Airbnb Hosts are Screwed. Just say no.

Welcome to Airbnb 2019. I have removed my listings. My how things have changed. I have been an Airbnb host since around 2010. I have always been a Superhost, for what that’s worth. It used to be so easy and so cool. Now it is truly a nightmare.

The focus has changed to be politically correct and all for the guest. The guest gets to see your photo but you can’t see theirs until they book. Really? How is that fair? Like a guest won’t discriminate based on my looks?

Any time you talk to customer service you are sent to India. Their accents can be so thick I have to ask them to repeat things and then I have to repeat things to them as well. Who is this working for? Why can’t they hire people in the states for these jobs? I had my account locked out for no reason and that has never happened. I will just make a list of what has happened this year.

I was locked out of my account. It took numerous calls to India and then no follow up. Magically it was unlocked.

My listing disappeared. It would show up in a Google search. When I logged into my dummy account (one I set up to see what guests actually see) it was not listed. It took two days and many phone calls to try to even explain this to the customer service. I kept telling them you need to look at this with an Airbnb account logged in, not my host account. Again hours on the phone. Exhausting.

I only take guests who have a complete profile. I state that in my listing in the first sentence. Yet Airbnb wants me to take anyone.

We no longer have the right to refuse a guest for any reason. If a guest takes too long to respond I politely tell them they need to respond soon or I won’t accept. Well Airbnb didn’t like that and it puts a mark against your account.

My feeling is Airbnb no longer want hosts who live in the homes. They want a turn-key operation just like a hotel. I am extremely upset by this. It’s like they want to run an underground hotel.

The host is not valued. We are being pushed out by investors and Airbnb loves that.

If you call and ask any questions they don’t want to hear about it. They blocked off a day for a guest who did not have their ID. They blocked that day out for 11 hours for the “potential” guest to provide Airbnb with an ID. I told them they better unblock the date as this was a new user and there was no guarantee I would even rent to him.

After this happened is when my listing disappeared. I do believe they take a retaliatory stance towards hosts.

Airbnb is actively weeding out owner occupied listings in favor of investor owned units. This is an underground hotel situation. They wont tell you to quit, they will just do what they did to me: make your life miserable so you quit.

Airbnb has turned very greedy. Any good they do comes off the back of the hosts.

Airbnb does not care about the safety of the host. If we don’t feel comfortable with a potential guest we should not be penalized for not accepting them.

Airbnb no longer has my support. I will do what I can to keep them from growing in my city. I will now oppose them. I see what their goal is. They want to get rid of owner-occupied properties and move into self-run homes turned into underground hotels.

I see the error of my ways with supporting Airbnb. All it does is cause more people to travel.

Guests are not as appreciative as they were when I first started. Most guests are still nice, but I can tell some wish we were not living in our home as they have gotten used to renting cheap space with no owners present.

I rented my space to share with other humans and had an experience. Airbnb used to be about that. Now they want to just be an underground hotel. Airbnb could care less how we hosts feel. Just say no to Airbnb.

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

5 Comments

  1. I have an Airbnb in my home for 2.5 years and have never had the kinds of issues (rural and otherwise) that any of you are talking about. Even when I just looked up Big Sur right now, on the map, all 10 listings are there, and more. If you don’t like hosting, just get out and let the rest of us get on with it, happily.

  2. Good analysis. Re what they are trying to do to hosts in their own homes, I can only agree!!! Delighted to be rid of them. Too risky in your own home.

  3. Yup the rural thing happened to me just yesterday. Trying to find a place in Birmingham and I keep getting suggestions for Mobile or Huntsville which is wayyy too far away. Even as far as Tennessee there are suggestions. Its very frustrating. I cannot believe there are so few Airbnb’s in the Birmingham area.

