From time to time, you’ll find them on the internet – those horror stories about Airbnb guests. Or sometimes about Airbnb hosts.
Well, do you know how many people stayed in Airbnb accommodation last night? Or how many will tonight? Or tomorrow night?
That’s a graphic from the Airbnb website. Yes, every single night, there are over 2 million people sleep in Airbnb accommodation. That’s pretty astounding really, isn’t it?
And yet every now and again – and I mean every now and again, it’s not as if it’s every day – the media entertains us with some ‘horror story relating to the service.
Yet every time I’ve read one of these I’ve a) been struck by the fact that one stay-gone-wrong is a tiny drop in the ocean when you consider the number of people who had nothing at all go wrong and b) that in almost every case, I could see exactly why the situation had occurred.
And that’s the case whether the ‘horror story’ has affected the guest or the host. And – although this is a bold claim, I know – most often it’s due to ignorance.
Now don’t get me wrong – perhaps ‘naivety’ would be a better word. Or even because the host or guest was simply too trusting. Maybe that’s better…
But because in the last ten years Airbnb has grown to be such a buzzword, potential hosts think it must be easy and potential guests think it must be lovely, all that making crepes with your host in that stylish Paris apartment business… (as seen in the Airbnb ads).
I just looked at Google to discover that, at time of writing, there are 1.1 million Marriott hotel rooms worldwide. (Note that I selected Marriott rather than any other well-known hotel chain simply because it was the first that came to mind. Now let’s assume that every one of those rooms has two people staying in it every night. (Unlikely I know but bear with me).
That would mean that 2,2 million people are staying in Marriot Hotels every night. As we know that’s unlikely to be the case (solo travellers, unoccupied rooms etc.) so is it fair to say that more people are staying in Airbnb accommodation every night than in Marriot Hotels?
So spend a little time on Google (the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Affairs [.com] and TripAdvisor reviews are good places to start) and you’ll see that there are many complaints from guests about their stays at Marriotts throughout the world.
Now I’ve stayed at many Marriott Hotels. They’ve always been fine. Some have been okay, some have been splendid. So I’m not picking on Marriott here because I don’t think I have ever, ever, had to complain to the front desk, to management or anywhere at all about my Marriott stays. And I’m picky.
But when did you last see a headline about a Marriott guest having a bad experience? Right. But I bet you’ve seen a headline about an Airbnb ‘horror story’.
It’s going to be a pretty crass thing here if I now quote the Abrahan Lincoln (or John Lydgate???) thing about pleasing some of the people and so on but there are very few businesses in this world that doesn’t have the occasional disgruntled customer, right?
There have been many articles here explaining why so many people today prefer the Airbnb experience rather than hotels and one of them is that if you stayed in a Marriott in London, then one in Budapest, the chances are that you wouldn’t really be sure which city you’re in.
With Airbnb, every accommodation option offers you a different experience. Private island? Treehouse? Exclusive waterfront apartment? Elegant guest suite? You decide!
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.