Airbnb Host Cancellation Leaves Guests with Few Options

I am so frustrated with this platform I am ready to be tied up and it seems a lot of other guests (and hosts) are as well. I was a big fan of Airbnb until a recent host cancellation soured it all.

I had used Airbnb in several countries in Europe and around the U.S and never had a major problem. I had always studied the properties, read all  the reviews, asked hosts pertinent questions (to gauge their competence) and finally figured out where they were actually located (the Airbnb map location is generally not accurate) so I could see them on Google Street view.

As I say, most of my experiences were good. Some exceeded expectations, a few did not meet standards, and some you have to accept based on their value-based location. However, I had never experienced a host cancelling on me. I had not even considered what the consequences would be and it was definitely not good for me on the particular trip I was taking.

I had to totally change my travel plans. Okay, s— happens as they say, but this is where this particular mode of vacation rental booking falls flat on its face. It is, after all, just a website, a platform where hosts can rent their properties on a global scale and likewise guests have unlimited possibilities of places to rent. However, there is an issue when there is literally no customer service.

For my cancellation, I was given a two-word explanation why the host had cancelled at the last minute along with several computer generated emails telling me what I could do. I was told I would receive a full refund (which I have not received yet but have no reason to believe they will renege on that) and also a measly $80 gift certificate if I re-booked on Airbnb.

The problem is I was screwed. There were no other properties available at such short notice. Airbnb customer service is practically nonexistent. All they care about is taking your money, literally months in advance in most cases. I had to completely change my travel plans and ended up booking somewhere else through VRBO.

In the future, I am not sure I will ever use this platform again and even if I do I am going to ask every host under what circumstances they would cancel my reservation. These hosts need to have some kind of backup plan in the event something happens to them or something changes, not just simply cancel. It may seem easy for them as there are little or no consequences, but for the guest this can cause huge issues.

Airbnb doesn’t give a hoot and they damn well should. While this kind of vacation renting may seem like a great idea (I certainly thought so) it does have its limitations. Hosts have had all sorts of problems with bad guests and vice versa and Airbnb apparently could not give a damn. They have your money. The only way they will get the message is if folks stop using them and they start losing money. It will be a bunch of computer geeks shutting down a platform and starting something else the next day.

Such is internet business. It’s great until something goes wrong. The smart ones sort it out for their customers. Airbnb does not.

Airbnb’s Attempts at Customer Service are Laughable

Months ago Airbnb removed security deposits from our listings claiming that we didn’t need them because they had insurance that protected their hosts. Three different claims have resulted in absolutely nothing beyond wasting about 20 hours of my time. They are always waiting for another department to get it done and claim because they are a global company, things take a lot of time.

Hosts no longer have any control over anything. If you are pet friendly, you are inviting Noah’s Ark as they have no provision to limit breeds, age, quantity or anything. People actually think it’s okay to bring their nine cats and six puppies. If the tenant stays beyond their reservation and you ned the sheriff to remove them, good luck getting the extra days’ payment. It’s either their resolution, mediation or some other department that’s handling it.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only answer is to add another 10% to my nightly rates on their site and make sure there’s a better deal for them on VRBO. VRBO isn’t perfect either but at least you’ve got a chance. Now that Airbnb is a public company we should all should all show up at shareholder meetings or call ins just to tell them how bad they really are.

Reservation Cancelled for No Reasonable Reason

I made an Airbnb reservation at certain price for five days. The same day I made the reservation I contacted the host with some doubts and she asked me for an increase per night on my reservation and an increase of days; if I didn’t agree, she asked me to cancel my reservation. I didn’t cancel, so she did.

It’s been disappointing that I can’t complain on a review for this specific host because the booking is cancelled. The cancellation policy for hosts is ridiculous; it’s so significant that they can cancel whenever they want, assuming no consequences. On the other hand, customer service does nothing. They even responded offering a discount on another reservation (which I don’t have). They don’t know even what they’re taking about.

