My wife and I rent out our small holiday Italian house on AirBnB – Abruzzo. We find it a lot of fun to do so….even if quite frankly it only pays the bills for the house and nothing more! AirBnB is safe for both parties as you are covered by AirBnB’s coverage for damage, no-shows etc. More importantly we have found their customer support; both for us as hosts and recently as guests at another place is absolutely excellent.
From a guest standpoint, they get a much more unique and local experience rather than staying in a drab hotel. Additionally as it is self-catering, they are ‘forced’ to get out and explore a bit more! I would however stress that AirBnB is not for those who like all of the benefits that chain hotels can bring – i.e. consistency, ease of check in.
The only problem we have had, and this is more of a host’s problem, is guests are becoming increasingly demanding…especially as hosts get more and more adventurous with their offerings. As an example, recently we had a guest stay with us for a week who was astonished at some missing facilities i.e. lack of phone reception as this is deep rural Italy and a brief power cut…neither of which are within our control. In the end, after she complained to us, we gave a 50% refund rather then having the negative review on AirBnB. This is going to become an increasing problem for AirBnB i.e. guests arriving in a rural/remote place that costs €50 a night and expecting the same amenities as the Sheraton in Rome.
To answer questions: Guests can either pick up the keys or meet the host. Normally a host will leave a local contact if they are not around. (For our house as we reside in London, we leave the keys with our house keeper). For Business travel, both my wife and I use AirBnB extensively – the only time it can fall over is if your flight is delayed and you end up arriving in the middle of the night…this is where a hotel is much better. As a rule therefore I use AirBnB for long term stays when I am away (i.e. 1-2 weeks) and a hotel for quick fly-in trips where it would be too much hassle.
I might as well take this opportunity to give us a plug 🙂 https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/1144744