Everyone at some stage considers using Airbnb but if it is your first time using Airbnb, fear not we have some commonly asked questions. Airbnb has over 2.3 million listings worldwide, so it is important to research the area of the place you are planning on staying.

There are commonly asked questions that are frequently asked questions by first-time users of Airbnb before you make your first booking. You will become an expert in no time.

Here are some of the most Airbnb frequently asked questions by first-time users of Airbnb.

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What Is Airbnb?

airbnb Logo

Airbnb is an online marketplace that lets people otherwise known as hosts or Airbnb hosts rent out their properties or spare rooms to guests. Guests are also known as Airbnb guests.

This is the main difference that it connects regular people, the hosts who have spare rooms or property to earn extra income in the form of short-term rentals.

Airbnb enables guests to book unique homestays from local hosts, saving them money and giving them a chance to interact with locals.

What Does Airbnb Stand For?

It stands for Air-bed and Breakfast, or Airbnb (“Air-b-n-b”) for short.

How Does Airbnb Work?

Airbnb is a marketplace and works like any other marketplace. There are 3 main steps, plus a further 2 steps.

  1. Listing: Airbnb host adds their property to the marketplace with photos, details, terms & conditions, and availability.
  2. Booking: The Airbnb guest, if they like the listing. They contact the Airbnb host who can answer any questions or requests. If the quest is happy, they can book the listings on Airbnb. And the host needs to approve this.
  3. Payment: The payment is handled by Airbnb. Airbnb charges a flat 3% for the host on the final booking price and it charges from 0% to 20% transaction fees for the guest. Note: Payments must be handled by Airbnb, otherwise if not and something goes wrong with the accommodation. Airbnb does not have to help you.

During and after using the accommodation, should something go wrong, Airbnb provides support. They can be contacted on twitter.com/AirbnbHelp or by phone number.

Plus after your stay, you are expected to leave a review. Remember the host can also leave a review on you the guest, which can affect how easily the next host will approve or disapprove your stay with them.

  1. Support: Airbnb offers support if there is a problem with the accommodation.
  2. Reviews: Hosts and guests can leave reviews on each other.

Who Are Airbnb’s Competitors?

Airbnb is not the first to be doing this but there are bigger companies that have adapted to be more like Airbnb as this industry continues to grow.

Some of the Airbnb competitors and alternatives.

  • Tripping.com – The best single site for Airbnb Competitors in one place. Search millions of listings and/or list your own space for rent everywhere except on Airbnb.
  • HomeAway.com – A newer Airbnb alternative platform in which travelers can browse and book vacation homes and rental owners can manage bookings.
  • Wimdu.com – A very similar service to Airbnb, primarily based in Europe but spreading quickly.
  • OneFineStay.com – Offers upscale city accommodation for visitors while the homeowner is out of town, allowing homeowners to earn an extra income.
  • VacationRentals.com – Part of the Home Away family of websites, this is another platform for homeowners to rent out their space when they’re not home.
  • FlipKey.com – A vacation rental marketplace that enables users to find and book a place to stay through its web platform.
  • CouchSurfing.com – Stay with hosts for free, usually in exchange for also hosting others on your “couch” for free.

How Do Airbnb Verify Users?

Here is Airbnb’s verification process.

  1. Take a photo and upload an image of your government-issued ID, such as your driver’s license or passport.
  2. Connect another online profile to your Airbnb accounts, such as a Facebook, Google, or LinkedIn account.
  3. Upload an Airbnb profile photo and provide a phone number and email address.

There is also another safety feature that would be their review system. Simply, Airbnb hosts and guests leave reviews on each other. Receiving good reviews helps to be approved by future hosts.

How Do I Contact Airbnb Customer Support?

It can be difficult to directly speak to Airbnb’s customer support.

Phone numbers are not always easily reachable / and can be used only for emergencies. While emails are no better.

The quickest way to contact Airbnb and receive a quick response is via Twitter: simply write a message to twitter.com/AirbnbHelp and you will receive an answer within a few minutes.

