What is Airbnb? – Part 1

Airbnb is a website that allows people to find accommodation in cities for a great rate.

Airbnb allows people to share a spare space that they have such as a spare room in a house, a spare couch or a whole apartment or living space. People are able to choose what type of space they are looking for in the city, with the bonus that often this type of accommodation can be much cheaper than a hotel, and it can allow you to meet local people if you so desire.

Airbnb has also expanded to include experiences, which are a great add on and can be exciting to do both in your home city and in cities abroad.

Experiences can either be a short day course or longer immersion style classes that are usually run by a local or an expert in a certain field, with many of the experiences focusing on social impact and profits going back to the source.

Airbnb also has a feature that will give you information about the local neighborhood and what you can do in the city as recommended by people who live there.

You do not need to join up straight away and you can simply continue reading if you are not interested in joining up yet. If you are interested in joining up please have a look at our brief guide here:

Joining up

You can join up with Facebook or google, or in this case we joined up with our email:

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You will need your email and a mobile phone near you in order to join up in this way.

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Once you fill out the blank sections (with a password that has some strength, think of using symbols like “@” or a number)

You will then see a page that looks similar to the one below:

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This section will ask you to enter your email and phone numbers. You will receive a text to your phone immediately, with a code to enter and you will also receive an email in the email that you entered asking you to confirm the email. Like the one below:

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Once you have confirmed your email and your phone number you will be directed to a profile page, this is your profile page and you can fill out as much or as little as you wish. Although keeping your email and phone number up to date is a sensible idea.

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It is important to note this is not the only way to join up, indeed many people now simply join up via their app on their phone as they will use Airbnb on their phones far more than the computer.

If you are installing the app on your phone, make sure you are using a wireless so that you do not use all your data and it doesn’t take too long.

To download, go to your app store and type in Airbnb all one word and find the Airbnb logo  VC ,k,:Users:nicole:Desktop:Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 11.30.56.png and then press install, once it has downloaded you can click open and either login with your login if you have one or create a login using Google, Facebook, Weibo or your email account. If you are looking for the login it is in the top right hand corner.

We will have a look at booking a place in San Francisco in the USA, as currently only some cities offer the new experiences feature and SF is one of these cities.

When you go to: https://www.airbnb.com.au/

Depending on your screen settings you will see something similar to the screen below, however the cover photo will change so the picture may look different or change while you are looking at it. The cover photo in this case is all the books. While the cover photo might be different the rest of the buttons should be similar or the same, although this is the Australian section of the website.

Underneath cover photo you will see three boxes in a row these are called Where, when and guests.  VC ,k,:Users:nicole:Desktop:Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 09.58.03.png

Typing your destination in the “Where” setting and giving in dates and the guests, you can start to make your enquiry and see what is available in the city you desire at the time that you are going.

While you are typing you will see that the website it will try to auto predict the city you are typing. If the auto predict is not correct, keep typing and disregard what it has typed in and it will change with the more letters that you type in the search bar. As you can see below you can also search from the auto-predict words, simply by scrolling onto the desired word and clicking. If you find this difficult or you keep missing the city that you are trying to find simply type the city in in full .

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 VC ,k,:Users:nicole:Desktop:Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 10.02.52.pngOnce you have done this (and you can always come back and start your search again if you want) then click search and you should be presented with a site that has the different options listed for you as well as map of the city on the right hand side. The map will have prices that are the prices for the accommodation.

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Date

The date refers to the booking date, and as you can see you are able to change the date that you would like for the booking simply by clicking on the date you would like to change (start or end date and then selecting from the calendar that comes up. If you want to change the month the simply use the back and forward arrows near the month name. Once you have selected the correct date, the website will for a few seconds whiteout the pictures of accommodation while the website reloads the ones that are available in the date range that you have selected.

You can also select to change the number of guests that are coming (up to 12)

And you are able to specify ages of guests as well. There are limits to the number of guests allowed.

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The next section to look at is the room type

Here you can choose the type of accommodation that you would like.

An “Entire Home” is where you have the whole place to yourself.

A private rooms means that you will have your own room but share some common spaces, and a shared room means that your room maybe a common space or you might be sharing your room. Again once you choose which ones you would be happy with the screen with the photos of the accommodation will white out for a second while the website presents you with the relevant options. To select, simply tick the boxes that apply to you.

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Price range

The price range is the price range for the entirety of your stay not night by night.

You will see that his is a toggle bar and that you can change your price range based on the whole stay simply by moving the dots at either end. The grey blocks indicate how many are available in that price range. Again the pictures and map will update based on your preferences.

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The final section is called instant booking, this means that you can be instantly approved for your accommodation but it will limit the places that are available to you, it is better to leave this off unless you are in a rush and need it confirmed immediately.

Filters

These filters will vary across cities, and they might change depending on the availability of certain accommodation types.

The filter will filter out accommodation based on your needs. To access filters simply look for the filter button above the pictures of the accommodation. Once you click this button you will be taken to the filters page.

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The filter page contains a range of filters divided in to categories, some of which we have already gone through. Including price and type.

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In most of these categories you are able to expand your selections for filters. To do this you simply click on the down arrow on the far right. As you can see in the above picture I expanded the facilities section dot he arrow is facing up and not down. If I were to click on an up arrow this would make the category smaller again.

Once you have selected your choices you will see the apply filter button will be a deeper red, and you can simply click this and your map and picture will update based on your choices.

The categories are fairly self-explanatory, except Super Host which we have selected in the above picture.

A Super Host is best explained by Airbnb themselves. You can click on the learn more section or here is a picture of their explanation.

Once you have set your filter, they will appear in small boxes next to the filter box and can be removed by clicking the X in the top right hand corner. You may remove filter if they are limiting your searches.

