Screw the Hotel, I'm Booking with Airbnb

sreedich's picture
Rank: Baboon | banana points 167

Hi everyone,

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....

Hotel Chain
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

Airbnb

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.

Comments (34)

Oct 31, 2012

For Starpoints son.

Oct 31, 2012

The hotel is part of Blackstone?

Oct 31, 2012

love airbnb

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

    • 1
Oct 31, 2012

Sounds like organized prostitution to me.

Oct 31, 2012

Do people actually use airbnb for business travel? That doesn't seem very professional. Also this website/company is way over-valued and seems like yet another product of dot.com bust 2.0. With Thiel's latest round of valuation this online rental agency is now considered worth more than most asset owning REITs out there.

Oct 31, 2012

Airbnb is really amazing. I love it, used it twice.

Oct 31, 2012

Have considered it but never for business travel. That's all on the Amex and Starwood/Marriott points all the way

Oct 31, 2012

Public or private company?

Nov 1, 2012

Airbnb is awesome. Used last month when I visited Brazil.

Nov 1, 2012

In my experience, it's hit-or-miss and depends entirely on the city you're staying in plus the person you're booking through. Granted, most people renting out their own place will take greater pains to please you since it's their home you will be renting, but if you venture past the main U.S. (and I'd even say Northeastern [maybe CA as well]) cities, good luck sir.

Nov 1, 2012

I will be flying over to NYC to stay there for 5 days or so before I continue my travel back home and I have thought about booking a room with Airbnb, too. However, I don't know very much about it. How is the payment stuff generally handled? Is it common to pay in cash once you get there?

Nov 1, 2012

You missed the part where Bateman comes out the closet.

Nov 1, 2012

Never booked it for business, but I've used it once for personal travel and it was AMAZING. I guess the only downside is that you have to sift through the choices and do a little bit of your own research, whereas with hotels you know exactly what to expect because they're all pretty much the same. For personal travel, it's worth it to me, but for business I'd rather have my admin deal with all the details.

Nov 1, 2012

Would you ever go there with your significant other and not check for cameras first?

Nov 1, 2012

So you have a bad experience at a hotel and now you completely changed your mind? sick logic.....

*Disclaimer: My parent's cottage is on Airbnb

Nov 1, 2012

Airbnb is great. Also wise to check VRBO as some of the same properties are posted and you can avoid paying the Airbnb fee.

Nov 1, 2012

HINT HINT craigslist HINT HINT

btw, OP, how much was airbnb for that night?

Nov 1, 2012

airbnb can be hit or miss. some random thoughts

1) the places i've stayed, they didn't have a secret place for a key so early morning or late night check in/out can be an issue because you have to meet with the person face to face
2) business trips generally mean long work hours and the hotel bar and room service are absolutely wonderful when trudging back to your room after a long day (given you are staying at a nice enough place that has late night service) vs. trying to scrounge up some food in a kitchen that you are usually not allowed to touch unless you replace
3) may not have a printer so no access to a business center for last minute stuff
4) have to look up number for taxi vs. taxis generally line up outside hotels or they will call one for you
5) i frequently use the gym to get over jet lag so that is a very nice amenity a hotel provides vs. tracking one down

i think airbnb is great for a long weekend or extended stay when traveling for fun. it's a great way to see a place from a local perspective but, it requires a lot of leg work and research, to make it worthwhile. at the end of the day, the amenities provided at a hotel (some listed above + concierge) can't be matched by airbnb. the only time i would suggest it for business is if it is a place that you go often or you know very well.

to OP, you should have booked the $300/night place.

Nov 5, 2012

I have tried and loved Airbnb's services. However, there are many competitors that can offer more options. I typically use Enrout, a search engine, to find the best property and the best price.

Melissa Lee
University of California, Berkeley
Environmental Economics and Policy, 2011
Conservation and Resource Studies, 2011

Nov 5, 2012

I feel like the law makers should see the tangible benefits in how Airbnb can help out middle class families in highly coveted housing markets. I don't know much about them financially but I can see where the conflict of interest comes in between different housing market players.

Nov 5, 2012

Airbnb is awesome.

Nov 5, 2012

Airbnb is a great company with significant potential.

However, it is completely possible that the government will cripple the company. Whether this will occur through pure governmental incompetence or by lobbying ($$$) from the hotel industry, remains to be seen.

Can anyone confirm that this is only happening in highly regulated areas of the country (SF, NY)?

Nov 5, 2012

I guess they are extremely unmatched considering the gobs of money out there in New York real estate.

Nov 5, 2012

AirBnb is being beaten by landlords/hospitality industry the same way Uber was by the taxi/regulatory agencies.

I think they'll keep growing, and they're worth their valuation, BUT you could see it devolve a bit since hospitality has more push and pull politically than taxi services do. We're talking about a roughly $15BB industry vs. $150BB industry so its a bit harder to gauge.

And it's also in other areas, not just highly regulated areas. Scottsdale, AZ doesn't 'allow' AirBnB rentals (even though its still out there) and I want to say Atlanta is having a push back (don't remember where I saw this).

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

    • 1
Nov 5, 2012

Do you know what major cities it's accepted in?

Nov 5, 2012

Love Airbnb as a customer. I'm fully expecting the goverment to ruin it though. At the very least Airbnb will have to start paying the hotel taxes.

Nov 5, 2012

How far could the hotel taxes push them down financially?

Best Response
Oct 31, 2012

i'm an airbnb super fan, have probably used it 40-50 times, from stays of 1 night, to 2 months in the Canary Islands, to the place in the photo attached to this post (near Bocas del Toro, Panama, there's a diving board in that bedroom!!) https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1129768
Long live airbnb (and uber, and anything else that (legally) disrupts the outdated / inefficient / overpriced norm)

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

    • 4
Nov 5, 2012

I think all of the resistance Airbnb is facing is another example of the "old guard" fighting a losing battle against change. Granted, there are obvious regulatory hurdles that will have to be addressed, including taxation, but the backlash reeks of lobbying interests and backroom deals. I'm of the opinion that you can't fight progress in a free market system where the consumer dictates approval for a product or service. The consumer has overwhelmingly given their seal of approval that there is a demand for this niche service within the lodging industry--it's not going anywhere.

The hotel industry is just going to have to face that fact -- either evolve by becoming more competitive through price points or other incentives, or get used to the "new normal" reduced bottom lines. At this point they just seem to be in denial, and I think doing themselves more harm than good down the line.

Nov 5, 2012

I can certainly see governmental agencies combating Airbnb, but the service is awesome for hosts and travelers. Since I travel for work, I have converted my place into an Airbnb, and YTD I've made 1.5X from that than I have in wages.

Heading to b school in the fall and seriously considering snagging another apartment to use for Airbnb. It'll be nice to have a decent income while in school. Long live Airbnb!

Nov 5, 2012

City regulation or lobbying is one thing, you guys better make sure that your contracts allow you to sublet your appartment (that is of course if you're renting).

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