Winter Park, CO Level 1
Wow, do I have a story to tell!
I have always said, as a host, never cancel a confirmed guest reservation….I now have to add something to that! Never allow an Airbnb employee to cancel a confirmed guest reservation either!
My current guest booked to stay for one night....last night! On arrival after looking around the cottage he asked if it were possible to extend that stay and extra night. I said…..”As it turns out, tomorrow night is one of only two free nights I have this month and provided you attended to the booking through Airbnb I am happy for that to happen”! He said he would attend to it right away. That was at 2.45pm yesterday afternoon. At 6.00pm I got an Instant Book reservation for tonight from a German tourist with his wife and two small children…….. the night the current guest said he was booking right away at 2.45pm! He was here on the property so I told him what had happened and I said….”I can’t cancel a confirmed reservation, hadn’t you got around to attending, to the booking?”
He said it was all taken care of and he was arranging it with Airbnb support. I next got a phone call from an Airbnb support employee who told me he was currently attending to an extension for my current guest, had noticed the IB come through to my account and he would perform a neutral cancellation for the IB booking.
I told the Airbnb employee I would not cancel a confirmed guest booking and I would not sanction Airbnb to do it on my behalf. He assured me he would relocate the IB and that my existing guests new reservation was confirmed…..Can you follow all of this?
I responded to the employee with this message....
Today I got a follow-up message......
You can see from these screenshots….all done and dusted!......WRONG!
This evening at 6.02pm I had the IB guest who had been relocated by Airbnb turn up for his confirmed reservation. He has a tired wife and two stroppy kids in the car and this ‘guest’ is not happy being told he does not in actual fact have a booking for tonight, it had been cancelled by Airbnb. He stated…… not as far as he was concerned, he had paid his money and his booking was confirmed.
What had happened, they are from Germany and he does not have an Australian card in his phone, but his wife does. Yesterday he did the reservation and payment via his wife’s phone but all the Airbnb information was being sent back to his phone and not being received. I do find this a little strange because if the booking was done on his wifes phone, that phone must also have the Airbnb app on it and should have received Airbnb messages to their account!!
I felt so bad but, I felt soooooo cross that I had allowed this to happen, I had allowed this lovely family’s reservation to be cancelled. I got them out of the car and I let her use our kitchen and our food to prepare something for the children to eat. Frantic calls to the Airbnb support person were answered but the response was a startled representative and he was clearly struggling to conjure up a solution for this issue. I suggested if worst came to worst I could put this family up in a spare room in the main house and I did have highchairs, toys and 2 cots to sleep the children, as well as a relatively good queen bed for the adults, and I offered to cook them a meal, as it was now going on 7.00pm!
The guest was cross, but could understand and we frantically looked for another listing in the area that could take them on such short notice. A place was found, they hopped in their car and we did part on reasonable terms, but it has taught me a lesson.
There is absolutely no scenario where I will cancel or allow anyone associated with Airbnb to cancel a confirmed guest reservation.
As @Marzena says here on the forum….’the only person you can trust is yourself’!!
@Robin4, a funny story, even if the German family was not joyful. I hope their mood improved over dinner.
I had a listing, which I had only created to test a theory. It had only one picture and the suggested standard text and was masked. I used it at the first airbnb error, leaving me with 2 guests for one bed. I put one in my room and went elsewhere. When I deleted it yesterday, it had 3 reviews. 😉
always good to have such an extra listing, for guests put on the couch, into the bathtub, on a garden chair 😉
More seriously: I discovered that as well, that airbnb staff believes that a mail from their side may suffice, when the host tried that already. They do not call the guest, or only once, answered or not. Not even if it’s urgent.
I have had Airbnb CS call guests to sort out problems. I found them to be very efficient. I think though it does depend where you are and seems to be a bit hit and miss. I have found the UK number (which redirects you to the CS team in Ireland) the most useful. Now I don't get put through to them because I get through to a Superhost CS team which I believe is in the US. They are also helpful, but I have to say, not quite as efficient as the Irish team.
The only thing that could have made it more comical would be if one of my resident 'possums' had sought refuge in the open boot of their car while they were with us inside our house.
They declined the invitation to share dinner with us but we did provide and prepare food for the children.
And Helga, I would have hosted them in the house on a no charge basis if I had to, to simply impress on them that even though there may be a wrinkle in the system at times, we hosts are genuine in what we do!
