I called Airbnb today with a simple question. They have dodged and squirmed and promised to have a manager call me, but they have essentially gone into hiding.
When I signed up as a host (I’m an excellent host) I was told that I was in control of the settings that would control who could book. I set my settings to things like: must have reviews, must be verified. Then there are rules, which I was also told I was in control of. I can’t have children or pets in this building (no child gates on windows — this is NYC) so I set criteria like that as well.
I was also told that I could choose when to host, so I set my calendar accordingly. I use my apartment part time, so I am literally unable to host when I block dates. Then with all of my settings in place, I chose to let the people who fit all of my criteria auto book because customers like that and it makes things easier.
The problem is this. I have a wonderful business going with my great guests who can auto book, but I am constantly being interrupted by Airbnb with “requests” for bookings. These requests don’t meet the criteria, but Airbnb doesn’t tell you that, and they don’t tell you what criteria they don’t meet; you have to take the time to look through everything.
They send me “requests” for people with babies, and dogs, who have no reviews and on days that I am booked. Then they tell you that you are able to decline, but they will penalize you by locking your calendar for the days that you didn’t accept the guest who wasn’t qualified. So all someone has to do to shut me down for two weeks is send a “request” that I can’t fulfill and they can do that. I’ve asked them to stop sending me these requests that I am unable to fill, but they refuse.
Here is my question: is this actionable? Has anyone done a test case in court? Can they tell you that you have a choice but then lock you out of your business if you don’t take whoever comes along? If I take Joe with his ferrets and he burns down my building, is he a client of Airbnb because they in fact were the ones who made it impossible for me not to take him? Anyone?
I don’t want some five-part solution where I have to get around this BS by checking a series of boxes to get out of taking these people. I don’t want to get requests that I’ve already set my settings to show that I can’t and won’t take. Here is the truth: if they weren’t so shady in trying to force you to take these people, and then try to penalize and ruin your business if you don’t do it, I would be happy to see if I could accommodate some of them. But not now.