When Airbnb was launched, it helped redefine the vacation rental market. A new type of vacation emerged by providing accommodation other than hotels. Besides a few lesser known sites like Sabbatical Homes, for the first time, Airbnb offered travellers a hotel alternative for their holiday. The notion of being able to access owners of short term apartment rentals was solidified. Airbnb distinguished its accommodation booking platform by focusing on providing travellers with the opportunity to experience a particular destination just like a local. The question is why should you be searching for an Airbnb alternative?
Difficulties With Airbnb Result in People Investigating Alternative Platforms
It’s become common practice for both guests and hosts to experience challenges with the Airbnb platform. A lack of quality control, questionable customer service practices and countless errors means that the experience can prove rather frustrating.
When you consider that this is a hospitality booking platform, it begs the question whether the people booking feel like valued guests? Could this be the primary reason why guests and property owners began to investigate AirBnB alternatives?
Top 7 Reasons for Choosing an Airbnb Alternative
General Lack of Hospitality
It’s a sobering thought when you consider that Airbnb is a business in the hospitality niche. It appears like an oxymoron that the term hospitality is used in the same sentence as Airbnb. While the company has never been particularly customer service oriented, as time has progressed, this aspect has almost been completely eroded.
Lack of Human Touch and Self Check in
Articles have appeared citing that Airbnb has lost the personal touch because too often, “the only human interaction you get is when you get your keys at the beginning of your stay, often from an apartment concierge rather than the actual host or owner”. Many individuals and even companies have self check ins with zero human contact. How can this be the standard for hospitality businesses?
This lack of human connection is a marked reality, especially when you consider that this is an accommodation booking platform, where the people making the booking are paying customers.
Contacting an Actual Human is Arduous
Do you have the time required to wait on hold for ages?
If you have patience and can wait until your call is answered by a call centre in Asia or the Middle East, the best you will hear is someone regurgitating a carefully written template.
To say it’s robotic is a complete understatement. At times it feels like you’re speaking with a computer, as all you hear are corporate one liners, aimed at silencing your questions. The language barrier is also something that presents challenges.
Lack of Accountability
Being shifted backwards and forwards from one support staff to another is infuriating. When support staff doesn’t feel like addressing an issue and finding a successful outcome, they invariably close the chat session. The entire process and having to explain the problems encountered then have to be repeated and with another nameless person with no direct line to the support member. Why staff is able to merely close support chat sessions before satisfying their customers is quite simply unacceptable.
Questionable Security Protocols
On AirBnB, it’s possible to upload a photo for your account quite easily. But is the guest who is staying, actually the person you’ve tried to vette via their positive reviews? There exists no security measure to ensure that the guest who’s staying in your apartment is the person displayed in the account profile image. This is a concerning error of the platform, as there’s no way to ensure that the person staying in your apartment is the real owner of the account. There is a definite lack of security protocols, which are imperative when vetting potential guests.
Apartments not providing what’s promised
What can you do when you arrive at your selected apartment only to discover that the host lied. The reality is that there are 3 flights of stairs and no washing machine, even though it included a washing machine in the description. A supporter of AirBnB identified this glaring issue when writing the following. “I’ve seen/heard of some properties that haven’t been kept very well, are lacking basic holiday features, or don’t look very good.” Can you even imagine situations in which the ‘fast speed wifi’ isn’t working, even though that’s what displayed on the platform and what the listed property promised?
Who has time to constantly message Airbnb, report your dissatisfaction and spend countless hours attempting to resolve the situation? You’re trying to enjoy your holiday and instead are forced to waste time in an often futile attempt to resolve matters.
If this was a hotel, you would simply complain to front desk, demand the wifi be fixed and worse case scenario, speak with the manager. However, when you arrive at an apartment, you would be lucky to receive a ‘meet and greet’, let alone a dedicated manager to help you with your stay.
Are you seeking an Ethical alternative to Airbnb?
One of the problems with Airbnb is that the company lacks a true corporate ethos. If you ask yourself what Airbnb prioritises and cares about, I’m sure you would be hard pressed to find an answer. Providing a local experience would be the only defining factor that might be mentioned.
As we continue to evolve and in an effort to establish more ethical practices, people are choosing companies based on their company values.
Airbnb is still yet to denounce certain corporate practices and nowhere does the company take a stance on environmental concerns. No rule exists that would prevent a property owner from employing a complete disregard for the environment.
Gen Z cares about corporate business practices
Gen Z has heralded a new standard and companies that ignore their wants and needs will feel the effects. Unlike generations before, Gen Z more than any other group demands more from companies. Nowadays, companies’ corporate practices and values have been placed in the foreground. For example, if there are 2 brands and 1 is committed to only using eco-friendly products, then a gen z will choose the ethically minded company as opposed to the alternative.
Read the following PDF to learn more about Gen Z’s consumer habits
Where can you find Airbnb alternatives Australia?
Accommodation platforms that are similar to Airbnb include:
- Trip advisor
- Sydney Holiday Apartments
What similarities and differences do Airbnb alternatives provide?
Many have commented on the fact that “Homestay is what Airbnb used to be”. On this platform, people stay in the host’s home as a guest. The platform caters to both short and long term stays, as well as those who are travelling for business. It is ideal for those seeking a more hosted travel experience.
VRBO is Vacation Rentals by Owner. It’s been operating since 1996, far longer than AirBnB and some of the security considerations are far better than Airbnb. For example, HomeAway requires people signing up to the platform to take Photos in real time, so that the person renting the apartment is the actual person. The platform only rents out holiday properties, so it’s not a hosted experience.
Booking.com is one of the most popular hotel booking platforms and years ago they began adding apartments and vacation rentals. Unlike Airbnb, the platform doesn’t charge guests for the privilege. However, apartment owners pay approximately 25% of a booking as a fee to the platform. From the host’s perspective, this hefty fee and a lack of customer service are 2 major flaws associated with the platform.
More people are choosing short stay accommodation platforms for travel
Interestingly, the short term accommodation model continues to gain popularity with more and more people occupying both traveller and host positions. Research conducted by Booking.com in 2017 revealed that “one in five people would consider listing their own home on a travel accommodation site”.
Why is Sydney Holiday Apartments a great Airbnb alternative Sydney?
Sydney Holiday Apartments was carefully created to better satisfy both property owners and valued guests. Airbnb doesn’t have a specific target demographic, merely all travellers visiting for work or a vacation. Sydney Holiday Apartments is dedicated to elevating the short term rental market. They’re not seeking to appeal to all people and you won’t find any shared apartment rentals or hostels, only quality apartments that appeal to savvy travellers who want fully furnished apartments in prime locations. Property owners are turned away if their apartments don’t adhere to the high standards expected and this is something unique to the platform.
Guests are actually treated like paying customers
The term guest connotes a certain level of customer service. After all, these guests represent your customers and target demographic. Unlike many accommodation booking platforms, Sydney Holiday Apartment guests are treated like paying customers, deserving of exceptional customer service. The customer is valued and extra measures are taken to make their holiday or business trip enjoyable and hassle-free.
Travellers and property owners are continuing to use alternate Airbnb accommodation platforms, due to the many concerning issues that present. Guests are customers and therefore their wants and needs must be met and ideally exceeded. When a company like Airbnb ignores this basic tenet of business, it leaves the market open for a disruptor to enter. It will be interesting to see what other travel and booking platforms arise as a result.
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