When I first stayed at an Airbnb, it creeped me out. The person (a lawyer in the Detroit suburbs) was still there in his 3 bedroom, 2 bath apartment. He let me in, showed me to my room (an office with a pull-out bed), gave me fresh towels and gave me the wifi password. I heard Airbnb beats hotels and saves business professionals money, but would this mild mannered man kill me while I slept? That was the BIG question.

Once I got over my initial fears of death and dismemberment, this app has become my new hotel of choice. As a business traveler, I don’t require a lot. I want a clean room, comfortable bed, TV and safe area. Airbnb beats hotels in all of these areas. The best part is I get all of this for one-third the price of a hotel. If you haven’t tried an Airbnb yet, experiment with it in your hometown. And the next time you travel for business you will see these are the five reasons Airbnb beats hotels.

  • Cleanliness – My first Airbnb experience was the day after staying at a hotel. The chain hotel was “adequate”, and came with a decent price for the area, but Airbnb beats them hands down. The bathroom was cleaner. There were no cracks in the wall or spots on the ceiling. Hotel owners have a lot of rooms to rent, and they have limited staff to turn rooms around. Airbnbs are incentivized to have the entire area clean because renters will see the reviews right away.

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  • Reviews – Never stay at a hotel OR Airbnb without reading the reviews. The renter tells the world how the stay was at the Airbnb, and the owner tells the world if the renter trashed their place. You don’t see their reviews until you have written yours. Use homes that have 30 or more reviews of 4-1/2 or more Stars. Look for homes that have at least 12 pictures of the inside and outside of the home.
  • Space – When my family of five stays at Walt Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, we get two queen beds, a small bathroom and TV (that we hardly watch). When we use an Airbnb, we get three large bedrooms, a kitchen, multiple TV’s and a family room. My teenage daughter has her privacy, and my wife I have ours. No one fights to have their own space.
  • Amenities – There are stories of owners driving theirs guests to locations, baking cookies and offering bottled water upon arrival. When you only have one room or house to rent, you want it to be as nice as possible. There is more competition. Most hotels have a mini-bar…with small bottles of water for $5. Airbnb beats hotels because they don’t have the high overhead costs, and they can offer more at a lower price.

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  • Price – The pricing model is one of the main reasons I started using Airbnb. I have stayed at hotels in downtown Chicago for $35 / night. I spoke to a financial advisor who took his entire family (8 people) to a Colorado resort for a week for under $1000. People have even started purchasing homes for the sole purpose of renting through Airbnb.

Airbnb beats hotels on a number of levels. They are the largest hotel chain (2.3 million rooms; $30 billion valuation), and they don’t own a single room. Marriott Properties has a paltry 1.1 million rooms. If you are looking for a unique and cost effective environment for your next business trip, consider using Airbnb. You’ll save money, experience a new area and get a good night’s rest.

Scientifically Speaking, of course…