I hope that Airbnb’s headquarters cares about its clients (as customers service clearly doesn’t) and I get at least the simple request I’m making: to be able to write a review on the person who did this to me, as I actually had an experience with the host, even if the reservation got cancelled. I have all the WhatsApp conversations with her asking me to pay more and increase the dates.

Take care of your clients. I’m now afraid of using Airbnb as hosts can cancel on me whenever they want. I hope I finally find someone who can actually hear me.

Stripped of My Superhost Title Through No Fault of My Own

Just two days ago I was notified by an email from Airbnb that my Superhost status had been removed, and my many years of hard work and continually abiding by the rules had been cancelled from my Airbnb listing. On investigating the listing, it is true that as of March 20, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had no accommodation sales from Airbnb (in fact it is the same for all our suppliers: Expedia, Agoda, Booking.com, etc).

Our 14 Airbnb bookings were cancelled until January. This was somewhat like “a kick in the guts” or “a kick when you are already down in the gutter.” My accommodation business has had zero guests since March, resulting in no income. I have supported Airbnb for many years, and Airbnb supplies my accommodation business (as they do for many others in Bali) with possibly 80% of our clientele. I am grateful for that.

Bali, being one of the largest tourist resorts in the world, has been closed to overseas tourists since March, and has only just opened in September to its domestic market. Obviously, your automated system is unaware of what is going on in the world, and shows no compassion to many of your clients who have supported you for so long. Even though we have had no guests since the middle of March, I have endeavored to keep all my seven staff employed and on full salary, not forgetting dealing with their emotional issues and trauma  as well as my own caused by this damming virus.

Indonesian citizens receive no financial support at all from their government, unlike the U.S. and many western countries. Life is tough, and in addition to fighting the virus, people are hungry. We are hoping the vaccine is developed quickly and hopefully the Indonesian overseas tourist restrictions will be lifted soon. It is then we will be able to try to get back to some normality.

I am therefore asking Airbnb to consider placing the Superhost title decision on hold until the restrictions from the pandemic are eased, and start to show some compassion to the clients who have supported them so well in the past. It might be of benefit to review the situation, rather than acerbate and remove rewards that clients have worked so hard for (COVID-19 is no fault of their own). This would not only be of advantage to the client (in this case, the Superhost and possibly other related issues) but also be of advantage to Airbnb in rehabilitating a stricken industry.

Airbnb’s demotion email has affected me greatly. Such a shame after such a good association.

Money Lost After Host Lied and Airbnb Didn’t Care

I booked an apartment and thought the host was flexible… how wrong I was. Now COVID is everywhere and I had a headache, but it was not a good reason enough for a cancellation.

Airbnb let the host keep the money. I tried about everything I could. I tried to change the day of arrival for later but the host lied. He promised I could change the day then disappeared. When the host came back he told me it was not possible to change days. He booked days for new guests and left the calendar open for anyone else. I had good reviews and felt I didn’t deserve that.

The host got paid twice and also got a new payment from other guests. Airbnb let the host keep the money from both. I booked multiple apartments through Airbnb before but they don’t have any kind of service or respect for guests anymore. I used to book multiple apartments with very expensive service fees (compared to one night in a hotel). They didn’t care to help.

I can’t trust booking through the page anymore. Airbnb service centre sent me only some automatic messages about its cancellation policy, rules, etc. Nothing necessary and not helpful. As a guest I felt like I was not important. For them it’s the same if I end up outside as long as they get the money and also the service fee. Nothing else matters anymore.

All of them took advantage of the COVID crisis but it was me who felt sick and had to cancel — nobody cared. I used to book through Airbnb because it was cheaper than hotels but with money lost it is really more expensive. Now I feel like many others better not to book anything. If they do book, they should choose other platforms and ask for better offers.

Higher Rates on Airbnb Than Other Sites

Airbnb isn’t the first company in this industry to believe they can treat owners with arrogance. Most readers know who I’m referring to and that company has had an amazing attitude adjustment after seeing both owners and guests flee from their site.

