COVID-19 has thrown the travel industry into chaos, and as companies worldwide look into cutting cost and planning for the future of travel, companies like Airbnb have begun making the difficult decision of laying off workers. It is a sad situation, especially for Airbnb which has seen been my main platform for accommodation booking since end 2014.
While I do not have any travel plans made for the remaining 2020, I’ve decided to list 5 reasons on why Airbnb is still my choice as an accommodation platform. Perhaps, some of these reasons will be useful for you in the near future!
- Cost – For a family of four adults, Airbnb has proven to be more affordable as compared to hotels, especially in big cities. A hotel can cost $400 a night for two rooms in a three-star hotel in Seoul, and cost $250 for a night for an apartment. Even with booking fees included, Airbnb is considerably more affordable.
- Photos – Unlike hotels that tends to put a couple of photos that seemingly represent every single room in its premise, photos posted in Airbnb are specifically for the apartment you’re booking itself, and tend to be truer to the pictures. Yes, photos will definitely be taken to make the place look ‘better than it is’, but in general, photos taken are specific to the room and tend to show you exactly what you’re in for. If you’re concerned about how true the pictures are, you can opt to stay in apartments with ‘verified’ photos from Airbnb.
- Amenities – From washing machines, to television sets with Netflix and a full kitchen, there are many forms of apartments available on this platform. You may not need a kitchen when visiting cities like Bangkok and Taipei where food options are aplenty, but if you’re going to visit the outskirts with few food options, having a kitchen is definitely a plus! These are just some of the many amenities you can look out for when booking your apartment!
- Location – Not many small establishments list their available rooms on platforms like booking.com, but they are more likely to list their available rooms on Airbnb because of, perhaps, easier onboarding. As such, when booking with Airbnb, you can expect locations that are not on usual areas where hotels are available. This is a good option if you enjoy road-tripping or if you simply like to ‘live like the locals do’, near locals.
- Payment – This option has improved over the years, with payment being very straight-forward (refunds included). The ability to pay for the accommodation in two payments is also useful for individuals who aren’t keen on paying a lump sum. The refund policies are also upfront for the individual when making the payment, and the transparency of it all is just, pleasing.
However, here are some things to note when booking from Airbnb. Please do read the reviews carefully. Try not to be among the first few to stay at an accommodation. You may really not get what you’re expecting as new listings often ‘upsell their property’, and you may end up disappointed. Also, do look through the amenities and facilities thoroughly before making your booking – from stairs to air-conditioning and WiFi – what you assume the property has may not actually be true!
In his message, Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of Airbnb, highlighted two key hard truths of the travel industry. Firstly, no one knows when travel will return, and secondly, when it does, travel isn’t going to be the same again. However, a part of me still believes that Airbnb will thrive yet again once this season passes.