Over the past decade, the travel industry has undergone a considerable transformation. With the rise of private rentals and serviced accommodation, staying in a hotel has become a thing of the past. Short-term stays in private apartments have become the best and most popular way to explore a new city or plan a business trip. However, with the multiplication of self-catering accommodation options, it has become increasingly difficult to choose a reliable place to book your next stay.
Is it a better idea to book an apartment through a serviced apartment company or take a chance through an online apartment marketplace like Airbnb?
Here is a look at the top factors where Airbnb and serviced apartments differ and what you should consider when booking your next place:
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a place to stay is the amenities offered and the probability that these amenities will match up to ones in similar apartments that you have stayed in. One of the biggest problems with booking through websites like Airbnb is that there is no way of knowing whether the apartment will be of a similar quality to the one that you previously booked through this website. While you previously stayed in a clean and recently renovated apartment, there is no guarantee that the other apartments you stay in are going to be of a similar quality. This is not the case with serviced apartment companies that build their name and brand around the services that they consistently offer. In other words, if you had a good experience staying with Homely Apartments the last time you were in Sheffield, there is a high chance that you will have a great experience the next time you choose to do so as well.
The factor that could make or break your next vacation is definitely the fact that serviced accommodation pays attention to quality control whereas booking websites like Airbnb have no formal way of doing so. Quality control ensures that you are getting what you paid for -- in other words, that the place you booked looks like it did on the advertisement and that it includes all of the amenities that were listed on the website. Does the place have wi-fi as promised? Is it clean and safe? Is the furniture in a similar condition to the way it looks in the picture? Airbnb has no way of guaranteeing that you are getting everything that you signed up for or that the quality is up to standard. While the reviews you read on the Airbnb listing might be a good indicator of the quality of the rental most of the time, there is no way to be sure about it until you arrive and see the property for yourself. On the other hand, serviced apartment companies rely on the quality of the service provided. As a result, you can be sure that a lot of attention is paid to the quality of the apartment, the experience you will have, as well as that the amenities you are promised are indeed going to be present in your apartment. You will never have to run through problems such as renting an apartment over airbnb that is actually a sublet.
General Support and Communication
Another significant difference between a serviced apartment company and Airbnb is the communication that you will have as you go through the booking process. When booking a serviced apartment, you will be in touch with a small team of individuals with thorough knowledge of each apartment who will strive to offer the best personalised service possible. This means that the rental process will be smooth and user friendly, and that you will know who to contact at all times should something go wrong. At Airbnb, on the other hand, you will most likely be in touch with the person you are renting the apartment from -- however, if something happens to go wrong, the only point of reference you will have is the Airbnb support line which deals with general requests and issues from all over the world. This means that the customer service representative you speak to will have little or no knowledge about the apartment that you have rented and will rather be acting by employing a general procedure. In addition, you will only be able to communicate online -- without any access to a representative on the phone.
Cost and Fees
The great benefit of booking a serviced apartment with a company specialising in self-catering accommodation is that the price you see is the price you pay. This means that there are no added or hidden costs to what is listed on the website. On the other hand, booking websites like Airbnb have a number of hidden costs and service fees. To begin with, Airbnb charges a percentage of each night that you spend in your rented accommodation. This means that the price that is listed is usually not the price that you pay. In addition, the person renting the apartment can choose a number of added fees (e.g. cleaning fees, deposit, etc.) which can significantly change the overall cost. Some of these costs are hidden while others are visible on the booking page -- this makes for an unnecessarily complicated booking procedure, often leading to higher booking costs than expected. In all cases you will finally end up paying 15% more on commission than if you booked directly with a serviced apartment provider; airbnb charges a 3% commission to the host and a 12% fee to the guest.
While booking through Airbnb has its advantages and the concept of online booking services like Airbnb has most definitely revolutionised the travel industry, professionally run self-catered apartments are the future of travel and tourism. Serviced apartments offer a consistent service, pay a lot of attention to quality control and assurance and involve no hidden costs or service fees. Most importantly, by choosing to stay in a serviced apartment you will feel right at home and have at your disposal a team of professionals who are ready to assist you at all times.
Have a look here for more information about the apartments offered through Homely Serviced Apartments, as well as some of the amenities on offer. If you would like to speak to a professional for a free consultation regarding your future trip to Sheffield contact us here.