While it's true Airbnb wouldn't have a platform without guests,--neither would they have one without good hosts. There seems to be a big problem,--guests can be as good or as rotten as they wish,--however, hosts had better be top-notch. After my experience this month, I don't believe Airbnb cares enough to support their hosts,--they would rather just replace you, (if you're a host). This sounds odd as any good business model usually includes KEEPING your best employees as they are the "face" and experience you present to the world. Airbnb wants new people to use their platform, yet due to their lack of supporting hosts,--most of us are afraid to accept bookings from new, (especially young), potential guests. I tried, yet again, to host a new Airbnb user and will, most likely NEVER do so again.
I had a guest that stayed the first week of this month, (August), and in spite of going over the rules with her specifically in messages prior to her entering my home, (she was a first time Airbnb user), my house was left with missing and damaged items and 2 additional people were brought into my home. Although my guest would not admit the additional 2 people until I provided Ring Doorbell video footage, Airbnb has refused to back me up or provide any type of compensation at this time. The additional people hid their black truck almost out of sight of the Ring Doorbell, so it is impossible to see at night. They also blocked my Ring Doorbell while the sneak ins entered my home. Thankfully, they forgot to block the Ring Doorbell when they left and I was able to see 9 people leaving my home. Nine people partied in my home for 2 days. I have provided Airbnb links to the videos. I also do a video walk-through on the day guests check-in, preferably within 2 hours of check-in. I sent them the before video and after video.
I have provided Airbnb with proof of a missing vertical blind, (especially irritating as these are special order blinds and I have to order from the manufacturer), and photos of my home. A blue paint-like substance on my towels and one bedroom wall. Trash was left all over my home including in the beds and in a kitchen drawer! (There were 7-9 bags of trash created in less than 48 hours,--and my house rules clearly state; no parties!) Worst of all was a sticky substance in my kitchen on the floors, down the front of cabinet doors, and all over my family room. This entailed HOURS of painstaking cleaning, dismantling my glass/tile coffee and end tables and cleaning each piece as well as trying to salvage my tourist books and magazines which were also stuck together.
Of all the ironies, someone in this party left a wedding band in my home. The guest asked if this person could return to my home to get it. After seeing the condition the home was in, I said no, I would mail it. Guess who took the wedding band and mailed it back PRIORITY mail? Yes,--I did! I cared enough to not only return the ring, but in addition pay for expedited shipping.
Upon confronting my guest with the Ring video footage, my guest had the audacity to tell me that the sneak-ins were uncomfortable in my home because they had to sleep on the couch. I am OUTRAGED that Airbnb can see this and has done NOTHING to back me up. 9 people puts me in violation of my STR permit and Airbnb apparently doesn't care about that either. My house can only host 8 people max,--but the guest only booked it for 7. After I asked my guest if she was seriously going to blame me for the discomfort of sneak-ins, she then changed her story and claimed my house had roaches and spiders everywhere. I provided her with the walk-through of my home, done less than 2 HOURS before they arrived showing it was sparkling clean and perfect. After viewing this video, she has now accused me of name calling. I always keep ALL communication with my guests on the Airbnb platform, and have NEVER engaged in name calling, (even though there are times when I have surely felt like it!) Only God knows what this guest will say in her review! After she accused me of name-calling, I clicked the "Involve Airbnb" button.
I am so very angry at Airbnb. I have asked for a supervisor to become involved and hope this helps bring resolution to this. For the first time since signing up to become an Airbnb host, I want to quit. I have only been a host for about a year and a half, and have definitely noticed a decline in the way they treat me as a host. I don't know if this is because the only other claim I have ever had was when I was a very new host or not.
So, for those hosts out there who feel frustrated that they can't provide proof,--cheer up! I HAVE provided proof and have received ZERO compensation from Airbnb. It appears they won't even take the time to read the messages between the guest and myself where she not only ADMITS the sneak-ins, but complains about their supposed discomfort!
Also of interest, this will be the 3rd time attempting to publish this post as twice now, it has failed due to various reasons. (I keep getting told I have to sign in again even though I have not signed out). Good ol' Airbnb philosophy; first, ignore the problem(s), and if that doesn't work, try to suppress the truth if it's negative! Why not simply address these problems?? As hosts,--has anyone every thought what would happen if we joined together and went on a 1 day boycott?? What if we all paused our listings for 8 hours? Airbnb would lose millions if not billions,--but perhaps they would start supporting and listening to their hosts the same way they do their guests.
@Julieanna This would all be most upsetting indeed. I have posted here a few times about Airbnb's increasingly guest-centric stance and it's de-valuing of home-sharing (traditional) hosts. I de-listed my very successful cottage rental for 9 months as my own form of personal protest. I've had the sense that hosts here are too financially dependent on Airbnb to ever commit to a mass 'protest' - And Airbnb appears to count on this fact.
Also, whenever we write a longer post, the system prevents it from being posted - I was told this by the mods. Maybe they can say more about that if they see this.
It seems Airbnb's attitude is that there's no difference between a great host and a terrible host, as long as bookings are made and service fees are collected. Hard to believe such a smart company can be so stupid and short-sighted in this regard.
I hope you have your case satisfactorily resolved. If it isn't, I hope you take it all the way to arbitration, as you would certainly win, based on what you have shared here.
@Rebecca181I agree with your comment about Airbnb counting on hosts becoming too financially dependent, which is why I wondered about a "four-hour pause" or something that wouldn't be too drastic for each host,--yet it would have a devastating effect on Airbnb. Just think about it,--for 4 hours if no one in a certain area or the US or the whole world couldn't book anything on Airbnb,--it might help Airbnb take note that without hosts, they don't have much of a business. Sadly, I too agree with your observation that as long as bookings are made and service fees collected,--they don't care.
