Sunday, May 20, 2012

Vacation rentals: An alternative to hotels

Does your hotel room feel like, er, a hotel room? Although it isn't necessarily a bad thing (in fact, I do enjoy hotel stays), wouldn't it be nice to rent a real home while on vacation? Assuming I could afford it, wouldn't a villa in Tuscany or a cabin somewhere in the woods (not the horror film) sound good? Aha, and even in Siquijor where I've been recently, there are private beach houses for rent.

But how do you find these vacation rentals? There's actually a site by rent-your-space startup Airbnb that caters to this need. Search for something from your target destination and let great-looking photos and reviews help you decide.

airbnb screenshot
A screenshot of the site, www.airbnb.com

On the other hand, if you have a great property somewhere that you rarely visit and thought it would be a great idea if you could actually earn something out of it, you can also have it listed on Airbnb. While, yes, you can rent it independently, having it listed on a platform like Airbnb has its benefits, the most important of which for me is that it lends you credibility. It somehow assures the potential customer that your property is not a phony.

Another benefit is access to professional photography services. Hosts can simply place a request from anywhere in the world and a contracted photographer can then come and photograph their place for free. It can't be denied that great-looking images spark the interest of anyone far better than a crappy-looking one can.

Now ain't that cool or what?

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