For those of you who may not know, Airbnb is an online marketplace that showcases properties available for rent or perhaps more accurately, lodging for short stays. Mostly vacations. Most of the properties are usually private houses that the owner decides to rent out for short stays and make a little money on the side. Airbnbs are popular as they are usually much more affordable than hotels and resorts and one can choose a property tailor-made to their lodging needs. For example, a mansionette may be more suited for a family or a large group while a studio apartment may appeal more to a couple or a solo traveler. Other filters such as location and amenities provide further options for choosing the right lodging listing.

Airbnb Mombasa is a search term that has gained traction on Google search in Kenya. This is an indication of how travel trends are changing among Kenyans. Kenyans, especially millennials and generation Z, are now more receptive to online marketplaces such as Airbnb to help curate their ideal getaway. With the rise of a digitally savvy generation, more and more Kenyans are willing to trust platforms such as Airbnb with payments and personal information. All the same, when one types Airbnb Mombasa on their browser how does one then proceed to choose the right property. There are horror stories of Airbnb customers who have ended up booking a property that gravely disappointed them or have had bookings canceled at the last moment to their bemusement. Well, here are a few tips for choosing the right Airbnb Mombasa.

1. Pictures

Pictures are as close as one can get to a first-hand inspection of a listing. Listings on Airbnb should have many high-quality images of the property to give a potential customer as much of a realistic preview of a listing as possible. In fact, Airbnb goes a step further to connect its property owners or managers with professional photographers free of charge for a photoshoot of their listing. Therefore, there is no excuse for a listing to have low-quality or inadequate images.

One can use pictures to see some of the amenities available at the property as well as the condition of the amenities. The general cleanliness of the property can also be apparent in pictures. Good pictures should be a key factor in forming an opinion on a listing. For Airbnb listings in Mombasa, if a property manager claims his or her property is next to the beach then there should be pictures showing the property with the beach in the frame. Likewise for amenities such as swimming pools since this is a common amenity claimed on most Airbnb Mombasa listings. Pictures of bedrooms and bathrooms should also be availed for one’s inspection. Mombasa being a region somewhat plagued by mosquitos then something like a mosquito net should be photographed above the bed.

2. Reviews

The Airbnb community really looks out for one another. A good number of Airbnb users leave comprehensive reviews of their stay at a particular property. Such reviews are a first-hand account of someone who has actually stayed at a property you may be considering. Therefore, a property with many positive reviews is a good thing, obviously. Also, be on the lookout for how the property manager responds to the reviews especially those that may be more critical. Responses from the property manager may provide further insight into a property and enhance a listing’s credibility.

Some reviews may highlight the condition of a particular amenity that is key to your choice of listing. In other words, an otherwise positively reviewed property may be lacking in a particular amenity that you are just not willing to compromise on. Going through reviews is important in choosing the right listing.

A common pain point in Airbnb Mombasa listings is perhaps air-conditioning or distance to the beach. Reviews should be insightful in revealing such information.

3. Amenities

One should take the time to comb through the list of amenities to ensure that the property has everything one needs for their stay. Most Airbnb listings are on a self-catering basis. Therefore, one should ensure all the cooking apparatus that one needs are available. If one prefers not to cook, the availability of chef services should be confirmed first. The number of bedrooms and the sizes and number of beds should also be carefully considered. A couple may not have a problem sharing a bed but maybe the bed is too small for a comfortable night’s sleep. Perhaps one may have an extra guest or two who may not be accommodated in the existing bedrooms. Does the property offer sofabeds? The sleeping arrangement is a key factor for most people when choosing a property.

Factors such as whether a property is disability-friendly may be important to some people. For Kenyans, nyama choma (barbecued meat) is the unofficial staple food. Most Kenyans will be keen to note whether a property has barbecue facilities.

4. The Host

A host can make or break one’s vacation. Hosts that prioritize the needs of their guests can make one’s stay a breeze. On the other hand, hosts that are neglectful and push to the side a guest’s needs may make an otherwise good property offer up a nasty experience. Looking at a host’s response rate is a good indication of the type of person you would be dealing with. A high and fast response rate is good while a low and slow response rate is bad. How active a host is in responding to reviews is also a telling factor. Hosts who care about their guests tend to be at the very least somewhat active in responding to their guests’ reviews either thanking them for a positive review or offering their side of the story to a critical review.

Mombasa is a city known for its Swahili hospitality and so Kenyans expect a hospitable host.

5. Location

Location. Location. Location. While this is not a real estate pitch, it might as well be as location is crucial to many travelers. There are many nuances that go into choosing the location one wants to stay in during their vacation. For Airbnb Mombasa listings, proximity to the beach is perhaps the number one factor when choosing a property. Other factors include proximity to shopping centers, public transport, and night clubs among other things. While listings on Airbnb will not show you the exact street address of the property, proximity information to certain amenities is always well indicated. Details on getting around, i.e., transport, are also usually provided. If not, contact the host about such information. Getting a good sense of the location of a listing is quite important.

6. House Rules

Rules are the cornerstone of human civilization. While violating rules in an Airbnb will certainly not bring human civilization to an end, being aware of the rules and following them will ensure a smooth stay both for you, the guest and the host. Rules around pets and smoking are usually common. Some properties may have a lights-out time. While no one will come force you to go to bed like the property was a boarding school, the owner may require that your party tones down the noise after a certain time of night. This is usually to allow other guests in the property to have a peaceful night’s sleep or maybe to comply with neighborhood regulations as some of the listings are located in residential estates.

Rules on the check-in and check-out times should also be well-noted. This allows for a smooth transition from one group of guests to another who may have booked a stay at the property before or after your stay. Adhering to check-in and check-out times also allows the property staff to ready it for the next batch of guests. In short, one should be keen to read all the rules to avoid any mishaps or misunderstandings with the host or other guests.

7. Cost

Some may argue that this should have been the first tip but every tip on this list is just as important. How much one is willing to spend on accommodation is left to one’s discretion. The long and short of this is simply stick to your budget. Worth noting is that booking early, say months in advance, may afford you a better price than booking last-minute when costs go up because of demand. Avoiding peak seasons and booking one’s stay during low seasons may further reduce the cost of accommodation.

Also, it is highly recommended that all payments are made via Airbnb. Some guests may try to contact the host on the side to see if they can negotiate a better rate. However, doing so means that one is personally liable for any losses incurred should the host be an unscrupulous character. Dealing with a host through Airbnb provides some level of security when it comes to financial transactions.

In fact, one may want to cancel their booking last-minute. Airbnb may provide a reprieve and refund one all their money. You can imagine, however, dealing directly with a host may be a completely different story in such a scenario. Especially in Kenya where there is a culture for mistrust when dealing with money and for good reasons.

All said and done, Airbnb has democratized access to affordable accommodation and its use is on the rise. When checking out an Airbnb Mombasa listing, these tips should guide you to choosing the right property for your dream vacation. Not sure why you should visit Mombasa? Here’s what Mombasa is famous for.

What is Airbnb?

Airbnb is an online marketplace that showcases properties for lodging usually private homes. Airbnb does not own the properties but acts as a broker between property owners/managers and guests/travelers.

What kinds of properties can I book on Airbnb?

Villas, mansionettes, mansions, beach villas, studio apartments, apartments etc. Most of the properties are on self-catering basis.

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