How to choose the right Airbnb accommodation

Airbnb options are endless. So how do you find the right one?

A model of a red house made of paper sitting against grassy background

The popularity of Airbnb – a website for people to list, discover and book unique accommodation around the world (usually in other people’s properties) – is ever increasing. And with unique properties the world over, it is easy to understand why.

Want to stay in a tree house? Or how about in a castle, on a luxury yacht, or in a cave or tram? From the conventional to the unreal, the options and locations are endless. All you have to know is what you want. Our savvy tips on how to choose the right property will help make your next Airbnb booking a fab experience. Here are seven important factors worth considering.

1. Know whether Airbnb is for you

If you’re after the hotel experience, with 24-hour concierge, restaurants and pool within the property, along with staff for your every beck and call (not to mention someone to make your bed and change the sheets), then perhaps Airbnb is not for you.

But if you’re after a more local and authentic experience, with opportunities to discover what the ‘natives’ do for fun or where (and what) they eat, then booking accommodation through Airbnb may be just the ticket.

2. Search for the right property

Are you looking for a quirky set up in a remote, romantic location, such as this luxurious cave (yes, there is such as thing) in the Blue Mountains region of NSW? Or are you after something that’s right on the beach, or somewhere central, say, in the middle of the city?

Whatever it is, Airbnb makes it possible to choose a property as individual as you are. It’s easy to search based on location, facilities, and whether you want the whole house, a room to yourself or a shared room.

3. Check the photos – thoroughly

Make sure there are enough photos to view, so you can get an idea of the place. If the owner has not loaded good quality photos, or there aren’t enough uploaded on the listing, you should ask for more before you book. If the owner is reluctant to send you any, I’d be suspicious, and it may just be cause enough to look for another property.

4. Know the house rules and policies

Each listing on Airbnb has a section called ‘house rules’. Here you can see whether it is OK for you to have guests over, anything about ‘noise pollution’, holding parties, etc. You may also want to check these things even if the owner hasn’t mentioned them on the listing, as a way to build trust and good rapport, which is important.

While you’re at it, check the cancellation policy, as some have very flexible to strict rules.

5. Read the reviews

Read them all. Airbnb has a 360-degree review system, which means that the property owner can write a review about you too. So I also look at the person’s profile who made the review, just to make sure their review is trustworthy.

If a property has no reviews (or no positive ones), I steer clear of it.

(As an aside, the more Airbnb properties at which you behave like the ideal house guest, increases your chances of building up positive reviews, which, in turn, increases your credibility, and your chances of getting the property you want.)

6. Ask questions

If you’re unsure about anything – e.g. check-in time, how to collect keys, how to get there, things to do in the area – you can email the owner, even before you book the property. This does two things: it helps you to find the right property as well as realise whether the owner is helpful or not – because if the owner is not helpful now, they certainly won’t be when they have your money.

7. Listen to your gut

Even if you have done all the ‘right things’, and still feel dubious about a listing, don’t book it.

Have you stayed at an Airbnb property before? Or perhaps you have listed a property? What’s your side of the story?

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    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    cookie47
    10th Feb 2016
    11:04am
    Be very careful in Singapore and Hong Kong.
    Some locals are renting out there government allocated flats through Airbnb which is illegal.There have been cases of other residents being quite hostile and informing the authorities. Make sure the property is privately owned.
    downunder
    10th Feb 2016
    11:32am
    We used AirB&B several times and will use it again next month. If only their website and especially their credit card payment system wouldn't be such a pain. I know that hosts as well are complaining. Come on AirB&B and make that more consumer friendly. As it is ppl will just abandon their booking

    10th Feb 2016
    11:35am
    This article reminds me of the one YLC had about the humpy outhouse in the Tasmanian woods for $160 a night. You really have got to be joking! This sort of thing is perfect for people who have a death-wish, have paranoid schizophrenia, are manic depressives wanting to experience worse, or are unstable in one or every way possible. A good example of how delusionary people have become is their search of something different.
    Puss Puss
    10th Feb 2016
    12:55pm
    My husband and I privately own and manage an Airbnb 2 bedroom property in Port Douglas in a resort and have been doing this for just over 3 years with every single review- all 86 of them being wonderfully positive and grateful for the lovely holiday the guests have enjoyed. We have reached Superhost level and also we have many return guests year after year. We have travelled using Airbnb as well and to date have had very good experiences.
    Mahamelb
    10th Feb 2016
    2:37pm
    I have used Airbnb for 2 holidays in Europe and all the places were great. Research is the key and reading the reviews. The only problem I had was when a place was cancelled at the last minute ( this was in Adelaide),and sometimes I find you can't book too far in advance which is a nuisance if you are doing a lot of pre planning. We love self catering , so much cheaper. Highly recommend.
    veepee
    10th Feb 2016
    2:54pm
    We have used Airbnb in Australia, especially if we have a layover in Brisbane between flights, and have also used it in several countries in Europe as well as in the USA. We have stayed in small apartments and rooms in private houses. We haven't had a bad experience so far and have met some great people. Do your research as others have said and make sure that the style of accommodation is right for you.
    older&wiser
    14th Feb 2016
    2:12pm
    I live in a remote country town where I am the only AirB&B listing. I have only once had a 'non successful' guest (though my listing clearly states 'no children' this couple turned up with 2 toddlers, one in nappies) - all other guests have been a delight. some of my feedback has stated - 'better than a 5 star resort', and 'cleaner than some top notch hotels'. Besides, the small amount of income I do make is just enough to keep up health insurance (well, at this stage any way)!! Just enough income to be a hobby - not enough to be a business. Plus I have also been an AirB&B guest, and have always found people friendly and helpful. Many times I have just needed a bed - I cannot see the point in paying $200 to stay at a hotel, when $50-$60 to stay in a house is often better and far more convenient.


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