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Saturday, November 22, 2014

AirBnB like Private accommodations vs Hotel rooms

Booking a hotel was traditional way of buying accommodation so far. But of late, there are many options opening up for the travelers. Global sites like Airbnb are providing platform for small time operators and individuals to list their properties and get some revenue. Apartment owners, those who have few extra rooms in their houses, small time hotel/guest house operators can easily list their properties online and get some business, without spending much effort in marketing or selling their rooms.

But one question that keep bothering me is "what are the key differences between a hotel and a private accommodation?" and obviously, which one is better?

Below is what I could list. Your comments welcome
Feature\ Accommodation type
Hotel
Private accommodations (Apartments, guest houses etc)
Remarks
No of rooms
Usually many, suitable for large groups
Usually a few, ideal for small groups

Service Quality
Hotels usually offer a predictable & standardized service
Experience can vary greatly from host to host and guest to guest. Difficult to predict if everything will be as per your expectation

Customized attention
Low
Potentially high, not guaranteed

Staff
Hotels are usually adequately staffed
Minimum to zero staff, often maintained by owner themselves

Rules
Standard and not much
Can vary depending on host

Opportunity to interact with people
Low
Possibly high, as guests might get to interact with host and their family





Food
Standard restaurants
Possibly home cooked in some cases, not guaranteed

Privacy
Fairly high
Depends on case to case basis. Many private accommodations might not have a separate entry

Location
Usually well known to local people
May be difficult to locate/can be in deep interiors

Space
Usually small, confined spaces
Usually bigger, with extra common areas


Price-wise, I don't find a difference. Many private accommodations are priced at par with hotel rooms.

Check out this canal view property in Venice, one of my dream destinations. (property link here). There're many such properties listed on airbnb which offer excellent views, great comfort and more for reasonable price. Do check the photos and details.

In a nutshell, private accommodations have a potential to give more enriching experience to the traveler in you. Depending on your host and other factors, your trip might end up more interactive, more localized and more memorable. But the challenge I find with apartments and rooms booked via sites such as AirBnB is that the experience can be highly diverse. Depending on the host, your expectations, cultural differences and other factors, sometimes there is a small risk of disappointment.

This risk, however can be mitigated thanks to the review feature in Airbnb. Read what other guests have written to assess if you should expect any problems. Airbnb also tracks if hosts are responding to guest queries and how fast. If you're a pet lover or hater, you can know if hosts have pets or not. Those who have pets usually won't mind you playing with them and spending few minutes with a pet dog or cat can be really relaxing after a hectic day.

If you've never tried anything other than hotel rooms, I think you should definitely try AirBnb and such sites. So, to help you get started on your very own unique adventure, Airbnb has this awesome referral programme that allows me to give all my readers Rs 1,500 to use on your first booking by simply signing up. So what are you waiting for? Join Airbnb today using this link and set out on your next travel adventure!

Property photos sourced from Airbnb website.

6 comments :

Renuka said...

Well, you laid out the differences between hotels and private accommodations options so well! I personally like home stays over hotels, as I like the homey feeling and comfort. And yes, even food is so good.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes, homestays are often better.

Thanks

Dhananjay said...

Signed Airbnb using your link and booked 4 nights in Bangkok for family trip.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Dhananjay. Wishing you happy journey and pleasant stay in Bkk

Anonymous said...

Airbnb works well: I have used it twice very successfully. However they take the full payment when you book and hold it until you arrive (or the day after). If you book well in advance this is a serious drawback, and one on which they are making a profit. It would make sense to take payment say two weeks before arrival to protect the interests of the lessee. And they take a considerable service fee! Airbnb Raking it in, I would say!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Anon- thanks. I think booking.com is relatively better- no immediate payment is asked.