What is AirBnb? Here’s all you need to know about being a guest or host

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Hosting with Airbnb, continued:

As a neighborhood co-host, you are the coordinator, talking with neighbors and finding out who has extra space to rent out, helping to list the space on Airbnb, booking reservations, and restocking supplies like toilet paper and fresh towels. Co-hosts are like Airbnb listing managers, who help get more guests in the door, much like a social media manager gets more likes or followers to a page.

You can also make money on Airbnb by hosting an experience. “This is a quick glimpse into your world, like a workshop or a walk through your favorite neighborhood. An experience lasts two hours or more,” says the Airbnb site. If you want to host an experience, review Airbnb’s quality standards, which indicate requirements for experiences. Basically, the guest must be gaining access to something, participating in something, and offered an original perspective. After reviewing the quality standards, design your experience and submit it to Airbnb for approval. Once approved, you are ready to publish and host your experience.

Airbnb prices and payments

In addition to the cost of the room, Airbnb charges a guest service fee that typically runs between six and 12 percent. The higher your subtotal, the lower your service fee. Hosts also pay a service fee of around three percent, which Airbnb adds to each transaction.

The price of a room on Airbnb depends on a variety of factors, including location, the quality of the listing, and the amenities. You can find very inexpensive rooms on Airbnb, just as you can find very inexpensive hotels. In cities on the outskirts of major metropolitan areas, you can generally find the best deals. We found a room for $20 in Marietta, which is a city near Atlanta, Georgia.

In most major cities, Airbnb’s rates are more competitive than traditional hotels, an analysis by Busbud indicates. In New York City, Airbnb’s average rates are around $81 less than average hotel rates. However, in Nashville, typical Airbnb rates are roughly $22 more than typical hotel rates. Busbud analyzed 13 cities overall, and in eight of those cities, Airbnb’s average rates were lower than the average hotel rates.

Airbnb hosts and guests do not exchange money in person. Guests pay for everything on the Airbnb site when they make their reservation, and hosts receive pay from Airbnb. Airbnb uses PayPal, direct deposit, and other payment methods.

Safety and security

You may have heard reports of a guest destroying a host’s home or a host endangering a guest’s safety. Airbnb has taken some actions to help promote safety and security for hosts and guests, such as having users provide identification, improving profile and review systems, and implementing a host guarantee that reimburses eligible hosts for damages up to $1 million. Airbnb may also conduct public records checks like sex offender registries, to see if a user has a past record.

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While safety issues exist with Airbnb, hotel and motel guests also have safety and security concerns, such as theft of fire. Because guests are entering someone’s home, however, the risks are a little different with Airbnb. The company offers safety tips for both hosts and guests.

Controversies

Airbnb isn’t all underwater aquarium rooms. It’s invited its share of controversy. Cities from San Francisco to New York to Barcelona to Chicago to Berlin have clashed with the company, and Airbnb has been attempting to find ways to compromise with places that want to see more regulation. Critics have accused Airbnb of exacerbating the housing crisis in San Francisco, and a judge recently dismissed the company’s lawsuit against the city.

Individuals have also complained about the service, with people of color saying they’ve had hosts discriminate against them while trying to find a rental. In response to a review, Airbnb changed some of its policies, such as blocking hosts from accepting guests for a certain date if they’ve already rejected someone else first.

Should you use Airbnb?

One benefit of using Airbnb is the cost, as you can legitimately find a cheap place to stay on the site. Also, you find out a great deal of detailed information about where you’ll be staying beforehand, and you can talk to your host before your stay. The experience is much more relaxed and personal than a traditional hotel or motel.

For hosts, renting a room in your home without a permit is a legal grey area. In some localities, it is illegal. In Portland, for instance, the city is raising the fines for renting on Airbnb without a permit from $700 to $1,400 to up to $5,000, KGW reports.

In addition to the legal implications, and the obvious safety concerns, it’s a good idea make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. This means read the terms, conditions, fine print, and reviews from other users. It’s wise for hosts to review local laws and maintain the necessary insurance coverage before renting out space in their homes. If you decide to book a stay with Airbnb, it’s smart to let a close friend or relative know exactly where you’ll be staying, and follow all of the safety advice and instructions on the Airbnb site.

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