I have to say that as an Airbnb host, and occasional guest, I am biased. But I’m going to try to put that aside (and probably fail miserably) and discuss the pros and cons. What is better for today’s traveller? Staying in a hotel or in an Airbnb rental? Here are some points to consider:
The chances are high that your Airbnb rental will be cheaper than staying in a traditional hotel. This, of course, is relative. Many Airbnb accommodations are more expensive that staying in a cheap hotel but if you’re staying with a conscientious host, you’ll find the experience much more pleasant.
You’ll also find that you can afford to stay in a better location if you choose a rental. For example, a decent hotel in the centre of London could cost you a lot of money. But there could be a lovely Airbnb rental just around the corner for a fraction of the price.
Hotels often have the edge over rentals as they provide daily housekeeping and often extras such as a spa or gym. Most Airbnb accommodations can’t compete with this. (Although some can, so search carefully). But, and this is probably me being biased again, I have stayed at lots of hotels with spas and gyms – they are lovely in the abstract but I’ve never used them.
When did you last go into your hotel room and find a complementary bottle of wine, free arrival snacks, fluffy white bathrobes, a full toiletry kit, free breakfast foods and bottled water in the fridge, fresh flowers in vases … but you may well find those, and more, in an Airbnb rental.
You might also find beach chairs / towels / sun umbrellas / cooler if you’re renting a place in a coastal location. Some places even have free scuba equipment for you to use. The chances are that there’ll be much more local information than you’ll find in a hotel.
Hotels have the advantage of staff who are (hopefully) at your beck and call. Some have 24-hour room service. It’s likely that there’s also a concierge who can help you with questions about the local area.
Airbnb rentals can’t compete with 24-hour room service but the chances are good that you’ll find that your host has supplied menus for local restaurants that deliver. The concierge? Bear in mind that your Airbnb host will be able to recommend places that are off the beaten (tourist) track. You’ll get the local low-down.
Your hotel room is private of course. But if you choose an entire apartment or suite on Airbnb your privacy is assured. A hotel room is never really private as housekeeping will be going into your room every day, but a private rental means that you’ll be completely undisturbed.
Your host is there if you need him or her but will completely respect your privacy. He or she may be in the building next door, or may be miles away (in which case they will have a nearby manager) so there will always be someone who can help you with any issues that might crop up.
When you rent a property or room, rather than staying in a hotel, you have complete freedom – this is especially the case if your accommodation has a kitchen. And just think how much more money you’ll save by being able to cook your own meals rather than eating out.
If you rent a suite or apartment you’ll probably have much more room than you would in a hotel and the space will truly be your own.
There are some fabulous hotels all over the world. Even hostels today can provide great accommodation. If you’re renting a place from Airbnb or a similar site, you’ll find rooms, suites and apartments that are rooms in the host’s house or separate apartments.
But you’ll also find some very unusual accommodations too – tree houses, yurts, converted buses, houseboats … even private islands. And your host will help you with lots of insider information that will enable you – as Airbnb says – to ‘live like a local’.
Well. I really was trying to be as impartial as possible when writing the above but I did warn you that I’m biased!
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.