Has anyone used AirBnB to find lodging?

Sep 18th, 2010, 04:30 PM
  #41  
 
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I'm not suggesting that it's not possible to have a good experience - just pointing out that the company seems to have a habit of registering people on various travel forums just to make a very positive post-with no other posts before or since.
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Sep 18th, 2010, 09:20 PM
  #42  
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Why do you keep saying things like that, NYTraveller? On what basis do you conclude that AirB&B "has a habit of registering people on various travel sites --"? Someone on this thread called me a "Tout" for saying my experience was positive. I took umbrage at that, and would rather ascribe honesty to others who say they also had a good experience, rather than taking the negative and assuming them all to be a bunch of scalawags.

Sheesh --- some folks had a good experience and said so. No need to lump them all together by calling them liars!
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Sep 18th, 2010, 09:44 PM
  #43  
 
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"ust a note that the last two posters - heavily touting airbnb - have only one post each - nothng about any other topic - question or comment."

It is MUCH more blatant than that -- except for nukesafe who is a long time Fodorite -- every other person posting on this thread w/ good (or bad) experience w/ AirBnB is a first time/one time poster.

ChristopherG, Protraveler, NewYorkFan, dhpuck, qkkr, chloeprofit, Sari_M, sheilpw, bmcarren, bonsejour, maya704, and woogawooga are ALL one-time-only posters (actually a couple of them have posted to 2 threads -- but the other thread was also about AirBnB)

Nukesafe is totally legit -- but I seriously suspect that everyone else posting to this thread are plants/fakes/phony

Sorry nukesafe -- but w/ this sort of track record I would touch AirBnB w/ a barge pole. Seems far from legit IMO.
janisj is online now  
Sep 18th, 2010, 09:45 PM
  #44  
 
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oops -- >>but w/ this sort of track record I WOULDN'T touch AirBnB w/ a barge pole.<<
janisj is online now  
Sep 19th, 2010, 08:40 AM
  #45  
 
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I'm not a phony.

and I belong to several travel boards where 1st time posters join to post a particular experience. I will admit those of us who have used airbnb are a little messianic about it, but if one uses the built in AND common sense safeguards it's not much
different from VRBO.
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Sep 19th, 2010, 11:18 AM
  #46  
 
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No, mztery - you aren't a plant/fake/phony. But when one thread attracts more than a dozen one-time/only-time posters over a full year - EACH of whom registered the day they posted and then went away . . . . it looks really REALLY shady. Maybe you and nukesafe are totally happy -- but this does give the whole endeavor a bad smell.

Like CraigsList -- some totally fine people -- and a LOT of dregs.
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Sep 19th, 2010, 11:52 AM
  #47  
 
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I'm still curious how it's different from VRBO. (which I have never used BTW)
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Sep 19th, 2010, 04:51 PM
  #48  
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Well, I'll try to answer your question, Mztery, though I'm no expert.

First of all, VRBO is an association of property owners who list on the VRBO site for a fee. That's how the site makes it's money. They do not check properties, etc. You deal directly with the owner, either by email or telephone. VRBO offers some sort of travel insurance which you can purchase separately. Don't really know what it covers. We have rented several properties through them, and each one has been acceptable, and pretty much as advertised. In fact, we have already put a deposit on one through VRBO on the Isle de la Cite for this coming May.

The way Airbnb operates is that the owner lists his room/apartment/home with the site for free. You, as the renter, locate the property on their site, tell Airbnb you are interested, and they send an email to the owner, who then contacts you through the Airbnb site. If you and the owner want to do business, you book through the site, and the renter pays Airbnb through PayPal. The site charges the renter a fee, and the owner pays a smaller slice. That's how they make their money. After the money is in the Airbnb's hands, they then send each party the contact info for the other. The rest of the details you work out directly with the owner, or renter. They hold the money, and if the place is not habitable when you get there, you are supposed to notify Airbnb and they don't pay the owner.

Don't know how that will work out if we are on the street in the middle of Hell' Kitchen in the middle of the night but, hell, life is an adventure, right?



