You all remember when i told you my new motto was “Never Say Never“. My creator has a way of making me pay whenever i say ‘Never’. I have been to Abuja quite a number of times and the only time by road before few days ago was my return trip two years ago with a stopover in Akure, which wasn’t pleasant due to bad roads. Of course back then, i said i will never go to Abuja city by road again. That didn’t work out, haha. A tight budget and a deadline saw me doing this few days ago. Now i plead to God, i don’t mind going at it again, just bless me with a truck of my own.
I first heard about Airbnb back in 2015, after which i registered, it wasn’t quite popular then, not sure it is now but definitely better than 2014 & 2015 when they started. I started using airbnb actively this Jan 2018 in Lagos of course. So when i had to be in Abuja, i told myself airbnb was the way to go, i have have great experiences so far. I began to search, mind you when i search, it takes me days, hence the tab remains open in my browser till i decide.
I finally decided, booked a home, got a message an hour later from the host that the apartment was not available and i should have sent in a message before payment. Well, ‘HELLOOO’, the apartment read ‘book’ which translates to instant booking. You should use the ‘request to book option’ if you do not have time to update your calendar or better still, read up on the way a system operates before hopping into it! Oh well, that’s another story.
So i had to book another i earlier spotted but had a weird notion that it was far. Guess what, my stay though short at this apartment turned out to be the best experience i have had so far. The host’s Sister designated to assist was all shades of polite and awesome! The apartment was beautiful, neat and cozy. There was an apple waiting to welcome me, after such a long day on the road, there was hot water running to calm the nerves on my body. There was tea, my favourite, Lipton Flavoured Green Tea. I hope i didn’t empty her tea basket, i had about 3 cups! Don’t look at me, i love drinking tea *grins*. That’s not all, the whole checking in process was automated and descriptive from start to finish, plus i got a ride to town from the Sister, matter of fact, she dropped me off at my destination absolutely free on her route to work.
You know what, say what you will about how some systems fail in Nigeria and how we do not get things right. At the end of the day, it is up to us as a people to get it right with 3 things; our attitude, our character and eh…(help me out with the third word you think is important folks). If all my previous hosts were not wonderful and amazing individuals, with great personalities, they would not be able to sustain any of the relationships involved or thrive on the platform.
Another great thing about the airbnb platform which is my favourite are reviews. Always check for reviews. Both host and guest can drop a review after the trip is over. I surely don’t want to misbehave in a guests’ home and run the risk of having my host write bad things about me on the internet. Same goes for the host as well. That isn’t to say one will get great reviews all the time but like a Yoruba adage says……(write it out in Yoruba if you know it) meaning, if one person out of 10 says you are bad, chances are that is not totally true, if three people say you are bad, then maybe check some behavior of yours, but if 8 people out of 10 say you are bad, my brother or sister, check and change from your bad ways o!
Please note that i do not count forming an opinion about a person you have never met physically and judging them from afar, wherever afar is. I have read some interesting articles about airbnb in Nigeria, if it will fail or succeed, its challenges and all. Ndubuisi noted an interesting factor for why it struggles in Nigeria “the commodification of trust”. we experienced this during the recently concluded WordCamp Lagos as well where individuals preferred to buy tickets via bank transfers. One thing however is certain, the world has become increasingly digital, the earlier we fix our mindsets and systems, the better for us, like it or not, a day will come where almost all payments will be done online. Marie also shared her story on the incredible customer service support she received after having a trouble with her host’s review in Cape Town.
One word however for Airbnb, i understand you began operations in Nigeria 2014, a lot of articles i read mentioned they do not know if your organization has any office(s) in Nigeria. If this is true, i suggest you fix it and you fix it quick if you intend to gain the trust of Nigerians and expand your market base in the country.