Airbnb’s Growing Disregard for Hosts Who Share their Home

Status changed to: New

I've been an Airbnb host since 2012 and a Superhost ever since the Superhost program started, mostly as a home sharer who rents out the guest room in my L.A. house. It pains me to say that Airbnb is devolving now that its corporate status has raised - showing more and more disregard for hosts who share their home, and favoring instead real estate investors who lists houses/apartments they don’t live in, and rent out like hotels (because of course, the latter is what brings Airbnb the most $$$.) This is obvious from the way Airbnb’s algorithm works: 1) It greatly reduces the visibility of listings from hosts who refuse to do “Instant Book”. And agreeing to instant book is easy for someone who is renting a space they don't live in, but much more problematic for hosts sharing their own house with their guests. 2) Homes with pets (almost always home shares) are automatically disqualified from Airbnb Business and Airbnb Plus. 3) Hosts who deny requests get punished for doing so by having their listing’s visibility reduced, and pushed down the list. 

 

It is unfortunate (and infuriating), because true home sharers are the type of hosts that Airbnb prides itself for in all its PR campaigns, and whenever it comes to fighting in favor of short term rental legislation: the retired couple opening their homes to friendly strangers from around the world, the person who lost their job and for whom Airbnb becomes a way to help pay the house mortgage etc… And, on the other end of the spectrum, their biggest PR nightmares often come from hosts who list homes they never live in - often the type of hosts who have less reasons to be selective with their guests, or considerate when it comes to their “neighbors”, or the community the home is in. 

 

Airbnb needs to decide: is it a vacation rental platform for passive real estate investors, or the home sharing platform it advertises itself to be? Because, for hosts who are opening their own homes to strangers, using Airbnb only feels safe if they are allowed to deny some reservations and not be “punished” for doing so. They could be denying reservation to prevent sharing their homes with guests who they feel might be inconsiderate to their neighbors and their community, guests who they feel wouldn’t like the space, or even guests they just wouldn’t get along with. In my case, I get a lot of requests for month-long rentals, so most of my denying requests simply come from the fact I need a bit more than 24 hours and a single communication to decide to rent to someone who will be my housemate for a month. As a reminder: not accepting or denying a request within 24 hours makes you lose your Superhost status, and denying a request greatly reduces the visibility of your listing, and eventually disqualifies it from Aibnb Plus.

 

For me, the solution is simple: eliminate the automatic selection of “instant book only” (travelers should be able to select that option if they want, but it should never be automatically selected, which is often is - without the knowledge of guests or hosts), and stop "hiding" listings of hosts who have denied some reservations (as long as the host responds to inquiries quickly.) I’ve tried to talk to Airbnb multiple times about this but, unlike a few years when Airbnb actually listened to their hosts, I did not get a response. A few years ago, I even spoke on behalf of Airbnb in favor of short-term rental – at local community events and even L.A. city hall (when they were debating short term rental legislation.) I will not speak in favor of Airbnb again until it starts showing appreciation for the hosts who are actually saving their reputation, and until it modifies their algorithm so that it doesn’t favor greedy real estate investors over true home sharers. I encourage all other home sharers (or anyone who agrees) to do the same.

 

Thanks for reading my long rant... Please note that I originally posted this on the "host" section of the community center, but I was encouraged to post on "Host Voice" to try to get Airbnb to actually listen to these complaints and suggestions. 

https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Hosting/Airbnb-s-Growing-Disregard-for-Hosts-Who-Share-their-Hom...

 

Comments
John1342 in
New York, NY
Level 1

 

I can't get paid through Airbnb

 

I'm dealing with a payment situation where my guest has already gone I have not 8o I'll l but more importantly here all of a sudden  they think their status at this level can they can do whatever they want with your money cancellation fees that I did not know where part of the policy that Airbnb is enforcing now over the weekend I had an old listing where instant book was on somebody took my apartment for two nights when I wanted to rent it for  6 and I honored the reservation.

 

Plus the remaining payout will not be issued until the 16th they advertised a 24-hour payment after the guest arrives but this is not the case they want me to wait a week for the money which is only $194 if they do that to 10,000 hosed and hold up your payment for a week that's a hell of a lot of money to invest in Bitcoin real estate ETF stocks and they turn around and start making money on your money of course bringing this to their attention they don't think they can get hurt by saying things like that but obviously social media as we knows is a pretty powerful tool

John1342 in
New York, NY
Level 1

So once again I rent the apartment out which I was forced into doing because instant book was on because they always leave it on even when you try to turn it off and basically you give the guests the room for the two nights even though basically it conflicts with what you really wanted and it's taking them a week to pay me if anybody could get back to me and let me know if this is now the new system because it's always been 24 hours after the guest has arrived

Sharon404 in
Mantorville, MN
Level 4

I so agree that there is growing disregard for hosts! Another sign that hosts are not valued is the sloppy way people are allowed to put up profiles. I continue to get requests from profiles that have an email and facebook only verification when I request that the government ID be verified. It helps me feel a bit safer since I am also in the home when they are here.  The other day I got a request from someone whose profile is only his B&B, no name, no personal info.  I really think they should tighten up on this for our safety.  I, also, in the winter because of my job, ask for 24 hour notice for bookings. I will often get requests for bookings within and hour or two. I routinely turn them down and my superhost status is gone.  I sure wish hosts were still valued. I did this mostly because I felt somewhat protected. No longer. 

Jessica73 in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 10

Please note that this was first posted in the "hosting" section of Airbnb Community (where it is getting many more likes and replies), and I only posted it here in "Host Voices" because I was told Airbnb is slightly more likely to read it here. But other home sharers are expressing support on this issue - and Airbnb should to!:

https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Hosting/Airbnb-s-Growing-Disregard-for-Hosts-Who-Share-their-Hom...

