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

You’re starting on page 2 of this, click here to start at the beginning.

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. “Introduce guests to the activities and places you’re most passionate about. We’ll help you design your experience step by step, with plenty of resources along the way,” 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. In New York City, Airbnb’s average rates are around $119 less than average hotel rates, though in Berlin, Airbnb’s average rates are just $22 less than the average hotel rates. Forbes analyzed eight major cities in the world and Airbnb offers lower rates in each one with an average savings of $68.

Airbnb hosts and guests do not exchange money in person. Guests pay for everything on the Airbnb site when they make their reservation, even having the option to split costs between friends, 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, such as of sex offender registries, to see if a user has a past record.

what is airbnb airbnbsecurity
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.

Airbnb has also just partnered with August smart lock. Now, anytime a vacationer makes a reservation in an August Smart Lock and August Smart Keypad-equipped home, August will auto-generate a customized entry code for the booking time and date. No more need to wait around for guests to arrive, and with a new code populated every time hosts should feel a sense of security.

Controversies

Airbnb isn’t all underwater aquarium rooms. It has 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 dismissed the company’s lawsuit against the city.

Individuals have also complained about the service, with some 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.

In the latest controversy, Airbnb is being accused of deleting negative reviews after a guest claimed that the home she arrived in looked completely inferior to the photos of the five-star property she booked.

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, Oregon, for instance, the city is raising the fines for renting on Airbnb without a permit from $1,000 to $5,000.

In addition to the legal implications, and the obvious safety concerns, it’s a good idea to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. This means reading 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.

Product Review

It's the thinnest touchscreen laptop, but HP's Spectre doesn't sacrifice speed

Our HP Spectre 13 review evaluates the “world’s thinnest touchscreen notebook” to see if it’s possible to make something smaller while increasing its speed and longevity. Spoiler alert -- it is. But does that make it a laptop you…
Smart Home

Second-gen vs. third-gen Echo Dot: What’s the difference?

Amazon's latest Dot promises better sound and a softer appearance than its predecessor for a few dollars more. If you're still debating between the second and third-generation models, here's what you need to know.
Product Review

With its epic screen, Apple's iPhone XS Max is a phone you can live inside

The iPhone XS Max is here. Should you get the massive 6.5-inch iPhone from Apple? Or should you pick the smaller iPhone XS? We’ve been putting the Max through its paces to find out in our review.
Wearables

WatchOS 5 comes with tons of new features -- here are our favorites

Months after Apple announced its latest software at WWDC, you can now download WatchOS for the Apple Watch. WatchOS 5 brings a number of new features including new watch faces and improved health tracking.
Product Review

With the thump of an Echo Sub, Alexa goes from an assistant to a DJ

Amazon’s Echo Sub can pair with an Echo to provide the room-filling bass that little speakers just can’t muster on their own. And at $130, all that bass won’t break the bank, either.
Smart Home

Forget smart locks: Locky makes your keys smarter

Instead of an expensive and complicated smart lock, consider making your conventional key smarter instead using Locky, a Bluetooth-equipped key case that communicates key location, use, and door lock status via a smartphone app.
Product Review

Invisible until you need it, SimpliSafe is a no-hassle way to watch your home

These days, there a lot of do-it-yourself home security systems out there. How do you choose? Simplisafe’s latest offering brings together beautiful hardware and the ability to customize your home security package. We do wish that we…
Smart Home

It cooks! It blends! Instant Pot strikes again with a blender that can cook

From the creators of the popular Instant Pot electronic pressure cooker comes the Instant Pot Ace blender, which can both cook and pulverize food. It turns soups, purees and the like into one-pitcher operations.
Smart Home

New to Instant Pot? A no-pressure guide to using the popular pressure cooker

The versatility of the Instant Pot makes it a great kitchen companion, but it also makes the multicooker a little intimidating if you're a newbie. Here are some tips on how to use the magical device.
Smart Home

Rise and shine with the best alarm clocks to kick-start your day

People are finicky about their sleeping habits, but, fortunately, the best alarm clocks can probably match your lifestyle and budget. Here are some of our current favorites, including the Amazon Echo Spot.
Smart Home

Amazon’s partnership with SideChef makes Alexa your sous chef

Amazon and SideChef are cooking up a new interactive kitchen experience as Amazon integrates SideChef's recipes into its new Echo devices, enabling users to access recipes, photos, and video demos.
Smart Home

A study says kids and security spur people’s smart home purchases

Why are more people inviting internet-connected smart home devices into their households? According to a survey sponsored by Home Depot, the growth is primarily being driven by children and security.
Product Review

Alexa microwaved my corn and it creeped me out

When Amazon introduced its Alexa-compatible microwave, we found the concept strange. Our second thought was whether it would also be an Amazon speaker. We got our hands on the appliance at Amazon’s event. Here’s what we learned.
Smart Home

5 lessons from Amazon’s head-spinning, head-splitting Alexa fiesta

Yesterday’s surprise Alexa announcement was a deluge of fast-paced devices and software announcements. Here are five takeaways from the event (hint: one is a prediction of Amazon world domination).
2 of 2