We (a family of four) were travelling to New York for the first time. We tried to make bookings on the Airbnb site, but many hosts either did not reply or refused. The response time from hosts was a minimum of 48 to 72 hours. We then chanced upon a place on East 13th Street, Manhattan which was reasonably priced. We paid up in full two months (for our 5-night stay) before our proposed trip. We confirmed with the host the night before check in. We had an email also from Airbnb. Eight hours before check in, we get an email from Airbnb cancelling our reservation. The host informed us that the reservation was cancelled abruptly by Airbnb. We could not find a reasonably priced hotel. Airbnb was of no help. They just refunded the money after two months. We lost money on the exchange rate and conversion charges for no service provided. You are pushed in a loop on their website trying to contact them for a resolution.
I have used Airbnb several times. There’s a few issues.
1 – They have you locked into the full stay. You cannot change your mind if something comes up. Hotels will generally accommodate you, Airbnb will not.
2 – The listings can misrepresent the real situation and Airbnb offer little to no recourse.
3 – When something goes wrong Airbnb will not refund you any money. They will make it all but impossible to contact them and then side with the host at your expense.
4 – Whereas with a hotel it’s a business and thus has levels and standards you really cannot trust an Airbnb host. The host validation is very lite. My party of guests were threatened with armed security guards at a listing. Airbnb were pathetic in their response and, despite spending less than an hour at the place would not refund us our money.
So there’s a trust issue with Airbnb. You really cannot trust who you are spending time with. Be very, very careful using this service. Avoid using it if possible.