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Thread: AirBnB

  1. #1
    TPunch42 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2006 San Diego, CA Posts: 1,730


    I noticed there are a lot of villa listing on Airbnb that are not available elsewhere. Have others gone this route in renting on island and have they had a good experience. I noticed some are listed by villa rental agencies but some seem to be locals. Is this a growing industry like it is elsewhere?

  2. #2
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 9,168

    Re: AirBnB

    We only rent directly from owners so can not help you.

  3. #3
    TPunch42 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2006 San Diego, CA Posts: 1,730

    Re: AirBnB

    Quote Originally Posted by stbartshopper View Post
    We only rent directly from owners so can not help you.
    How are you accessing rentals by owners? Through VRBO or with folks you have rented for before. We have done WIMCO, ICI et LA, St Barts Properties and directly to owner through VRBO. All with great success. Just feel little uneasy about Airbnb for some reason.

  4. #4
    GeorgeD is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2002 pittsburgh Posts: 293

    Re: AirBnB

    We have done some direct rentals, but now like going through agencies. Perhaps that is because cost is less of an issue, but most likely it is because when we had problems, the agencies could fix them faster. We have had water, refrigerator, shower, propane and all sorts of other problems over a 20 year period. We have found that paying up through an agency ( which I will not name) works for us.
    I had a business transaction last year which required my signing and sending multiple pages of documents to various locations. The agency was incredibly helpful in this endevor.
    That is just my opinion.

  5. #5
    KevinS is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 20,493

    Re: AirBnB

    Airbnb is growing, but I don't fully trust either them or VRBO.

    I am fortunate in that I have a personal longterm relationship with the villa owner from whom I rent directly.

    Airbnb and VRBO are too anonymous for me, with potential risks. Of course Airbnb (and VRBO) have ways to mitigate those risks - at a cost (hello agency fee, LOL). If I did not have the relationship that I have, then I would still be doing agency rentals.

    As to Agency rentals, I would only ever rent through an agency which has a physical presence on St Barth. At least one such agency has apparently released their entire inventory to just about anyone who wants to be an online agency. I only want to do business with the on-island agency which has a direct relationship with the villa owner.

    So, what does an agency bring to the table other than a service charge?

    The most important thing is that you know who you are dealing with, you have a relationship with a reputable vendor, and you're paying a known entity.

    The major agencies also offer concierge services. They can help with anything from booking your air travel (the best ones have an air desk), to a rental car, to restaurant reservations, to a boat rental, to arranging a babysitter, to arranging a picnic - lots of stuff, and much more than I have mentioned.

    Agencies are also your go-to person for a villa issue, anything from something small such as "this villa doesn't have a corkscrew" (been there) to something huge such as "the septic is backing up out of the shower drain" (been there too). The corkscrew was a 60 minute fix. The shower drain was a move to a new villa, which is unlikely to happen with Airbnb. My point here is that a good villa manager can fix a small issue, but a major issue may require villa inventory which you won't get through Airbnb.

    Another thought about Airbnb is the level of information and support which a renter may receive. For you, a many-year visitor, that's not a problem. For first-timers, I hope that they read SBHOnline religiously before they travel.

  6. #6
    bkeats is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2010 Nuevo York Posts: 611

    Re: AirBnB

    I have used Airbnb. If you understand how the system works, its great. Not as anonymous as many think as you are typically dealing directly with the owner. The review/rating system is much more truthful than other reviews on anonymous websites as actual users are providing the reviews. However, like Kevin has noted, there are many benefits to renting through an on island agency. Over the many years of visiting, we have had problems crop up. The broken dishwasher, the shower that only dribbled water out, the door that was stuck, etc. The best responses to the problems we got were when we had worked with an on island agency as they sent someone over right away to deal with the issue. Adds to the peace of mind. I also don't mind the usual gift of wine and croissants on the first morning.

  7. #7
    KevinS is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Boston Posts: 20,493

    Re: AirBnB

    One additional thought regarding what an agency brings to the table - construction. These days it seems like there is construction everywhere. I’ll be dealing with it next month, but I know exactly what I’m walking into. An agency, with an inventory of villas, has more ability and flexibility to move you should construction noise be an issue.

  8. #8
    cec1 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 5,830

    Re: AirBnB

    Kevin has very well described pros & cons of utilizing an agency vs. owner-direct vs. VRBO/AirBnB.

    Adding a couple of data points: It was interesting to me that a major island agency, among those that rents our villa, has recommended that we also utilize AirBnB in order to maximize exposure in this growing market. And, with respect to owner-direct rentals, it’s very important, IMO, that anyone doing so should inquire about availability of local manager assistance — we have a wonderful local manager who is intimately familiar with workings of the Villa & generally can handle any issue as well as an agency (many owners offering direct rentals can say the same thing).

  9. #9
    stbartslover is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Feb 2003 Ann Arbor, MI---Flamands Posts: 2,595

    Re: AirBnB

    We've listed & rented our villa via AirBnb and it's been fine.

    Especially good for last minute discounted dates.
    Flamands Blue

  10. #10
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 9,168

    Re: AirBnB

    We rent via a long term relationship with the owners who have an excellent Villa manager on island. As a tip, we met the Villa owners when we were on island years ago. Once we made up our minds to try the Villa life’ instead of hotels, we networked with others- tourists, shop owners, and locals always asking about Villas, locations and who owns/rents them.

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