I’ve stayed in four Airbnb properties over three years. One was very good, two were okay, and one was awful. The awful one underlined why everyone needs to be so careful with Airbnb.
One part of the awful stay included when the host embarked on a two-hour daily tickle game with his young son right on the other side of my room door. There were no curtains in my room, with the neighbor’s lights shining directly into my face all night long. There was one bathroom for eight people, a washing machine regularly operating right outside my window, a barking dog upstairs, family feuds on the other side of all walls round the clock, and hosts that stayed in with the TV blaring from 7:00 AM. I came away with insomnia and was so happy to return back home.
I simply would not pay above a certain amount for a place that I’ve never seen (and in an area I’ve never visited before), for which I cannot cancel once I’ve booked, and for which I need to make a large leap of faith having tried to read between all the lines of previous guest reviews. Airbnb relies heavily on trust, and as we all know, not everyone – both guests and hosts – can be trusted. You would be really foolish to part with more than a thousand dollars for an Airbnb stay.
I’m not defending Airbnb, but people have to be realistic about what they get, and if a place doesn’t have, for example, an electric kettle but an old-style stove kettle, I don’t think this really warrants a complaint. However, when what they get is dangerous and/or harmful to their health, then there is real cause for complaint.
As a female, I’m careful not to book with male-only hosts and to research the street crime around the apartment area, but some people seem to forget that your host/guest could be just about anyone. You should never let your guard down.
I definitely do think Airbnb should do a lot more to ensure greater safety of both their hosts and guests, and they certainly need a more thorough and better host profile and review system. There also needs to be more regulation around short-term rental markets to protect guests, hosts, and the surrounding community. The all-round system could be so much better than it currently is, and it’s a pity Airbnb seems to do everything to avoid leading the way on this.
The fact that Airbnb also seems to remove some negative reviews is also disturbing and effectively false advertising. I was so careful to scrutinize all the reviews for the bad place that I stayed at. Not one review mentioned that there were children in the house or that the place was beyond noisy 24/7 or that the neighbors’ lights were so bright at night, making it impossible to sleep. I simply cannot believe that no one else other than me had a problem unless other guests simply did not want to point out the negatives for fear of damaging the host’s income stream or receiving a poor review from the host.
I urge all guests who have stayed at an Airbnb to write a review and to be honest about anything that wasn’t good. If I had seen just one review saying there were young children in the same house, I would not have booked that property.