Image Credit: Airbnb
Airbnb is the current trend that people settle for when it comes to traveling in style. It started off as a home-sharing option in San Francisco in 2008 and then today, we have the opportunity to stay in cozy houses for a reasonable price. We fell for this ideation because Airbnb fits perfectly between the hotels and private long-term lease option. The world is slowly embracing it, even Chinese people is the 2nd largest group to visit Airbnb homes in Singapore. What is even more surprising is that the first spot is taken by Singapore. Singaporeans are filling local Airbnb homes faster than any other foreign travelers, which I attributed that to the staycation trend in the country. This was shared by an Airbnb rep at their downtown office in Singapore.
This home-sharing concept is fresh and inviting to the younger generations, yet proved to be difficult penetrating the older generations in terms of usage. I am certainly not working for Airbnb, nor an advocate for them. But I have to admit that they have changed the way I travel, or rather the way I choose my accommodation option from Vietnam to New York. Indirectly, by choosing to stay in these homes we are also helping the hosts that are willing to lease out their properties – to make use of empty rooms/apartments to generate income. Just like car-pool and bike-sharing, or even commercial business like Uber, the idea revolves around tweaking private ownership to increase social welfare. This social thing, I am an advocate for that.
I worked with brands to help manage my cost of travel and that is in exchange for content creation – something which I love doing. Airbnb’s referral programme is another good opportunity to leverage on as a travel writer. Educating people through my content (authentic and practical experiences) is one of reasons why I started writing. This way, I have ‘inspired’ about 32 people (first-time users and counting) around the globe to try out Airbnb so far. The referral programme works for every Airbnb users out there, you can start referring your family and friends to give them and yourself travel credits! If you have read my post about Iceland itinerary, I have a good amount of users who signed up through that because no one is going to build a hotel in the middle of nowhere where the local population is just 2.3k (as of 2016). This way, Airbnb has opened up the option for hosts to accommodate travelers in these remote areas. We are looking at a travel game-changer here.
Airbnb cottages in East Iceland
Image Credit: Airbnb
I like the way new businesses do their marketing nowadays, that is through their new customers’ word of mouth, nothing beats the review coming from an existing customer. This probably explains why traditional marketing is not effective for some brands out there. If we look at Airbnb’s cancellation policy, they left it up to hosts to decide their cancellation policy which in a way, determines the percentage of fee (3% or 5%) they give to Airbnb. This is another reason why I like them, because the percentage is much lesser than branded OTAs out there. The resulting effect is that more money to be spilt between the host and the guest – another social benefit.
Since the inception of Airbnb, I have been staying in Airbnb homes except for the times when I was on a campervan road trip in New Zealand or partnering with accommodation providers. There are humble rooms in the city of Tokyo to luxury villas in Europe top-notch locations. It is an experience that is vastly different from staying in a hotel (sometimes I do miss it). Compare walking out of your apartment surrounding by locals on the street of Okinawa to walking into your Sheraton hotel lobby full of tourists.
Last but not least, this is not a call for my readers to sign up with Airbnb through my link but a pure sharing session. But if you really need it, it is here.