Airbnb vs VRBO: Host on Both Platforms Offers Thoughts

As a host with properties on both platforms, my policy is simple: I offer a lower rate with non-refundable options. I suggest that the guest obtain travel insurance if they are concerned about unforeseen events. If a guest does not get insurance and can’t travel, it’s like someone buying a car and not having insurance. When an accident happens, and I don’t have coverage, I want someone else to pay. This is what insurance is for to offer coverage and benefits in unforeseen situations.

I am a host on both platforms and agreed to the initial terms. Airbnb unilaterally changed the terms on me as a host, and offered full refunds against my policy and suggestion to obtain travel insurance coverage.

VRBO gives us the discretion to make the decision for refunds and suggests we do, but it’s at our suggestion and the reason why I stay with VRBO. I have worked with guests to provide win-win solution and am happy. I will change all my listings to VRBO while avoiding Airbnb at all costs as they screwed us by going back on our agreement on strict refund policy with the guest to obtain travel insurance.

What’s next? A regular flu, or there’s a accident that the guest gets into to fully refund them because of an unforeseen tragedy? Or should they encourage travel insurance vs unilaterally changing terms on a host?

If hosts don’t list on Airbnb because they screwed them, then guests wont be able to rent a good place… or not the better places at least. I won’t list my upgraded properties at low prices on Airbnb ever again.

Unilateral Change of my Cancellation Policy by Airbnb

Airbnb has overridden host cancellation policies in response to the coronavirus outbreak. This allows guests to cancel at any time without any penalty and without any justification. I have just had a cancellation for £2500 with just three days’ notice and there is nothing I can do about it. I was not consulted and the guest did not have to provide any proof or justification about the virus. Guests have travel insurance for genuine cases but hosts have no fallback provision. Airbnb does not care about their hosts. They bite the hand that feeds them.

Airbnb Cancellations: All Corona, Hold the Virus

In the middle of February I booked a trip, before this pandemic was announced. I booked an Airbnb with a strict no-refund policy: “refund applicable except the first 30 days.” My booking was for 34 days total.

Fast forward to the pandemic announcement and the panic that ensued by mostly everyone. Personally, I did not want to deal with self-quarantines, airport security measures, and quite frankly the risk of putting myself in a situation that could be avoided by simply not traveling so I proceeded to cancel my flights with no issues. I have cancellation insurance on my credit cards, so it was easily done.

Now the Airbnb host who happened to be from the same country as me but whose listing was in another one — pretty standard I’d think — said he would not refund my money due to a global pandemic. I read that and understood his rule, but he told me to contact Airbnb because they have some extenuating circumstances policy. I read something about an epidemic and being sick but documentation is needed: a doctor’s note or obituary when a global pandemic is announced.

I contacted Airbnb support via their magical robot, which had me wait 24 hours for a person, and proceeded to cancel my reservation. I thought I would be entitled to a refund due to a global pandemic, which to me fell into the “epidemic” category. Wrong. They said they needed documents such as a doctor’s note saying I was unfit for travel, not because it is in the public’s best interest to avoid crowded airports and in my case a crowded destination, with lesser health care, to avoid spreading COVID-19.

This was on March 9th. I continued to message Airbnb back and forth for the next couple days, eventually losing contact altogether because my messages became colourful.

Fast forward to March 14th. Airbnb announced (probably after most people panicked and cancelled reservations with certain cancellation policies in place) that anyone with a booking made before March 14th is entitled to a full refund via “manage my trips.”

Because I cancelled on March 9th and not March 14th I did not have this option anymore as my booking had already disappeared. I am now currently waiting for the same magic robot to let me know if I am entitled to any sort of refund, or if Airbnb plans on keeping my money altogether — which by reading some of these stories, would not shock me one bit. I have been waiting now 8 hours with only 16 left to see if I will get any money back .

No Refunds due to Coronavirus Cancellations

A few days ago I cancelled my deposits for Airbnb stays in Prague, Vienna and Budapest. Of the three places, Vienna gave us no refund and the other two places gave me only partial refunds on my deposits.

I am 70 and my wife is 60. Considering what is going on around the world with this virus and travel restrictions, you would think that full refunds would be the norm.

What is Airbnb management doing about this deplorable behaviour? We should be entitled to a full refund in this unique situation. I look forward to some answers and hopefully to a prompt resolution.

Airbnb Does not Support Hosts During Outbreak

I seem like a regular host on Airbnb — one person who rents one apartment — but in fact I am a full-blown company. I am also a Superhost.

