There’s a reason why my first Airbnb experience paled in comparison to my typical hotel experience.
A few months ago, my cousin reached out to me to discuss bachelorette party locations (you know, Maid of Honor duties). Remember, I’m in three weddings this summer, so apologies if my blogs have centered on wedding festivities.
This is a good one, though. It’s about my first experience with Airbnb and how the home-sharing platform did not exceed my expectations, which totally contradicts my colleague Sean McCracken’s recent experience.
Let me back up a little.
After some discussion, my cousin and I decided on Nashville. If you know anything about Nashville’s hotel market, you know it’s on fire. Even if you don’t know anything about Nashville, I can tell you it’s on fire, literally. It was hot as heck.
We decided that with a group of 12 women, the best option would be to book an entire home on Airbnb. After all, average daily rates at Nashville hotels that weekend were way out of our budget, not to mention that we’d need to get three rooms just to accommodate us.
We ended up booking a whole house on Airbnb about 15 minutes outside of downtown Nashville. My other cousin (not the bride) and I decided to drive down earlier than the rest of the group, so we were going to be the first ones arriving at the home. While we were driving down, the bride called with an update. Apparently the owner of the Airbnb home was running late and was going to have to clean the place up in a rush for us.
Well, okay, we’d give her the benefit of the doubt, because hey—she’s seven-and-a-half-months pregnant.
When we first arrived around 10 o’clock at night, we could hardly see the door because of the overgrown landscaping, but luckily every single light was on in the house. We walked up to the door and tried our luck with the Master Lock attached to the door handle. It was so not-user-friendly that we had to call our host. She was pleasant but said this happens all the time and gave us instructions on how to finagle it open.
First red flag: If you’ve had numerous complaints about the lock on the door, wouldn’t you look into replacing it with something that’s easier to use?
We managed to get inside with all of our bags and groceries, and we immediately did a walk through. This is standard practice. I even do it at hotels. I just like to make sure that nothing glaring stands out and there’s no problems.
The first thing we noticed was the smell coming from the refrigerator. It was awful. I’m talking something you could smell while standing 10 feet away. We opened the refrigerator door and found the culprit: lots of old food, mold and overall grossness inside the doors. We decided to take it upon ourselves to pull out every shelf of the refrigerator and clean it ourselves. You’re welcome, Airbnb host.
We made it to the living room, which was big, bright and beautiful. The house really was perfect for what we needed for the long weekend. But as we looked down at the area rug, we saw all kinds of debris and crumbs. We managed to find the vacuum (along with a lot of other stuff that seemed to be hastily shoved into places) and gave the rug a once over.
Then, we stepped onto the small porch in the back to find that it was covered in leaves and spider webs. This is something I wouldn’t necessarily write about in a “bad” review, but knowing that 12 people were coming, I probably would have cleaned up the porch.
Then there were the bathrooms. First off, none of the bathrooms were accessible unless you went through bedrooms. That’s not ideal when there are 12 women in a house, so a lot of people ended up hanging out in my room all day. The bathrooms weren’t terrible, but when we did our walkthrough, we found some hairs in the bathtub and rings in one of the toilets. At this point, maybe I was looking for it though.
Overall, everything besides the cleanliness was stellar. We had everything at our fingertips, plenty of space and we were located on a no outlet street, which meant no through traffic.
This could be a one-off situation and not all Airbnb homes may be this way, but the possibility illustrates the value and reliability of a hotel room.
If there’s one thing a hotel has that an Airbnb doesn’t, it’s a full-time housekeeping staff. Some Airbnb hosts know that their houses are “party houses,” and I do believe that was the case with ours. However, it doesn’t mean that you skimp on cleaning it just because you know it will get messed up again. Just because we’re going to spend a weekend doing bachelorette-type things doesn’t mean we want to spend our weekend in filth.
The cleanliness factor is something that has to be at the top of your priority list if you’re opening your home up to someone else, regardless of what they’re there for. Imagine if you landed in a hotel room, weary after missing a flight, and then you found that it smelled of rotten food, had not been vacuumed in God knows how long and there were hairs all over the bathtub. You’d probably call the front desk and demand a new room. You can’t do that with an Airbnb—unless by some chance a person has multiple Airbnb units, which is a whole other story.
That is why it’s so important to get it right the first time, Airbnb hosts, or your guests may not return. Instead, they may venture back to that comfortable and reliable hotel brand where they’ve always had good luck.
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