Airbnb, a traveling web service and mobile application, was founded in 2008 and connects travelers with people who want to rent out spaces in their home. Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Airbnb is a global company and has over 500,000 listings in 33,000 cities in 192 countries.
At the moment, there are more than 11 million individuals who have used the Airbnb service and this number is growing rapidly; however, with rapid growth always comes complications.
Airbnb is creating controversy in the hotel world due to users dodging specific hotel taxes. Also there has been rumors of sketchy instances of drug addicts, and prostitutes engaging the service for an in and out stay that leaves hosts infuriated.
Here are eight important pieces of information you should be aware of when considering using Airbnb to book a spot for your next vacation or getaway.
1.) Airbnb hosts can charge extra fees.
There are fees that everyone should be aware of when booking, whether you are a guest or host. Guests pay anywhere from 6% – 12% service charges when booking a room. Hosts are charged a 3% service fee and can add a one-time cleaning fee and a security deposit charge to the overall cost of rent if they decide to.
2.) Airbnb's cancellation policies can vary.
Airbnb allows their hosts to choose among three standardized cancellation policies (Flexible, Moderate, and Strict) that Airbnb enforces to protect all parties. For more information on Airbnb's cancellation policies, visit their website.
3.) Airbnb doesn't allow cash transactions.
Airbnb does not accept cash, but only accepts transactions through their website and mobile application. So, when booking be prepared to have your credit card ready or bank account information handy which will need verified first.
4.) Airbnb doesn't require background checks.
Airbnb's screening process isn't bad; however it could be better. At the moment they do not screen each host or guest. Rather, Airbnb currently verifies a legitimate form of identification and also require users to provide valid and verified contact information such as: email, phone number, and drivers license or passport.
5.) Airbnb has professional photgraphers.
Airbnb hosts can apply to have Airbnb's professional photographers come to their place and take pictures to use on the website. The photos will have an Airbnb watermark as this provides more trustworthiness for both hosts and guests when using the service.
6.) Certain cities will factor in hotel taxes.
Airbnb rentals in New York City, San Francisco and Portland are tacking on extra taxes on top of the rental costs due to new tax collection.
7.) Airbnb's most expensive cities are New York City, San Francisco, and Boston.
No surprises here, as these are three of the countries most expensive cities. Just be sure to price out hotels too, as you may find it cheaper to stay in a hotel in these cities, than a Airbnb rental.
8.) Airbnb is basically considered illegal in select cities.
San Francisco and New York City are two cities where legislators are currently combating against the service of Airbnb due to users not paying hotel taxes. Also, property managers are now including terms around renting your apartment out in Airbnb's service to avoid any legal issues that may arise.