I have not seen a failing in the Airbnb system until now, but I have run a business. A business that grew by 850% in less than a decade. So, although it is not for me to tell Airbnb how to 'suck eggs', I have seen what I would regard as three important failings over this experience....and you only have to spend some time here on the CC and you see the result of these failings come up again and again. And a lot of you have excelent ideas to help alleviate these failings because, you don't talk from some sort of hypothetical equation, you talk from cold hard experience, and I would like to 'corral' these ideas.
It was fine in the earlier days of Airbnb but the seams are about to burst unless comprehensive reliable protocols are put in place. People these days are more and more talking about 'class actions' and this sort of talk was unheard of 4 years ago. It is only a matter of time before some high powered legal eagle gets the backing and takes Airbnb to task and wins!
It's 7.30am Friday morning here and I have to go and turn out a few meals for today but, I would like to run a few points past the experience of the CC. I don't want to be a boring, know all turkey, but I want to try and infliuence others to make this platform run better for everyone!
Hey, nice to hear from you Helga!
Or someone starts up a new booking platform with excellent customer service, and sticking with the "sharing" idea in reality, rather than rhetoric.
Above all, start with good hosts foremost and then back them. Train them first.
That may have been how Airbnb started (without the training part), but then their whole system became too high maintenace and as a consequence, in time Airbnb has become somewhat jaded. It is a common pattern with companies in the 'people business', especially in some countries.
@Robin4, Robin, I experienced a story of dysfonctioning service these days (it's in the host circle).
I have seen that before too, when a business maximises profit and saves money on the quaity of people they get. It happens with all the big companies, it's just especially annoying, if they keep their mantra of service and safety and helpfulness. The discrepancy between promise and delivery makes it worse.
There is an expression about politics: Promises engage only those who believe them. I believe we are at that stade already.
@Robin4 next time if your current guest wants to extend his stay just block a day and let him pay in cash. Simple and secure 🙂
Thank you for sharing this story...Here's what I got from it...in the case that a guest wants to extend the booking....I will simply communicate to the guest that the date is open on the calendar and it is up to them to book it. If someone else books it first, they will need to honor the check-out time.
It's easy to get pulled into the human connection but that can actually create problems...
@Sierre0....Sierre the easiest way for a guest to extend their stay is to hit the change or cancel field in the message stream, click 'change dates' and send the alteration to the host. If the host approves the duration stay change he accepts the alteration and the guests payment method automatically gets debited, simple as that.....quick and easy and it does not require another booking request.
Where this transaction got complicated Sierre, the guest had a credit coupon for use on his next stay, so what he wanted to do was make another booking completely to be able to use the credit coupon which amounted to about the same monetary figure as a one night stay in our listing.
He had a 'hotline' to a CS agent in Manilla because the coupon he had, related to a problem with his previous stay a coup[le of days before. As I understand it there was an Airbnb issue with his previous booking and he had to spend two nights sleeping in his car, so Airbnb compensated him with a coupon credit.
The way he went about extending this stay was messy, but he did it that way for a reason.
In general it takes about 30 days for a credit coupon to become active but he wanted to use it within 24 hours of it being issued and this is why he had this 4 hours or so on the phone to CS in Manilla to be able to implement this alteration.
So Sierre, don't follow what happened here as an example of how to change a stay duration.....it is not typical and certainly not recommended!
The main things that contributed to me having two reserved guests here at the same time was
A/. The guest was not using his Airbnb registered phone, he was using another.
B/. The CS agent, although trying to do what he thought was the right thing did not follow through to make sure the IB guest understood the situation. When he could not make contact he should have back-tracked to establish that the phone number used for this booking was the one he was sending information too!
C/. The guest has an obligation to personally contact the host once a reservation is accepted. It's no good just putting your phone in your pocket and saying...."That's it, I have done my bit, nothing else required on my part but to turn up"!
The only one who did not do anything wrong here Sierre was me! But I had two guests standing in front of me each saying they had a legitimate right to my property on that night. I felt terrible, but I got it sorted out, fed his kids and located another listing in the area....and it has now become just another part of 'lifes rich tapestry!!!
I think @Robin4 mentioned the guest wanted to book an extra night using his Airbnb voucher, so a cash payment wasn't an option anyway and that is also possibly why the guest needed to book the extra night himself as a separate booking. I think that's where the complications arose.
@Robin0If you were to see my 'Master Book' of last-minute changes, adjustments, extensions, payments for added days, cash refunds for less days, last-minute guest switches to earlier or later time slots, guests taking blocked days between bookings, Airbnb guests replacing each other, etc, etc you would have a heart attack! Some of my bookings change not once, but 5 times.
