I wanted to share two recent travel experiences that highlight the differences between a night's stay at a hotel vs. Airbnb. Who do you think fared better? The hotel chain with over 100 years of experience or the online company that has been around for 4 years. For some background on these events, both trips took place in Boston within 3 months of each other. Same location, but very different experiences....
I won't name names but this hotel is part of the largest organization of hotels and resorts in the world. Here is the timeline of events:
1. I go to Kayak.com to find the best rates/location for accommodations in Boston
2. Results are in; $300/night for a good location or $150/night outside the city. I'm only staying one night so I book the $150
3. With accommodations set I hit the road and make my way to the hotel, 3 hour drive by the time I get in
4. I find parking in the back and make the 5 minute trek to the lobby with bags in toe
5. Entering the lobby I am greeted by a travel soccer club of 20+ youths in the midst of checking in; after 30 minutes of patiently waiting I make my way to the front desk, check in goes smooth after the fact but I now have a splitting headache
6. Finally, after checking in I mozy my way to the second floor; first thought? For a nonsmoking section of the hotel I can clearly smell the stale clam baked air of cigarettes
7. I get to the door, pull out the room key, swipe and get the flashing red light; I start swearing under my breath when I realize the keys were sandwiched between my phone and magnetic wallet, the keys are now a dud
8. I head back down for a fresh pair of keys and mozy back for a second try
9. Finally I get back to the door swipe the key and the green light flashes; access is granted, I open the door and feel the weight of despair hit me; room is disgusting, 1 light is broken, 1 window facing a concrete wall 10 feet away; in summary room sucks
10. Without the need for additional hassles I suck it up and decide to just hit the hay and get a good night's rest
11. With 9 hours of spotty sleep I awake to begin my morning rituals
12. My meeting is at 9 am so leaving at 8 am should suffice, the meeting is only located 15 minutes away on Google Maps so how much time would I actually need for travel?
13. I leave the room around 8 and make my way to the lobby; check out was quick but it still ate 10 minutes of my time
14. I finally hit the road at 8:15, hop on the highway, and as I make the turn my stomach drops; traffic is backed up as far as I can see and there is no way around it
15. After 35 minutes of pure anxiety, dreading the look on the faces of the individuals at the meeting when I show up late, I finally scream off the exit and make it to my destination
16. I reach the parking garage and have 5 minutes to reflect on the past 12 hours...in summary an absolute nightmare
Fast-forward 3 months
1. I go to Airbnb.com and plugin Boston; I look at the map and realize there are several listings located within walking distance of the meeting...and all at a great price (less than the hotel I paid for a few months prior)
2. I contact a host inquiring about their listing, within 1 hour she responds with a joyful message saying her place is available so I am free to book it; she will send me some additional information about her place by email
3. After booking I receive an email from the host detailing everything about her place; the first thing I notice is how much time she spent detailing everything; summary of the surrounding area with her recommendations of bars/restaurants and the travel times of the T and other transportation
4. I hit the road and feel pretty good about this place, the host seems nice and everything seems way more convenient than the hotel...again everything is walking distance
5. 3 hours later I find the apartment, it's in a great neighborhood and to top it off she has a free parking space for me out front
6. I grab my bags from the car and head up to the door of the apartment, slowly realizing how great this is; there is no check in so I'm up the stairs to the apartment in no time
7. I get the key, which was left in a "secret" location and enter the apartment; I walk in and soon enough feel at home. Her place is great, everything is clean, fresh towels and bed sheets, kitchen with some free snacks, and a handwritten welcome letter thanking me for booking her place. What more can I say, I feel like a king.
8. As I settle in I slowly feel at ease. No stress just calm. I set my alarm, watch some TV and slowly fade off.
9. I awake in the morning to begin my morning rituals, up for a shower/shave and out the door by 8 am... feeling totally rested
10. I walk out the door, leave my key in the "secret" spot, how great...no check out, upload my directions on Google Maps (walking) and head south down the street
11. 30 minutes in I'm at the place, leaving me plenty of time to walk around the neighborhood and check out the sights
12. After the meeting I begin the trek back to my car, I can't believe how different this experience has been; stress free and enjoyable. When I reach my car I question myself, why would I ever want to stay at a hotel again?
Has anyone else used Airbnb for business travel accommodations? If so, please share with the community.