Customer service updates, payments, and more in the latest Host Update with Catherine Powell

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Customer service updates, payments, and more in the latest Host Update with Catherine Powell



The past few months have been a tough time for all of us, especially hosts and guests. We’ve been listening closely to your feedback in all its forms and working tirelessly to create solutions because we know that encountering delays—especially when it comes to customer service or payments—is incredibly frustrating. 


In the latest Host Update, Catherine Powell sits down with Tara Bunch, our new Global Head of Operations, to offer transparency about how we’re strengthening our customer service team and to explain more about our payment process for hosts. Once you’ve watched the video, we’d really love to hear from you. Please let us know what you’d like covered in future Host Updates with Catherine. As always, thank you for sharing the topics that matter to you.


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245 Replies 245
Level 3
Los Angeles, CA

We are starting to notice a trend amongst our longterm guests. Because the service fee is so high on their end especially during this time, we are getting asked more frequently to take the booking off the Airbnb platform. Perhaps in order for Airbnb to hold on to more runaway bookings, you should consider lowering the guest and host service fee to make it more economical for them to book long stays. If you do so, you will probably make more on booking fees as more bookings will stay on the platform. It's starting to feel like gouging, collecting fees from guests and hosts, especially as a host we feel abandoned by Airbnb. The host fees are high now that we've had to lower our rates to attract fewer travelers and help make up for Airbnb fees on their end in order to book them. It becomes increasingly tempting to avoid your fees altogether. 

Also for many when reconnecting and preparing for cleaners to recommence, one may find their fees have had to adjust due to the demands of a pandemic riddled world, so no longer is the beautiful senorita who did an amazing job on your villa for $100 with all the linens around anymore, Its another service fee which has become so high in certain scenarios the property becomes non-viable to host at rates that provide the host satisfactory returns and an environment to leverage this from. I actually are surprised @Catherine-Powell as alone this should guarantee certain sensitivities toward client areas of importance and concern that would be easily managed and reflect on guests and the 'guest mentality'. i am sure we've all had the first shock once apon a time when we figured out how much the guest actually would have to fork out in total to get into your place. It made for interesting digest, so now in face of a post covid lockdown and among a world recovering from a financial touch that affected the best, people from both sides will be looking for ecenomic relief and reassurance through understanding, the very 'empathy' we look to trade, this being in the very form of reducing service fees 'in light' of real circumstances that get outlined like above and allow flexibility for hosts, co-hosts and guests to get travel and Air BnB moving again safely, there is enough to go around.

Level 2
New Jersey, United States

So true.  In NJ guest must pay a state and occupancy tax when using the platform in addition to the Airbnb fee adding an additional 24% to the costs for our guests.  Many people are avoiding the platform as an option when looking.  Their fees need to really come down. 

Comment was meant for Elly O. about people asking to book outside Airbnb because fees are too high. I have to agree with this comment. I am loyal to Airbnb, but because of my booking settings I lost many bookings because of cancellations that were not set for “strict” and then now i get Airbnb electronic messages saying go to flexible bookings because I get more bookings. Right? But, if there is a cancellation, I get nothing. I know about flex with 10 % discount. It’s 50/50 on that. I understand the Airbnb policy so i no longer need the electronic reminder. I get it; I get no reimbursements for March, April, May and June. I sucked it up. 

Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Catherine-Powell I wonder if Airbnb would be daring enough to publish the avg/max phone wait time on a weekly basis? It is surely a metric you work to and would be far more useful to the customer base than @Aisling falsely claiming on the community centre that wait times were no longer a problem.

Amen! We literally had a customer "service" response that stated "I would like to inform you that the turnaround time for a user to get support is within 24 hours,....." as if this is acceptable! 24 hours! They then proceeded to give us generic information regarding our issue that was nothing more than what you can search on the site. It was a useless, fruitless and utterly frustrating interaction.


Airbnb's is based on trust: trust of hosts, guests and the guests and hosts  trust in the Airbnb platform including customer service.  If a host performed to the recent quality level  of Airbnb's customer service, we would no longer be a host.


I have thought of a simple solution for Airbnb's lack of quality.   The review process for each reservation should include an Airbnb Review feature that guests and hosts can rate Airbnb on their performance.   This would send an immediate red flag or "what is working" to Airbnb Customer Service Managers, employees, etc. If Airbnb utilized the Airbnb quality reviews it could be preventative instead of the current firefighting management style.  We, too, received an endless loop of generic information referral to the websites when contacting C/S by phone and  on the app/website.


Please let me vent: My long-term business guest (over a year now) was trying to extend his reservation for the next four months.  When the app/website was accessible,  it asked him to verify his identity.  Yet,  his Profile already showed identity verified.  Adding insult to injury,  the reservation expired and he was not able to make a new reservation due the platforms failure and  Customer Service/ Resolution Centers unprofessional response times.  Therefore, the past week he has been staying without an Airbnb reservation.  I'm not getting paid. When I did get C/S response, they informed me I would get paid through the Resolution Center.  But wait there's more, I have no Airbnb insurance policy for the "no reservation" period .


When we could load the app/website, we would get an error message"429 Too Many Requests". When responding to  C/S rep thread for our resoluton case,  an error message "unfortunately a connection error prevented your request from being sent. Please try again".


Did anyone have this experience the week before Labor Day?


A week later, my guest was able to make his reservation.


Needless to say, 

Yes. Exactly the same problems. I could do absolutely nothing. Customer service was clueless and unhelpful as usual.

yes i got same error once you use so much AirBnb after few hours not vising site we could use it..

Maybe it is related to slow traffic on AirBnb

I had a problem with a guest. Airbnb was contacted. They told me the escalation department would contact me. I later found out the guest had a weapon on my property. Freaked out, took photos and contacted Airbnb. They did nothing!!!&&

Hi @Beth235,


Thank you for reporting this here, and I'm so sorry to hear you've had this issue with your guest. I have escalated this to the Safety team so please expect them to be in touch with you very soon if you haven't heard from them already. The safety of our community is our number one priority.


Thanks, Catherine


Rented in July. Arrived to a condo that had not even been cleaned. It was 12:30 at night.  Host did not answer.  Left his phone as he traveled to TX.  No rely till the later next day. Evolve was the Airbnb host.  Horrible experience. Frightening especially during Covid.  Long list of texts via Airbnb and the host. NO action except the waived the cleaning fee.  Customer service obviously did not read the description  of concerns. Then closed the case. NO it is NOT closed. Expect a credit or full refund. The reply were barely able to be read and still expect someone to understand that the condo was NOT cleaned and no host was available to assist me on a solution.

The reservation is booked under:



Please help us and answer us. Using this reply link to try and have somebody from the safety team reach out to me.  This was a severe health safety issue that has gone unanswered for way to long.  Reached out for assistance on the night of this unfortunate event.

Still waiting to connect with Safety Team.  

Jan Idzikowski 


**[Personal information removed in line with - Community Center Guidelines]

Community Manager
Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

Hi @Doreen123,  welcome to the Community Center, and it's great to have you.


Just to let you know, for your own safety we don't allow you to share personal details such as your email address, so I've had to edit this out of your post. Do take a look at the Community Guidelines to make sure you're familiar with how things work 😊


I'm sorry to hear you've had this issue with your host and booking. I will speak to the team to make sure they have your case and all of the details you've shared here.

This note was sent for my husband as he did not receive complete reply or resolution on his attempts via the Airbnb message page.   Please let me know if you need his confirmation number for review as he booked reservation, not me for this trip. 


Thank you.