Living in a stranger’s house may sound strange, but it’s now a norm that’s gaining widespread acceptance with the emergence of Airbnb, FlipKey, HomeAway and other similar services.
No longer will guests be confined to hotel rooms 16 square meters or less. Now they not only have bedrooms and toilets, guests now also have the option to include kitchen, terrace or living room if they want to.
But unlike standard hotel room accommodations equipped with concierge and check in counters, facilities offered by Airbnb (signup and get up to $37 on your booking) and similar services are ordinary homes that normally don’t have such. So for first time users, coming to the house of someone else you don’t know sounds a bit creepy. What if you came to a wrong address and gets tagged for property trespassing? Or find the address too difficult to locate? What if your phone failed to get coverage or no wifi is available to reach the owner? Or if your flight got delayed or got stuck on a long line at the immigration?
These are some of the potential experiences you could encounter. So as an Airbnb customer, you need to adopt a mindset different from a typical hotel guest. Here are some of our reminders.
1. Be in touch with your host as soon as possible. Be clear with your initial encounter and gather as much information as possible. What time are you arriving? Are you meeting the host or authorized substitute? Will the key handover be at the residential or elsewhere? The last thing you’d like to happen is to create confusion and leave bad first impression between you and your host, something that could sour the relationship and lead to unfavorable reviews.
2. Have a reasonable contact details at the first day of your stay. In case you are running late for reasons stated above or otherwise, you should notify your host on your whereabouts, reset meeting time and place. It is important that both you and the host can reach each other through phone or whatever means easily. This avoids confusion and possible animosity.
2. Keep home tidy. This means there may not be members of housekeeping to look after your mess as you leave the dwelling each day. As you’d like to cleanliness in your own home, do the same for your Airbnb host’s. After all, as you are given the right to ownership, even just for a few days, you are also expected to commit to its proper upkeep. So it makes sense to have a lookout or cleaning materials such as vacuum cleaners or wiping cloth. If they say leave the house in the same condition as when you arrived, exceeding it if possible would be great.
3. Arrange schedules. If you are renting a room rather than an entire house, one of the sticking points is time at the bathroom. To avoid getting into each other’s nerves, adopt a reasonable bathroom schedule. This also applies to other issues such as use of kitchen, leaving the keys upon check out, etc.
4. Ask questions. How to operate kitchen appliances, where to find local market, trendy bar or place of worship, what’s the emergency number for fire or medical help? Your host is the best resource to answer these questions.
5. Respect for private property. Airbnb homes are owned mostly by individuals who need some degree of privacy. Set limitations as to how you would share information (phone number, personal details such as job, family background, etc) related to your host. Since both of you were verified members of Airbnb, there is that level of trust and accountability.