The idea of Airbnb is swell. The implementation is horrible. The infrastructure to their service is non existent. My host confirmed two months in advance of my overseas trip. I checked two days before departure to learn the host had cancelled my lodging without telling me. Airbnb did not alert me either. That is a product of their infrastructure issues. I tried to book with another host who gave me immediate confirmation. I discovered not only was that not a true confirmation, but that host had not owned that property for two years. Again, an infrastructure issue. No one is monitoring the lodgings and the hosts.
In addition, there was no way to write a review on that host because the lodging was cancelled. Now let’s get to customer service. They were useless. All they did was send me emails about dwellings I had already discarded. They would not offer more than a standard $200 to help with my booking which was for two weeks. $200 wouldn’t even cover two days at any of the other residences. I could not afford any of the appropriate last minute lodging and Airbnb would not help. There was one host who had seven seemingly appropriate lodgings. I asked Airbnb support to contact that person to see if any of her lodgings would be available ASAP when I was about to depart. They said they would and two days later, they still had not come through. I was already in the country staying in a hotel.
My third week was to be in another country on the beach. The night before my arrival, the host sent me an email saying the sand fleas were over abundant, to bring bug spray, and don’t lounge on the beach. There was limited and poor wifi, almost no taxi service, and no restaurants in the area. I was supposed to take a taxi from the airport, go to a supermarket, then get to the lodging with all my cooking supplies for four days. I had to cancel but was financially penalized. Airbnb would not intervene or even address the issue. I lost over $500. To make matters worse, any refunds took four different contacts to get the ball rolling.
The company needs to fix their software application to do the checks and balances on hosts and cancellations. The company needs humans to monitor and work with hosts to provide a standard level of service. The company needs to allow disappointed travelers to comment on hosts even if they don’t stay at the lodging. But mostly, Airbnb needs to monitor their hosts constantly and penalize those who damage their brand by misbehaving.