I often choose Airbnb for both personal and business trips, having faced a range of experiences. But this last trip called for an end to the use of Airbnb for business trips for me.
I booked two nights in Paris, in a small apartment next to my meeting location. The check-in scheduled at 3:00 PM went okay (the sitter texted me the code to enter the building and left the key under the mat). On the mat were also a used coffee pod and pieces from the wrapping from an ice cream cone that I decided to pick up and put in the garbage inside.
The surprise was when I entered the apartment… I have seen accommodations from sparkling clean to a bit dirty but this was a nightmare. Some of the highlights: the rest of the ice cream paper was inside on the floor, next to an overflowing garbage can. Dirty dishes were in the sink, etc.
I went to the bedroom to drop my bag and realized the bed (which seemed to have been made) had dust everywhere on it and several large stains (of what I think was blood). There was also a cigarette butt on the floor of the bedroom.
The bathroom next door had a disposable razor on the floor, a full garbage can with what looked like blood from used tampons dripping on its inside, a very dirty (grey) towel (that used to be white) on the floor. It was the same story everywhere, including Chinese food in the microwave that smelled very bad – it could have been there for days. The same food was also on parts of the inner sides of the microwave. There was old food in the fridge, a dirty toilet, etc. I don’t think that my own apartment ever been that dirty, even as a student.
It was clear I could not sleep there so I contacted the Airbnb sitter, who quickly apologized and said the cleaning people have probably not cleaned the place yet. I was actually okay with it (it happens) and said I was going out so the cleaning people could do it then. I came back over an hour later, and nothing. I texted again the sitter, asked if he could follow-up with the cleaning people, etc.
I also decided to send a formal message (not only SMS) to the host to describe this, and to contact Airbnb customer service. The customer service was fairly quick to respond and said they would help. Their help was basically to try to negotiate with the host that things got cleaned. After that, I kept chasing customer service for actual action until they just stopped following up.
In short, they have done nothing for me that helped. The cleaning person came around 6:00 PM (three hours after the check-in; there was nobody staying the night before, by the way), and did the bulk of it but still left the apartment in a state that is worse than any Airbnb apartment I had stayed in before (full garbage left, dirt and waste under the bed and in every corner, microwave not cleaned, etc).
However, I had clean bedsheets and towels and decided to stay as it was 8:00 PM in Paris and moving anywhere would both cost me a lot of money and also be hard to arrange. Generally, the sitter was responsive but blamed the cleaning company.
I never met or heard from the host (something more and more worrying in the Airbnb system). Airbnb customer service did not look for another accommodation (something I asked at first) and never offered any compensation. They never responded to my last messages. This impacted the only half-day of non-business time I had in Paris.
So this is it for me. No more business trips on Airbnb. Between difficult check-in, last-minute cancellations risks and this latest experience, I’ll get back to hotels for that.