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The pictures

Now that you have set your filters you can explore the options available to you in the pictures.

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The picture above is of an apartment available for the time that we specified. The price is the TOTAL for the time we are staying.

The stars are the amount of star based on Airbnb reviews and the love heart in the top right hand corner provides a range of information about the place and the area.

You are able to quickly swipe through photos by using the right and left arrows in the middle of the picture on either side.

When you click on a picture you will see the price on the map turn to green so that you know what area on the city the room is located in.

 

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The love heart, in the top right hand corner is a way of adding an apartment to your wish list and seeing some details of he apartment, In this manner you can look through all the available options, make a wish list to narrow down your options and then only look at those on your wish list in greater detail.

In order to create a wish list you must join up to Airbnb, now you may already be a member but if you aren’t the join up is fairly simple and mentioned at the start of this guide.

Once you have a Airbnb account, you can click on the heart in the top right hand corner of a picture and start a wish list.

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If you wish to start a wish list you simply create a New wish list (the blue writing bottom of the page) Click this blue/green writing.

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Choose the title of your wish list, I would suggest doing it by city and adding the year.

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Next you will be asked if you would like to invite friends to join this particular wish list. This means that they will be able to see what you add to this list and can be helpful if you are traveling with other people.

You can just click no thanks, or you can add their email and a message and invite them to view your list as well.

Once you have done this you can add your first place to your wish list . When a place is added to a wish list the heart will appear red.

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To see more information about a place click on the reviews button.

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The reviews button is below the picture and will have blue/green stars.

Remember the stars are an average rating so it is important to not only look at the stars but also at the umber of reviews, as one bad review amongst only a few reviews might make the ratings seem worse than several bad reviews amongst a lot of reviews. It is also important to read the reviews posted so that you know if the place is for you. I personally read some of the best reviews and the worst reviews and based on what is said ill decide if I need to read more reviews or if the place is not for me. Some bad reviews might complain about living with others but this might not be an issue for you, it depends on you.

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When you click on the review section you will be taken to a new page, this page has all the information dedicated to this particular place.

The screen will have a large picture of your location, which you can see the bottom of in our screen shot below. You can view more picture by clicking the view picture button on the bottom right of the large photo.

Immediately underneath the photo you will see a description of the place you are looking at including prices, charges and discounts on the right hand side. You can see what these are by clicking on the little question marks.

On the left hand side you will see that some words are blue/green, you can click on these for more information, such a house rules or what other amenities are included, as only the top few will be showing. If you click on the more+ button you will see more amenities come up, those that are crossed out are not available.

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Under the prices section at the bottom of our screen shot you will see a blue button that says long term, this word will be different depending on the accommodation, but in this case it is long term. The long term refers to the cancellation policy tat is tied to that property. If you click the blue green word it will explain that policy type to you. You can also navigate around the different cancellation policies available on various properties, when you are looking at the particular one attached to the property you are looking at. You will see at the top of the screen there are several different types, including flexible, moderate, strict etc. You can read each one by clicking on the word. It is important to be aware of these and read them, BEFORE you book so you aware of the cancellation policies.

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Returning to the screen with all the property information and moving further down the list ( if you are having trouble finding it again simply, press your back arrow.

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You will see more information about your accommodation,.

Selecting the view calendar button will show you the availability of the property, with grey sections indicating it is not available. It will also tell you when the calendar was last updated and what the minimum stay is . This information is written just below the actual calendar.

Again you can scroll through availability by using the arrows on the side of the name of the month.

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The Guidebook section is perhaps one of the best features of Airbnb.

Airbnb hosts who live in the city write guides and recommendations of what to do, what to see and where to eat.

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The map on the right shows where each item on the list is in the city. You are able to scroll in and out by clicking the + and _ in the top right, scrolling out will give you a larger view of the city and its surrounds, whereas scrolling in+ will focus on a smaller area. If you have the box checked in the top left hand corner then you will be able to move around the map and see other areas and recommendations. To do this you click somewhere on the map (not one of the green dots) and then simply move in the direction you want. Allow time for the computer to update but you will see other dots appearing in different areas as you scroll through them, and the list on the left should also update.

The numbers correspond with the number of hosts who have recommended that particular place.

If you click on the green dot on the map you will be taken to an explanation of that attraction which we will look at in more detail in a bit.

If you want to search by category you are able to select a category and relevant attraction will appear on the map on the left.  VC ,k,:Users:nicole:Desktop:Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 13.06.02.png

To return to the list, do not click the back arrow next to the word guide books as this will take you to the menu for all guidebooks throughout the world. Simply click the back arrow next to your address bar (where you typed in Airbnb to get to the page originally).

Looking at an attraction in the boxes on the left hand side now.

You will the name of the attraction as well as the category it is classed as. You can click on this category and see more in the same category in the same city, if this interests you.

Underneath you will see the address as well as a map, hours and website, you can click on any of these fi they are blue/green and see more information.

Underneath this you will see comments made by Airbnb hosts about the attraction and a link to their individual suggestions for what to see, this can be helpful if you are staying near them, or if you have noticed they have similar interests to you or you share friends.

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Returning to the information regarding the accommodation section you will see that the next section is the review section, this included s the reviews from people who have stayed in this particular accommodation and s recommended earlier I would read the good and thee bad and decide if this accommodation is for you. Rememeber to also consider how many people have left reviews.  VC ,k,:Users:nicole:Desktop:Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 11.52.07.png

The next section gives you some information about your potential hosts and a way of communicating with them.

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The final sections give you an idea of the neighborhood that your potential accommodation is in and other accommodation that is similar.

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