Airbnb System Allows Everyone to Request Same Dates?

This is my second time booking through Airbnb; the first time was fine. I sent a request for one apartment for two days and the next day the host declined it, saying that “it conflicts with another booking.” Now, my first thought was: what? What other booking? Shouldn’t my selected dates become unavailable for other people to book? Or does Airbnb allow everyone to send requests for the same dates, so that the host can then dig through them and pick her favorite one? On top of that, after I had been declined, that property was still available to be requested for the selected dates. I messaged the host, asking her to explain, and she said she is “waiting for confirmation for a couple that are looking to book for more days.”

Apparently, it’s true that Airbnb allows unlimited requests to stack up for the same dates. That’s a terribly immoral business model they’ve created, creating competition between guests for the host’s favor. Now, it’s understandable that hosts would prefer longer bookings over shorter ones. However, if their system allows requests for same dates to stack up, allowing the host to pick and choose, then people who need a short stay basically have no chance against longer-stay guests. It’s basically an auction system, where guests bid on who will rent a longer stay. Imagine if hotels started to operate on the same principle: there will be public outrage. Or, imagine if hotels would accept “bids” for a maximum price the guests are willing to pay per night. Then rich people would take all the rooms, leaving everyone else with nowhere to stay. It’s the same here, except with lengths of stay.

I’ve researched this a bit and apparently hosts can choose whether they want the requested dates to become unavailable for others, or not. Why is there even such an option? It puts all the power into the host’s hands. I don’t want to use Airbnb if the hosts will treat me as some undesirable scum just because I only want to book two nights. It creates inequality. Guests and hosts are supposed to be on equal terms.

So, in conclusion, to remove this horrible inequality, Airbnb should:

  • Only allow booking requests for the same dates one at a time.
  • Penalize hosts who decline booking requests for no good reason (as it’s still a major inconvenience to wait a day just to receive a decline, then wait another day for another one)
  • State that a short stay is not a good reason to decline a request (because there is already a minimum stay rule that can be added to the listing)
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7 Comments

  1. Sometimes they decline your request because they “forgot to update the available dates calendar”. How are these deadbeats even allowed to sit on Airbnb? They should be penalized or banned for wasting people’s time.

  2. An inquiry is not a booking so of course hosts may receive multiple inquiries and give the most favourable one the green light. Receiving multiple, whingeing messages for a 2-day stay….. nah, I’d decline too!
    It works the other way round too: guests are entitled to send multiple inquiries to different properties. Art thou IT challenged perhaps?

  3. It is not true that Airbnb allows potential bookings to build up! That is absolutely not the case and posts like that do far more harm than good because all they do is spread complete ‘prattle’! It does nothing for either supporters or detractors!
    This host will last virtually no time before Airbnb will de-list her. Airbnb penalise hosts who decline bookings. You may get away with two, possibly three, but first up ABB will move you to the bottom of search pages and if it happens more than a certain number of times….And even though I am a Superhost I do not know what that number is…Airbnb will delete the listing remove the account!
    What I would suggest (if this is correct and this is what was told to you by the host) you do is, below this hosts profile name you will see a small flag with a box along side it that says…’Report this User’! Click that box and a drop-down box will appear asking why you have taken this action! Click ‘other’ and state that this guest declined your reservation to wait for a more lucrative booking and ABB will close that hosts account immediately….no questions asked. No genuine hosts want to be associated with behaviour like that!
    Cheers….Rob

    • Robin Shannon – airbnb doesn’t have an “other” option in the Report window, it only allows 3 specific choices and doesn’t allow to input an explanation manually.

  4. I had a similar experience with Sofia in Tulum, Mexico. I had BOOKED/RESERVED her place for a 3-week stay a full month in advance. We were so excited to have found a nice place at a reasonable rate. It priced fair enough that we could do some of the other fun adventures in the area…10 days before the trip I tried to connect with Sofia to ask a few questions about the place…she did not respond, as we got closer to the departure date, and a few more attempts to contact her, I started to worry…I contacted AirBNB and they confirmed the reservation was fine. Well, somewhere between take off and landing in Cancun, Sofia cancelled our reservation…she never explained why, refused to answer any questions, and NEVER contacted me again. With only one day advance, we ended up having to book at another Airbnb that was very nice, but TWICE as much $$ and nowhere near the beach, which meant LOTS of money on taxis and NOT the Maya Riviera dream vacation we had planned for, dreamed and reserved…and, because I was still on vacation, I missed the window to leave feedback on her profile on AirBNB.
    I suspect she got a longer stay offer or more money as it coincidently coincided with SpringBreak time in Cancun….so very disappointed! I spent well over $1000 more than I ever intended to, and it was not a relaxing time…it was very stressful. How can she just cancel for no reason??? Stay away from Sofia in Tulum/Akumal…

  5. calm down. Hotels practise Length of Stay restrictions since the the 80s. You were obviously not made aware hahaha what a joke.

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