I have never consuted Airbnb on any of these crazy shenanigans, by the time I get Airbnb to even understand what is even going on, the guest would have missed the boat to my island, literally.
Airbnb makes a living fortune on me with booking fees and interest gained on hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, good for them. The upshot is everyone of their guests leaves happy as clams and I am sure that (along with their well filled coffers) is all they care about.
Call them to cancel a reservation? I have never called them, ever, about anything in 4 years. Except for the payment issues 2 weeks ago. Serious.
@Fred13 I've only contacted them twice, once by phone when I first listed to find out how I could attach a map to a message (not possible, wasted 40 minutes on the phone with agent who kept insisting my guests could find find my place with GPS - uh, no) and once when my text notifications stopped (far too many back and forths with support, but it was eventually resolved).
And every guest who I'd welcome back in a heartbeat gets my email address and told they can just contact me directly if they want to come again.
I always knew you were a pragmatist, in this business oftentimes we best be. What is odd, I direct many of my direct inquiries to Airbnb because it is simpler and yes they been good to me. So evens out. When it comes to the constant changes, forget it, no time for theoretical protocol.
Sorry Branka, I would never do that, Airbnb have brought this business to me and I would never try to go behind their back. Airbnb are entitled to their cut and I will always work with the system.
@Robin4 I don't think of that as going behind airbnb's back at all. The guest was amenable to you, he was already there, and he just wanted another night. I think you have given airbnb lots of business over the years, Robin, accepting cash for a one night extension is no big deal, as far as I can see it. I had a guest book for 3 nights, then a few days later she booked for an additional 3 nights (because her other booking elsewhere fell through), but there was one night blocked between the 2 reservations, because I give myself a day between bookings to clean. She thought she'd have to find another place for that night, but I explained why it was blocked on the calendar and just let her pay for that extra night in cash when she was here. Otherwise I would have had to go into my calendar, change my preparation time setting, have her amend her reservation, accept that, then go back in and reset my prep time. Way too much time and nuisance for 1 night, when she had already booked and paid through airbnb for 6 nights.
@Robin4 But you can always invoice your guests for other services not advertised by Airbnb, like entertainment... 😉
@Robin4 I think your second guest is somewhat at fault in their trouble -- guests must stay in contact with their host. They paid enough attention to find your address, they should have maintained communication with the message thread. We are not hotels with front desk staff, communication must go two ways.
I do think also that I would have either adjusted the reservation for the first guest (preferring a 2 night over a 1 night reservation) immediately rather than expecting them to do it for themselves OR upon discovering that they had not completed their end then would have allowed the new reservation to stand. IB does mean that First Come is First Served.
I would like to see ABB add a "confirm" button on a reservation that shows that a host has seen the res, that they agree that the guest has met booking conditions and that all is well and confirmed. I will not be holding my breath....
Hi Kelly, things are always a bit more complicated than they seem, and I did have to simplify that story a litle bit. The guest that was here, was here as the result of an Airbnb issue with his previous accomodation. I was recommended by the CS person he was dealing with and Airbnb had given him a coupon for his next stay, which he wanted to use for this additional night.
The other thing was, I wanted to give him a special offer for his second night. I wanted to do this because I was trying to rebuild his confidence in Airbnb, which had taken a bit of a dent.
We did discuss the options of how to go about incorporating this second night into the stay.....but it was he who had to work the system, not me......which is why I did not just add a night. We both agreed it was better to do it with another booking!
Your bit about the confirm button, is spot on Kelly...thgis last couple of days has really taught me a lot.
I am going to do a feedback item on this. The major problem with Aiurbnb support is, it operates like a series of islands rather than a country!
Individual case managers are appointed, and case managers are human, they work, maybe, 10 hour shifts and then close their cases for the day and go home! The world does not stop until they come back on duty again. With every issue there should be a seemless trail from one skilled manager to another! The board should show at any time...open cases. closed cases, and support should operate as a team, not as a series of diferent thinking individuals.
Anyway I am going to go into that after I get some meals cooked for today......
@Robin4, any single issue can have several managers attached, I had an issue where guests didn't check out, left the phone in the accom so couldn't be contacted (turns out they forgot which day they were leaving) and I had new guests due in 2,5 hours. I had THREE managers trying to sort it out, because each time I rang them for an update I got a new one, added to the last. This was very strange but worked out in the end.
@Robin4 you're right that the system of 'this guy keeps the case forever' is absurd. I hope you are able to make some inroads with CS on that front.
So sorry that CS worked against you rather than for you.