Airbnb vs VRBO: Host on Both Platforms Offers Thoughts

As a host with properties on both platforms, my policy is simple: I offer a lower rate with non-refundable options. I suggest that the guest obtain travel insurance if they are concerned about unforeseen events. If a guest does not get insurance and can’t travel, it’s like someone buying a car and not having insurance. When an accident happens, and I don’t have coverage, I want someone else to pay. This is what insurance is for to offer coverage and benefits in unforeseen situations.

I am a host on both platforms and agreed to the initial terms. Airbnb unilaterally changed the terms on me as a host, and offered full refunds against my policy and suggestion to obtain travel insurance coverage.

VRBO gives us the discretion to make the decision for refunds and suggests we do, but it’s at our suggestion and the reason why I stay with VRBO. I have worked with guests to provide win-win solution and am happy. I will change all my listings to VRBO while avoiding Airbnb at all costs as they screwed us by going back on our agreement on strict refund policy with the guest to obtain travel insurance.

What’s next? A regular flu, or there’s a accident that the guest gets into to fully refund them because of an unforeseen tragedy? Or should they encourage travel insurance vs unilaterally changing terms on a host?

If hosts don’t list on Airbnb because they screwed them, then guests wont be able to rent a good place… or not the better places at least. I won’t list my upgraded properties at low prices on Airbnb ever again.

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8 Comments

  1. Hi Megan,

    We are a super host with 30 listings we lost over $200.000 in 2 weeks. We have a strict cancelation Policy because we are not in the situation to gamble. We are ready to fight back.
    Do you know attornies who study the Extenuating Circumstances policy that overrides the Strict Cancellation policy?

    • I think talking to an attorney would be a good idea.

      I am impressed, however, that in the last few days air B and B promised to pay back hosts 1/4 of what they lost and will offer super hosts $5000 in a couple months if they meet certain criteria. Air B and B have to be respected for doing what is right
      Even if it’s not 100%. This is what wealthy companies should do and they made history by making the attempt. Thanks Air B and B. It will cost $500 million.

  2. If there is a legal violation I think attorneys would get involved. I couldn’t find where to file in Federal Trade Commission. I think Air B and B should compensate both guests and hosts if they want an extenuating circumstances clause and not favor guests when hosts are affected by the same extenuating circumstance and will suffer greater losses from many guests. The guest Lise’s one vacation whereas the host loses their entire business or potentially their home. Air B and ZB seems to be concerned about future business from guests, not fairness.

  3. When Airbnb chose to refund the guests money with out negotiating with their hosts first – they made the decision to break the contract between Airbnb and the host.

    Technically the accounts payable (invoice from the host to Airbnb) is still Airbnb’s responsibility to still pay regardless if they received the funding from their guests.

    When Airbnb did this, they in essence declared that they are the employer of the host, because they are requiring the host to follower their rules.

    The host is no longer a “sub contractor” and is now an employee.

    In the State of Illinois this will hold up through unemployment insurance. And now, if the State of Illinois finds that any host has not paid their unemployment insurance to the State, the State of Illinois can and will audit Airbnb and collect it from them.

    I understand that this does not put money in the hosts pocket right now. As responsible hosts, we need to notify the Federal Trade Commission what has happened collectively so that they can conduct an investigation into this and sue Airbnb for violating the law. The phone number to call is 1-877-FTC-HELP.

    The website to file a complaint is:

    https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/GettingStarted?NextQID=192&Url=%23%26panel1-6&SubCategoryID=0#crnt

    Taking advantage of small businesses during a Pandemic is just morally wrong.

    Hosts need to communicate with each other and claim against Airbnb.

    One of the first notices given by Airbnb on March 14, 2020, they wrote:

    “We will be working in the days and weeks ahead to identify tools and initiatives to support our hosts during these very challenging times.”

    Hopefully this means they will still honor their accounts payable to the hosts.

    Airbnb announced last fall that they are planning on going public on the NYSE in May of this year. If the outrage from the hosts is loud and clear – their IPO will not do very well.

    We have video recorded our phone calls we made to Airbnb since March 14 whele we as hosts have tried to gain answers directly from a human. Each phone call was mysteriously disconnected at the same time into the call 4:52. This will be more evidence used, along with copies of our original agreement with Airbnb that did not include the famous “Extenuating Circumstances Policy”.

  4. Hard to believe that there are still hosts that haven’t come to the realization that allowing the guests full refunds was the right thing to do for public health.

    Airbnb did not go back on your agreement. They’ve always had an Extenuating Circumstances policy that overrides the Strict Cancellation policy and hosts have always complained about it. BTW, travel insurance doesn’t cover pandemics. Look it up.

    So, what you’re saying is that the angry VRBO guests that didn’t get their money back from VRBO hosts are going to switch to Airbnb. And the angry Airbnb hosts that didn’t get their 50% strict cancellation money from Airbnb are going to switch to VRBO. When the smoke clears, do you want to be on the platform with more guests and less hosts or more hosts and less guests?

    • I take you are not a host yourself and don’t understand the impact this has on an actual business with an array of multiple properties. Their are so many things to pay our income should not be taken away because of extenuating circumstances because when the smoke clears as you said there will be no mercy from creditors, banks and the government itself to help save a lot of these business like my own and the host relaying there story. Like this host I hope to go to VRBO where I can take into account and as a business owner and not an employee.

  5. As a host I totally agree with this comment. I insure myself with a strict refund policy because I need to pay essentials such as property taxes, etc with the rent. I can’t afford to gamble on the outcome. I agree it’s the guest who needs to purchase insurance for the unforeseen and it’s like not buying auto insurance then blaming the other driver and expecting them to pay for your accident. I can’t purchase insurance for the traveler but would if I could. Air B and B should honor host’s cancellation policies or Air B and B should pay the guest themselves.

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