Airbnb was founded in 2008. Its popularity has been snowballing over the years since then. However, I had been shying away from using the portal because of a (mis)conception that it entailed sleeping in a room in someone's house while they were there too. As I value my privacy and space, this did not appeal to me. Here is my Airbnb experience.
While booking accommodation for my family in Windhoek, Namibia, I had been disappointed with the options I found on other portals, like Booking.com - which I normally use for my travels in other continents. I had credit from signing up through a referral link which entitled me to an Airbnb discount off my first stay. So, I decided to have a look at what Airbnb had to offer- one day before travelling.
I was pleasantly surprised at the Advanced Search options which allowed me to enter the exact parameters I was looking for. Dates, number of people, budget etc. The main field for me though was an option to tick whether I wanted the “place to myself”, a private room or a shared room. Of course, I chose the first option.
I browsed through the results, shortlisted them, then decided on an apartment under the name of “Faanbergh”. Airbnb asked me to upload a photo so that my host could recognise me. I booked the apartment and the host responded with a positive confirmation almost immediately. As my booking was for the following day, this was a big plus. After my credit, the apartment cost me R.671 for four people, not a bad deal at all.
When we got to the street address given, we couldn't find an apartment by the name of “Faanbergh”. We asked a friendly Samaritan who was parked nearby. He called the number given to us and obtained the name of the building where we would find the apartment- Merensky Tower. It was just a block away. We drove to the building where we were met by our friendly hostess, Modesta. She showed us to our apartment.
The spacious apartment had two bedrooms, a bathroom, and an open-plan lounge, dining and kitchen area. It was clean, neat, and modern. The kitchen was fully-equipped. There was a small balcony too. Complimentary wi-fi was provided although it was slow. All we needed was soap and shampoo. The building had 24 hour security and free parking. We spent one night there.
After checking out, we were rated by our host. However, we could only see the rating after leaving our own rating. It was good on both ends.
We were pleasantly surprised by the luxurious accommodation and our first Airbnb experience . Apart from the minor problem of finding the apartment once we were in the correct street, it was all good. The portal was easy to use and all misconceptions were dispelled. It is definitely something we would do again, although I would still not choose a place to share.
If you are an Airbnb host, follow these tips for Airbnb hosts to minimise the chances of problems.
Have you had an Airbnb experience ? Let me know what it was like – good or bad.
Read The Airbnb Story, an amazing, behind the scenes account of Airbnb's journey.
Things you must do in South Africa
Join 50,000+ Fans