The rise of the online marketplace that allows people to rent out their property or parts of it, Airbnb, has been subject to discussion for quite some time now. Many blame it for unreasonably high long-term rent prices in dream holiday destinations such as Barcelona, others claim that it is presenting a threat to a big part of hospitality industry. The reality is that hotels are well established and while they might have lost a part of their client pool to Airbnb, they are under no threat of extinction. That being said, it is important to understand what are the different aspects that draw people to one or the other to know what the best option for you is.
This term that is so common to the way we live our lives in this modern age has different meanings when it comes to hotels and Airbnb. There are multiple things you can take for granted in hotels, which include 24-hour support of some kind, be it concierge or receptionist, housekeeping services during your stay and a guest-comes-first approach to the client. Also, one thing that is inherently present in every hotel is English-speaking staff, or at least those in the front.
Airbnb is a slightly different story. First, the reviews section is present for both the guests and the hosts, so while at a hotel the guests are oftentimes allowed to treat the hotel staff as politely as their manners allow them without any consequences, in an Airbnb they would risk a bad comment that would most likely cause issues when making future bookings. This approach challenges the norm of “guest is always right” that has been a prevailing one in the hospitality industry for ages. Also, since you are entering someone else’s personal property or even home, you are expected to clean up after yourself and treat your surroundings with more respect. However, one thing that can be difficult when it comes to Airbnb is communication. Many people speak their local languages, but their level of English oftentimes isn’t proficient, and miscommunication is never what you want when traveling abroad.
This is where Airbnb really shines through. The hosts are usually not just looking to earn some extra cash on the side but are also interested in learning about different cultures and people. Thus, you can sometimes find yourself chatting over tea and making new friends when it comes to your host and their family. Moreover, they are usually a lot more willing and excited to tell you about the city, will share some local tips for restaurants, bars or places of interest than hotel staff ever would. Hotels oftentimes get criticized for not being able to cater to individual needs and create the feeling of personal care for each client, however, it is to be understood that the amenities there are of different kind.
Overall, there isn’t one set answer on which one is better – a hotel or an Airbnb, but one thing is for sure, a variety of options is to be celebrated!