We booked a house to stay in Hunter Mountain, New York for a skiing weekend and our other friend’s birthday weekend. There were 12-16 guests arranged to arrive on Saturday and Sunday to stay until Monday or Tuesday. The first group of us arrived early Saturday to go skiing in the morning and planned to check in to the Airbnb after around 3:00 or 4:00 PM.
When we arrived down from a long day of skiing in 10 degrees Fahrenheit, one guest arrived at the house confused and embarrassed to find a whole load of people he did not know. It turned out the host had double booked. We try to call the host and of course he did not answer.
We then tried to contact Airbnb who refused to talk over the phone and would only contact us by message. The person who was on the other end would only tell us to just rebook a place ourselves. This was the busiest weekend of the year in Hunter, as it was MLK weekend. There was nothing else to book. When asking her to call us she responded, “I am currently on a call. Is there any other listing you are interested in?”
We were standing outside in the freezing cold in front of the originally double booked house. Not only was this response incredibly rude but this was three hours after we first made contact with Airbnb. It is now 7:00 PM. We are trying to find a new place. The bar and resort at Hunter Mountain, where six other guests were patiently waiting, is now closing and the staff are asking them to leave.
We started calling hotels who were all saying they were booked up, until finally the fifth place we called had rooms free. It was 9:00 PM by the time we got a hotel after arriving at the original house before 3:00. It is shocking to know that Airbnb would happily leave their customers stranded in sub-freezing temperatures with nowhere to stay or even have the decency of a phone call. We are horrified by this carry on.
In summary, we experienced: a systematic error that caused a double booking by a scammer host (side note, the guests that were staying in this house said it was nothing like advertised – it was dirty and there were leaks, etc.); the original booking was $1650; dealing with incompetent staff at Airbnb who were arguing with us. We were in a difficult situation and were stressed out. A professional would have been polite and done everything they could to relax us and help sort out the situation.
It is also worth noting that I contacted Airbnb the Thursday before arriving because I was suspicious of the listing. I was called back twice to confirm and assure me that the booking was okay and I had nothing to worry about. The stress caused by over six hours of not knowing where to go or who to contact was multiplied by eight people who were tired and hungry and still in their ski gear or clothes they just traveled in. We were unable to confirm to the guests arriving on the Saturday if they were going to have somewhere to stay or to bother coming up the next morning at all. Multiply that by eight people whose weekend plans were now up in the air hours before they were to rent cars, rent ski gear, and pack.
The time and effort of having to check out and move from the hotel to the new booking before going skiing on Saturday was a factor. If you have ever been skiing you would know how much stuff there is for each person. I’d say we all lost out on about two hours each of valuable skiing time. This is not cheap: $75/day/person, the average skier skis four hours a day, that amounts to $37.5 X 6 skiers = $225
Airbnb’s continued their lack of communication the week after. When trying to resolve this issue, the only phone call that was returned was at 10:30 PM on Friday night while I was at work. We still have had no response from Airbnb since this incident and have posted this message to them by multiple sources, even directly to a colleague who works at Airbnb.