Does Airbnb Do Background Checks?

The simple answer is No. All users of Airbnb identify themselves by uploading a verified ID (passport, driver’s license, etc).

The users also connect their Airbnb accounts to social network sites such as Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Airbnb doesn’t collect any background information on its users. Users of Airbnb should pick hosts or guests with positive reviews.

Will Airbnb Refund The Service Fee?

This depends, the service fee is refundable up to 3 times per year if you cancel within 48 hours of booking the reservation.

Airbnb Extra Charges

The service fee isn’t refundable if, at the time you cancel your reservation if it has been more than 48 hours since you booked the reservation.

Can You See And/Or Contest A Bad Review By An Airbnb Host? How?

To see your reviews, they are on your page. You’ll know you’re on the right page when it says user/show/ at the end of the Airbnb URL. When you have reviews, they’ll appear under your wish lists.

Check The Previous Reviews

Airbnb’s review system lets a review be pending for 2 weeks. This gives you the opportunity to write your version of the story. If replying to a bad review, explain your side of the story in a mature way, and don’t try and insult the host.

It also means that for 2 weeks you can receive other good reviews and once the negative review is published it already looks outdated.

Who Can See My Airbnb Profile?

Everyone can see your Airbnb profile. It’s public.

Airbnb Host Accusing Me Of Causing Damage?

When a host finds damage in their listing, they must go to the guest to advise of the damage first.

If the guest denies knowledge of the damage, then the Airbnb host must go to the Airbnb Resolution Centre to access the security deposit. And if Airbnb agrees that the information provided is upheld. Then the host can claim damages.

Note: All this must occur within 48 hours or before the next guest checks in.

One of the best ways to prevent this is when it’s time to leave, meet the host, let them look around and this should avoid any misunderstandings.

There is an Airbnb post here about this, that explains the process in more detail.

Airbnb Host Not Responding After Booking?

Most Airbnb hosts care about the guests and their potential negative reviews. So most likely they do have a good reason why they are not responding. Be understanding.

Firstly, try to contact the host through the Airbnb website so you have evidence of the effort. Also, check the listing information the host may have sent you for any other contacts in the event the host is unavailable.

Communicate With Host

Before contacting the Airbnb support center, try to contact the host via all possible means. Airbnb message/email/text and call just so if there is a potential dispute, you’d have the proof of you reaching out.

After that fails, then you need to contact the Airbnb support center via the contact number in the country you are visiting.

The Airbnb center will try to contact the host. If still no success they can contact the nominated next of kin. If that fails, Airbnb will try to resolve it by either helping to find another place to stay or a refund.

Should Airbnb Guests Clean Be Leaving?

Yes, you should tidy the rooms and clean the dishes before leaving. You are not expected to clean the place but to leave it in a reasonable condition.

Being a good guest means getting a good review, therefore, making it easier to get future bookings.

Should Airbnb Provide Toilet Paper And Towels

Again the simple answer is Yes. There is an Airbnb post on this that can be viewed here. That covers what the hosts should provide.

No Toilet Paper?

This includes essential amenities such as toilet paper, soap, linens/sheets, and at least one towel and pillow per booked guest.

How Does Airbnb Work To Get Keys?

From my experience, the 3 most common have been.

  • You meet the host or someone else near the Airbnb to receive the keys.
  • Keys are locked in a key box which opens with a code. The code is provided to you ahead of time.
  • Keys are hidden somewhere near the front door.

Wrapping Up

Finally, Airbnb offers a wide range of properties to rent in the short term. Knowing what to expect and what to do if something goes wrong, will help make you enjoy your upcoming trip.

You can check out our Airbnb beginner’s guide here and our FAQ on Airbnb before signing up.

And that’s it for now! I’d love it if this post on Airbnb frequently asked questions for first-time guest users were helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know what you think if you have used Airbnb.

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Airbnb Frequently Asked Questions For The First Time Guest Users