I wanted to share my last Christmas experience so others can learn from it. I live in Singapore but am originally from France. This year we decided to bring our family from France to Bali to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s. Ideally, we wanted to find a house for the family so I decided to use Airbnb. The initial experience was good, but issues started to arise when we tried to reach the house (a quite peaceful paradise in Kuta). It took us more than 45 minutes with a private guide to reach the house as most of the time the host was not reachable. The house was advertised as a quiet and peaceful paradise in the middle of the busiest street. The real issue came when we reached the house. Paint was peeling off the roof, the bed sheets were not cleaned, the kitchen full of rust, and last but not least, taking a shower was part of an experience in which you had to wait about half an hour to get sufficient water to wash your hair.
I was feeling so bad that I immediately called Airbnb and the owner. The owner just said he was sorry but the cancellation policy is clear; there would be no reimbursement (does not take into consideration any difference between the pictures and reality). I decided to call Airbnb, which is in itself a challenge. I ended up talking to a person who said that he would call back to help me to find an alternative place to stay and mediate with our host. After five days nobody called, so I had to manage to find a last-minute hotel for the whole family. Today I received a reply from Airbnb saying that they were sorry but there was noting that they could do.
So my conclusions are:
- If you have a crappy house, rent it on Airbnb with no reimbursement policy. If the guests are not happy, too bad for them. Airbnb will not do anything as they need the transaction to get their cut.
- Airbnb is a high risk solution to accommodation. You may have the chance to find an honest host with great properties but you could also end up in the garbage. In both cases, Airbnb is only there for the transaction and will not risk the lost of any rent. This essentially means renters are screwed.