When it comes to booking an amazing Airbnb rental, it pays to do your research. Whether a friend highly recommended the place, or you have read hundreds of glowing reviews, booking an Airbnb can often be an art.
In order to prevent yourself from staying in a dump or being cancelled on last minute, we’ve compiled a list of tips to keep in mind when booking your next Airbnb. We hope these suggestions make your next Airbnb stay all the much better.
Reviews Are Everything
You should only ever book an Airbnb with reviews. That’s plural. The more reviews to peruse the better. This will ensure that you’re taking much less of a risk when booking on the site. You definitely don’t want to be the first person to ever stay there unless the Host has other listings with multiple positive reviews. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be willing to take the risk. There are more than enough rentals available on Airbnb with many reviews to their name that will better assure you are making the right choice.
Narrow Your Search
When you’re initially searching for rental options, always make sure to check off all of the most important things to you. For example, are you looking for a specific neighborhood, do you need Wi-Fi, is laundry a must, will there be air conditioning or heat? Whatever your needs might be, you will certainly find hundreds to thousands of rentals in each city. So the more you can narrow your search down, the better your experience will be and the easier of a time you’ll have finding the perfect place.
Sometimes it actually is good to judge a book by its cover. Always judge the rental by its photos. If the photos are low quality, blurry, or grainy — those can all be warning signs. The best Airbnb hosts tend to go out of their way to include high quality photos with various views of the space. Airbnb approved photos are a huge plus when it comes to selecting a rental.
The Devil is in the Details
Always make sure to read ALL of the info and details. You don’t want to end up getting stuck with an unnecessary cleaning fee or other extra charges you weren’t expecting or didn’t notice. Hosts have the ability to add a one-time cleaning fee and a security deposit charge to the overall cost of rent. Don’t let this fee end up surprising you. Always know what you’re getting yourself into.
Don't Risk the Chance of Cancellation
If a host has a number of reviews saying they cancelled before arrival, DO NOT RENT WITH THEM. This clearly means you’re running a much higher chance of booking an Airbnb only to be cancelled on inside two weeks of your arrival. Not only is it terribly rude and inconvenient, but it also makes it much more difficult to find a new rental considering the majority of the good Airbnbs will be gone by that time.
Contact & Ask Questions
You should always contact the host before sending a booking. Talk to the owner/host and ask as many questions as possible just to see how they interact with you. Bad “customer service” at this point in the booking process can be an initial sign that your stay won’t go as smoothly as you hope. The longer the contact person takes to respond to you, the worse your experience will likely be. If the host attempts to get you to pay in cash or off of Airbnb, this is a very bad sign. Airbnb’s system is there to protect both of you, so if the host is trying to work with you outside of Airbnb, it’s definitely bad news. We suggest you always stick to Airbnb’s built-in messaging system for any and all communication with your host.
Always Know Your Renter. First, check out the renter’s history. Airbnb users live and die by reviews, so make sure to read up on your potential renter and not just the one Airbnb in which you’re interested. There’s a review system for both the apartment/home, as well as the host. Second, if any reviews bring up a red flag for you, immediately contact the renter to ask for further information regarding the problem. Also inquire as to what they will do if the same, or a similar problem occurs during your stay.
When it comes to Airbnb, cancellation policies may vary. Always understand which one you have agreed to. Airbnb’s contract allows hosts to pick from three different cancellation policies (Flexible, Moderate, Strict), in addition to two special circumstances policies (Super Strict and Long Term). Each policy has to do with what sort of refunds guests will receive, in addition to how close to the date of, guests can cancel their reservations.
For example, the Flexible policy allows guests to cancel one day before their arrival, while Moderate gives five days, and Strict seven days. The Super Strict policy is by invitation-only, where as the Long Term only applies to reservations of 28 nights or longer.
If you find a place that you absolutely love, do not procrastinate. Book it ASAP! The best Airbnb rentals, as with most things, get booked up very quickly. These stellar rentals don’t tend to last very long, specifically on popular dates like weekends or holidays. If everything feels right, go ahead and book it.