With over 200 million guests worldwide, Airbnb is the best-known sharing community in the world. You can book private accommodations of various kinds here. In this article, you’ll learn what Airbnb is, how the portal works, and what options it offers for guests and hosts. I’ll also tell you about the ban on the misappropriation of apartments in various states and major cities, and explain what you need to be aware of if you want to sublet your private living space via Airbnb.
What is Airbnb?
Airbnb is a company based in San Francisco, California that offers private accommodations as a place to stay around the world. Founded in August 2008, the company has over 200 million total Airbnb guests around the world.
Founders Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia started the idea in their own living room. They invited visitors into their own homes and offered them a place to sleep on an air mattress. In the morning, visitors could enjoy breakfast. The idea of inviting people from all over the world to their homes and earning money with it was born. Today, the online portal is known worldwide and is worth over $31 billion.
How does Airbnb work?
Airbnb works like a common travel provider booking platform. One major difference from other sites: Here, users can book private accommodations from local hosts and also rent out their own rooms. The idea behind this concept is not to be a foreign tourist on a trip, but a welcome guest. Airbnb now offers more than three million accommodations in over 65,000 cities in 191 countries. In addition to normal rooms, you can find tree houses, rooms in castles, and many other accommodations worth seeing. Worldwide, for example, there are 1,400 castles to choose from.
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Become an Airbnb host
The principle is simple: anyone can register with the portal and create an account. This can be done via Facebook, Google, or email. If you want to become a host, you have to create an ad. This means that you create a profile of the living space that you want to rent out. In several steps, you have to fill in how many beds are available, how the room is equipped, and what price you charge for an overnight stay.
Do not forget the address of the accommodation. Add photos to your advertisement to give the potential customer a picture of your rooms. In your advertisement you must specify the cancellation conditions and, if you wish, you can ask for a deposit from the visitor. Users can view your ad, book the property and rate it by telling about their experience. The better rated, the greater the trust in you as a host for other users.
How to book an Airbnb
In six steps I will show you how to book an Airbnb.
1. Register at Airbnb
To book a private apartment, a house, or just a room with the agent, you need to log in via Facebook, Google, or after registering with your email address. To do this, go to the “Log-in” item in the navigation.
2. Create a trustworthy profile
You should complete your profile with various details and photos. The more detailed your profile, the more trustworthy it is for other users such as hosts. They would like to know more about you before inviting you to their home.
3. Search destination
Once you are on the home page, you can enter the city where you are looking for a place to stay in the search box. For some cities, such as Berlin, you will see specific neighborhoods when you enter the city.
4. Narrow down the search with further key data
If you click on the button “Travel dates”, you can specify the travel period in a calendar. Under the next item “Guests” you enter the number of travelers. With each filter you set, the results shown below will be specified. Other options to narrow down the results are the selection of a certain type of accommodation (room or entire apartment/house) and the price. If you are in a hurry and want to be on the safe side, you can click the “Book now” button. Then you will only see ads that you can book without waiting for confirmation from the host. This is because the host determines whether the object is available for immediate booking or whether a booking request must be made first. If you have to make a booking request, it may be that other users advertise the accommodation in the same period. In this case, the host/housekeeper decides to whom he/she will make his/her property available. A tip: Convince the host of you with a personal message. This will increase your chance to be the chosen one.
For further restrictions click the button “More filters”. Here you can specify how many rooms and beds you want, what equipment you value, and more. Among other things, you can check the box “Pets allowed” under “House rules”. In this way, you will only be listed the appropriate accommodations.
5. Select advertisement from different results
Once you have filled out the search mask according to your wishes, you can choose between different advertisements. All available accommodations are listed with a photo, location, and price as well as pinned on a map. You can get more information about an ad by clicking on it. The advertisements are filled out differently – many are more detailed, others less. You can browse around and choose the offer that suits you best.
All previous steps can be adjusted, undone, or changed at any time. This is possible up to the last step “book with the obligation to pay”.
6. Book liable to pay
Once you have decided on suitable accommodation, click on the final button “book” and rent the apartment, house, or room of your choice for the desired period. After the host has confirmed your booking, you exchange your phone numbers. This can be helpful on the day of arrival to discuss the exact time of arrival. A few days before the booked travel period, the portal will remind you about your accommodation. It suggests you contact the host to clarify all the details of arrival.
Airbnb payment – also possible without a credit card
Payment is made by credit card or via Paypal. Guests pay directly to the portal when booking. The host receives the money 24 hours after check-in. This ensures the best possible financial protection for guests and hosts. Should you or your host cancel the booking before arrival, you can be sure that you will get your money refunded without complications.
There are costs for using the Airbnb platform – both when you rent out your own rooms and when you book an apartment or the like. I’ll show you what those costs look like now.
Airbnb service fees for guests
Anyone who rents accommodation through the online platform pays a service fee of 6-12 percent. The more expensive the stay, the lower the service fee. You will find out the amount of the service fee in the booking details as well as on the invoice receipt. If a landlord cancels a booking, the guest does not have to pay a service fee. If the guest cancels the booking, the portal will not refund the paid service fee. If a booking is changed, the service fee is automatically adjusted to the new booking.