I continue to get the run-around with each new/different supervisor I speak with at Airbnb regarding the sneak-in fees. I called again today and was told the same thing I've been told for over 1 week now; "We need to contact your guests to hear what they have to say." I am truly outraged at this over-used response. There is nothing they can say; not only do I have video proof of the sneak-ins, my guest actually admitted it after I sent her the link. The problem is my guest doesn't want to pay the fee and apparently Airbnb, instead of charging the guest the appropriate fee, is going to continue to leave me hanging with the promise that they will get back to me. :(
@Julieanna Yes, I've definitely thought that the only way to get Airbnb to sit up, take notice, and do an about-face on their attitude (altho we tend to see and think that they always favor guests, there have been guest posts here that make it clear that they often treat guests as poorly as hosts) would be to stage a general strike- zero booking fees coming in for a day. I just don't see how that could possibly be organized. The percentage of hosts who participate in these forums is a drop in the bucket compared to how many are out there.
@Sarah977It is true that the percentage of hosts who participate in these forums is a drop in the bucket, however, many of them may not even be aware it exists. A couple of well-timed Facebook posts, as well as a few people reaching out to hosts in their immediate area could certainly raise awareness. Even if they don't wish to participate in the forums, they could be part of a strike. It doesn't take long to search on Airbnb and find the top-performing listings for an area. If a few people spent just 15 minutes a day sending messages to these hosts, I think greater awareness, (on the part of Airbnb), could be raised if they participated.
I'm sure, as you say, there are guests who have had bad experiences too, although I would be willing to bet bad experiences aren't 50-50 for guests and hosts. My guess is more like 20% or less bad experiences for guests vs. 80% for hosts. I was going to say only Airbnb would know this, however, many times it appears that one department has no idea what another department is doing. It's very, very frustrating.
@Julieanna I've thought this before too. The way Airbnb treats their hosts is disgusting and it makes no sense as a business model. But I guess they can afford to be arrogant because there are millions and millions of hosts out there who depend on Airbnb income. Strikes only work if enough 'employees' participate and as @Sarah977 said, the hosts on this forum represent a tiny drop in the ocean. What we need is a good alternative and as soon as one comes along, I will be joining them instead.
@Kath9 Pride goes before a fall.....or at least we can hope. I wish there was a good alternative too,--it's interesting that there isn't. I would join in a heartbeat too! As I mentioned in my reply to @Sarah977 , it wouldn't take too much time to contact the top performing Airbnb's in a local area. If these top performing listings participated in a boycott, (even if only for a few hours), I do think it might cause a bit more awareness, (and hopefully action!), on the part of Airbnb.
Hi Julieanna, i am little confused as to why you shipped them back the wedding ring after they stole from you? I get you were trying to do the right thing and be the better person which you very clearly are but practically speaking, don't you think it would have been better to keep that as leverage to have the guest reimburse you for the blinds they stole from you?
I just don't understand why you were so generous with them and even paid for the shipping out of pocket. And how scum baggy of the guest to not even offer to pay you for the shipping.
With good guests, I would definitely do the same but you are only rewarding bad behavior by shipping it back and losing all the leverage you had.
@Sean433I did think about keeping the wedding ring as leverage,--however, told myself there's never a downside to taking the high road. (Maybe I should rethink my philosophy).
It is Airbnb who consistently rewards bad behavior by not holding guests accountable! After having to ask bad guests to leave my home back in May,--Airbnb, (although they deny this), penalized me by no bookings for 6 weeks straight. I think as hosts, many of us are afraid to stand up for ourselves,--and again, really wish we could organize a boycott by pausing our listings, even if it was just for a few hours.
it is perhaps good that you now know @Julieanna that you are entirely on your own. ABB does not have your back, guests can be shady. It is best to deal with this as it happens.
In other words, know in the moment how many guests are coming in your house. Know that you have enough detail on each of your guests that you can recoup damages from them in the case that ABB is not helpful. Be willing to kick someone out (and therefore lose that rental money) if they behave badly. Be willing to stand up for yourself and not spend money to return property to someone who owes you money.
There are other platforms, that have real security deposits. IB reservations can be cancelled. Guests can be asked to leave. We have tools (they aren't great ones, but they do exist) and we should all be willing to use them. Just bc ABB thinks guests can do no wrong, you're the home owner and you get the final say.
oh, and as my final $0.02, 1* review all around, Do not Recommend and a "these were bad guests that I would not recommend to any future hosts". Bc that review is the one tool that ABB has for sure offered you, I'd use it.
Good luck going forward.
@Kelly149After asking bad guests to leave my home back in May, https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Help/Bad-Guests-Too-Bad-For-Hosts/m-p/1037456#, I suddenly had no bookings for 6 weeks. Although Airbnb denies it, they penalized me. I've never gone that long with no bookings unless my listing was paused on my part. And, yes, sadly, I would agree, Airbnb certainly does not have my back, even though they wish all hosts to think they do. I have left a review in which I clearly state I would not recommend. Thanks for the good luck wish,--I have a feeling I'm going to need it. :)
Thank you for sharing your experience and perspective.
You have a beautiful home!
The maps that show your place in relation to key attractions in your city are a nice touch.
I do wonder if you are charging too little. That will undoubtedly attract the wrong kind of guests from time to time. I suggest you raise your price, especially for such a big home and great location.
Your profile quote is terrific and says what needs to be said:
Honesty, Trust, Respect. So sad some guests don't abide by that.
@Jim & MarciaThanks for the tip on changing my price. Right now I let AI, (Beyond Pricing), manage it. I'm not sure there is any fool-proof way to prevent bad guests,--however, maybe a combination of things will be a deterrent.