I went to San Francisco to go to a conference and meet with sources. Usually when I go to San Francisco, I stay at the Courtyard Marriott downtown.
But last week, they wanted $US500 per night!
That was nuts.
So I decided to finally try out AirBnB, a service for renting other people’s rooms and homes.
I’d always been too sketched-out to try it before.
But this time I came up with 1,050 reasons to give it a try.
Would I regret my decision?
Finally, I arrived in San Francisco. Would I regret forgoing the comfortable Courtyard for some stranger's apartment?
When Google Maps told me to get off the train, I wondered what my apartment's neighbourhood would look like. This was my first glimpse.
I looked across the street. There were a lot of mattress stores. I didn't feel in danger, but I didn't feel 'near downtown' either.
This is the hallway I walked into. I looks darker in this photo than it was. It looked like a standard walk-up hallway.
My apartment was on the third floor. Fortunately, I don't mind stairs and I didn't miss the Courtyard's elevator
I arrived at my door. This was a big moment. How would the place look? Would I want to run? I opened the door…
What was the best part? The savings, easily. I saved Businesss Insider $US1,050 staying at the Airbnb apartment instead of at the Courtyard Marriott. We're still a startup, so that's a lot of money for us. Saving so much money makes it easier for me to ask to go to San Francisco again in the future. The second best part of my Airbnb experience was the feeling of coming home to my own 'place' at night, rather than a hotel. I actually like hotels, and this was a feeling I didn't know I missed during business trips in the past.
What was the worst part? The apartment wasn't in the greatest neighbourhood. At one fancy venture capitalist party during the week, a bunch of San Francisco natives were talking about the neighborhoods they live in -- 'the Mission' 'Pacific Heights' 'the Tenderloin.'
I told them I was staying on 9th and Folsom -- 'Which neighbourhood is that?'
This wasn't actually true. The neighbourhood was more bland and commercial than run-down and dangerous, but it did take me 15 more minutes to walk anywhere.
The other thing that was not great was the apartment's smell. Also, I missed having a gym.
Would I do it again?
That depends. The Courtyard's prices go up and down based on demand. If I could get a room there for $US250/night next time, I'd go for it. Between the free breakfast, free gym, and fewer night cab rides, it'd be almost worth. But under the same circumstances, yes, I'd go with Airbnb again.