As a company we take pride in this because we are a full-fledged business with over twenty vacation rental properties. Airbnb is not our boss; they are a third-party company that we use to gain more customers we have on our own website. We also use other platforms and can say with certainty that Airbnb is by far the worst platform to use. They only care about themselves, not the hosts and not the guests.

Coronavirus has been handled completely wrong. According to the U.S. transportation guidelines — which is what airlines typically use — you have 24 hours to cancel and get a full refund and travel must be booked seven days prior to your arrival. This is why airlines do not give out refunds unless the problem is something on their part such as cancelling the flight, safety hazards, and so forth.

With the coronavirus situation they know better and this is why they have not refunded passengers. Most of them are issuing flight vouchers and waiving rescheduling fees. For refunds this is not the case. This is the proper way to handle these circumstances.

Airbnb started off confused, which is not good. First they threw the blame ball to the host and said they were not refunding service fees. It was up to the hosts. If we had strict cancellation policies then they flat-out changed them all — no consistency, and no regard for the hosts and the amount of money that we are losing. No regard for the fact that we still have to pay bills and rent.

Hosts that are businesses such as ourselves are suffering. We get no support from Airbnb. It has been a nightmare to be on this platform during this crisis. Our cancellation policy is not being honored.

All Airbnb needed to do was either honor the cancellation policy  — which in many cases gave the guest a 50% refund, which is better than nothing — or simply offer a credit for a year to allow the guests to come back and reschedule their travel. Many guests were cancelling simply because their conferences got cancelled. That is not because they were coming from an impacted area or because they were sick themselves. It was not because flights stopped.

Our main guests were coming from the U.S., literally in the state of California coming down from NorCal to SoCal and only wanted to cancel because Disneyland had closed. This is completely unfair to the hosts. I understand if it was Italy but if the country hasn’t been closed then there is no need to panic; it is the guests’ own fears that are causing them to not want to travel.

At the end of it all, as much as we would like be angry at all the guests that have cancelled we are truly angry at the monster that is Airbnb. In the end, this awful corporation can take the financial hit but not smaller businesses like ours.

Next month everything might be back to normal and people will start booking again but what about us, the smaller companies that have several vacation rental properties with rent to pay but no money? Will we still be here because of all the lost revenue?

We are in severe jeopardy over nonsense. It is unfortunate that this occurred. As far as being a host here on Airbnb, I hope to not continue.

There will always be bad apples to give hosts a bad name but there are many of us who are ethical, really do this hosting with pride, and love hosting guests and offering great hospitality. For Airbnb to not want to protect the great hosts that keep them bringing them all this revenue that keeps their lights on is just disgusting and unfair.

No Refund for State of Emergency in LA

On Tuesday evening I decided to spend two days in LA and booked with Airbnb. Wednesday morning, LA County declared a state of emergency. I’m not afraid of the virus, but deliberately going to an area where the state of emergency was declared because of the virus doesn’t make any sense either. I decided to cancel.

Unfortunately, the state of emergency because of the deadly coronavirus is no reason for cancellation and therefore the host doesn’t want to refund my money. I called the customer service on Wednesday early afternoon and they promised a call back from a supervisor.

Now it is Thursday at 11:00 PM (PST) and I called again. This time it was someone who promised a call back from a supervisor. No callback so far. I also filed a claim after I cancelled but I haven’t received any response here either.

Airbnb Exploitative Policies During an Epidemic

This was my first and last time using Airbnb. I live in Nagoya, Japan and wanted my parents to visit me this summer, from April 17th to May 17th. I booked an apartment for four people in Nagoya for more than $3000. I booked early in January thinking that the summer time would be the peak season of travel here in Japan owing to the Golden Week holidays.

Then last week the coronavirus struck the whole world and within days the situation in Japan also got worse. As a result of discussions with my family we decided to cancel the trip and the reservation two months prior to the actual check-in date.

Airbnb lists “epidemic disease or illness that suddenly affects a region or an entire group of people” as an extenuating circumstance and we are eligible for refund. Hence, we cancelled the reservation and surprisingly I only got $70 as a refund when I paid more than $3000 to book this place.

We decided to file a refund claim under extenuating cancellation policy. I called Airbnb customer care and was initially disconnected two times when I told my story and asked for a refund (I know the names of the representatives who disconnected me as well).

Finally the third time I got in touch with an Airbnb representative who was hellbent on proof of the coronavirus spread in Japan even though the whole world is aware of the situation in Asia. Hence we submitted links to the various government websites, travel advisories, and my parents’ travel itinerary to prove that they were traveling form India.

