What is an Airbnb?

what is an airbnb

“What is an Airbnb?” many ask. Airbnb is an online platform that allows individuals to rent out spaces ranging from a spare room to an entire home.

Coined from “air bed and breakfast,” it was launched in 2008 in San Francisco. Now, millions of hosts and guests globally interact through these distinctive accommodations

What Is an Airbnb?

Airbnb is a prominent player in the burgeoning sharing economy, where individuals share resources, often facilitated by digital platforms.

Instead of booking hotels, travelers can use Airbnb to find accommodations in private homes, apartments, or unique locations offered by hosts around the world. An Airbnb is a listing on this platform.

Through detailed online listings and thoroughly vetted profiles, guests can find a plethora of choices, ranging from cozy single rooms to sprawling villas, ensuring a personalized travel experience.

what is an airbnb

How Does Airbnb Work?

This is how Airbnb works. Potential guests look through their options and apply filters. There are review systems and cancellation options. Then they book a stay.

Get started hosting with a free Airbnb account. There’s a flat service fee of 3 % Airbnb charges. They don’t charge for payment processing, but there are some extra fees listed here.

How Is an Airbnb Vacation Rental Different from Competitors?

Airbnb has carved its niche in the accommodation sector by emphasizing trust, community, and safety. One of its unique propositions is its stringent screening process for reservations, coupled with an insurance policy that offers hosts up to $3M USD in damage protection.

This coverage extends to rare situations where a guest might inadvertently damage high-value items, such as artwork.

Furthermore, Airbnb’s commitment to safety is evident in its 24-hour helpline, offering immediate assistance with just a tap, setting it apart from many competitors.

Here’s a list of places to stay that every family member will enjoy.

what is an airbnb

What Is the Pricing on the Airbnb Website?

Pricing on Airbnb is multifaceted. While each listing displays a nightly rate, this isn’t the final amount a guest pays. The booking subtotal comprises the host’s rate and may include additional costs, fees, or charges set either by the host or Airbnb.

It’s crucial for guests to read the breakdown to understand the complete cost of their stay.

Airbnb offers a rundown for both guests and hosts.

What Is Airbnb’s Service Fee?

When delving into Airbnb’s operational model, service fees play a pivotal role. One such fee is the Guest Service Fee, which typically hovers below 14.2% of the booking’s subtotal.

This fee is always transparently displayed before finalizing a reservation. Some hosts might also charge a Cleaning Fee to ensure the space is pristine for the next guest.

Another important charge is the Host Fee, generally around 3% of the booking value.

Depending on the listing, hosts may also levy an Extra Guest Fee, adjusting the price based on the number of guests. As with all accommodations, understanding all fees upfront ensures a seamless vacation planning experience.

what is an airbnb

What Are Airbnb’s Cancellation Policies for Vacation Rental Services?

Airbnb makes allowances when guests need to cancel. There are different riders. Like the fact that a full refund applies to the nightly rate only.

There are different cancellation policies. These tell you the time frames where a guest can cancel to get a full refund. Some renters add a nonrefundable option. Certain options are listed under “Super Strict” banner.

There are special cases too. Like in accordance with the local laws in places such as Germany.

How Do You List a Property as an Airbnb Host?

Property owners just need to go to the host section of their profile. That’s where you can create a listing that includes a room rate and/or rent for a host’s home.

There are some other factors to the settings. Like how to set the house rules. The options are different for the amenities you describe and any additional services. Check area laws before deciding on the booking settings.

what is an airbnb

How Are Airbnb Hosts Paid?

It takes just a few steps to get payouts when you’re renting a space out. You can choose from PayPal, Fast Pay, and direct deposit bank transfers, and other options.

You need to provide tax information. There is also a verification process that can take up to 10 days. Don’t forget Airbnb takes a 3% fee. You’ll need to subtract the city tax and any others from your subtotal.

The money gets released approximately 24 hours after the scheduled check-in times. When you actually get the payout depends on the method you’ve selected. For example, Payoneer takes 24 hours or less. A bank transfer can take up to five business days.

What Is an Airbnb Superhost?

There is no need to apply to be an Airbnb Superhost. You can get that status by getting positive reviews and avoiding cancellations. Being responsive also helps. The company checks four times a year.

You need to maintain a 4.8 overall rating with the review system and a 90% response rate or even higher. Having an air mattress on hand for guests helps.

What Is Airbnb Plus?

Airbnb Plus highlights top properties vetted by the company. They offer many benefits like exceptional quality and outstanding design. Company inspectors have a checklist of unique quality items and requirements.

Here’s a list of eligible cities.

what is an airbnb apartment

What Is the Difference Between a Hotel and Airbnb?

Trying to decide between a hotel room or an Airbnb reservation? There are some differences.

