Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

Administrator in
Malibu, CA
Administrator
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Hi everyone,

 

I’m thrilled to be sharing this Host Update with you, which has exciting news about how we’re up-leveling our Community Support team and policies. 

 

Some of the top concerns you’ve shared over the past year include having difficulty reaching an Airbnb Support Ambassador, and then not receiving a tailored response to your individual situation or the follow through you needed.

 

Because of your feedback, our Head of Global Operations, Tara Bunch, and VP of Community Support, Brent Potts, are rolling out major improvements to Community Support and significantly increasing the size of our support team around the world. This will ensure that we can respond to your situation quickly and thoroughly. 

 

We’re focusing on more personalized and empathetic responses to the experiences you report to us. This is so important. Every circumstance is different, and the team is going to work with you to better understand what you’re facing and then resolve it. We’re also simplifying Host and guest policies to better manage your expectations, and offering personalized “Smart Solutions” in the Help Center. 

 

And starting in North America on September 30, 2021, we’re rolling out Dedicated Superhost Support. This program will continue rolling out globally throughout 2021 and will offer you exclusive access to tenured Support Ambassadors who can handle situations efficiently. 

 

As always, thank you for sharing the topics that matter to you.

 

I’ll be in touch again soon with more news! 

 

All my best,

Catherine

126 Replies

Re: Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

in
Cooloola Cove, Australia
Level 3

Thank you @Catherine-Powell for the opportunity to be involved.

 

I am a superhost and moderator on the Sunshine Coast Host Group, Queensland Australia facebook page.

 

As you can imagine we cover many topics and issues.  Of late has been the increasing concern regarding retaliatory reviews.  As a moderator it isn't my role to involve myself with members' distressing accounts of 'unruly' guests, however, as a fellow host, I feel obliged at some level to at least provide comfort and guidance.

 

The increasing frustration is palpable and while we all acknowledge there are two sides to every story, the overriding concensus is that certain people (those who are not welcome on the platform) take advantage of the system rendering Airbnb vulnerable to accommodation scams, slander and defamation.

 

The stress and fatigue among hosts is something to seriously consider.  I have spoken at length to Matt Jordan and Merrydith Callegari and their involvement has been greatly appreciated.  However, the reasons or justification given by Airbnb for not removing a retaliatory review needs a complete overhall.

 

I bring to your attention the case of Tara Walker, who operates a farm stay with her husband.  Her situation has become untenable.  The support team agreed that it could be proven the guest was making false statements and still nothing has been done to rectify the situation.  The notion of a host being able to leave a comment after the review is visible is small consolation, particularly when one low rating dramatically affects the overall superhost status.

 

From my understanding the Host Advisory Board is suggesting an education process for both host and guest.  I sincerely hope this is a matter being addressed at length, where a guest is reminded making false allegations or fabrications is not permitted and that the review is in keeping with the experience and observance of house rules.

 

If you would like to contact me personally I am more than happy to relay Tara's details so that she may reply.

 

regards

Jessica Haring

Re: Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

in
Quito, Ecuador
Level 2

Hi. I'm interested in knowing about Tara's situation. Thanks.

Re: Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

in
Hamilton, New Zealand
Level 2

Thanks Jessica for sharing.

I had a similar very distressing situation where unruly guests brought in a dog for a month threatened and abused me where I had to contact Police, had parties, were possibly cooking drugs as there was a strong chemical odour,  trashed my home and then left a 1 star review with false allegations, This completely removed my superhost status for almost a year later. I have mainly 5* reviews since but still it has had a negative impact & the ability to leave a reply to their fabrications was a small consolation.

Sad to say I found Airbnb's lack of support and acknowledging the reality of the situation disturbing dissapointing and frustrating. Damages to the home took weeks to clean carpet, remove furniture doors and clean all curtains, paint walls etc & the chemical odour did not leave the kitchen till several months after….. 

Although on this rare occasion I requested compensation , Airbnb granted no compensation although many photos, explanations and evidence was given of damage?  What does the Airbnb $1 million insurance in reality cover?

 

Mary-Ellen

Re: Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

in
Tucson, AZ
Level 2

I have had a similar situation. No support from Airbnb. They give you the complete run-around and close the case when no one answers your requests. Cost me thousands of dollars, and they do not seem to care one bit. I am glad I am not alone.  I found out they do not charge the guest a deposit either. Which is unbelievable being a host in a higher-end property. 

Re: Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

in
Enoch, UT
Level 5

Hi Ellen,

I am so sorry this happened to you. It is time Airbnb made some serious changes.  I do Airbnb in the downstairs of my home and if I suspected or smelled drugs downstairs I would have called the police and had the people arrested. That is one of the advantages of living on premises. Perhaps all those whose who rent out houses where you don't live should have a stipulation to visit and inspect your homes (x amount of times) during your guests stay with the option to ask your guests to leave if they are violating "House Rules".

Re: Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

in
Nova Scotia, Canada
Level 4

This is WHY I am shut down.  I had damage that I am still trying to find someone to fix during continue covid issues with supply.  I had a large dog stay there (no pets) and it scratched up my hand hewn stairs.  Its truly despicable what some folks do.  Air BnB needs to WEED these people out.  We don't need them, they will stop people like me from renting which costs Air BnB money.  I am not sure why they don't get it. 

 

Re: Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

in
Kenya
Level 2

Thank you Catherine for the guidance so far received. The plans of rolling out simpler way is great. It will make hosting more existing and easier to guests,

Many thanks for the wonderful work and looking forward to more and more improvements 

Naomi

Re: Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

in
Auckland, New Zealand
Level 10

Thank you @Catherine-Powell However may I ask please ask in advance tio ditch the use of the word "Smart", it's the most overused tedious word in the world.

 

I'm sure there are others who also feel the same about the overuse of this  unfortunate word that once was used in a different context.

Thanks in advance

 

Re: Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

in
Tauranga, New Zealand
Level 4

Interesting! does make me wonder what a 'Smart solution" actually is. Not very specific.!

Re: Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

in
KCMO, MO
Level 10

@Catherine-Powell  Thanks for the update. A few years ago CS used to be a dream to work with. The deterioration seemed to get worse after Airbnb did massive layoffs. And then there's the report that Airbnb outsourced customer service to a third party service.

I think it's important to enhance Customer Service, but to also fix the core problem - Airbnb is really unique compared to a hotel service, but it does two things wrong:

1. it allows a large number of hands-off investors to join the platform whose goal is revenue generation (there is one well known host we had to fight at a Zoning meeting after he renovated a property then advertised it as appropriate for extremely large groups (20 in a single family house when the city regulations limits occupancy in any Airbnb to 8 -- 2 per bedroom plus 1 with 8 being the max). Another host turned all five apartments in a downtown building into AIrbnbs and got caught -  (our city code limits to 1 or 20% of the units). At the zoning meeting that host claimed he couldn't find "long term tenants" and the zoning board told him he needed to apply to become a hotel. But Airbnb didn't kick him off the platform. And don't get me started with the "hostel" in a single family home that allows 14+.

Those hosts breed the "anything goes" attitude of poor guests. On our local and national FB pages those are the hosts who claim private hosts should just accept that damage and extra guests are the "cost of doing business." Airbnb needs to get back to basics and differentiate investors from "hands-on" single unit hosts. And it needs to verify that new hosts are registered and in compliance with the law. AI could easily search for key words in a location - such as hosts in Kansas City over the 8 guest max or who aren't shown on the city database (easily searched on parcel viewer) with an STR application on file.

Right now, Airbnb has little criteria for hosts to join the program other than hitting "submit". It doesn't check to see if the listing exists, the owner is using stock photography, or that the host, in fact, is a real person.


2. Airbnb inadvertantly creates the impression that ANY guests can rent and then do whatever they want during their say, including bringing extra people, undisclosed pets, use for parties, etc. Anyone can join the platform and Airbnb withholds almost all identifying information from the hosts. So it's easy to game the system.

While we have all hosted amazing guests, there are those who should be banned because they wreak havoc that requires hosts to contact CS in the first place. Guest training and setting guest expectations about behavior and respecting the space they rent from the minute they join the platform will help weed out the guests flouting rules and increasing your economic exposure under the host guarantee.

Airbnb should follow social media verification procedures and require guests (and hosts) upload their ID and a bio photo that matches. It would allow you to stop bad guests from dropping their accounts and registering under a different one when hosts report them.

Airbnb should have a section that REQUIRES each guest to list the full name of every adult guest that will be on the reservation (just as a hotel does) and a checkbox to verify they've read the host rules. That should not be the host responsibility.

Airbnb should not allow bookings unless it has a way of verifying that the payment method is sufficient or even valid. Or it should accept liability for the damage and pay hosts when the credit cards are declined as it is solely responsible for the initial vetting.

Airbnb should change it's policy and make it known to the public that they WILL provide guest information to law enforcement and cooperate in the case of theft or crime.

All of this would cut down on the need for Customer Service intervention.

Re: Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

in
Berkeley, CA
Level 6

I totally agree! Thanks for laying it out. Basically:
1. Get back to the spirit of hosting in your home; no more business-model airbnb hotels!

2. Social media verification procedures that require guests & hosts to upload ID and a bio photo

Re: Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

in
Redcliffe, Australia
Level 1

Hi Christine I do agree with what you are saying here. Issues we have had have predominantly come from those that have never stayed in an AIRBNB previously- there needs to be lot more done in the sign up stage to educate those new to the experience. I just had guests that rocked up to the wrong section because they DID NOT read the very detailed info I sent and they were totally uncontactable the whole day of checkin! When I spoke to them and asked them why they hadn’t read the info and replied they became aggressive. They broke all house rules and then proceeded to leave us a bad rating to which I can do nothing about, apparently. 

So now I basically won’t allow anyone book that hasn’t stayed in an AIRBNB before which is neither good for me, AIRBNB or this new to the platform. It is just not worth the angst, potential  bad reviews because the guest doesn’t understand the AIRBNB experience. 

Re: Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

in
Cody, WY
Level 6

I recently had a guest who is also a superhost.. initially AIRBNB CS took his side regarding damages (under $60) I was able to get it sent up the chain & they did agree with me unfortunately AIRBNB didn't make the guest pay the charges... I have a $800 security deposit which appears to not mean anything... When he initially booked with me I read the reviews from others he had stayed with, unfortunately a negative review from another host in my town wasn't visible yet. She also had a horrible experience with his stay & like me had to spend approximately 8 hours cleaning up after the same guest. I think 2 bad reviews in such a short period of time (within 3 months of each other) should warrant some kind of warning to this guest.. I think many of us expect "superhosts" to be better guests, sometimes they are more understanding & appreciative other times they are more demanding and critical.. but this is the first time I've had to spend so much extra $ on cleaning up after a superhost & replace items that were damaged beyond cleaning.  I wanted to Reply to your post with this info but I'm also going to post it directly to Catherine. 

Re: Catherine’s Host Update: Upgrades to Community Support

in
Tauranga, New Zealand
Level 4

Hi Christine, I so agree with what you are saying. If only Airbnb read this.  I have stayed in many a backpackers or hostel that I booked through Airbn.  It is no longer the friendly home style hosting.

I have had a guest say that since he is paying he should not have to follow rules.  I use just a single room in my home so all facilities are shared and many guests have no idea what that means.. As to reading rules??? haha. the only reason I have rules is because the guests dont respect my home.

Since there is no international travel at the moment all/most guests are local.  I feel there should be a platform where hosts can contact each other for support and to lay open troublesome guests. In Tauranga we have a host who rents out his whole house then goes to stay in another Airbnb and gets very drunk. We have many guests staying 1 week in each home while they work or look for work. It would be good to talk to other hosts.  

I notice now that on Airbnb new system no profile pic is shown until after booking and then it may be of a group of people or a scene.  Not much help!!

It is sad that we cn all go on and on with problems with Airbnb. I used to love hosting but no longer.

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