Two Ends of a Spectrum: AirBnB Experience

“I am so sorry that your boat broke down! Do you want some water or beer?” Sandra, one of our hosts, asked while she checked my host sister and me in to our room. “Also, I understand that you’re tired, but you should join us for mojito and sunset watching tonight.”

Have your ever heard those words come out of a hotel receptionist? I don’t think so.

AirBnB is more than just a service that connects guests and hosts: It’s a community. Not only does it strive to make you feel at home while you’re away from home, but AirBnB also becomes a platform for travelers to create connections and friendships.

That is one of many reasons I prefer staying at an AirBnB. From my past experiences, my hosts were all amazing. I especially love David and Sandra from my Gili Trawangan AirBnB.

Our boat broke down on our way from Bali to Gili Trawangan, but David was really flexible with check in time and did not want us to worry about it. (We were stressed enough getting stuck in the middle of open water while the boat crews fixed the motor Indonesian style — with duct tape.)

Once we arrived, Sandra checked us in and invited us for some mojitos and a night out with her. We also met up with her other friends and AirBnB guests who stayed at our guesthouse. She showed us a shortcut to get to the other side of the island and got us a mojito discount. We then stayed up late partying with them.

Sounds nothing like your typical hotel experience.

Also, our AirBnB owned pet cats. As much as I love dogs, I couldn’t resist playing with Alfie. He was a cool cat.

However, not every host is like David and Sandra (and Alfie).

AirBnB hosts are just humans (and cats) like us; therefore, some of them can be real crappy. My friend, Sally, a former AirBnB user, just recently had a horrible experience using AirBnB in our hometown, Jakarta, Indonesia.

“[The host] complained about the stains that were already there on the marble floor and forced me to pay $200 for nothing,” she said. “She also didn’t let us sit on the white sofa without a covering because she didn’t want any stain on it.”

Sally hesitated but decided to deactivate her AirBnB account so her host couldn’t write a bad review for something that she didn’t do.

“Although I didn’t do it, [the negative review] would still look bad on my profile,” she said. “It would make it difficult to book with other hosts.”

Despite Sally’s unfortunate tale, I still think the review system is AirBnB’s best feature. Guests and hosts can inform (and also warn) each other and submit a constructive critique to create a better AirBnB experience and community.

Most AirBnB hosts and guests are people who understand and value good stay and travel, and they care about each other. This community is what makes AirBnB better than hotels.

Also, until hotels have dogs and cats as a part of their amenities, I think I’ll stick around with AirBnB.

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