Airbnb Does not Support Hosts During Outbreak

I seem like a regular host on Airbnb — one person who rents one apartment — but in fact I am a full-blown company. I am also a Superhost.

As a company we take pride in this because we are a full-fledged business with over twenty vacation rental properties. Airbnb is not our boss; they are a third-party company that we use to gain more customers we have on our own website. We also use other platforms and can say with certainty that Airbnb is by far the worst platform to use. They only care about themselves, not the hosts and not the guests.

Coronavirus has been handled completely wrong. According to the U.S. transportation guidelines — which is what airlines typically use — you have 24 hours to cancel and get a full refund and travel must be booked seven days prior to your arrival. This is why airlines do not give out refunds unless the problem is something on their part such as cancelling the flight, safety hazards, and so forth.

With the coronavirus situation they know better and this is why they have not refunded passengers. Most of them are issuing flight vouchers and waiving rescheduling fees. For refunds this is not the case. This is the proper way to handle these circumstances.

Airbnb started off confused, which is not good. First they threw the blame ball to the host and said they were not refunding service fees. It was up to the hosts. If we had strict cancellation policies then they flat-out changed them all — no consistency, and no regard for the hosts and the amount of money that we are losing. No regard for the fact that we still have to pay bills and rent.

Hosts that are businesses such as ourselves are suffering. We get no support from Airbnb. It has been a nightmare to be on this platform during this crisis. Our cancellation policy is not being honored.

All Airbnb needed to do was either honor the cancellation policy  — which in many cases gave the guest a 50% refund, which is better than nothing — or simply offer a credit for a year to allow the guests to come back and reschedule their travel. Many guests were cancelling simply because their conferences got cancelled. That is not because they were coming from an impacted area or because they were sick themselves. It was not because flights stopped.

Our main guests were coming from the U.S., literally in the state of California coming down from NorCal to SoCal and only wanted to cancel because Disneyland had closed. This is completely unfair to the hosts. I understand if it was Italy but if the country hasn’t been closed then there is no need to panic; it is the guests’ own fears that are causing them to not want to travel.

At the end of it all, as much as we would like be angry at all the guests that have cancelled we are truly angry at the monster that is Airbnb. In the end, this awful corporation can take the financial hit but not smaller businesses like ours.

Next month everything might be back to normal and people will start booking again but what about us, the smaller companies that have several vacation rental properties with rent to pay but no money? Will we still be here because of all the lost revenue?

We are in severe jeopardy over nonsense. It is unfortunate that this occurred. As far as being a host here on Airbnb, I hope to not continue.

There will always be bad apples to give hosts a bad name but there are many of us who are ethical, really do this hosting with pride, and love hosting guests and offering great hospitality. For Airbnb to not want to protect the great hosts that keep them bringing them all this revenue that keeps their lights on is just disgusting and unfair.

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Posted in Airbnb Host Stories and tagged , , , , , .

12 Comments

  1. Well, Dean, depends on your point of view doesn’t it? We are suing our so-called Super-Host… why? Its a large property and the person claims it accommodates 12 people in the advertising…..but….. We get on average between 20-40 people (yep we’ve counted them)…. its all about the profits to this so-called Super-host. We’ve had drugs, we’ve had Caliphates, we’ve had endless trespass, we’ve obvioiusly had anti-social behaviour, threatening behaviour including threats of violence to us, we’ve had all-night parties – countless times of the police and other authorities involved – you name it, we’ve had it ….. and we are not alone worldwide…. Airbnb couldn’t care less so long as the money comes rolling in. This is a totally unregulated industry – it should be regulated.

  2. Dean Rogers,
    Thank you so much for sharing your point of view. Your comment said it all. Still stunned by the events that have transpired, specifically ABB overriding the policies set by hosts *and agreed to* by confirmed guests and providing full refunds for cancellations with little regard for the devastating
    financial losses suffered by hosts.

    A simple solution would’ve been to spilt the payments 50/50: 50% refunded 50% paid out.
    Or issue credits to guests for future travels.

    Or advising and assisting guests to seek reimbursement under the travel insurance provision provided by most if not all major credit card companies.

    My feeling is ABB panicked, then acted hastily to please and appease Twix on the Left with little regard and consideration for Twix on the Right.

    Better to take a little more time and decide on a plan that provides for both sides equally. Just my opinion.

