Airbnb: An Overview
Airbnb is an online marketplace that connects people who want to rent out their homes with people who are looking for accommodations in that locale. It currently covers more than 81,000 cities and 191 countries worldwide. The company’s name comes from “air mattress B&B.”
For hosts, participating in Airbnb is a way to earn some income from their property, but with the risk that the guest might do damage to it. For guests, the advantage can be relatively inexpensive accommodations, but with the risk that the property won’t be as appealing as the listing made it seem.
- Travelers can often book an Airbnb for LESS than the cost of a hotel room.
- The main risk to the traveler is that the property may not live up to its listing.
- The main risk to hosts is that guests might do serious damage to their property.
- The global pandemic due to the novel coronavirus has resulted in significant changes to Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances cancellation policy.
The Advantages of Airbnb
Airbnb hosts list many different kinds of properties—single rooms, a suite of rooms, apartments, moored yachts, houseboats, entire houses, even a castle—on the Airbnb website.
Hosts don’t have to pay to list their properties. Listings can include written descriptions, photographs with captions, and a user profile where potential guests can get to know a bit about the hosts.
Hosts Can Set Their Own Price
It’s up to each host to decide how much to charge per night, per week, or per month.
Guests can search the Airbnb database—not only by date and location, but by price, type of property, amenities, and the language of the host. They can also add keywords (such as “close to the Louvre”) to further narrow their search.
In recent years Airbnb has expanded its offerings to include experiences and restaurants. Besides a listing of available accommodations for the dates they plan to travel, people searching by location will see a list of experiences, such as classes and sightseeing, offered by local Airbnb hosts. Restaurant listings also include reviews from Airbnb hosts.
Protections for Guests and Hosts
As a protection for guests, Airbnb holds the guest’s payment for 24 hours after check-in before releasing the funds to the host.
For hosts, Airbnb’s Host Guarantee program “provides protection for up to $1,000,000 in damages to covered property in the rare event of guest damage, in eligible countries.”
A community built on sharing
Airbnb began in 2008 when two designers who had space to share hosted three travelers looking for a place to stay. Now, millions of hosts and travelers choose to create a free Airbnb account so they can list their space and book unique accommodations anywhere in the world. And Airbnb experience hosts share their passions and interests with both travelers and locals.
Airbnb helps make sharing easy, enjoyable, and safe. We verify personal profiles and listings, maintain a smart messaging system so hosts and guests can communicate with certainty, and manage a trusted platform to collect and transfer payments.
Your safety is our number one concern. Learn more in our Trust and Safety Center.
We’ve answered the most common questions about Airbnb in our Help Center. Learn more about finding a place to stay, paying for your reservation or what it means to host a place to stay or to host an experience.
And our global community support team is standing by 24/7 in 11 different languages to help make things right with rebooking assistance, refunds, reimbursements, our $1 million dollar Host Guarantee, and insurance programs for both homes and experiences. Reach out to us with any questions.