Picture this: you are a 20-something business professional who event plans for a job and loves to celebrate every birthday. 30 is a big one, right? All you want is an amazing home with family and friends where you can eat delicious food and drink yummy wine.
After hours and hours of scouring Airbnb, you find the perfect home that sleeps eight people, has an ocean view, and even a spa. Amazing. You book this six months in advance (you’re very organized). You also message the host to double check that you are allowed to have a friend visit (not stay) to enjoy birthday cake and the property in the day time bringing the number of guests on the property to nine. You also want to ensure you send everyone’s vaccine certificates (you’re organized and respectful, remember?)
The host immediately thinks this is now a party despite your best efforts to say it isn’t. They go on to say they previously had a terrible guest that ruined their home. You sympathize and understand it must be difficult to trust other guests. However, you do your best to reassure the host.
Luckily, your birthday falls just after New Years so everyone is already enjoying their Christmas holidays, yourself included. Fast forward to Boxing Day and you receive a long winded message from your hosts explaining they need to cancel 11 days in advance as they had “close contact” with a COVID case (not confirmed person) staying in their home.
We’re in New Zealand; bear in mind there were maybe two cases at the time and none in the town or city where this home is located. The host then went on to say they were “devastated” but could not find a cleaner prior to our check in. Isn’t the home meant to be cleaned upon arrival anyways? In 11 days? They then went on to say they needed to cancel the listing until the end of January.
Okay no problem. I took it upon myself to find a cleaner so our place wouldn’t be cancelled, because you can best believe I have family and friends traveling more than ten hours and cancelling is not an option. Before I can even suggest this, the host cancelled and terminated any dialogue.
I’m absolutely devastated and also now out over $2000 NZD. Fast forward a few days. I went to check the listing and what do I see? My weekend was still available to book on the host’s calendar, and the following weekend which was available was now booked. What’s more, they updated their listing to include “no parties, 8 people max” which was never in the listing to begin with.
Being an understanding person, I decided to give the benefit of doubt and thought I would ring up the first cleaning company I could find on Google. They were available that weekend, as were two others.
It’s obvious this host not only lied to us about COVID but forced me to dramatically change my 30th birthday plans with zero remorse. I have family members and friends back home (I’m from North America originally) who’ve passed from COVID so to use this as an excuse is not only negligent, but disgusting. As I mentioned I’m respectful and organized, but also petty.