Coachella Disaster: Airbnb Cancelled after Check-In


I had a terrible experience with this host.  I’m the type of guy that prepares for everything. After this experience I realize I cannot place any amount of responsibility for the success of my vacation in the hands of strangers with no track record. I will be using reputable hotel chains for the rest of my life. At least they have process and procedure in place and aren’t flaky Airbnb NOOB hosts that can’t get their stuff together! I actually had a hotel booked ready to go… but no…

“Why don’t we try an Airbnb?” they said. “It would be roomier,” they said.

“YES! Great idea!” NOT! We planned to check in to our accommodations that Thursday and got the Airbnb booked and confirmed with the host on Tuesday. Somewhat short notice but as a guest I had expected that this room would have been ready to be used if those dates were listed as available. Everything started off smoothly: after the confirmation and payment I reached out to the host via text and they replied stating they would call me that evening. No call came that evening. The next day was Wednesday, one day prior to check in. I again reached out to the host via text and Airbnb but never got a response. A host going dark within 24 hours of check in is not good. The check in day arrives and I’m getting nervous. I already cancelled my hotel plans so that I wouldn’t get charged so now I have NOTHING to fall back on.

The first thing I do that morning at 8:00 AM is contact Airbnb stating I haven’t heard from this host. They say they will contact them and get back to me asap. They call me back around 9:00 AM saying they spoke with the host and the host was having issues getting a cleaning crew to prepare the condo. I said I didn’t plan to check in until 10:00 PM anyways so that should give them time. The Airbnb rep told me to contact the host directly to complete the booking. I said, “OK, I’ll call them after I get off work.”

So I texted and messaged the host throughout the day stating I would call around 5:00 PM. At 5:00 PM I called (straight to voicemail) and texted the host asking to make arrangements. I finally get a text back at 6:00 PM saying they couldn’t have the condo cleaned in time for my arrival which would have been 7 HOURS AFTER CHECK IN, at 10:00 PM! Are you kidding me? Please get your life together! You have a responsibility when you placed that listing! So two hours after I was supposed to check in I’m screwed and back to square one, trying to find accommodation for the vacation! I was supposed to have left already! Unreal! I couldn’t imagine myself in this situation in a million years.

To top it all off, Airbnb didn’t have this flagged as urgent in their system so I never got a call back from them even though the host notified Airbnb at 12:00 PM that they would have to cancel. Thanks for letting me know Airbnb! And thank you, host, for not letting me know that very important and pertinent information. FLAKE! I didn’t even get a cancellation notice in my inbox until 6:00 PM, three hours after check in! One Airbnb agent was able to restore quite a bit of faith by getting me a FULL refund and getting one night at a nearby hotel. Although I appreciate the gesture, it still required us to check out the next day and check in to another hotel for the remainder of our vacation causing us to lose half a day at the Coachella Music Festival due to the hotel’s 3:00 PM check-in rule. And with the prices having skyrocketed I actually ended up paying MORE for my trip. Not to mention that when I checked into the “Free Night Hotel” booked by Airbnb I had to put down a credit card for incidentals…. Guess whose credit card got charged at checkout for the “free night”? You guessed it! MY AMEX. Not the credit card put down by Airbnb when THEY booked the complimentary night for me. So now I have to fight Hilton’s accounting department on that one. What a joyous experience this has been! As I mentioned at the beginning: experience, process, and procedure will now win out in favor of any cost savings or added benefits that can be brought by using Airbnb.

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One Comment

  1. Great review. But he called it perfectly when booking last minute with a host who had no reviews or experience, as shown on profile. For such an important weekend, why take chances?

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