Updated: Feb 19, 2019
There are so many short term rental platforms and I've used quite a few of them but after years of both traveling and hosting, I always come back to Airbnb.
As a guest, there is something beautiful about being able to stay in someone's home or in their guest house. Often you are met by personal touches, items such as flowers or fresh coffee, notes on where to have dinner. Simple yet hospitable.
Recently I've stayed in Airbnb's as far away as the Dolomites in Italy and beach houses in Mexico. On a recent stay in the Tuscan Hill Country, our host literally opened her family's vacation home to us. It was spectacular. We felt as if our family had a Tuscan vacation house for the week, far better than any hotel stay we would have paid double for.
As a host, I take great joy in providing beautiful places for people to stay in. They are not perfect places as you would expect from a nearby resort that charges triple, but I don't want the spaces to be perfect. Spotlessly clean - absolutely. Chippy paint - yes. Upcycled furniture - uh huh. I have walked into a few homes in my life where everything is perfect - furniture straight out of Restoration Hardware, all finish work complete and without dent, art work matching and stunning. Never have these residences spoke to me. In contrast, a home with beautiful, dinged furniture declares that people actually live here, put their feet up, have a cup of coffee and set it on the table without a coaster. Artwork made out of upcycled picture frames, fresh cut flowers, a random picture found in a Paris flea market - these are the curated elements of home.
The community of Airbnb generally understands this. They are a group of people who are wanting something unique, quirky, different, character. In my experience, those who are expecting something else are better off staying at a chain hotel that can meet the expectations of consistency. Clean and cute and easy to use are my standards and based on my 4.9/5 rating with 466 reviews, I think we are meeting expectations.
The other element that sets Airbnb apart from it's competitors is it's review system. Not only do customers get to review me and let other guests know if our properties are a good value & fit, but I get to review guests. This process helps us to weed out the guests who might be better suited to finding other housing options. I have given poor reviews to guests who are ungracious, fussy, disrespectful of the property or have unreasonable expectations. This hasn't been done is a spirit of meanness, but rather wanting the guests and other hosts best. 85% of the people I host are kind people who are looking for a cute place to stay at a reasonable cost. 10% of the people are absolutely delightful and if I could I would invite them to stay in my own guest room - they often come back again and again. The remaining 5% are who they are and I have learned to repeat the phrase, "I can't please everyone".
I continue to look forward to meeting people through Airbnb and providing "Quaint Dwellings in Charming Places".