Saturday 12th of May, 2012.
Having never used AirBnB to source accommodation before I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It’s a great idea but by all accounts the results depend entirely on you being very diligent in your research and checking of references. Given that the conference hotel, the Marriott Marquis, was only a 20 minute walk away we were confident that the apartment we found would serve our purpose. We weren’t disappointed. What we were, however, was locked out. A good thing SuiteWorld didn’t start for a few days yet! There are two key things that anyone using AirBnB, or any other similar service, should know.
- Firstly, make sure you have the correct address. In our case, we thought we had that – until you realise that 2, Townsend Street is actually the address of four enormous apartment buildings, conveniently called “Building 1, 2, 3 or 4”. It is amazing we didn’t get stopped for casing the joint as we (Actually, to clarify, as *I*) went from building to building pressing what we thought would be appropriate keys to alert the occupants that a couple of Brits wanted to know if we were staying there for a few days during SuiteWorld (whilst Ian held his head in wonderment at my brazen efforts and the reactions some of our unwelcome cold-calling received – if you’re reading this, sorry about that, thanks for understanding!).
- Secondly, agree how you’re actually going to get in and gain access to the accommodation at least a week in advance and ask the follow-up questions of “Where can I get internet access if I need it so I can call / Skype you?” – particularly if you haven’t signed up to an international call package and just the thought of making one goes on your bill.
In the end contact was made, keys were received and access was gained. We also managed to find somewhere to park, as a silver lining to this particular cloud because it was the weekend, and not a game day, parking on the street was free until 8am Monday morning. Ah yes, parking; for the speedy Nissan: This would be an ongoing issue. San Franciscans don’t like cars, or perhaps more to the point – they must love them for how much it costs to park them during the week without a permit. Something else we should have checked, though in our defence we had asked and been told that on-street was 25₵ per hour. Sure, on every fifth leap year (maybe) but certainly not normally and, regardless, only for four hours at a time – which is fine because you can come back out to top it up but yet another thing to add to the “lessons learnt” chart.
SuiteWorld would be full of those. But first, we had day 2 to contend with.