Love it or hate it Airbnb.com has revolutionized hotel bookings across the world. The company was founded in 2008 as a way for 2 designers to share some of their empty space with 3 travellers looking for a place to stay. Based in San Francisco the website now has over 4 million properties listed in almost 200 countries around the world including the United Kingdom. If you have never used it the concept is extremely straight forward, London home owners list their apartment, house or even room on the website allowing travellers to search for the perfect place to stay. It is a great way for hosts to make some extra income from spare rooms or even list their property while they are away. Looking for the best hotels in London? Or the best areas to stay in London?
When you visit the homepage you are greeted with a basic search box that offers you a suggestion on what to search. If you are signed in you get more detail including previously search rooms and destinations. You can filter search results by date, guests, home type which includes entire house, private room or shared room and price. Advanced filters allow selecting number of beds, bathrooms, amenities and facilities.
After selecting your preferred room you can see more information about it as well as the house rules, cancellation policy and most importantly reviews. Sites like airbnb.com rely on the reviews of the users and hosts to ensure quality accommodation is available so I suggest spending a lot of time read these reviews. If the host keeps cancelling at the last minute or the room is not up to scratch then you can choose elsewhere.
After you are happy with your selection you need to select your dates and click the big red book button. After you have booked and the host accepts you booking you will be required to make payment. Most credit cards are accepted as well as Paypal, if you are using the Android App or iOS app you can pay using Google Pay or Apple Pay. Even though you pay in advance the money you pay is held in escrow until 24 hours after you have checked in to ensure that the room is satisfactory. Cancellations can be tricky depending on the cancellation policy of the room, from fully flexible to super strict. Check this before booking especially if you have a habit of changing your booking plans on the fly.
We love airbnb and have used it from extensively in Australia, the USA and Europe without any major hiccups. As with most things it pays to spend the extra time researching before making a booking. As a special offer to London Guide readers you can get $50 in travel credit when you make your first booking with airbnb by clicking here or using the banner below.