While I am still waiting for an outcome on my own host nightmare – 35 days and counting – I thought I would share this bit of information with all you wonderful people here on Airbnb Hell. I’ve been perusing the stories of hosts and guests alike. It’s all very sad and alarming as to the rate that Airbnb is burning bridges with hosts and guests. Something that everyone needs to understand is how a company platform like Airbnb works. There is this illusion that they make all their money when a host offers his home and a guest rents it. While Airbnb makes a tidy sum from the 3% they take from the host and the 18% (I have heard) from the guest, that is not their real moneymaker.
1. 21% of the money is collected from the actual physical ‘rental’ of a property.
2. Interest on money held. Airbnb collects all payments at booking (sometimes months in advance) and sits on it, only release it to hosts after the guest checks in. Even if these funds were collected and sat on during just one overnight period alone, the interest that is compounding is almost staggering to think about.
3. Negotiated credit card processing rate. While hosts and guests are paying a certain advertised percentage rate for credit card processing, this rate has been negotiated (behind the scenes) with the credit card company. Airbnb collects their advertised rate from hosts and guests and then pays their ‘negotiated’ rate to the credit card company. Maybe 0.017% doesn’t seem like much, but when you are processing hundreds of thousands (or possibly more) dollars a day it adds up very quickly in Airbnb’s pockets.
4. Selling your information to third parties. This is Airbnb’s goldmine. This is why they want access to all your private and pertinent information. This is not to protect the hosts. Platforms already exist where Airbnb could act as merely a ‘Yellow Pages’, connecting hosts and guests alike. It would then be up to hosts to vet guests of their own accord. However, that is not where the money is. Airbnb wants all your information because that makes you more valuable.
Your age? They have lists for that.
Your gender? They have lists for that.
Your Facebook friends? Yes, they have lists for that too.
You are a potential goldmine and you don’t even know it. Everyday your information is sold for a huge profit to all the ‘marketers’ out there. Now don’t worry: they aren’t selling your actual name and then all your personal information attached to it (at least we don’t believe they are – because that crosses into illegal territory). However, with that having been said, I personally do not trust Airbnb and that could be happening while you are reading this. You and all the others like you of the same age, gender, nationality, etc. are being grouped together and being sold off like cattle at an auction barn. This is how you keep getting all that wonderful advertising ‘tailored just for you’ – because the marketers already know you because they bought your information.
You can get angry when they screw you over hosting and pull your house from their database, or as a guest who has rented a home that doesn’t exist and is sitting in the rain in the middle of the night trying to call the help center and no one is home. To really make a difference and an impact is to let your friends and family know not to do business with them and if they choose to do so anyway, don’t let them have access to your or any of your friends’ and family’s information. Don’t tie your Facebook account or any other list to verifications. If you are truly done with Airbnb, go in and delete your account from their database. Deleting an account only deletes it from us, the public; Airbnb still has all your information. What you need to do is go into your account and make changes a few days before. Delete out as much information as you can from your profile. Don’t just make fake changes. If you change your birthday, you have still given them an opportunity to put you on a list. Remember they are there for quantity, not quality.; they don’t care how much of the information that they sell is accurate. Let that be a problem of the marketers. Remove what you can. Then a few days later, delete your account. Now all that is left on their end is the scant bit of information you left them with days earlier. Remember people: the only way to eat an elephant is ‘one bite at a time’. Now, where did I lay that fork…? Good luck out there friends.