Dear Air BnB,
We Love You, We Love You Not…
Of course, this is not just about Air BnB in Australia. It is relevant worldwide.
We have an Air BnB love-hate relationship. It’s true.
As hosts, we just love having our vintage caravan listed as it brings in an extra income and we get to host some rather fabulous people up here in the Dandenong Ranges.
As guests, the story is sometimes a little different, and not necessarily the fault of hosts. It’s because of the Air BnB setup and the hidden charges which often add up to far more than expected when first browsing for somewhere unique to stay.
A couple of hours were recently spent shortlisting wonderful places to stay for an overnight trip to Melbourne. It was supposed to be fun searching for somewhere unique but when it came to putting in the dates and adjusting filters, the ‘fun element’ evaporated. Too much time was spent discovering the high cost of ‘cleaning fees’ that hosts are allowed to add if they choose to or finding that the weekend rate was much higher than if we were staying on a weekday (fair enough, but that could be made much more visible when initially searching). In the end, many of the hotel options proved to be far better than the Air BnB listings for the city center.
This is where the ‘Love You / Love You Not’ story enters the scene.
What We Love about Air BnB – as Guests
- Unique Stays – choosing from rustic cabins, vintage caravans, lovely homes, yurts or even teepees is awesome. One of our favorite stays was in an old train carriage up in the Otway Ranges.
- The search – Looking at so many wonderful properties. The fun of the chase… serendipity.
- The connection with hosts, it is quite different from booking a hotel (not that hotels or motels are disagreeable at all).
What we Dislike about Air BnB – as Guests
- FEES! This annoys me the most.
- Cleaning fees should not be an extra charge that hosts are allowed to include. They often vary from around $12 $100’s! This is not immediately visible when browsing properties. Add in the fees that Air BnB charge the guests (they take a cut from the host too), and the final price to book accommodation rises even further. The more expensive the property, the higher the fees.
- The company went from its humble, inspirational beginnings to being incredibly greedy.
What We Love about Air BnB – as Hosts
- Meeting people.
- Being able to provide a unique stay.
- The ease of establishing ourselves as hosts.
- The extra income.
Tips for Searching When Using Air BnB
Use the Filters to Refine Your Search
- Set your price scale to suit your budget.
- Do you want a pet-friendly place? Select that option.
- Enter your dates (if you have them). If you do not have any dates as yet, do you want a weekend stay or weekday? Enter vague dates depending on this preference as many hosts charge far more on weekends.
- Enter how many people the booking will be for.
- Read property reviews from other guests.
- If you are using a phone (true for android at least) the app shows an option to click for further costs on a result – this will tell you if there is a cleaning fee or any other charges. PC’s do not show this option.
Here is an example of added cleaning fees, at their worst. When searching for somewhere to stay in the Victorian ski fields, I thought we had found a great place at a fair price. Then the ‘cleaning fee’ was added on.
The base price of $156 per night became over $500!
I had used the price filter to narrow the search to properties up to a maximum of $200 per night, this one came up in the results… initially, it looked great.
Have You Joined the Air BnB Community?
If you are not an Air BnB community member already, join using this link. You will receive a credit of up to $50 to use on your first stay and we will get a small credit to use on our next stay too. Win/win!
Every Air BnB member has their own link to share so you can send yours to friends to sign up and receive more credits to use when you stay somewhere (credits are applied once your friend has actually stayed somewhere too).
Do we recommend using Air BnB?
Yes, but remember to set the filters when searching and expect to be surprised by some of the fantastic properties on offer and shocked by some of the added fees.
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