Airbnb service fees for hosts
The service fee for hosts is 3 percent of the subtotal for the booking. This fee is charged to cover the cost of processing guest payments. No service fee is due until an actual booking occurs.
When booking, check out what your host’s cancellation policy is. Cancellation policies range from “flexible” to “very strict”. The flexible cancellation is possible up to one day before the start of the trip. The strict cancellation must be made at least 60 days before the start of the trip. These cancellation conditions apply to both sides. Thus, it is possible that the host cancels a booking. If this happens at short notice (for example, with a flexible cancellation condition), the booker usually receives a voucher from the portal as compensation. If you want a safe place to sleep, you should select a listing that specifies “moderate” to “strict” as a cancellation condition. This way, the landlord can at least not cancel the booking at short notice.
If a landlord requires a deposit for their property on their profile, here’s how it works. You don’t pay the deposit with the booking. Instead, your payment information is stored by Airbnb. The landlord has 14 days after your check-out to claim the set deposit. To do this, he must prove with photos and other evidence that damage has occurred and how much it is. If Airbnb decides that a deposit is due, your credit card or Paypal account will be charged with the corresponding amount by the portal. Unless the landlord or landlady you stayed with files a claim for the deposit after your departure, your account will not be charged.
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Who is liable at Airbnb? – the host guarantee
If a guest accidentally damages a host’s property that exceeds the value of the set deposit, the Airbnb Host Guarantee comes into effect. This covers damages up to a value of $800,000. The Host Guarantee is not guaranteed if theft of cash, securities, jewelry, collectibles, or pets occurs. The portal recommends hosts secure or removes valuables. Also, the host guarantee is not provided if it is determined that the visitor has intentionally damaged an item. You can read all the details about the host guarantee on the website.
Deleting your Airbnb account – how to deactivate your profile
You cannot delete your Airbnb account. You can only deactivate your profile and you will no longer be able to find it on the platform. So that you can reactivate your deactivated account with a message to Airbnb neither, your profile is not completely deleted. All your content will be back if you want it. Thus, if you deactivate your profile, it will only be untraceable online, but not deleted.
If you want to deactivate your Airbnb account, select the “Account” section on the page. There you click on “Settings” and then on “Deactivate my account”. This step will automatically cancel all confirmed bookings as a guest or host.
Airbnb in rented and owned apartments under Austrian law
Basically, it is allowed in Austria to sublet your private living space to visitors for a fee. However, for this, you have to follow some rules and legal basics. If it is a rented apartment, the property management or the owner must be informed. In addition, you may not charge a higher rent for your apartment than your own. Subletting your apartment may not exceed a maximum period of six months. You may not live in the apartment during this period. It is forbidden to rent out one or more apartments to visitors on a permanent commercial basis. If this is discovered, you may be fined. It is permitted to make your own apartment available to a host family free of charge.
If you want to sublet your condominium, you must inform the co-owners and obtain their permission. The costs for the subtenant may not be higher than your own rent. It is strictly forbidden to rent out Vienna municipal apartments to third parties.
The ban on misappropriation in Germany – Berlin, Hamburg, Bavaria & Co.
Since May 1, 2014, Berlin has had a ban on the misappropriation of apartments. It states that it is prohibited by law to commercially rent out apartments in Berlin to tourists without obtaining written permission to do so. Thus, vacation rentals in Berlin are generally subject to approval. The permit must be applied for at the district office in whose district the apartment is located. Other federal states such as Hamburg and Bavaria are following suit. In addition, the ban on misappropriation applies in various major cities such as Cologne or Dortmund, where there is a shortage of housing, especially in the centers.
The reason for the ban on misappropriation is to ensure that people looking for accommodation can find a place to live for themselves. As a result of the fact that renting to tourists brings in more income than renting to permanent tenants, many landlords have stopped releasing their apartments to tenants and have instead rented them out exclusively to tourists. The Airbnb platform served as an intermediary for them. If there were no travelers, the apartments were empty, thus removed from the rental market. On the other side were the residents who could not find a place to live. With the ban on misappropriation, the state parliament drew a line.
Why Airbnb – Conclusion.
Airbnb is an online platform suitable for people who want to spend unique stays in different places of the world. The portal does not offer hotels, but private accommodation of all kinds. You can browse around the site and discover interesting properties. For both guests and Airbnb hosts, the portal is a good choice. Guests have the opportunity to find a cheap place to stay for their vacation and hosts earn money with their vacant rooms. Airbnb’s policies safeguard both parties. The intermediary clarifies everything around payment, cancellation and deposit. This way, there are rarely any problems between the parties. Despite all the safeguards provided by Airbnb, it is important that you follow the law as well as state and city regulations when renting out your own space. In particular, the ban on the misappropriation of apartments in various states and major cities in Germany should be mentioned here. If you do not comply with it, you could face high fines, which even the online platform cannot help you with.
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