The concept of Airbnb
Airbnb enables home owners to rent their property, or a single room, to tourists. We understand that staying in a private property can be attractive. You'll be living among locals, and often it's not very expensive. In spite of that we do not recommend this concept at this time. This is our personal opinion. Of course you can have a very pleasant stay, but there can also be quite some disadvantages for tourists, neighbors and even home owners themselves.
- It can be quite annoying for neighbors of a rented property to have different people living next door every couple of nights. Unfortunately, some tourists ignore the house rules and make noise. There's no supervision like in a hotel.
- Holiday homes and hotels are checked and classified (1-5 stars) by official organisations like the Swiss Tourism Federation (STV) and Swiss Hotel Association. This assures a minimum level of comfort, and a third party to complain to if necessary. With Airbnb, it will depend on your host whether guidelines for safety, hygiene and comfort are met. Hosts are not professionals. It can be charming, but it can be disappointing as well.
- In case of any problems, hotel staff will be at your disposal. When renting a private property however, the owners might be hard to reach, or on holiday themselves.
- As a guest you may not enjoy full privacy if you are only renting part of a home.
- There are some legal issues. For example, if a home "owner" is actually the tenant, he should ask permission to the landlord. Owners should report about their guests and pay tourist tax to the local authorities. Failing to do so can get them and tourists in trouble. If there is a local guest card for discounts or free traveling, guests should get one, but in reality it depends on whether the owner actually complies to formalities like this. Also there's the risk of scams, e.g. when people try to make money by listing non-existing properties, low quality accommodation, or properties they do not own.
Alternatives to Airbnb
If you are interested in affordable accommodation, there are quite a lot of budget hotels and (youth) hostels with friendly prices. If you prefer to stay in a private home, you will find plenty of official holiday homes in private property. The owners often live in the same house on a different floor, so the feeling of staying among the locals certainly applies.