This past weekend, I was in Portland, Oregon with a few friends. For lodging options we decided to go with an AirBnB rental because it was the most economical choice. For anyone unfamiliar with AirBnB, it’s a site where property owners list their property for vacation rentals. I’ve never used the site to list my property nor booked a vacation rental. My only dealing with the service was when a friend booked a house for a bunch of us when we were in L.A. for a wedding.
So this AirBnB rental was my first time dealing with the site and I was quite pleased by the overall process from booking online to checking-out. Months prior to last weekend, I first began the search by logging into AirBnB, which can be done with your Facebook account. NOTE: your entire Facebook account is not visible to AirBnB, only your profile picture. After logging in, I browsed the property listings based on:
- The number of people it can sleep
- Cancellation policy
When I found a property I liked, I submitted a reservation request. After which, it’s up to the property owner to accept it. Now, if your AirBnB Profile contains negative feedback from previous property owners, your reservation request may not get accepted. Given the fact that I had a new profile, I had no feedback, so my request was up in the air.
The homeowner accepted the reservation the same day.
To submit a reservation request, you need a credit to make the full payment. Once the owner accepts your request, your credit card is charged for the entire stay. This can be the deal killer for most folks as it doesn’t give any flexibility. However, property owners do give some kind of cancellation policy ranging from strict to relaxed. The property we secured was considered moderate, meaning we had a week prior to check-in to cancel. The payment included a cleaning service and the AirBnB service fee, which is not refundable if we cancelled. The all-in price was $194 a night for four people, which isn’t bad for the part of the neighborhood we were in.
Fast forward to check-in day…
Apparently the property owner travels a lot, hence the reason why the property owner can do the AirBnB rental gig. So, a friend of the property owner showed us the place and gave us two sets of keys. The check-in and check-out times were coordinated with the property owners friend, which went smoothly.
The place we rented had one bed in a loft, two single pull out beds, and a futon. I didn’t sleep in the loft in her bed – I slept on the futon – I don’t know if I could handle sleeping in someone else’s bed, but if the property owner is okay with it, that’s all that matters. The sheets and pillow were provided by the property owner.
On the island in the kitchen area, the property owner did leave me a personalized greeting card and nice assortment of fruits.
The property owner even said, we had access to her parking spot and her bicycle if we were inclined to use it. I can definitely say that she was more than accommodating in making us feel at home.
The property I ultimately decided upon was based on price and location. The Pearl District in Portland is a highly desirable location. Like myself choosing a short-term vacation rental, roommates renting a room from you want to be in desirable locations. I can affirmatively say that the more desirable your location is, the easier it will be to find roommates.
With AirBnB, the homeowner lives there part-time. So upon walking in, it’s kind of odd and weird feeling seeing her personal affects. She did do a good job to move her personal stuff out of the way so the kitchen and bathroom tops and such were cleared. If you’re completely deterred by the notion that you’re going to be living in someone else’s house for a few days, AirBnB might not be the approach you want to take for lodging. I know I’ll definitely give it another try and see how it turns out.