Still Airbnb asked for more proof, saying there was no ban in Japan. The epidemic is spreading and it’s in the news. This is apparent to the whole world but Airbnb will not consider it unless someone really dies or gets infected. They want to exploit people out of their hard-earned money even at the time of an epidemic.

Even after paying more than $3000 I got a joke of $70 back, which is completely unacceptable and unfair, whether there is an epidemic or not. This depicts a perfect picture of exploitation by Airbnb and their poor host cancellation policies which are screwing with people’s mental health and robbing them of their money.

The host says that he doesn’t know how the refund came down to $70, while Airbnb says they cannot override the host cancellation policy. Who knows which side is telling the truth.

I initially thought that they would settle this on humanitarian grounds considering the coronavirus situation in the world right now but they want more proof. What more proof do they want, when the epidemic has already spread to all parts of the world? There is no regard or respect for human life.

I work hard for my money and the fact that I am being exploited for money in the wake of an epidemic and constantly asked for proof of it as though I am making up the situation is causing me so much stress and sleepless nights. I reluctantly used Airbnb for the first time knowing that as a first time user and reading other guest experiences, I might run into some trouble and, as expected, had the worst experience.

I will not be using Airbnb again. When they do not have any morals or values even in the time of a crisis or an epidemic, no one can expect them to resolve your issues when the times are less tense.

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.

China Coronavirus Farce = Flight Cancelled, No Refund

I live in Shanghai, China and made a booking last year for a place in Manila, Philippines which was fully paid for at the start of January. About ten days ago, in mid-January, 2020 the Coronavirus ‘lock down’ in China occurred. As a result of this, the flight that I booked from Shanghai to Manila was cancelled four hours before departure, meaning it would have been impossible to arrive at the property.

Whilst the host has on the face of it seemed very understanding about this, I have been advised to “cancel at my end” and “don’t worry as I (the host) will refund the money”. This sounds dubious and is a bit concerning if the host actually has access to the payment details I used to book the place. If I trust this so-called advice and proceed to cancel, it states that I am due to be refunded nothing and I know which outcome I think will be more likely to happen.

Airbnb, despite saying they will ‘usually respond within 24 hours’, so far have not. This was my first ever booking with Airbnb and it has not exactly filled me with confidence to ever use it again. If you, like me are also in China at the moment during this Coronavirus paranoia trip and have booked overseas accommodation, it might be a good idea to change it in case the same thing happens to you.

Sudden Construction at Airbnb House in Miami

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This report is about a host who spontaneously thought he could cancel our reservation four days before our arrival because there were (suddenly) renovations that were not “foreseeable”. My husband and I wanted to rent a condo from this host for about one month (mid-December 2019 until mid-January 2020). The pictures were breathtaking and promising. Also the testimonials of other guests had convinced us to spend a little bit more money than usual and to get in exchange an accommodation where we could live well for about one month.

We paid about 1950 Euro for the accommodation and quickly got the confirmation with the instructions. On November 27, 2019 I received a message via Airbnb from the host that he still needed copies of our passports, as he wanted to send them to the administration so that we could check in without any problems. November 27th was a good two weeks before the arrival date – that’s going to play an important role in a moment.

I sent the host copies of our passports via email the same day. After that, there was no further communication. On December 7th, I received a message via Airbnb from the host. He wrote that there was a problem with the apartment and that we could not stay. However, he would cancel the reservation and he was sorry. I answered him promptly that this was very unpleasant and if he cancelled, we would charge him the difference to the new accommodation.

His answer was that this was not what Airbnb policy says and that he can only refund me the apartment fees. He further explained that there was supposedly a large construction site or extensive construction work going on in the building, but it will not be finished in time – at least not at the time of our stay.

With effort and distress and under great temporal stress we were able to cancel the reservation (on the part of Airbnb) and found a new accommodation, which nevertheless gave us a nice holiday experience. The new accommodation was about fifteen minutes away from the original one (North Bay Village) and so we decided to drive past the building complex in question and see what the status of the construction work might be.

Well, who did not suspect it yet: There was no construction site, no construction noise, no construction vehicles, nothing. We drove past several times on several dates to rule out that it might have been due to the holidays, but even after several visits there was nothing to see of a construction site. Well I ask myself, if there really was a construction site or work, it should have been known at least on November 27th.

For me (and not only for me) this means that our host either didn’t have an apartment there anymore, it was rented twice or maybe he was warned by the administration. Whoever finds an offer from a host in North Bay Village anywhere should be careful. By the way, all communication between him and me was very slow.