For my 10th wedding anniversary, my husband and I planned a big vacation to Hawaii: Hawaii island, Kauai and our final stop on Oahu. We stayed in two different Airbnbs on the Big Island and it was great. No issues there. Nice hosts, cheap, comfortable.
We were only staying on Oahu two nights and found an Airbnb in Kailua. Quiet neighborhood, free parking, mountain views. A little out of the way, but it was like $50 a night and saved us hundreds of dollars. The listing was a younger couple with a Superhost badge and positive reviews. A few automatic cancellations, but most were 40+ days before the vacation so plenty of time to reschedule if necessary.
We booked four months in advance. I sent messages about a week before our trip to all our hosts confirming arrival dates and times. There were no issues at that point. I sent another message to the host when we were boarding the plane for Oahu to get the door code as they stated in their listing.
When we landed, I still hadn’t heard back, so sent a follow up message to let them know we were in Oahu and that we’d be at their location shortly. We made a quick stop at Pearl Harbor and then got dinner. We still hadn’t heard back. I was starting to get a little worried, but figured they were probably just at work and it was still fairly early. We drove around a little more… still no response.
Finally at about 6:00 PM we decided just to drive over there. We got to the location and there was a car in the driveway and the lights were on. We knocked on the door; we could hear footsteps inside and we started to relax. Except… Nobody ever came to the door. We knocked again. We heard someone running. They still didn’t come to the door, but suddenly the lights that were on were shut off and the blinds were closed. Are you serious?
After waiting almost fifteen minutes, I looked at the profile to get a phone number; there wasn’t one listed. I sent another message. I waited thirty more minutes. It was about 7:00 PM at this point and getting dark. I noticed there was a newer review on the profile from about a week before we arrived. The guest stated that they showed up and the hosts weren’t there and they ended up having to find other accommodations.
I was freaking out. I immediately called Airbnb customer service to see what we could do. They tried contacting the hosts and couldn’t get through either. They told us we’d have to cancel and find a new host. It was dark at that point – it was 8:00 PM – so were we really going to find anything?
The answer was no. We ended up getting a roach-infested hotel in Waikiki for almost $200 a night, four times what our two-night stay was supposed to cost. Airbnb refunded us the $104, and gave us about $50 towards the new hotel, but between the additional cost of parking and the room, we ended up spending about $340 more than we expected. I was pissed.
What was even more disappointing to hear is that because they were a Superhost, Airbnb won’t do anything about it. They’ll be charged a small fine for the last-minute cancellation, but they still get to keep their Superhost badge. Even after screwing over at least two guests, if not more.