something wonderful happened during my previous summer vacation. I fell in love! It happened just before the vacation when I realized: Hey, i am traveling with two small children... maybe i should book some rooms in advance...
It was almost too late. The places i found were either too expensive or not suitable for us. I was sure i could find some affordable 4 bed bedroom in a hostel. This is what i wanted. I wanted a simple room and the possibility to use a kitchen. Using the kitchen when traveling with the family is really important. 1) you save a lot of money 2) you can prepare a nice simple dinner that everyone likes. 3) you don’t have to hear your 1 year old baby crying for one whole hour before you find a way to warm her some milk. But, it wasn’t so easy. Some hostels do not have 4 bed bedrooms, others did not have a kitchen, for others it was clear we would be surrounded by very young high/drunk people that we will end up envying for the whole time. So... ok, let’s look for an apartment. And then my love story begins. I sign up for Airbnb. NOW... I know a lot about airbnb. I red about it, heard about it, know people who used it. But, until the moment i began using it i did not understand the MAGIC. So, I don’t want to tell you EVERYTHING about the company. You can read some about it all around the web or in the book “what mine is yours” for example or HERE or HERE. To make a long story short it is an online platform allowing to rent rooms or apartments between privates. So I looked for my room. The platform is really easy to use, like any booking system you put your destiny and dates for a basic search. Then you get information about the rooms/apartments and can either book directly or contact the owner. I realize then that i did not need necessarily an apartment, i could have a room, but for this I need to contact people directly. I write my msg to the first person and send it. The system suggest i contact similar offers. I do. I copy my msg thinking to personalize it and send it again, but when i reach the page i see this has already done for me! the site copies your last msg, taking off the personal name. (So, if you wrote “Hi Dany”, the system would automatically leave only “Hi”). Small things that makes you feel everything is thought for you. OH...those small signs on a first date... (ahhh.... he just cited my favorite book). Going on with my date i loved:
- The cancellation conditions system that is clearly explain with THIS
- Road directions made for you
- Easy format for leaving reviews.
- THE WISH LIST!! (i was just asking myself sometime ago why booking.com doesn’t have one... and here goes...)
The App for android is also good. Some things are more complicated to do, but you can have extra options like “find me a place for tonight” based on your location.Using the digital interface was great!!
Then, When we reached the places we booked it was very interesting to see the stories behind the people. In the first place, a girl was renting two rooms all summer to save some money. She lived in the living room for that time (it is a separate room). A nice way she found to offer her guests a morning coffee was to leave beside the bed coffee capsules for her coffee machine. The second one had a completely different story: a girl rented a whole house for summer vacation in the center of a very charming summer town. To cover her expenses she sublet the other two rooms. It was a very simple situation, but the only way to stay in the center without paying a lot of money. So, Airbnb allows people to get creative about their life and make some extra money if it is for everyday life or vacation.
What more can be done??
- I was thinking about this specific situation of renting a room in a place where you live. The small things that could make it easier to do might be: stickers to put around the place, like: smoking area, Shampoo for common use, This food belongs to ….
There could be an open directory of stickers to download and print out. People that get use to travel in this way will be happy to find the signs they already know, but this will not take off any of the personalization of the place. An on the spot evidence of the service.
- A family friendly “certification”. If people declare they have some specific objects like a high chair a baby bed or other can have a special sign on their website. for me it would have made the difference. It is not enough to know that they are suitable or except families (even though it is very important), but as airbnb users begin to have competition, it can be a plus for them to have a way to diverse their offer.
This is what you see today:
It might show as a badge after the people who are renting out have filled a dedicated form
To end, my love story will continue in the next vacations, i found the better version of the hostel and i am not letting it go!