    P.S. I lost all of my rental income for March and April. That’s about $4500– a lot of money for a single, recently laidoff, 2nd year public school teacher.
    (Dance, Social Studies, Budget Cuts)

    Commenting from the sparkling tile floor of my master bathroom, tub adjacent and freshly sanitized (the bathroom, not me) picking thru the contents of a thoughtfully created *Welcome Basket * in anticipation of my guests non-arrival.
    Outfit of choice:
    Fluffy white tear-stained terry cloth robe…

  3. You know I am shocked at the replies left here. Arron and everyone else should be ashamed of what you just said. I am not a host, I am a guest who like every other guest that canceled (including you Arron) got a full refund from AirBnB, but unlike you heartless people I only accepted a 50% refund. Why should those people have to pay the whole bill they are no more at fault than I was. Guest agreed to the host cancellation policies when they booked it, now just because AirBnB is throwing them under the bus you are going to take advantage and not honor your agreement. Do you guys realize that people are going to lose their homes, children are going to go hungry and sadly there will be people who feel their only option is to kill themselves. Just because you wanted to save a few hundred bucks. You say why should you pay for a service you never received, well if you wont do it because thats the fair thing to do how about you do it because thats what you agreed to do back when you made the reservation, its called integrity something AirBnB will never be accused of having. All I can say to all the people who has taken a full refund is that every time you look at your bank balance think about the pain and suffering you caused people in order to save a little bit of money. I am so disappointed in people right now

  4. It is WRONG to charge guests under the current circumstances. Why should we pay when we have never even used your services. Do not exploit people under epidemic circumstances.
    A host just like you is not returning my money(more than $3000) because corona is nothing to fear according to them. Apparently Airbnb people have no regard for human life. Greedy airbnb is host centric and gives a damn about guests, saying we cannot do anything because the host does not want to return your money. Greedy people !!!

  5. You are not alone. I too am suffering the result of ABB not upholding my strict cancellation policy to the tune of $4300. So unfair and leaves me in a very scary position as a tenant who relied on that income for rent payments.
    I don’t understand why guests might not seek help from their CC companies to recoup funds from canceled trips. Just a thought.

  6. STRs or former airbnbs will all need to be furnished monthly rentals as AIRbnb continues to not follow its own policies. Hosts need to just ignore all future rentals and make person to person deals. In fact guests can still show up to pay cash but take airbnb out of the deal. Hosts will just start using up the rest of airbnbs reservations and take the leads. Airbnb can not even verify valid cancellations be it host or guests as communities go into lock downs.

  7. I ran a traditional bed and breakfast for decades and still know many hosts in the business. Indeed they are hurting as are hotels, restaurants and many other businesses that rely on travel. They also have enormous bills. Talking to these hosts however they are NOT charging guests who cancel. Most have a 7 day cancellation policy and are waiving the one night charge even if at the last minute. I my self have no plans to travel anywhere in the near future and I know many others feel the same right now. Stay close to home for a few weeks people!

    Additionally I will say that whilst you set up the cancelation “penalty” as hosts I personally feel it is WRONG to charge guests a cent under the circumstances. If YOU called me on the day of your stay and were ill I would politely cancel and ask you to call again when you felt better. Nobody likes to have to pay for nothing. And of course I didn’t want sick people around.

    Your “company” will just have to figure it out like any other business being impacted. Perhaps you could rent the 20 units out long term to locals desperate for housing thanks to the likes of Airbnb and yourself? Would certainly help pay the bills…………………….

  8. Regardless of having 1 listing or 20 listings, you are a regular host. If you are listing your accommodations on Airbnb it’s very obvious and well known that Airbnb calls the shots. It is their platform and business, not yours.

    With that said, I can understand that running a business of your own and relying on other businesses like Airbnb to help sustain that business can be crucial.

    As a host myself I respect the decision Airbnb made. I have also lost bookings and money, but I appreciate that Airbnb cares about their guests and host’s health.

    It is not only guests that are cancelling their bookings…. hosts have also been cancelling guests. So it is going both ways. Guests are also getting “screwed” and needing to find new accommodations.

    Anyway, that is my two cents.

    All the best!

  9. Absolutely no sympathy for your “company”. So-called Super-hosts like you take no interest in the local community and the neighbours – its all about the profits. In fact, Airbnb have shielded so-called Super-hosts over the years with poor customer service to those booking as this site has proved, time and time again. Well now for a while at least, Airbnb will be suffering as will the So called “Super-hosts”. Registered Hotels and B&B’s who pay to be regulated as an industry, unlike Airbnb, will also be suffering the consequences of coronavirus. Its a worldwide issue and we all have to deal with it.

    • Hey pissed off neighbor, why are you pissed off about an AirBnB next door? I mean why oes people get upset when their neighbors turns it into a BnB. Its their property they should be able to do with as they please. Its none of your business what they do. And please dont say that its because of all the different people that stay or because they have loud parties . Every time (3 times) a host had told me that their neighbor didnt like the fact that they rented short term the neighbors all had this in common. First off is everyone of them had a dog that barked every time i pulled up, and not just for a minute they would bark long after I would go into the house. And every one of them neighbors would look out the windows when I pulled up, no matter what time it was. And they wouldnt just look and see who it was and then walk away, they would sit there looking out the window until I would go inside. Why do they have to do that, there is nothing wrong with seeing who just pulled up but once you see who it is walk away, anything more is none of their business. So if you are one of those neighbors, mind your own business and you wont get pissed off so much. And if you have the barking dog might I suggest stopping it from barking for 10 minutes after the people go into the house.

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