As I have said earlier on this thread, it has worked well for us as owners. We have booked an apartment in NYC for October through Airbnb, and I will post how it works for us as renters. If you have looked at prices in New York for October you will probably have the same sort of sticker shock we did; even using Priceline. If the place is actually there, we will save a bundle.

Hey, guys, just use your heads. Utilize either site with a bit of caution and skepticism by asking questions of the other party, get additional pictures, etc.
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Sep 19th, 2010, 06:03 PM
  #49  
 
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So as I thought, VRBO is not really much safer than airbnb, and if anything airbnb is a bit MORE safe as airbnb holds your $$ for 24 hours after you arrive. Yes i know of the contact problems some have had at airbnb but they now have a dedicated # to call from overseas specifically.

I gues I don't really get whty people are down on airbnb and ok w/ VRBO. Neither site inspects properties or makes sure the property exists.

We had a lovely stay in Paris on airbnb and have one coming up in November. I made sure I chose apts that had lots of reviews (which yeah, could all be fake but that's true anywhere)
I ALSO chose apts that had flexible refund policies so if I chickened out I could get my payment returned.

I guess part oof it is htat I am in San Francisco and have grown up with craigslist( I literally live around the corner from craig) and startups etc and so knowing that airbnb has some serious venture capital behind it reassures me. I've rented flats in Paris and NY off CL and had great experiences as well.

I always have a list of hotels where I'm going that have room in case the nightmare happens and I get stuck. You just have to be careful and do your "due diligence."
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Oct 2nd, 2010, 02:51 PM
  #50  
 
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I just tried it out as a renter and had a positive experience. I would definitely try it out again. I wrote about it here: http://pomodorista.com/2010/10/02/ai...g-cheap-travel
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Oct 2nd, 2010, 03:25 PM
  #51  
 
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And why am I not surprised?? pomodorista is yet another first-time/only-time poster flogging the 'joys' of AirBnB.
janisj is online now  
Oct 2nd, 2010, 05:10 PM
  #52  
 
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Many people do not prefer life to be that much of an adventure. (I have limited vacation time and will not risk any of it - even if I didn;t want full hotel services.)

If one has that attitude that this is taking a chance then that's fine.

My fear is that many people do this thinking that it is no more risky than reserving a room in a hotel - which is absolutely not true.
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Oct 2nd, 2010, 05:23 PM
  #53  
 
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re
And why am I not surprised?? pomodorista is yet another first-time/only-time poster flogging the 'joys' of AirBnB.

the poster has her own blog which is MOSTLY about food but i doubt she;s a tout for airbnb given her own travel musings....


And I think many people have explained on this board and others how it is different.

and NO ONE has really answered how it;s different (riskwise) from VRBO which many people use here

I'm not even advocating airbnb. I'm just confused why people will recommend other sites where there's no more oversight than airbnb,.
mztery is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2010, 07:27 PM
  #54  
 
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"And I think many people have explained on this board and others how it is different"

But 95%+ of those are 'one-timers' who post and run - kinda hard to have a dialog and ask/answer questions when the touts are never heard from again.

If it looks good to you - go for it. So far the track record here on Fodors ain't so hot . . . .
janisj is online now  
Oct 9th, 2010, 06:12 AM
  #55  
 
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AirBnB has worked well for us as the host - we have a nice apartment flat on our avocado ranch near Santa Barbara and we have gotten some great guests - doctors, lawyer, TV personality - celebrating 20th anniversary, visiting from Canada, getting ready to have a baby. It has been great to meet these people - real blessing - thanks AirBnB !
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Oct 9th, 2010, 08:20 AM
  #56  
 
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you guessed it -- another first-time/only-time poster.

The pattern continues . . . . .
janisj is online now  
Oct 14th, 2010, 12:59 PM
  #57  
 
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The pattern will continue because when people search for AirBnB, this thread comes up early on Google and possibly others. You, janisj, sound like a competitor of AirBnB's. Or maybe just not open-minded in general. You say that AirBnB is 'far from legit' based not on experience with the site, or hosts, or guests, or reviews, or listings, but with posters in this thread, the presence of whom are easily explained by the number of people stumbling across it via search engines.

