account. When it came time for him to cover a few nights he wanted to use that balance sitting in his account so that is how I was roped into staying at an Airbnb.
My 5 Likes After Staying in an Airbnb
Let’s start out with the good stuff:
More Options/Different Neighborhoods
One of the big draws for Airbnb is that it gives you a wider variety of options. Hotels are going to be where the people are and in the tourist areas. With Airbnb since it is people renting out their place or their spare room there will be a greater variety of neighborhoods offered to you versus what the hotel industry will offer.
More Unique Properties
This may be the biggest selling point. Airbnb has properties that simply ooze uniqueness. In a world where weird is now cool this is a big draw for people. We have even shared some of the more unique properties out there on Miles to Memories.
The location we stayed in was pretty unique. It was a traditional old school Amsterdam walk up. Those stairs were no joke! But the really unique thing was that we had to enter through a tattoo parlor as well. When you come home at night and you have to unlock and re-lock a tattoo parlor, that is something I never thought I would do while traveling. It is a part of the reason we got the place so cheap which is next on the list.
Airbnb usually offers a better bang for your buck versus hotels, unless you are using points. If you are willing to risk messing around with Airbnb gift cards that is another way to cut the cost even further.
Our Airbnb was right around the corner from the Waldorf Astoria, which is an amazing area to be staying in the city of Amsterdam. Just steps from Rembrandtplein Square is a great place to be and it came at 20% of the cost of the nearby Waldorf.
It doesn’t stop at just the room rate though since you can often save on food with a provided kitchen to cook in etc. There are multiple ways that Airbnb helps you reduce your cost.
A Better Fit For Families/Large Groups
This is a big one for families or groups that have more than 5 people. Most hotels, especially in Europe cap how many people can stay in the room. In the US that magic number is usually 5 and in Europe it could be 3 or 4. But with an Airbnb you could get multiple bedrooms and added space for the same price as a double bed room down the road. That amounts to huge savings, more convenient, and a better overall experience for families and larger groups.
A More Immersive Experience
This one is what many millennials are after. If you want a true authentic experience or you want to truly immerse yourself in the local culture what better way to do it than to be among the local people. If you live where they live for a few days you get a taste of their day to day lives. You will also see areas that most tourists never frequent. Airbnb stays can help encourage you to get outside the tourist trap areas and get a more diverse experience when traveling.
My 5 Dislikes After Staying at an Airbnb
That is a pretty good list of likes but there are downsides as well. Some of them are too much for people to handle:
No Points/Rewards System
This is the main reason I had never stayed at an Airbnb before. There was no way to “hack it” for free rooms. If you have a lot of paid stays then you can save money staying at an Airbnb vs a Hotel. You could always use travel eraser cards to wipe off Airbnb stays but they are tougher to rack up huge balances for.
Consistency Is Non Existent
The thing I love about Hyatt hotels, and Hyatt Place in particular, is that they are consistent. From city to city and hotel to hotel they are usually on a similar par level. That is pretty much impossible to come by with Airbnb since you will never stay with the same “company” (individual) when moving around with Airbnb. That is a draw for some and a huge negative for others.
You Have to Complain to an Owner vs an Employee Which is Awkward
If you run into issues then you need to work with your host to correct them. The host can sometimes be on site but they will more than likely be off site which makes it more difficult. It isn’t as easy as calling, or walking, downstairs to get it corrected like with a hotel. You have to track them down and if it is in the middle of the night you may need to wait till the morning or pay a fee (lost key anyone).
It could also be the host’s house or a place they have an emotional attachment to. If you have a complaint they could take offense or take it personally. For the most part this won’t happen but it is a potential issue that makes things a little more awkward. It is not a simple business transaction like when you are dealing with a hotel employee.
Cleanliness is Not Always on the Same Level
Don’t get me wrong there are hotels with cleaning issues, I have had rooms that were not properly cleaned. But you can change to another room or they will send someone up to change the sheets, sometimes multiple times!
We had a few different issues, like no pillow cases on the second bed’s pillows. The biggest problem was that we didn’t notice until we came back for the night. Since it was too late to call the owner I had to steal one from the bed downstairs. There was also only soap in the bathroom and none in the kitchen which meant going up and down the stairs to clean your hands etc. These are minor things but they would either never happen in hotels or would be remedied within a few minutes, no matter what time it was.
I am a perks snob sometimes. I like free breakfast, I love awesome pools and great on property restaurants are always a welcomed plus. You get none of that with Airbnb…or as they say “no soup for you”!
If you have status from a card like the Amex Aspire or Ascend card (or the Surpass or whatever they are calling it now) then you want to use it. Or maybe you have a Globalist buddy book a guest of honor reservation for you to get upgrades etc. With Airbnb you get what you pay for, there are not extras.
Would I Do It Again?
Would I do it again? I am leaning towards probably not. Unless it is an awesome location, an extended family trip or my buddy chooses it when it is his turn to pay again 🤣.
The main reason is that I prefer to know what I am getting. Even reading reviews of a host does not guarantee that it will work out the same as it has in the past. And without another room to switch too or someone to complain to in order to get proper compensation you are kind of stuck.
Airbnb is not known for being the most customer friendly or service oriented company either. For those reasons I will stick with hotels going forward. I do get why others would go the Airbnb route and I can’t disagree with their reasons, it just isn’t for me.