  • Airbnb doesn’t charge as much as the hotel industry.
  • Airbnb is community-built. Live among the locals in one of these rooms or homes. It’s more authentic than a hotel. They have some excellent features like rebooking assistance for guests who change their plans.
  • A Hotel’s focus on the safety of guests is a little better. Buildings are kept up to code and there are regular inspections. Still, Airbnb has community standards that take action if a host endangering or threatening guests is reported. Airbnb does have policies to promote safety like ones against threats and abuse.
  • Luxury Hotels generally have more features and amenities.

Choosing between Airbnb and a traditional hotel? Here’s a side-by-side comparison to help you decide which suits your travel needs best.

Feature/AspectAirbnbTraditional Hotel
PricingOften less expensive.Stable pricing with potential loyalty perks.
ExperienceLocal, authentic feel.Standardized, professional experience.
SafetyCommunity standards.Regular inspections; standardized safety.
AmenitiesVaries by listing.Consistent amenities like pools, gyms, etc.
FlexibilityRebooking assistance available.May have stricter cancellation policies.
Local InteractionChance to mingle with locals.Interaction mainly with staff and guests.
RegulationsVaries; may face regulatory changes.Established regulations with compliance teams.

what is an airbnb

What Are the Risks of Airbnb?

There’s a host guarantee that looks after damage caused by guests to cover the property. Other insurance programs for people renting spaces out include one for liability.

But of course, there are risks for people in this business.

  • Renting to squatters can be a big issue. There’s a long legal process to evict them.
  • Regulatory environments can change. Compliance costs can skyrocket.
  • Hosts need to remember the final say in cancellations goes to the company.

Finally, property damage can be a problem. Like water damage and broken furniture. Even unauthorized parties held at your rental can increase your liability.

Do Airbnb Hosts Stay With You?

The answer depends on the type of rental. If you rent one room, the host is usually in the same home. With a whole house, you’ll generally be on your own.

A shared room can mean the host is with you. Read the listing carefully before booking a stay.

Finally, if you’ve heard reports about discrimination at Airbnb, you don’t need to look somewhere else. They’ve recently made changes to their instant book feature to cover any issues.

Expanding Your Product Range on Airbnb with Experiences and Tours

To enhance your guests’ stay and diversify your income on Airbnb, consider adding experiences and tours to your offerings. This approach allows you to showcase the unique aspects of your location and connect with your guests on a more personal level. Here are some ideas:

  • Local Guided Tours: Offer walking or biking tours of your area, highlighting local landmarks, hidden gems, and historical sites. Tailor these tours to different interests, such as architecture, street art, or local cuisine.
  • Workshops and Classes: Share your skills or local crafts through workshops. This could include cooking classes featuring local recipes, art or pottery workshops, or even a yoga session in a scenic spot.
  • Outdoor Adventures: If your location permits, organize outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, or bird-watching tours. Ensure you have the necessary equipment and safety measures in place.
  • Cultural Experiences: Connect your guests with the local culture by offering experiences like a traditional dance class, a visit to a local market with a cooking session afterward, or a storytelling evening with local legends.

By offering these additional services, you not only enhance your guests’ experience but also create more opportunities for income. Make sure to check Airbnb’s guidelines and local regulations regarding offering experiences.

Mastering the Art of Airbnb Photography and Descriptions

Creating a compelling Airbnb listing is an art that combines stunning visuals with engaging narratives. Here’s how you can master this art to attract more guests:

  • Professional Quality Photos: Invest in high-quality, professional photographs that showcase your space in the best light. Consider the following:
    • Use Natural Light: Schedule your photo shoot during the day when natural light is abundant to make your space look bright and welcoming.
    • Highlight Key Areas: Focus on areas that guests care about most, such as the living area, bedrooms, and any unique features of your property.
    • Showcase Amenities: Don’t forget to include photos of the amenities you offer, whether it’s a cozy fireplace, a spacious backyard, or a well-equipped kitchen.
  • Engaging and Detailed Descriptions: Your description should tell a story that invites guests to imagine themselves enjoying your space. Consider these points:
    • Highlight Unique Features: What makes your place special? Whether it’s a breathtaking view, a central location, or eco-friendly practices, make sure to mention it early in the description.
    • Be Honest and Clear: Set the right expectations by being honest about your space. If there’s a quirky feature or a potential drawback, it’s better to be upfront about it.
    • Use Bullet Points for Amenities: Make your listing easy to scan by listing amenities and features in bullet points. This helps guests quickly see what you offer.
    • Local Insights: Include a section about the neighborhood, mentioning nearby attractions, favorite local spots, and distances to major landmarks. This adds value to your listing and helps guests plan their stay.


Image: Depositphotos

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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. He is a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. His print credentials include employment with various Toronto area newspapers and three works of fiction: The Apple Lady (2004), Creekwater (2006) and Sophistry By Degrees (2008) published by Stonegarden Press In California.