As another first time poster (and it certainly won't be the last - I wasn't aware Fodor's had a forum), I can tell you it is because when I searched for public commentary on AirBnB, this thread came up first in the search.

I have used AirBnB to rent out our master suite, and in a forthcoming trip we are looking to be guests for the first time rather than hosts. I did it on a whim when I read about it in the New York Times, and it's worked out amazingly well. We've more than covered our rent, which has been very surprising, but I'm sure I look like a plant here to make it sound like AirBnB is a spamarrific money making opportunity. And I'm not, but like a previous poster, having had such great luck with the site I'm a bit messianic about it. Granted, we've only been members since late August, making our total foray into hosting a seven-week venture. But since we get to advertise to precisely the type of people who'd most appreciate our place, and communicate with potential guests first before they give AirBnB their credit card (the funds are held in escrow until the day after they have checked in), we have been able to avoid the pitfalls of a mismatch of ourselves and our guests, as well as potential scammers. It's not 100% safe nor guaranteed that nothing will go wrong but certainly neither are hotels nor vacation rentals nor staying with your Aunt Patty.

I have also used VRBO to stay, and I object to the stiff upfront cost they put on homeowners. This makes the properties far more expensive, as it turns out - when we arrived at our VRBO-booked destination in Montana in August of 2009, we found the same vacation cabin advertised in the owner's streetside store for a lesser price per night. When I asked him about it, he explained that the in-person listing seen by customers of his store didn't cost him anything, whereas VRBO had a hefty upfront fee. We looked into it and found that to be the case.

My husband and I have been interested in hosting vacation rentals for some time, and since VRBO is, as of this date, king of the industry, we thought we wouldn't be able to host vacationers until we owned a 'real' and separate unit somewhere and were able to pay the fees. AirBnB has wiped out that need, and our guests have been very happy to share our 2bd/2ba with us for far less than the cost of a hotel with far greater amenities.

You have the highest likelihood of being scammed via Craigslist, then lesser likelihoods of being scammed via services that connect hosts and guests like this one. Don't go outside AirBnB's payment system - then you have no protection. The key difference between CL listings and AirBnB is that with AirBnB, you can read the person's profile (if they haven't provided one - there's your first red flag), see reviews of the property in question or the host's other properties (VRBO also has reviews), communicate with them at length via the site before ever booking, and get your money back - which is held in escrow until the day after check-in - if you arrive and find things not as advertised (alert the site immediately). Another poster's statement that AirBnB had suggested he provide his guests with OJ and bagels led me to look through the site policies, as I didn't recall that recommendation (may have changed since we signed up - we leave organic chocolate bars on our guests' pillow and our kitchen is open and shared). I recommend anyone who doubts look into the faq - you'll see your concern addressed.
Amber_L is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 01:47 PM
  #58  
 
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If you simply google 'airbnb', this thread is the 5th result overall. That's after the official site and the official site's Twitter feed. There's your reasoning for so many first-time/only-time posters.
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Oct 14th, 2010, 02:14 PM
  #59  
 
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Hi there,

I have had really good luck with Airbnb. I used them for finding lodging in Boulder and in Soquel, CA (Santa Cruz). Personally, I find B and B's sometimes a bit too fussy--you cannot go in the kitchen, there are little notes up, the host may be tired. Airbnb, from my experience, seems fresher and more relaxed. Plus, I met some lovely folks!

Since the people who sign up to offer a place have to be on PayPal to accept payment, they are traceable. That made me, a woman traveling alone, feel a bit of comfort.

: )
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Oct 14th, 2010, 02:37 PM
  #60  
 
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Your point makes sense -- except there are more the 15 first time posters (pro and con airbnb) on this thread . That doesn't look like simply the result of google searches IMHO. I can't think of a single thread ever that had this many hit-and-run posts. They didn't join to participate since none of the first timers ever came back to post anything else.
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