We received a message from someone concerned about the potential for white nationalists to rent our place next week in Washington, DC. She asked us to carefully vet any guests and consider canceling any suspicious reservation. We're wondering why Airbnb has not communicated with hosts in the DC Metro area about the incidents next week and potential for trouble next week. The silence is deafening and shows a continuing problem with the company's decision to put profit over people. That said, here's our reply to the person who contacted us, in case you're interested.
Thanks for your message. We can assure you that our guest next week is fully vetted and, in fact, is a grandmother here to meet her grandchild for the first time.
Your message, however, raises a good point. Far too many Airbnb hosts will accept reservations from anyone willing to pay. Why? Because far too many Airbnb hosts are now operating multiple properties. Some are, in fact, management companies. They are motivated by profits and greed and have no commitment to the neighborhoods where they operate.
My husband and I have seen this happen over time in our neighborhood. As a result, our neighbors down the street have had to suffer through loud parties and more. One young woman, who had recently moved into the neighborhood, sold her newly purchased condo when drunken Airbnb guests in the condo below her came up the back stairs and banged on her bedroom window, threatening to come in.
While some hosts last week may have been fooled, I'm sure many others simply looked the other way just to make a buck. My assumption is that many of the white nationalists had created new Airbnb profiles with no previous reviews. How many responsible Airbnb hosts would not have been suspicious. My husband and I would have declined such reservation requests and waited for a verifiable guest. But we're not greedy or foolish.
We face many threats from irresponsible hosts far beyond white nationalists. That is why my husband and I have supported the DC Council's efforts to limit Airbnb listings to those where the host lives on the property. We hope you and your colleagues will support such legislation where you live. Doing so will provide our neighborhoods security in the coming months and years. After all, while nationalists (and Antifa and the rest) may have plans to come to our area long after the inauguration is over.
@Jay-And-Mau0 I'm curious, how and why did this person single you out as a host to send this message? It's not possible for an Airbnb user to contact another without sending a booking inquiry, and nobody should have any access to your booking records. There's no logical reason that any genuine member of the community should have sent you a message like the one you allegedly received, unless it came directly from a traceable Airbnb account - in which case, they have said that they're trying to delete accounts associated with white nationalists and other hate groups.
Not trying to make you paranoid here, but as always you're in charge of your own safety, and you should never overestimate what Airbnb will do for you. Most measures they claim to take are only for the sake of keeping good press through a media cycle, not protecting hosts.
I think you're right that the listing service prioritizes profits over people, so I can only urge that you guys use your own best judgment and minimize your expectations from the listing service. Please, stay safe and I wish you the best.
I received a message from a competitor pretending she was a guest and sent me a booking inquiry accusing me should not provide some complimentary services. I reported to Airbnb customer service and never got anything back. My point is hosts are possibly to get messages from other Airbnb account members.
Are you sure about blasting Airbnb on this point? According to a few online reports, OTAs are taking action: https://apnews.com/article/race-and-ethnicity-inaugurations-virginia-hate-groups-charlottesville-823....
I love this headline from the Washington Post,
"Airbnb hosts are trying to turn away inauguration rioters. One listing added a photo of Michelle Obama. https://oltnews.com/airbnb-hosts-try-to-fend-off-rioters-at-the-opening-an-ad-added-a-photo-of-miche...
That article caused me to wonder where those other roaming visiting lunatics inciting rioting, looting, burning down businesses and killing people in so many US cities for the last 8 months stayed when away from home?
My sister called us all excited last night about the property next to hers is now available since her neighbors are moving. I just hate to tell her we won't be moving back to the US (after 10 years) "at this time". Translation - never.
P.S. Her neighbors are moving - overseas.
I understand your sentiment. We are heading back to St. Lucia a little earlier than planned, because we don't want to risk potential disruptions at airports that may impact flights. For the past year or so, we've been looking at our options of where we want to have our permanent residence. It won't be the US though.
With the inauguration in mind, Airbnb will be blocking and cancelling existing bookings during that week in Washington, DC metro area. Please keep an eye on your inbox for further information, as Airbnb has started to contact affected hosts about this.
In the meantime, you can also learn more about it here.
I hope this is helpful.
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Hi @Chonte0 , I'm far from it all here in the UK, but I really feel for your situation, and YOUR right to choose whether you host or not. It is none of Airbnb's business what your guest chooses to do with his or her time whilst in an Airbnb! And I'm sure YOU don't want to harbour terrorists, and would make your own cancellation, if after doing due diligence, you thought your guest was in DC for sinister or criminal purposes.
IF Airbnb cancel on you against your wishes, had you thought about coming to an informal off-platform arrangement with the guest? It is to be hoped you would not be penalised for going off platform, if Airbnb were not allowing you to host ON platform!
- Just in case you did not know, this is a chat forum for hosts, and the occasional guest, so you are talking here to your peers, rather than those who make the rules!
Happy hosting! xx 🙂
@Helen350 I don't think you fully understand the depth of the danger here. Airbnb guests often lie about their intentions and it isn't always possible for even experienced hosts to be able to accurately vet all guests.
If there were armed insurrectionists who had publicly stated their intention to come to Whitehaven and assasinate govt. officials, I bet you'd be relieved for Airbnb to cancel your reservations for that time and pay you for the cancelled bookings ( the exception being if it was a repeat guest who was known to you).
I see your point @Sarah977 , the news coverage has been constant here & I've read a lot of Washington Post/New York Times articles about it all, believe me, I'm outraged, & have been in a state of constant anger of the How-dare-they-undermine-democracy-and act-like terrorists kind since 6 Jan. (And to think that my most recent American guest was organising a bus load, too, as I mentioned to you before.)
I certainly don't want to be cavalier when it comes to doing what you can to not facilitate terrorism; I guess I just wanted some solidarity with @Chonte0 , if it turned out some harmless person was staying with her or him! Like a visit to a new baby or something... 🙂
@Helen350 Yes, there will undoubtedly be some cancelled reservations that are quite innocent, like seeing the new grandbaby, but I think cutting down on the dangers surrounding hosting unknown guests at this time and place, far outweigh the disappointment and inconvenience of the legitimate guests.
And hopefully those guests will be understanding of the need for the precautions. Some of them will probably even be relieved that their bookings were cancelled with full refund without them having to deal with trying to cancel themselves, as being in DC at all with armed nutcases running around is pretty scary.