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.