Anytime my fiancee and I travel, we always end up using AirBNB for our lodging needs. We’ve found that it’s comparable in rates to a decent hotel, yet the feel of the experience is far more in tune with the local culture than a hotel could ever offer. Just as well, we get invaluable advice and tips from our hosts, such as which breweries or bars to go to/avoid, where some local attractions are, and how to steer clear of tourists.
Overall, it’s just a much better model suited towards our lifestyle than a hotel could ever offer. Plus, we’d much rather give our money to hosts (and the app itself) than traditional hotels. This sort of business encourages and promotes travelers across the United States, and it does so through the model of having people host you at their homes.
Something we’ve noticed that sets certain hosts apart from others is the preparation involved. When we book a cheaper place simply to save money, we don’t expect too much out of the room we’ve booked. So long as there’s access to a bed, some outlets, and a bathroom with a shower, we can’t really expect much more.
But any rooms that approach $85 or more start to have higher expectations. Ability to control the thermostat is huge. Access to a refrigerator for storing drinks or anything else we need is a must. And, at that price, it’s nice to have contact with the host enough to find out more about the local culture and restaurants surrounding their home.
We’ve also found it quite nice to have a TV in case we want to wind down to something. Heck, one host we recently stayed with had a Roku on their TV, allowing us to watch Hulu and the likes. That was a pretty amazing feature for our two-night stay up in Michigan.
We’ve also enjoyed hosts having shipping supplies available in case we need to mail something in a pinch. Whenever we’re out traveling, it’s always neat to send postcards or trinkets back to family, so we’re often on the lookout for things like packing tape and labels and envelopes. Shipping supplies are cheap enough for hosts to be alright purchasing, too, so it only shows another level of expertise in hosting people in their homes.
More than anything, being prepared and having a clean home with amenities that any normal hotel would have is what makes a successful host. Even if you don’t have some enormous home with beautiful architecture and a pool and more, you can still become great at your craft in hosting weary travelers.