Until 2007, hotels were the most popular stay options for travelers and vacationers. However, with the creation of Airbnb, an American company that operates an online marketplace and hospitality service for people to rent or rent lodges on a short-term basis, there are more options available for ‘guests. As the site returns them.
Interestingly, the company, which has operations in over 65,000 cities and 191 countries, does not own any real estate or property. Yet over 60 million people have used the app and worldwide it has recorded over 260 million records.
Data from the vacation rental website shows that last year more than 5,900 Kenyans put their homes up for sale. For hosts this means an additional source of income, but for guests it is a presentation of hundreds of stay options to choose from.
Shay and Nouri are a Kenyan and Dutch couple who love to travel. The couple maintain a travel blog; Dnomadz, where they tell stories of places they have visited.
When setting their travel budget, accommodation tops the list. However, before settling in, they compare different hosting platforms to find what they like and fit within the budget.
“Airbnb is used a lot in Europe, where I lived, and that’s how I learned about it. In the past year, we have used the site more than seven times. In one of our first experiences in Kenya, we had a “very sweet” affair. We spent a long weekend in a villa near Diani Beach, with a private beach for only Sh 3,000 per night.
The room had a beautiful view of the flower garden, palm trees and the Indian Ocean. We never met the host, but there were two caretakers who made sure our stay was enjoyable. They even cooked for us. However, we had to bring our own races. When budgeting, we usually try not to spend more than Sh 4,000 per night for a double room, ”says Nouri.
Shay intervenes, noting that doesn’t mean Airbnb is the most affordable accommodation choice. For them, it is the ability to prepare their own meals that makes it the most appealing. “In addition, some of the hosts are very helpful in that they help organize trips or activities around. Most hosts want guests to enjoy their stay.
According to Caro Rolando, a regular user of the app, staying with Airbnb gives her the impression of being immersed in the local context.
“I find hotels too generic, sterile and out of place in many communities. With Airbnb, I feel more local than a tourist, ”she says.
However, it is not all easy. A single Google search indicates that sometimes things can go wrong. With hundreds of gruesome stories shared online, guests are advised to exercise caution before choosing hosts.
“In our case, we usually check the ratings and reviews left by other customers. This gives us an idea of the host and the location. While we like hosting facilities to be offered by a new host, we make sure to hire the host before making any payment and always make sure the price and photos look realistic, ”Nouri offers.
“The good thing about new hosts is that the prices are relatively cheap compared to those with many reviews. In the case of the beach villa near Diani, we recently found out that the price had been increased from Sh 3,000 which we had paid to Sh 12,000 per night.
According to Caro, sharing the host’s contact details and address with her family and friends who don’t travel with her is a habit she’s mastered all too well. In an emergency, they know where I am and how to get there, ”she adds.
She stresses the importance of reading all the details provided, including footnotes and terms.
“I made the mistake of booking a private room only to be surprised on arrival that it was a shared room. The information was in the property description but somewhat hidden along with the other details. On the other hand, get to know more about your hosts by staying in their Airbnb listings. Most of the hosts are really interesting people who have great local tips on where to go. ”
Shay adds that it’s also important to contact your host in advance for proper planning. In some countries like Amsterdam where it is difficult to find residential homes, Airbnb hosts are limited to only renting their homes for a maximum of 60 days per year.
“Another tip for travelers is that instead of looking for specific locations like Diani or Watamu, you can type in the name of the country and start zooming in to random places.