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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 4, 2014

AirBNB spawns a cottage industry for property management

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


AirBNB.com offers a money-saving alternative to book your stay when you want something more than just a hotel room.

The service has come out of nowhere to have booked 10 million guest nights. The funny thing is they came to the game late, after sites like VRBO.com and HomeAway.com had already established a similar niche. All three sites let owners of properties rent their condos, homes, or apartments in competition with traditional hotel rooms.

If you need several bedrooms, prefer to have your own cooking facilities, or if you plan to stay for more than a couple nights in a destination, you'll often get a much better deal by renting an apartment, home, or condo from a private owner.

If you want to book a stay through AirBNB, look at properties that have lot of reviews. And you must have a credit card for booking because you pay AirBNB as the middle man, not the individual owner you're renting from.

Meanwhile, the popularity of AirBNB means that a cottage industry has sprung up around the service, targeting those who don't want to take on every aspect of DIY property management. The San Francisco Chronicle  reports you can now hire out for cleaning, check-in, listing management; free linens, towels, supplies; decor advice and more on your property.

One thing you *don't* have to hire someone to do for you and your AirBNB property is take pictures. AirBNB has professional photographers who will take a great picture of your home before you list it online -- and it's entirely free!

Finally, in the news of the weird category, some enterprising entrepreneurs have come up with a service that should help Mardi Gras revelers in need of a toilet. It's called AirPNP.com and you basically rent a toilet in a person's home or business along the parade route!

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