They don't and could not care less. Here is a story in short:
1. We planned our summer holidays with kids and extended family, took vacation etc.
2. Booked a stay with Airbnb, paid requested 50% deposit. Reservation showed as confirmed.
3. One week later, host calls that this new site (read Airbnb) does not communicate well and that his place is all booked and we cannot stay there.
4. We spent a good few days calling Airbnb (no success) and writing Airbnb about this. They assured us that if a stay is confirmed, we have nothing to worry about and should simply come. We were also assured that Airbnb have processes and policies in place that will take care of the situation when we come and the host does not let us stay. When we asked for details, there was another lying bla bla and no details came.
5. After few tries, we manage to contact the host again and he said "It is all booked, you can come, but I am not sure you want to experience that. I have no place, where will you stay..?"
6. Kept writing to Airbnb and then the host cancelled the stay 4 weeks before the planed date.
7. Airbnb wrote to us, that because the host cancelled, they would not charge us any cancellation fee. Period.
I am... To book a stay like that just 4 weeks before the start not only is way more expensive, but nearly impossible. We have not found one even for a higher price (except for super luxury place 3 times as much money).
What I would expect is to at least an attempt to offer an alternative. I am not the guy knowing the host and calling him up on one Sunday night asking for a stay. I go to this world class booking site and expect some reliability. The host cancels and I am just left alone here.
Thank you Airbnb, never again with you.
Airbnb = misleading
Airbnb = unreliable
Airbnb = expensive
Airbnb = too rich and too big
Airbnb = too arrogant
Airbnb = too distant to care about my stay
@Hynek4 sorry this happened to you. When this happened: "One week later, host calls that this new site (read Airbnb) does not communicate well and that his place is all booked and we cannot stay there" this irresponsible host, who made an error with his calendar synchronization and blamed it on Airbnb, should have canceled your reservation. If he would not (because Airbnb does penalize hosts who cancel) then when you called Airbnb and explained that the host was refusing to cancel a reservation they could not honor Airbnb should have canceled it without penalty to you. And then you could have booked another place right away.
Sorry to hear about your bad experience
At point 3 the host should have cancelled the reservation, not being able to accommodate you.
At point 4 Airbnb should contacted the host to learn the host can not accommodate you , cancel the reservation on behalf of the host.
At point 5: the reservation should have been cancelled already at point 3 (this host must be reported by using the "flag" link on the hosts profile)
he (the host, having a confirmed reservation !) said "It is all booked, you can come, but I am not sure you want to experience that. I have no place, where will you stay..?"
Seems to me such a host must be suspended immediatelly !
@Hynek4 There is a procedure available for guests, if the host tells them they can't accommodate but fails to cancel the booking: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1250/if-your-host-needs-to-cancel
Where Airbnb really screwed up here is in not having a well-trained customer service operation that can respond quickly and competently. Also, in their zeal to maximize inventory, they've made it way too easy for hosts to get a booking live and instant-booked before they have the slightest idea what they're doing.
May I ask, did you book an established listing with lots of reputable reviews, or a new and untested listing?