Each time I reach out to AirBnB, I lose great amounts of faith in their ability to realistically support their hosts on the expectations they set. They have INCREDIBLY dis-empowered customer service, proven from their resolutions and answers that provide pretty much no expectations and then a surprise outcome. None of their staff apparently have the power to do anything when helping you, and I’ve had several seemingly simple issues take over a month to resolve (3 times). From my understanding, they have only a few services that they provide that are crucial to a host’s success and integral to their role: – put your listing in front of interested travelers – manage guest/host refund and payment expectations – facilitate a good experience for hosts and guests. In these areas, they kind of suck. No, seriously they kind of suck. If it was out of 10, I’d give them a 4 or lower in each category. Here’s why:
“Put your listing in front of interested travelers” – I was one of the most searchable and highest ranking results in my area until a mystery shift happened about a month ago, and I suddenly went from top 3 results in a blind search, to almost being the 40th ranked result. No one could explain “why” this happened, and would only point me to their list of “improve your ranking” bullet points (which I easily satisfy and exceed all of them) and instruct me to share my listing on social media. After much prodding and time wasted on calls, I finally learned that brand new hosts get special treatment and a boost in rankings in their first month or two. So a successful acquisition campaign of new hosts in popular areas will push experienced and hard working hosts down in the rankings. Really!? This sounds like a horrible experience for guests and hosts. Push guests onto new hosts who have no experience, and punish good hosts for having experience and increased pricing. hmmmm
“Manage guest/host refund and payment expectations” I’ve had 3 issues in my 9 month history as a host get pushed to the resolution center and required AirBnB intervention. Both times it took over a month to resolve (a current one is now on a month). The current one, I recently discovered, froze a $650 payout and has been frozen for over a month with no understanding of why from anyone I speak to. They tell me it’s not protocol, it’s unusual, and that the “trip experience” team will have to look into it. If it’s unusual and not protocol, and AirBnB manages this portion of my business, it is their responsibility to fix it ASAP. This = disempowered employees who don’t even understand their own system but have no process to escalating potential technical issues that are impacting hosts tremendously. Imagine your job just taking $600 out of your paycheck and not understanding why it happened or helping you with it for a month?
“Facilitate a good experience for hosts and guests” They do a mixed bag of a job here. Lots of resources all over the place for guests and hosts, but they don’t focus on how important it is for guests and hosts to go through them. Should ANYONE just be allowed to host without any test/briefing on how to host well? Should all guests have to blindly fumble into the unique AirBnB’s without any expectations that these are small, 1-person run businesses sometimes but they expect it to be on par with hotels? AirBnB could do a tremendously better job here on creating quality filters for both host and guest, but I guess that would stifle their acquisition campaigns for new business. It will bite them in the butt in the long run, and a smarter competitor will surface to challenge them here and take market share…. and I will gladly join them 🙂 AirBnB is not a reliable business to count on for income, and I would not recommend anyone do it full time. At all. Only do a room in a house you live in, here and there maybe. Nothing more. For true vacation rental hosts, find alternatives or learn to market the listing yourself and compete.