A one night sleep in a 5-star hotel during a typical IP law convention costs USD 250.
But I don´t need that luxury when I travel alone. Plus, I don´t like 2-star or 3-star hotels.
This is what helps me: AirBNB.
It may also help you.
Start early before the conference for getting a good deal! You can book a year in advance.
Find Out Where Your Convention Is
The first step is always to find out where the convention is exactly going to be. That is usually found on the convention webpage.
In step 2, I locate the street address of the convention center in Google Maps.
Then Search a Corresponding AirBNB Place
In step 3, I search for AirBNB Super-Hosts in the area of the convention center, and I adjust the AirBNB map view such that it has the same scale as the Google Map.
I then check out a few AirBNB Super-Hosts around the convention center or along train stations along train lines that lead to the convention center. These can be seen in Google Maps. Yes, convention centers are often connected with the public train system, and convention organizers often include a free train ticket into the name badge for the convention.
Step 4: I do not set the AirBNB filter to “Entire Place”. I select the “Private Room” option because I then usually stay together with the Super-Host. And I select “2 guests” because then I have a large bed.
Step 5: I double-check the latest reviews of the AirBNB place where I want to stay. Usually, all is in good order.
If I am traveling alone, I try to stay with an AirBNB Super-Host. “Super-Hosts” are AirBNB hosts that undergo special scrutiny by AirBNB. Super-Hosts are experienced hosts with extraordinary feedback from their guests. AirBNB says that they “… review the activities of Super-Hosts four times a year to ensure the program recognizes the people who are most committed to providing exceptional hospitality”. I found that always to be true.
Super-Hosts always give me valuable tips for making my way around in a new city. Very often – but not always – I find myself at the kitchen table chatting with my Super-Host. All this reminds me of my army and university time, and this also keeps me young. I like it. Super-Hosts often have a government job or they are retired academics, and they can use the extra income from renting out their spare room. It is always a win-win situation.
This way I always have a clean, modern room in a modest but attractive home. And although I usually have a private bath, I would not mind sharing a bathroom with someone else when I am traveling, as long as its door can be locked.
Then book your AirBNB
Some AirBNB hosts require a communication with their future guest. This is where my LinkedIn profile comes in. Check out my earlier article for updating your LinkedIn profile if you have not yet done so.
By staying at AirBNB I usually save USD 150 – 200 per night, as compared with a decent hotel room.
That also explains why business interests with political clouts, such as the hotel industry, want to outlaw AirBNB: They don’t want the competition.
But customers fight back.
I also don´t see cheap hotels being a good business opportunity anymore. AirBNB takes the cream away from this type of business establishment.
Times are always changing.
Martin “Open” Schweiger