 

Adam321 in
Florida, United States
Level 2

Unfortunately, this battle is already lost. Of course the business model is evolving to become a market for vacation rentals. I would not be surprised if we were to soon see bidding and hotels introduced, along with the option to pay a premium for higher search result ranking. The p2p concept is beautiful and does much good, but it does not generate the profits required by the overclass who control the financials. I'm sorry to say that the days of the personal host are numbered, and Airbnb knows it and will continue to encourage its end, while pretending to care about the "little people" for whom Airbnb was started.

Tracy54 in
Edmond, OK
Level 2

As a host since July 2016, I'm finally getting my feet more than wet. I host in my home and it is currently my only income, barely part time at that. I agree that the quality of the home environment managed by groups or realtors can be an issue. I recently stayed at a home that was ill equipped and not as clean as it could have been. I spoke with at least 2 people from the time I booked until I left. They wanted us to take the trash bin from the deck, up the stone steps and to the curb. 

I would never have a guest empty their trash like that. I messaged them after regarding missing coffee filters and only decaf coffee available. I never received a reply. 

On the flip side I want to extend my Airbnb business to include small cottages on my property or homes in my current neighborhood but I would be a hands on host. Perhaps Airbnb could create a sister company/site for STR and vacation homes etc. 

Rob243 in
San Francisco, CA
Level 2

I really liked AirBnB's customer service until...they cancelled my listing b/c they said I hadn't registered with the city (I had, and provided them with my business # as required in January.  They removed all listings without a business license #) and SENT CANCELLATION NOTICES TO ALL MY UPCOMING GUESTS WITHOUT TELLING ME OR CALLING TO TRY AND RESOLVE THIS.  I found out when upcoming guests started writing me freaking out because they thought they wouldn't have a place to stay in SF!  Some thought that I was the one who cancelled them after most already had flights booked from all over the world!!  A few just booked other places.  

From there it just got worse.  I re-registered with the city just to expedite my getting back online, but expedite is a loose term for government employees, I guess.  I spoke to AirBnB help multiple times.  They would do NOTHING to contact my guests and tell them what was going on.   And they force guests to RE-BOOK their original reservations after my listing is up.

Lat Thursday, the city Short-term rentals rep told me that AirBnB was LEGALLY required to post my listing while the new number was pending.  I wrote to my customer service person telling her this.  The system promised that someone would contact me within 24 hours.  That was Thursday.  It's now nearly Sunday, and you can figure out the rest. 

I worked so hard to give guests a great experience.  I was booked almost all of the time.  99% 5-star reviews.  Superhost.  AirBnB treated me like I was trying to game their system.    

I spent hours and hours contacting upcoming guests telling them that they would have a place here, AirBnB or not!   Where else can I list my guest room that gets the AirBnB level of traffic ?    

This crap has cost me so much time and money.  I'm really disgusted with AirBnB at the moment. 

Zappa in
Key West, FL
Level 10

They have the best of both worlds...PR of home sharing with convenience of rentals. Why change? 

 

But you're right. They cant walk that line forever. 

 

You lose superhost immediately if you do t accept/decline in 24 hours?

Christa And Zach in
Brooklyn, NY
Level 2

Here's yet another way Airbnb says screw you to their hosts: Unless you have Instant Book turned on, you are no longer permitted to require guests to have a govenment ID on file. They are no using our security as Blackmail to turn on IB. Great times we are living in, folks. Here's what I wrote to them today - I encourage you to reach out as well:

 

"A year ago, without any notification to hosts whatsoever, Airbnb automatically filtered out listings who did not have Instant Book turned on. After a month of having little no bookings and wondering how we were going to pay our bills, we stumbled upon this fact and only then learned that we had essentially been hidden from all users without any warning. Your company has forced our hand into turning on Instant Book just so we can continue to use this platform, causing major inconveniences (such as limiting our ability to choose when to accept one-night stay is available to fill a gap, or when it is booked three months in advance in the middle of an entire week).

 

Now today, I go to turn off Instant Book so that it a booking does not occur during a time when we are out of town (and no, your reservation requirements for specific dates do not work in the slightest), I see that your company is no longer allowing us to protect ourselves securely in our homes since we have turned it off. Apparently security is only offered to a select few.

 

Just to give you a bit of a backstory here: before our hand was forced into Instant Book in 2017 to make even $1 on this site, we were ALWAYS permitted to require an ID for guests to book with us. This was a no-brainer. Now, Airbnb has decided that security is only for the folks who fall into the ploy of Instant Book (or, for those of those who can actually manage to do it), and has removed the right to requiring a government-ID. This is shocking, and disgusting.

 

For such a PR ravaged company, with countless stories of thefts, unknowing sex parties in private homes, major damages and incidents, and physical and sexual assaults (and even a false imprisonment case!) that have made the news, this comes at a huge shock. I'm not entirely shocked that such a big company like Airbnb doesn't care about a host's safety anymore; I'm entirely surprised that you don't care more about your image.

 

I have been a fiercely loyal Airbnb user and host for 7 years. In fact, we have just received Superhost status today for the fifth time in a row, and this news of removal of security was the congratulations I received. I was on the fence last year, but it's clear the time has come for us to seek out Vrbo, Tripz, Homeaway, Flipkey, and Wimdu when welcoming strangers into MY HOME. I will now book personal trips through others venues at every opportunity I can get, as they do what is right by protect their hosts' security. I will encourage others and my media contacts to do the same until this horrible policy is reversed.

 

Regards."

Christa And Zach in
Brooklyn, NY
Level 2

Airbnb unsecure platform.jpeg

cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: