Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
Austin, TX
Level 2
776 Views

TL;DR version:

 

Me and my wife had listed our property on Airbnb back in May and quickly earned the Superhost status having hosted 27 guests so far, all happy and giving us 5 star ratings and excellent reviews. All except one... A single guest - who never came to our house was able to post very negative review with all law rates - and Airbnb which failed to uphold its own policy and to treat us valued partners and not as just one of of disposable millions of hosts who are making money for them - are the reasons why we are walking away.

 

Now, the details:

 

We have rather a high-end property, which is priced accordingly (~ $300-$400 per night) with a strict cancellation policy. A guest made a reservation for a weekend back in July, 2021. Just few days before the reservation was supposed to start the guest's husband called and requested to move the reservation to October 8. Even-though it was quite short-notice and we were risking the initial dates not get re-booked, we decided to honor their request and changed the dates.

 

Two days before the reservation starts, exactly on October 6, 2021, the guest requested to change the dates once again. We had to decline the second request politely explaining to the guest that changing their reservation again would disrupt our calendar, that it was too short of notice, that we would gladly agree for full refund if they immediately proceed to cancel the reservation and the respective dates get re-booked, that if they choose to continue with their reservation and come, then we were ready to provide the accommodations as promised with a great 5 star experience.

 

Unfortunately, after that the guest went totally silent. Requesting couple times during that day for their decision didn't have any effect. So I reached out to Airbnb, explained the situation and expressed my fear that the guest was probably disappointed and would post a negative review and requested them to prevent any review from her. The rep assured me they would remove any retaliatory review and because not ourselves nor Airbnb could get hold of the guest, we decided to wait and see if she would arrive. 

 

The guest never came and I called Airbnb on October 9, 2021 (one day after reservation started), I think they tried to reach her once again with no luck and went ahead to cancel the reservation. Several days past and somehow the guest was able to post very much negative review and all low rating. We reached out to Airbnb and they removed the text of review itself, however couldn't do anything about the ratings the guest ruined our otherwise perfect Airbnb score. For some of you the word "ruined" could sound as an overstatement as we are still a Superhost and to admit all negative ratings from a single guest had little impact. However, it did have real impact, because it hurt our hearts, our personal feelings, because both myself and my wife were so grateful to Airbnb before the incident, felt as real partners and was doing everything and beyond to make every single of our guests happy.

 

Airbnb review policy on https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/2673/airbnbs-review-policy clearly states:

 

***

3. Reviews should be relevant

Keep your reviews relevant to Airbnb and your stay or experience, since guests are reading your reviews to learn about the host and their listing.

***

 

and I really can not grasp of why Airbnb support team and their supervisor have denied to remove the ratings from this guest when she never arrived, so she did not have STAY or EXPERIENCE to be able to give any review for our place. How on earth Airbnb can remove the text of the review, but not able to remove what really hurts - the ratings?!

 

We have de-listed our property for now and before proceeding to completely delete it decided to reached out to the community here with a hope that maybe you, guys, can help us to cope with the situation, maybe some kind of Airbnb rep with enough privileges will notice this case and step in to finally uphold Airbnb's own policy referenced above. In my understanding, no one was supposed to be able to post any kind of reviews and ratings if they didn't actually arrive and had STAY or EXPERIENCE. Ain't I right?

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions

Re: Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Alan1263 A booking that is cancelled within 24 hours of check-in is sent a review notifications- both host and guest. I know it's ridiculous if they never arrived, but I think the reason Airbnb does this is because it's actually just the guest's word against the host's as to whether they showed up or not. 

 

There are actually some horrible hosts out there, unfortunately, and a guest can arrive to one of those places, take one look around and turn tail and leave and cancel, because the place was a total, misleadingly advertised dump that no one had even cleaned. So it's fair that those guests should be able to write a review to warn future guests.

 

As for being emotionally upset that Airbnb hasn't acted like your partner, Andrew said all that needs to be said- they aren't your partner, they're a multi-billion dollar company and there's nothing warm and fuzzy about them except their bogus PR.

 

While I myself have always enjoyed hosting, meeting awesome people from all over who've booked  my home-share, and never had to deal with a bad guest or a lying review, the personal aspect of hosting and the business aspect are sort of two different things. All businesses that deal with  the public have to put up with awful customers at some point. It just comes with the territory. And Airbnb customer service is indeed abyssmal- you just have to try not to need to contact them, if possible, and otherwise be patient and persistent if you need help from them. It doesn't help to get frustrated and hurt or otherwise emotionally wrapped up in it. 

 

Hopefully that rating will update and drop the bad one, or you could just pursue it, hoping you can get them to remove it. But you have to weigh what your time and stress level is worth vs. just letting it go and moving on, either with or without Airbnb.

 

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13 Replies

Re: Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 10

@Alan1263You said, "The guest never came and I called Airbnb on October 9, 2021 (one day after reservation started), I think they tried to reach her once again with no luck and went ahead to cancel the reservation."

 

I think these two links will support your argument if you choose to decide to fight with their incompetence again.

 

https://www.airbnb.com/resources/hosting-homes/a/making-reviews-more-relevant-and-useful-for-our-com...

 

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/368/can-i-leave-a-review-for-my-host-if-they-canceled-my-reserva...

 

 

Re: Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
Austin, TX
Level 2

Thanks for your response. Just to be clear, we never cancelled the reservation. Airbnb did, however on my screen it looks like the guest cancelled, so most probably Airbnb cancelled in the name of the guest. Nevertheless, the login of the second link you provided should be still applicable. But the problem is that Airbnb doesn't care.

Re: Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Alan1263   The rating averages aren't always recalibrated immediately after a review is removed - sometimes it takes a few days. However, Airbnb is widely known to be an emotionally manipulative brand - both in its oversentimental advertising and its carrot-and-stick treatment of hosts. If having a slightly imperfect rating has gotten to you this badly, it's possible that hosting on this platform is not worth its potential impact on your mental health. If you need for this corporation to "care" about your feelings, you're in the wrong place. They're not your partner, they're just a platform - your listing is one microscopic unit out of 5 million, and your desire for an unblemished rating means nothing to anyone but you.

 

On the other hand, you've acquired a very good reputation as a host, and if you moved to a different platform you would have to start from the bottom all over again. I can't say whether VRBO or Booking dotcom or another competitor would be more sensitive to your emotions, but you might as well at least investigate whether their policies and features are a better fit for your ethos.

 

Another approach would be to commit yourself to having a thicker skin about this kind of stuff - one can never be happy in hospitality without one.

 

 

 

Re: Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Alan1263 A booking that is cancelled within 24 hours of check-in is sent a review notifications- both host and guest. I know it's ridiculous if they never arrived, but I think the reason Airbnb does this is because it's actually just the guest's word against the host's as to whether they showed up or not. 

 

There are actually some horrible hosts out there, unfortunately, and a guest can arrive to one of those places, take one look around and turn tail and leave and cancel, because the place was a total, misleadingly advertised dump that no one had even cleaned. So it's fair that those guests should be able to write a review to warn future guests.

 

As for being emotionally upset that Airbnb hasn't acted like your partner, Andrew said all that needs to be said- they aren't your partner, they're a multi-billion dollar company and there's nothing warm and fuzzy about them except their bogus PR.

 

While I myself have always enjoyed hosting, meeting awesome people from all over who've booked  my home-share, and never had to deal with a bad guest or a lying review, the personal aspect of hosting and the business aspect are sort of two different things. All businesses that deal with  the public have to put up with awful customers at some point. It just comes with the territory. And Airbnb customer service is indeed abyssmal- you just have to try not to need to contact them, if possible, and otherwise be patient and persistent if you need help from them. It doesn't help to get frustrated and hurt or otherwise emotionally wrapped up in it. 

 

Hopefully that rating will update and drop the bad one, or you could just pursue it, hoping you can get them to remove it. But you have to weigh what your time and stress level is worth vs. just letting it go and moving on, either with or without Airbnb.

 

Re: Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
Austin, TX
Level 2

Thank you all for valuable insights. We really needed them as comparatively newer hosts.

 

Andrew0, I see your points, which totally make sense.

 

Sarah977, on your notion that there are horrible hosts, I believe that kind of hosts wouldn't be Superhosts for long and they would definitely not have 26 guest groups giving them all 5 star ratings before the single bad one comes in, so I'm confident Airbnb could easily weigh in the reputation and certain weight of both parties in accessing this kind of situation. They absolutely do not. I have an impression Airbnb doesn't care if you are Superhost or not at all. It's just another marketing gimmick for them to push more sales guaranteed on hard work all done by hosts.

 

We will re-evaluate how to deal with the situation and if we want to keep going or not.

Re: Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Alan1263  Oh, you're quite right- Airbnb doesn'tt look at a host's past performance and history when making their decisions. I can't count how many posts I've read here over the years from those who lost their Superhost status because some horrid guest with no reviews at all, who trashed the host's home, left a 1* revenge review saying the place was filthy, when the host has 150 glowing reviews saying it was immaculate.

 

As long as Airbnb allows guests to leave wildly outlier ratings and reviews and counts the ratings as a Superhost criteria, then Superhost designation is a joke. But what it is designed to be, is not a reward for  excellent hosting, but a carrot that unsuspecting hosts strive for, rushing around trying to please demanding, entitled guests, afraid to call any of them out in their unacceptable behavior, or boot them out, in terror of the dreaded "bad review". 

 

But we have a choice- don't get sucked into the ratings and Superhost game. Guests honestly don't care whether you have a 4.5 or a 4.9 star average. They don't really care if you have a Superhost badge pasted over your profile photo. They care that the place looks appealing to them in photos, that it's in the location they want, that it's the right price, that it has some good reviews.

 

If you generally get good guests, get booked, and enjoy hosting, that's all that really matters. 

 

If Airbnb were a person, they'd be classified as certifiably insane.

Re: Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
Mission Viejo, CA
Level 2

@Sarah977 

Yep, here’s a review from a guest that trashed the place, stole items, brought an extra guest and then did this.

 

I was excited about this new venture but not so much now. 5 stars plummeted to 4.2... will it ever recover? 

 

Glad that I reviewed this guest with honesty so others will have a heads up.DA3B61D9-DBAE-4A88-B7E9-893D5E9B0B77.jpeg

Re: Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Diane-and-Bill0  Okay, I'm scratching my head over that one. Why on earth would she leave a very complimentary written review and 1* for everything? That makes no sense at all.

 

I would pursue trying to get that review removed, pointing out to Airbnb that the star ratings are totally at odds with the written review.

Re: Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
Mission Viejo, CA
Level 2

I did contact Airbnb about it, but they said no, nothing can be done. @Sarah977 

Re: Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
Mission Viejo, CA
Level 2

@Sarah977 Thanks for your input. It’s appreciated!

Re: Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
Daylesford, Australia
Level 10

That guest made a basic mistake, I've had one like it as well. It's simple, 1 star is the best, number 1. Top of everything. So well done,  you are a top number 1 performer! Sadly the average gets brought down, but it's meant very well. @Diane-and-Bill0 

Re: Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
Mission Viejo, CA
Level 2

Well, guess I’ll just power on, chin up, brush the dust off of my feet, and all that.

 

Thanks for you input, it’s appreciated!

 

@Sandra126

Re: Airbnb is not upholding its own policy and we're is walking away

in
New York, NY
Level 1

Wow! Horrible! Airbnb needs to do a better job supporting their host!!!

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