I am not a frequent traveler, but I am so keen about Airbnb. Hence, I decided to fly to Chiangmai to experiment being an Airbnb guest.
In particular, I would like to appraise the pros and cons of becoming a host in the future.
The one thing that annoyed me firsthand was the app itself. I made several attempts to take photo of my ID card to verify identity, but could not make it go through. Millions of people must have been using this feature. However, they still could not make it easy to use.
Since I was a newcomer, I gave good customer reviews high criterion when choosing a host. Hosts with a lot of past reviews seemed like a safe bet. They appeared to have busy booking schedules (no wonders) and most of them were not among the cheapest ones, but they were trustworthy in my opinion. To have good reviews is definitely one of the most valuable assets of an online business.
From the guest standpoint, the disadvantage of using airbnb that I found was that the host-guest relationship was half-formal. So, you have to be careful about the host feeling as much as he cares about yours. This is not the case when you stay in a hotel in which it is a total business relationship. You are the customer, so you can do anything worry-free.
The host I picked was a cafe in Nimmanhemin Road. It’s a great tourist location. He priced the rent relatively inexpensive, so this was certainly a bargain. I discovered that the biggest hidden costs of being an Airbnb host was that you need to stand by at all time for the guests to arrive and check-in. In his case, it was quite convenient for him because he had to operate the cafe downstairs, anyway. But this can be a big challenge for many prospect hosts, especially when they live in separate places away from the premise. This burden must to be taken into consideration. In many cases, you cannot hire someone to do this for you, if you don’t have as many rooms to justify a dedicated personnel.
Another hidden costs I discovered was the costs of cleaning and laundry apart from electricity, air con expenditure. You cannot merely have a room and let it automatically make money for you. Also, you are supposed to set aside some budget for having to fix and maintain your room once in a while so that the room is always in good shape.
All in all, I don’t think I am ready yet. In particular, I have an Etsy business that I need to concentrate right now. However, I still wish I could become an Airbnb host in the future.