From Malaysia to Thailand and everywhere in between, Airbnb has changed the way people stay when travelling around Asia. However, the website’s rapid rise in the region left unit owners, stayers and even laws playing catch up. The biggest complaint about the service in Southeast Asia remains the behaviour of Airbnb guests that can interrupt the daily lives of residents. This is especially common in condominium buildings where space comes at a premium.
This forced building management companies to look for legal precedent that would limit or ban the service entirely. In Thailand, the status of Airbnb and similar websites remains up in the air with some unit owners accepting guests despite “no short-term letting“ signs now prominently featured in the lobbies and elevators of many buildings in Bangkok. On the other hand, no such problems exist in Vietnam or the Philippines despite some complaints.
If you wish to use Airbnb in Southeast Asia but don’t want to attract unwanted attention, it is important to be a good guest. It’s actually not all that difficult to do. Simply follow these three tips and enjoy your stay.
Tip 1 – Act like a resident, not a guest
For whatever reason, a small number of Airbnb guests don’t understand that they are staying in a residential building, not a hostel or hotel. You may see guests leaving trash around the grounds. Others loiter in the lobby without shoes on while talking loudly on Skype. No one who lives in the building, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, wants to deal with this, ever.
Instead of using common sense, a few bad apples treat the building they are staying in as if it was their home, alienating residents in the process. One of the selling points of Airbnb is the authentic, local experience users can take part in. Be mindful of this. If you don’t see other residents hitting the fitness room in flip-flops, chances are you shouldn’t be doing it either.
Tip 2 – Don’t jam up the facilities during peak hours
Speaking of fitness rooms and the like, be considerate when using these. What a lot of Airbnb guests don’t realise is the fact that all unit owners in a condo building or residential project pay a yearly facilities fee ranging from USD 300 to USD 2,000 and up. This fee goes towards maintenance and covers the costs of the resident living there. The person you’re letting the unit from has paid this, but nothing extra to cover all of the extra guests rolling through their condo during the year.
You can see why some residents may be upset by this. A few have even been known to report anyone using the facilities they believe to be a short-term letter. Depending on the building/country, you may be asked to leave. The solution here is quite simple. Don’t use areas such as the fitness room or swimming pool during peak hours when they will be in high demand from residents. Since you’re on vacation anyway, that early morning workout can wait until 9:30 am when everyone has left for work.
Tip 3 – Airbnb guests must think about security
Another complaint from residents about Airbnb guests is that they try to circumvent security measures for their own convenience. Security doors that require a key card for access are left open, keys are duplicated and extra visitors being allowed to enter are among the concerns to have been raised. Security is quite important to people living in Southeast Asia. It should be the same for you, even when staying at an Airbnb listed unit. Don’t cut corners or put residents in risk.