In recent years, sites like HomeAway and Airbnb have given travelers a variety of new lodging options. While home-sharing and vacation rental properties can seem like good and inexpensive alternatives to booking hotel rooms, they often come with much greater risks and uncertainties.
Safety and Privacy
Short term rentals are extremely unregulated, unlike hotels. Safety and privacy are a much larger concern. Only 80% of Airbnbs reported having smoke detectors. Even less, 58%, reported having a carbon monoxide detector and only 42% reported having a fire extinguisher. Even more unsettling, many travelers have found hidden or undisclosed cameras in their rentals. Established laws and regulations help to ensure that hotels are kept to certain safety standards. This, unfortunately, is not the case for short term rentals.
Photos That Don’t Match Reality
While the photos of a short-term rental property might look great online, the place might not always look as good in person. Prior to arrival travelers have very few resources to verify the level of cleanliness, comfort and quality. Airbnb, HomeAway and other vacation rental sites have a huge variety of properties. Because of this, there is no consistent standard that guests can expect.
At a hotel, someone is always guaranteed to be at the front desk when you arrive. Travelers don’t need to worry about storing their bags, arriving at an exact time, or getting clear instructions. Short-term rental properties can have very difficult check in process. With some sites, the exact address isn’t even revealed until shortly before arrival. This can add an unnecessary amount of stress to your travel plans.
One of the main reasons people choose to stay in rentals over hotels is cost. At first glance, they can seem to be the cheaper option. With the addition of cleaning fees, service fees, and taxes the average cost per night increases dramatically. These additions make rentals far less competitive on price when compared to hotels.
Laws restricting short term rentals have become more and more popular. The lack of regulation is a big concern. In many large cities, including Miami, Los Angeles, New York and Las Vegas, restrictions have been put in place to limit the number of legal rentals. When these laws are broken there are often large fines. It can also leave travelers, who had no idea their vacation home was illegal, stranded without any place to stay.
No matter what kind of property it is, travelers should be aware of all risks and benefits when booking. With short-term rentals, it is important to be extra cautious. We hope you have an amazing, stress free housing experience on every trip you take!