Booking agents are totally irrelevant without owners, who take most of the risks in this industry. But since most owners are small operators and booking agents tend to be huge companies run by overpaid CEOs, they start believing they can enforce outrageous policies and treat customer service as a cost they want to get rid of.

Ever try to call Airbnb? Good luck. Question one of their policies? You get a ChatBot responding to you.

We own many properties and knowing full well how badly they need us, our response to their arrogance is simple: you can rent any of our properties anywhere else, for less. We list on several sites, and Airbnb is useful to us — some guests only look there and they book from the site. Others shop around and we get a hit for the same property on several sites. I’ve yet to see one choose to pay more just for the privilege of booking on their site.

I doubt anyone at Airbnb cares at the moment. After all, they are so much bigger than us. But I’ve seen this before, from their once-arrogant competition. Sales will falter, the C-Club will demand answers (only when they don’t get that fat bonus, forget the obligations to the actual owners of the stock) and people will be sent out to kiss ass and “try to understand how they can be a better partner.” Then we will set terms for them to get equal billing, just as will did with those other guys.

Ultimately, they will listen… money is common language. So from one CEO to another: a storm is coming your way. Enjoy the sunshine while you can.

Airbnb not Helping this Host in the Least

I had a bad guest stay recently. Everything from broken tiles, burnt plastic on pans, stolen bathroom fixtures, the whole place smelt of weed… the worst was when they broke the hot tub by smashing in the inlet grate.

Airbnb refused to give me a claims advocate until I lodged a quote, but that wasn’t possible for five days until the hot tub repair person arrived to determine what the issue was and how much it would be. As soon as this happened I lodged the claim and got a claims advisor only to be told that as another guest had checked in, my claim was now invalid. What?

Countless emails and messages has only led to Airbnb becoming elusive and not calling me when they said they would. It feels like the DMV on steroids. As a host I just need help on this. I feel like I’m in some sort of a bad dream.

Airbnb Founders Should be Ashamed of Themselves

Firstly I’d like to say Airbnb has falsely pushed up rental prices all over the world. This first came to light when I joined Airbnb as a host. I know the average rent in Hua Hin, Thailand. As soon as I joined as a host I was told I could get much more in rentals for my condo.

They’ve tried to push up rentals all over the world. People in Thailand are generally poor. A good monthly wage is seen as $400.

I took over management of my friend’s Airbnb account. I received a booking for 1500 Baht (about 40 USD) but I could not get a cleaner so I emailed the customer and asked if he minded if I canceled because of this issue. He understood and we agreed to cancel. I pressed cancel. I received a fine from Airbnb for 3121.08 Baht because I canceled. This is theft and breaking international contract law.

Finished Dealing with Amateurs at Airbnb

Although I have never had a horror story with Airbnb as some people have, in the six or so years that I have been using it, this is what I have found:

90% of the time, there is some significant issue. Either it is in trying to find the place, or in trying to gain entry. Or the place is dilapidated or has many maintenance issues. I have found the reviews to be unreliable as well. In contrast, when I book a hotel, there are only significant issues around 10% of the time, plus the reviews are much more reliable.

In using Airbnb, I am relying on amateurs. The problem is that when a person travels, they are more vulnerable and insecure because they likely have no network of friends in the area. Traveling is generally stressful enough without unpleasant surprises. I find that in using Airbnb, I really save little money and its just not worth the hassle. In the future, I will be using hotels and other alternatives.

Insensitive Attitude by Host and Airbnb to Corona

I have made bookings for my trip to Singapore through Airbnb. Considering the orange alert declared by the Singapore government and current health advisory situation, I requested Airbnb cancel my booking.

They have left me to the mercy of host. Obviously, the host is not interested in giving me a full refund as it is a loss to him. Instead, the host is suggesting me to roam around in Singapore with a mask on. That is their idea of a holiday – have more stress. The host is saying he won’t get a replacement guest if I cancel as if I am responsible or the situation is in my control.