Current feelings on the short-term rental experience
Completely agree with everything you said. There was a time we always did AirBnB, whether it be traveling with a group or even just as a couple. We’ve been leaning more towards hotels lately though, even when traveling as a family and having to pay a hefty premium for suites. Our primary reason is location/convenience and not having to keep loading children in and out of cars. (And a lot of suites include a kitchen sink, which is critical for washing baby bottles.) I’ve also found that a lot of AirBnBs look really nice in photos but may not be in the best area. You have to be really selective and careful about where you book a house. And generally I just feel safer at a hotel.
I am with you! More often than not, the quality is lacking, the properties are not clean and the laundry list of check-out to-dos is out of hand. And most times they’re the same price or more expensive than a hotel. I feel like they only make sense to book if you’re traveling with a large group or staying for an extended period of time. Otherwise, give me those hotel amenities! PS I want the to be exposed to the seedy underbelly of Airbnb hosting/gossip, plz
I've actually never stayed in an AirBnB before...weird huh?! It's not that I'm against it at all either but the opportunity I guess never really arose and my hubby is interestingly enough only into hotels. I'm not sure if he just thinks AirBnB cleanliness can be an issue, although to me, hotels can be germ cesspools too. So it's interesting though that you're listing all these things now, my hubby would be like "SEE?! Never staying in one." hahaha
Ohhh, I have so many thoughts on this topic!
I've always been Team Hotel over Airbnb because the quality of Airbnbs is just too mixed. We've never had truly truly terrible experiences at any Airbnbs, but a lot of them are just not nice. Another factor for us is the option of storing luggage at hotels and the possibility of being able to check in early, check out late, or get upgrades. We rarely do laundry when we travel, so the laundry costs aren't a big factor.
I generally only choose Airbnbs when there are very limited hotel options in an area or when I'm traveling with a larger group that really wants to stay together. When we were remodeling our bathroom and kitchen for 5 months, we stayed at 2 Airbnbs in SF and 1 extended stay hotel in San Mateo. The extended stay hotel was much much cleaner and nicer, but we didn't get the benefits of living in a residential neighborhood.
That being said, we operate an Airbnb ourselves in a community with no hotels. We spend a lot of time and money on its upkeep and visit every other month ourselves, so we really care about the state of the home. It's not generating profit for us, and we only list it on Airbnb to help defray some of the costs of ownership.
It really does cost us $250-$300 to flip the home for guests, and Airbnb is not very clear about what to put in your cleaning fee vs bake into your costs, especially because the nightly rate is the main number that shows up in search results. (That may change due to regulations.) Housekeeping is $200, and hot tub cleaning is $30. We briefly worked with a property manager who charged us $55-$100 per stay for inspections. If you factor in sponges, detergent, trash bags, water, electricity, trash, recycling, and more, it really does add up. We have a 3 bedroom house, and washing all the bedding, bath towels, kitchen towels, bath mats, large blankets, and other items between each stay regularly takes 5-10 loads of laundry.
Funny that you mentioned coffee grounds, because our housekeeping team has forgotten to clean the coffee maker at least twice!
Our neighbors would definitely prefer not to live next to a STR, but our property was already an STR for 5 years before we bought it and sold to us with the expectation we could continue to operate it as one. We try to be respectful of them and let us know they can text or call us at any time if there are issues. We let them know when we're visiting ourselves.
I don't think that Airbnb's review system incentivizes honesty. We've had our share of questionable guests, and sometimes we just don't review them because we aren't 100% sure if they actually broke something or lied to us, and it's not worth the drama. As a guest, I feel bad writing anything negative if I've interacted with the host personally and stayed in their home, whereas for a hotel or restaurant on Trip Advisor or Yelp, I would be much more honest. I've also noticed that most of our guests tend to write positive public feedback then save complaints for private feedback.
While hosts who truly care about their Airbnb properties may not be the majority, now that I've been a host myself and understand the pain of opening your home to strangers, I try to be more communicative with hosts. For example, I shoot them a quick note when we arrive and leave, which I never did before.
I'm still Team Hotel though!
I choose Airbnb's when traveling in similar situations with you - traveling with family or with a group.
When Stephen and I travel with just the two of us, we will usually opt for hotels because: 1) we want to use our points, 2) ability to leave our luggage with the hotel if we arrive before check-in time, 3) the ease of checking into a hotel (vs checking into some airbnbs can be really confusing @_@).
If we are on a long or multi-city trip where we need to do laundry, we will try to get a airbnb at least for one stay so that we can do laundry.
Back when I studied abroad I only ever did airbnbs bc they felt safer than a hostel, I looked back at the prices and a stay for a weekend in madrid, Florence, Dublin, etc were like $100 TOTAL. And it was an entire appt and actually nice!
A few years ago Mitch and I booked two airbnbs in NYC and both were so bad we left and stayed in hotels, and the airbnbs weren’t cheap either but so poorly represented and so dirty. That was the last time I’ve done an Airbnb and am team hotel always now. 😂 I’d rather spend a bit more and get the consistency and service a hotel offers.
We just stayed in one in Spain, and it was horrible. It was an airbnb plus property, which we've now come to realize doesn't mean much anymore. The property was completely not as advertised - dirty, with black mold in the a/c units, etc. We left two days in. Airbnb did refund us, but the host never reviewed us and we never reviewed him - which means nobody will know, and it will continue to be a Plus property.
Just a broken system. Needless to say - I am MUCH more careful when booking them these days.
For what it's worth, we ended up moving to a resort an hour away and it saved the vacation!