Write Honest Reviews for your Airbnb Stays

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.

Crime and Punishment under Airbnb’s Business Model

This morning I received a threatening robo-email from Airbnb titled “Remember: Cancellations impact your account.” I was charged $16 for speaking to a human at Airbnb, and had a threatening message telling me that “I’m off track” on my Airbnb Dashboard. The email listed the various penalties and punishments imposed upon hosts when they cancel a potential guest. Yesterday morning I cancelled my first guest because I felt that he was beyond creepy. Although I am super explicit about potential guests emailing me prior to booking to inquire about availability, this guest nevertheless used the Instant Book option at 3:00 AM (which I’ve since disconnected) to book a four-night stay, then modified to a three-night stay, two weeks in the future.

When I woke up in the morning, I checked him out and saw that he had only one previous Airbnb stay, which provided me with zero feedback about this person. Then I read his email, which began with “Hello, my lover” and it proceeded to go downhill from there. Needless to say, I was creeped out, so I cancelled the guest. Immediately, those dates were blocked by Airbnb and I was notified that I had been sanctioned.

Since yesterday, I’ve spoken to several customer service reps at Airbnb in an effort to get a resolution. That said, I cannot help feeling that there is a bigger issue at play here and it has to do about whether or not we, the hosts, and Airbnb are equal partners. If we are indeed partners, why then are we treated as adversaries? If we are partners, why does Airbnb threaten and intimidate us when we cancel a potential guest that makes us feel unsafe?

Hosts assume all the risk associated with having strangers in their home. I don’t have a problem with that. I have consented to having guests stay in my house. However, I have not consented to having someone in my house that makes me feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Airbnb demands that I make a quick decision, a judgement call, about whether on not to approve a guest. If I don’t act quickly, I get penalized. How can I do that when I have little to no information on this person? I’m not looking to waste anyone’s time.

As a seasoned traveller, I know that time is of the essence when guests are looking to book their accommodations.. Nevertheless, I also feel that I must be given the freedom to trust my instincts, which have rarely steered me wrong, especially when the site provides little or no data on a potential guest. All I’m saying is that safety must come first. Airbnb must take our safety concerns seriously, and not just pay lip service to the notion of host safety. If Airbnb were truly concerned about hosts’ comfort and safety, they would not punish hosts and make us jump through a million hoops when we dare to cancel a guest who makes us feel uncomfortable.

What would happen If a host gets seriously hurt or killed because Airbnb pressured him/her not to cancel a sketchy guest? I’m certain that Airbnb as a company would face a scandal and huge public backlash. The scandal would be “grist for the mill” for the many municipalities who vociferously object to home sharing. They could shut home sharing down because they would claim that it threatens public safety.

It would also most certainly become a PR nightmare similar to the one faced by Delta Airlines, when they somehow decided that it was a good idea to drag a 60-year-old doctor off an airplane that they themselves had overbooked. Delta had gotten away with treating passengers terribly for years, but that unfortunate incident focused a spotlight on the company’s greed, bad policies, and complete disregard for their guests. In short, it became a disaster of huge proportions. Everything was fine, until one day it wasn’t. If a host gets hurt because of Airbnb’s negligence, the Delta Airlines scandal will pale in comparison.

There are very few reasons that a responsible host would cancel a potential guest and forfeit making money. Most of us would do it only if we had real concerns regarding the guest. Airbnb is capable of tracking our bookings, our responses to guests, and the feedback we receive. The company is able to read guest reviews and determine how a host treats their guests. I am posting this because I am hoping that Airbnb will not be short-sighted, that they will think through their policies, and make host safety a priority and a core company value.

There are no “one size fits all” solutions. Perhaps cancellations ought to be judged on a case-by-case basis. Perhaps there should be a drop-down menu option, that allows hosts to cancel someone they deem unsuitable (even after they’ve booked automatically). Especially if the cancellation done within a reasonable time frame, which would allow the guest can find other accommodations. Please, let’s find a way that works for everyone.

AirBnB lets questionable host rent after guests denied access to property, robbed at gunpoint

I am an Air BnB “Super Host”, and have used them whenever I traveled abroad, with no problems…..UNTIL I recently travelled to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I booked what looked like a beautiful apartment on the beach. When I arrived late night at the airport, I missed the cab driver who was supposed to take me to the property because he had the wrong name on his mobile phone, so I got another cab from the airport taxi stand. As we approached the property, there were dozens of prostitutes and assorted “others” (pimps/drug dealers???) out in front of the building. The cab driver got out briefly and contacted the security guard to let us in. He showed the guard our confirmation page. The guard said that this is “Not a hotel, it is apartments”, and that we should go away. The cab driver insisted that we were at the correct address, so the guard told us to go around to the side street by the gate. He then disappeared. The cab driver pulled us up by the gate entrance and popped the trunk. My friend got out and walked into the compound. I got out and walked to the trunk to get my bags. Within SECONDS, two men came up and put a .45 under my chin. I slid out of my shoulder bag and slipped away from the man who was beginning to subdue me. While I half expected to get the top of my head blown off, I only got a broken tooth as the gun hit me when he half-heartedly tried to keep me from escaping. I ran around the car away from him and into the compound. my friend and I quickly ran into the lobby and into an elevator to get anywhere out of sight. we made it to the 3rd floor, and got out, looking for a place to hide. we could hear men laughing downstairs and then I heard them say that the “stupid bitches must’ve gotten in the elevator! They’re in the building.” We then tried to go higher, but the elevator wouldn’t move! it had been locked down. So we got out and hid in a janitor’s closet for what seemed like hours(really just minutes). I was certain they were going to come and get us. I snuck out and waited to see if I could hear anything. Nothing. So I tried the elevator again(and it worked again) to get out of the building. we were headed to the lobby again, but atleast I had a broken broomstick to defend myself this time! The doors opened, and the cab driver was standing there with 2 of our bags that he saved from the thieves! Also in the lobby, were 2 pissed off security guerds that were telling us that we had no business here and that we needed to leave immediately! They didn’t care that we had just been robbed and that we had rented an apartment there, or that we had a piece of paper showing that we had rented it. Fortunately I still had my mobile phone in my pocket, so I tried calling the host. No answer! and he was in Mexico CIty, as well. I asked my cab driver to take us back to the airport because American Airlines had my passport number and a record of our arrival into the country. the next day after having the tourist police take us to the US Embassy to get emergency passports, Air BnB rebooked us at a nice property about 2 hours drive from Santo Domingo, in Bani. In addition, they got us $500USD via the new host, so I could continue my trip(cruise to Europe). This was good. HOWEVER…when I returned to the US, I wrote a truthful review of the property and recounted my experience. AirBnB quickly pulled down the review, and is continuing to let this host rent to unsuspecting guests. They say that it was my fault that I got mugged, and next time I should be a smarter traveler. I am a former flight attendant and quite an experienced traveller, having travelled to places such as South Africa, Mozambique, Honduras, Indonesia and India. In addition, I’m an experienced host with AirBnB. They basically said that because I missed the pre-arranged cab driver, it was my fault that I was attacked! I also found out from one of the other condo owners that this host is not supposed to be subleasing his place, and that he was getting around this by having his cab driver friend pick up guests and take them to the apartment directly, thus avoiding the security guards. So, I got robbed and nearly shot because I missed the cab driver at the airport due to a silly mistake! This will surely happen again to someone else, because this is a marginal host dishonestly renting a property in a very dangerous part of a very dangerous city in a 3rd world country. Please keep in mind that most hosts on AirBnB, myself included…are nice, trustworthy people who have your safety and comfort in mind. But now I realize that we have some questionable hosts, and AirBnB is unwilling or unable to stop doing business with these bad actors. My recommendations are to make sure that your host is available to you either in person or by phone throughout the check-in process and easily accessable throughout your stay. Also NEVER use AirBnB in dangerous/poor places like Honduras, Brazil or Nigeria. Use extreme caution when using them in Russia, China or South Africa. I have used AirBnB in several places in South Africa and had wonderful experiences, but don’t ever book in a township. VERY dangerous! Most importantly, communicate with your host and ask plenty of questions BEFORE you arrive. A good host will be happy to answer your questions and put your mind at ease. A good host will not ask you to send them money, around Air BnB. However, some hosts will offer other services(myself included) like airport pickup and bike rentals. Never pay for them ahead of time. You should be able to pay the host During your stay. If after communicating with the host, if it doesn’t feel right…cancel it!

Smelly, dirty airbnb room

We were put up in airbnb accomodation for 2 nights. The place looked a delight on the internet…However, the title should of been “Old, Cold, & Moldy” The worst part was suspecting that the sheets weren’t clean! My 8 year old told me she didn’t like the place cause it smelled bad and the bed was smelly. There were 2 single beds for the kids…neither had mattress protectors on them. An absolute minimum standard of cleanliness were clean sheets and towels! Not this place. BE WARNED what you think is basic cleanliness, may not be someone else’s!!


I have been a Real Estate investor/landlord/agent for 40 yrs. I was contacted by Airbnb who found me on Craigslist 6 yrs. ago when they were just a few guys in S.F. renting out their couches, asking if they could list my rentals on their new website. I agreed. I was a loyal airbnb host for 6 yrs. I took total strangers from all over the world into my private Los Angeles estate guest houses, our Las Vegas vacation rental, and my famous W. Hlwd. Jim Morrison bldg. I accepted 1st time guests from all over the world who had no host reviews. I took their pets. I did this because Airbnb offered me a false sense of security, by holding guests security deposits and offering a host guarantee insurance policy which is currently $1,000,000.00. Yes, a million dollars! Lets talk about the “Bad” guests. They ranged from irresponsible nuisances to shrewd con artists. There were the ones who broke or stole a few minor items, the ones who violated our common sense/common courtesy rules, or the ones who required “special services” but didn’t want to pay for them after. The worst guests included necessary police intervention or major theft caught on CCTV cameras. There was the group of “squatters.” They were wolves in sheep’s clothing who came to me as short term vacation rental guests. Visualize “The Beverly Hillbillies” in a pickup truck with their dogs. They came off sweet as pie (landlord 101: beware of overly nice prospective tenants. No one is that nice! They are usually desperate people with bad credit, no job, who can’t get anyone else to rent to them!) He even took on the job as handyman around the apt. bldg. They were able to drag out their stay, doling out breadcrumbs by paying a few days at a time. When it came time for them to check out, these predators who apparently support themselves by “working the system” refused to vacate the premises screaming “permanent tenant rights” in the grand scheme of things to con me out of $13,500 in re-location fees and to be able to extend their stay for one more year under the cities rent control laws!!! As if this wasn’t bad enough, I also got sued by the city who extorted me for nearly $16,000 in perceived TOT fees, which ended up costing me nearly $5000 in attys fees (who took my money and resigned from the case after doing nothing) before I ended up having to pay the city nearly $10,000 in fines. THIS IS WHAT BEING AN AIRBNB HOST COST ME. And what support did I get from airbnb? Now lets talk about airbnb. They come off syrupy sweet, calling you an “awesome Superhost.” They act like airbnb is all about “sharing space” and “making friends.” If I were looking for friendship, I’d join a social club. Lets get one thing straight. It’s renting out space. Real estate. Real estate is a business. Bottom line, you are in business to make money. AIrbnb is in business to make money. They take it from both ends- their hosts and their guests. They block out parts of hosts and guests email correspondence if they suspect it includes sharing contact information. Don’t let them kid you. They expect hosts and guests to trust them with total stranger connections, lodging, and finances, but they do not trust their own hosts or guests to be able to communicate with one another in fear they will get cut out of the deal. As airbnb & their # of hosts grew during the past few years (as did their negative reviews which began popping up all over on various websites) due to their mass marketing campaign, they appeared to care less and less about their hosts and guests. The 1st big scandal I read about was the host in California whose home was totally trashed by airbnb guests. That’s when airbnb came up with their “$50,000.00 host guarantee policy” to provide panicked hosts a false sense of security. Most recently was the home in Canada that was totally trashed by airbnb guests. Airbnb upped the ante to $1,000,000.00. To be eligible for that type of host coverage, I suspect the entire family would need to be brutally murdered. I am a professional, honest, trustworthy, “to the book” type host. I never once went behind Airbnb’s back to try to cut them out of their original booking commission because I believe in karma and I believe everyone is entitled to their fair share of what they contributed. Also, never once did one of my guests ever make a theft claim while staying in our rental units. That speaks volumes for my honesty and integrity. Many guests don’t realize that when they book through airbnb, all payment is handled directly by airbnb. They never allow the host to be in possession of the security deposit. So when a guest commits damage, theft, violations of rules or requires special services, I exercised my host rights and filed a claim with airbnb under the guest’s security deposit. To avoid having to process claims, airbnb will attempt to discourage hosts by running you through the hoops. Think boot camp! 1st you have to go through the “Resolution request” (asking your guest to pay you.) This link is nearly impossible to find on their site. Once you have found it, filled out the form, and sent it to your guest, the guest will usually deny the damage/theft, etc., get angry that you “accused them,” refuse to pay, then leave you a false negative retaliatory review. If you don’t hear back from the guest or they deny the claim, you have to mark your calendar to remember to contact airbnb to “get involved.” (if you forget, you are out of luck on the claim as the deadline has expired.) In order to involve airbnb, they will require photos, witnesses, original receipts, and/or comps. As a real estate investor with multiple fully furnished properties in 3 locations in 3 states, I would have hire someone to pull dead files out of storage and spend days going through thousands of receipts through the years to find one for a towel, mug, pillow or whatever for the damaged or missing item(s) in question! Once you have completed the form & provided the “evidence” (they do not trust their hosts word, despite the fact the host trusted them to have these strangers in their home who broke/stole their personal property items!) you wait to hear back from airbnb. None of my claims were what I would consider “substantial” amounts of money. Some claims were processed, but as time went on they were either denied, reduced, or ignored. When a guest flooded my unit, I filed a claim for $2,500.00 for my out of pocket costs. This was my and only claim that came under the $1,000,000.00 Host guarantee policy. After I went through airbnb’s claim “boot camp” process, they said they were only willing to pay $500 firm (20% of my claim,) Final decision, no appeal. Shortly thereafter, with no warning they deleted all of my listings and cancelled all of my bookings for the rest of the year. They told my future guests that it was I who had cancelled their bookings, so I had angry guests contacting me not realizing the truth, that airbnb had lied to them and that I was as much an airbnb victim as they were! I still have approx. 1/2 dozen minimal claims airbnb ignored and never paid over the past year, along with the one and only claim I filed in 6 yrs. under the $1,000,000.00 Host guarantee claim for $2,500.00 that I was never compensated for. If you are an airbnb host who incurred damage, theft, or unpaid claims and you would like to be paid, please contact me. Email: cheriwoods1@yahoo.com Responsible guests are always welcome! See my websites below.

No control of hosts – no help for guests

A very bad experience in Uptown West69th Street apartment It was described as spacious, comfortable, you feel like in a hotel ecc It had good reviews. It was the contrary: extremely small, badly equipped with old stuff, smelly, old kitchen, cushions, sofa, carpets with stains. The fotos years old. When we arrived the sheets on the bed were so smelly, that is was not possible to sleep in them, we had to take it off and went out to wash and dry them and I bought one new pillow. We wanted to cancel immediately. But first you have to report to the host and find a solution with him. Only within 24 hours. You must be lucky to reach somebody and get an answer. The guy I contacted at airbnb told me to call back, but never did. The host agreed to accept the cancellation, but only at 50%, airbnb take their share anyway. They did not take any action even though I had sent them fotos that showed the reality. Only the host decides and counts. We had booked nearly two weeks, so we were not ready to lose so much money. We stayed and tried to be as little as possible in the flat. I wrote a realistic description of the flat in my review. Jane, the host, accused me in her review aggressively. Only lies and retaliation. Airbnb had our emails, knowing it was not true, only said: free speech. The only one that looses iand gets the blame is the guest.