  4. Yes, it is not the same! Airbnb is going public in 2020 and they are just doing what most corporations do, being blind to anything other than the short term IPO proceeds. I try not to take it personal, but it is a feeling of being trapped since they dominate the online STR market. I use over 4 other platforms, and only get about 5% of booking on them. These other platforms do not hide or punish hosts for non-conformation to “profit only policies” but they just have a fraction of the guests/users.
    Hosts make an investment to rent a furnished house. Experienced, responsible hosts spend many hours learning procedures, trying to get listings accurate, and including items that guests might need … like clear directions. After you build up a few months of bookings it is very hard to leave or go back to LTRs. You would loose all the income needed to pay off the improvements and furnishings not to mention a good additional “at home job” for cleaning and hosting. You get motivated to improve your property for more bookings. At the same time the rental becomes to nice and expensive to go back to LTR. It is also much more hard to do maintenance and improvements (as a solo worker) on an LTR when the tenants are always wanting to live in it undisturbed. Then airbnb “changes policy” anyway they choose to maximize profit and automate things doing less work for the same fees. There are very few laws for online rights and protections of users, so they just take advantage of the situation and do most any thing they want. I have seen the argument that they are an employer more than a peer to peer website. This is because they really do decide how you do your operations. A typical P2P service provider would just have rules and keep them consistent like on ebay. Airbnb will punish a host by hiding the listing if they try to be responsible or use safe methods to screen out unwanted problem guests that are not a match.

    I have documented over a hundred calls to what I now call AIRhead experiances! Customer service became “AIrbnb experience” when they fired most of the reps and just started using an off shore answering service (Philippines). I have so many crazy ridiculous conversations that it could be an amazing comedy some day when I get out of this and get time to edit them together.

    Here is my short list of items they started in the last couple years.
    1.)They started using rural destination areas to suggest staying in town where there is more inventory. I call this suggestive marketing, to get more bookings away from desired areas. This causes a nightmare for these rural areas since guests end up lost. They look under Big Sur, Ca. only to find 300 listings in Monterey or Carmel valley. There are only 10 host in Big Sur now, and airbnb hides them in this list of 300 items , most of which are over an hour away.
    I get about 1/4 the views after this dilution of misplaced rentals for suggestive marketing and end up taking much less desirable guests without good reviews.

    2.)AIrheads now punish you if you are responsible and want to check in hosts, verify numbers of guests, and verify who is showing up! They want all “lockbox” hosts that allow parties, over occupancy, and too many cars. They hide your listing more (your ranking goes down for where your listing is located in searches) when you refuse the “lockbox” option or the “book it now”. They are so sneaky that they actually have code on the search pages to give a “fake ranking” where you come up near to top of a search when you search for your listing while you are logged in. Guests searching for the same listing never find it in that same ranking on a search. This kind of behavior is just so wrong. They get away with it because most people never figure it out … and there are just no rules or consistent agreements when they threaten to lock you out of your listing if you do not agree to the latest “giving up all rights” agreements. Airheads are actually promoting irresponsible, absent lockbox hosts. This is getting STRs banned in many cities and counties.

    3.)AIrheads decided to make all payments for damages and extra persons optional to all guests. More and more guests are learning this bad behavior. P2P and the shared economy typically use tools like reviews and penalties to create “better behavior” or “good players” which increase trust for strangers. That still sounds weird, but it is just another version of the idea the you should treat others like you want to be treated, and have a profile that shows your great behavior history. Essentially you remove fear and build trust by knowing habits and history of another peer. Unfortunately when the airheads cheat on reviews, making only five star guests and hosts for more 5 star inventory, they increase fears and distrust. They actually just hide the stars when less than 5 using the “secret algorithm” which is NOT a mathematical average. Remember there are no rules! When airheads refuse to collect fees for extra persons or damages that are part of the online agreement for a listing, they are not enforcing the agreement as they originally promised. They do not want to see proof or evidence anymore. If you say you have photos, they interrogate you about where your camera is located and threaten to lock your account. It does not matter if that cam is for parking security and it is disclosed on the listing!

    4.)One of the worst things airheads do is produce propaganda on security and safety. They claim to “verify users” when they have never done this. I have been a host for 3 years with no head shot! I have traveled as a guest with no head shot photo. It is all optional! In fact they do not verify that the name on the user account matches the valid credit card! I have made a reservation as a new user with a new email in about 10 minutes (no photo).
    The whole discrimination thing, about hiding the photos before a booking was just a sneaky formal disclosure that it is optional! The pic was always a scam to pretend to verify. It does reduce fear to see a photo most of the time, but this is a complete scam. AIrheads never suggest methods like ID verification during check in, or not allowing 3rd party rentals where the user rents a place for a friend, maybe removed as a user. Airheads do the exact opposite, punishing a host if you try to implement methods for safety. Anytime AIrheads make the platform more secure and safe, they lose many users and bookings. They just put all the risk on the host and guest because they can!

  5. Wow, What a nightmare. I have thankfully not had to deal with them except through email and got through in the end. The stories from hosts are getting worse and worse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *