Airbnb has no way to for hosts and guests to share phone numbers via their email system. You select “contact the host”, enter your number, and it gets removed from the email, preventing the sharing of information.
Here’s the scenario. I stayed at a great place two weeks ago and left a jacket there. I contacted the host, who offered to give me the number of the person managing the unit (the host was traveling). The first few times we tried to share the number, in place of the number was a message saying the number had been removed. It took us a good number of attempts to trick the system, but we finally succeeded.
While we were going back and forth, I called Airbnb, waited about 15 minutes for someone to answer and then went round and round trying to explain the simple problem. They had no solutions. Wouldn’t it be really easy to say “we can’t share the host’s number with you, but we can give the host your number”?
That would be so simple. It would protect the host and allows us to contact each other with the host being in control. Did they do that? Nope. The person on the phone spent a few minutes telling me it was the host’s email account and not Airbnb that was stripping the numbers. Once I finally got her to understand we were using their system via ‘contact host’, she then denied that their system stripped out the numbers until I offered to send her the email with the number removed. At which point, she admitted that they did.
Then, believe it or not, she told me she could show me how to send the number. First, she said I should go to the listing. Then click ‘contact host’. I thought she understood that’s what we were doing from the five minutes of explanation we just endured. Clearly they have a serious shortage of skilled resources.
I know this isn’t a big deal for most and my issue was simple, but what if I had a problem while staying there and couldn’t get in touch with the host? What if I left some kind of medical device there? Clearly there needs to be a way to simply share a number. This whole incident shows that Airbnb is still very immature in their systems and processes and that means if you use them, be prepared for to waste time fixing simple things that their systems can’t handle. Also be prepared to get no help from folks who don’t seem to understand the fundamentals of how their own system works.