The secrets of Airbnb
Holiday rentals & Experiences
Airbnb has revolutionised globetrotting by giving everyone access to more intimate places to crash around the world. Here’s how to get more out of those lesser-known app features.
Pay half price (for now)
Not ready to pay in full? For rentals over a set amount, and booked two weeks in advance, the app’s Pay Less Up Front feature lets you put down a deposit (usually 50 per cent), with the remainder of the rental fee due closer to your check-in date.
A longer payment window could come in handy if you need time to collect funds from everyone else in your party. And according to Airbnb research, nearly 40 per cent of travellers have been short changed by their friends – don’t let that be you!
Experience local culture
Want to go beyond tourist traps and predictable sights? Airbnb Experiences puts you in touch with vetted local hosts keen to share their hobbies, expertise and access.
From an intimate concert in a secret Tokyo jazz club and tango lessons in Buenos Aires, to tall-ship sailing off the coast of Italy, the 15,000-plus available experiences put you right in the heart of the local scene.
Give something back
Hundreds of these experiences (under the banner of Social Impact) let you do a good deed – and pass along 100 per cent of your booking fee to a participating sponsor organisation.
So, if you spring for a close encounter with wolves in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll directly support Predators of the Heart, the very sanctuary that protects them (and other animals rescued from the exotic-pet trade). Going on a rainbow tour of West Hollywood, complete with SaturGay Brunch? You’ll help fund the Lavender Rights Project’s LGBTQ+ oral-history and education initiatives.
Make it a group effort
Planning a trip with a big group of friends? Use the Wishlist feature to pull together all the apartments or houses you’ve “loved”. Then invite everyone to view your list, where they can give a thumbs up or thumbs down on each place – and add suggestions of their own. Once your trip is confirmed, you can easily share the itinerary. That way even your flakiest friends will wind up at the right place.
In 2018, Airbnb launched a stylish upscale tier of homes under the moniker Plus. Currently available in more than 200 cities worldwide, Plus properties are personally inspected and must pass a 100+ point evaluation to be accepted into the higher echelon of Airbnb-dom. This rigorous appraisal takes into account colour scheme, furniture layout and even the plushness of the towels.
Bring the kids
Some families just aren’t built for hotels. So, Airbnb offers a helpful trip category called Family, which zeroes in on places with five-star reviews from other families, plus amenities like fully outfitted kitchens, outdoor play areas and parking spaces.
Airbnb your next business trip
When you select “for work” under trip type, you’ll find homes with self-check-in, Wi-Fi and a designated work space.
In your profile, enter your business email address; it’s your key to the Airbnb for Work section, which opens up third-party booking. If someone else normally books your work travel (or you manage your employees’ plans), Airbnb can replace your corporate-approved hotel. Consider it the end of noisy ice machines and sad beige wallpaper.