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.
I am in this club, two reservations cancelled tomorrow for each of my listings. I got a very angry message from one of the guests and had to calm him down and explain this was not my doing but something AirBNB was initiated throughout the Washington DC area.
The AirBNB website, by the way, no mention yet of a refund and there is nothing in my pending transactions to show I will be getting paid. It shows simply as a cancellation. I will give them the benefit here and see if it sorts it out Both of my guests, by the way, were from outside the country, one from Costa Rica, the other I think Ecuador. They had nothing to do with the protests obviously.
Wow @Helen350. I couldn't disagree more.
Airbnb and other accommodation providers operating in Washington are taking an incredibly responsible and brave position by becoming part of the solution in helping to ensure the tragic events of last week and recent months do not repeat themselves.
As you know guests lie and it is not always easy for hosts to tell if their guest is a terrorist or an individual there to visit their grandkids.
By offering to pay hosts for lost bookings Airbnb is ensuring hosts don't have to make decisions based as to host based on how badly they might need the income even though they may be uncomfortable with the guest.
@Helen3 - Of course I want to nip terrorism in the bud! It's just the thought of labelling elderly ladies visiting grandchildren, or people on job interviews, or people attending funerals... as terrorists - That was my point!
I'm as anti-Trump as you can get, btw!
Does political correctness mean I can't offer some friendly empathy with @Chonte0 , who seemed a little upset at losing a much needed booking. THAT was my intent, moral support of a fellow host, not to condone terrorism, which I deplore, whether it comes from right wing Republicans or left wing BLM!
Airbnb has committed to covering all the Washington bookings that have to be cancelled. She admits in her second post she hadn't read the guidance fully and didn't realise she was being paid by Airbnb.
Personally I would be overjoyed to be paid out in full and not have to do any work or incur any costs in relation to a booking.
I feel very sorry for those who have a legitimate reason to be in Washington during this period and hope they will lay the blame squarely where it falls ; on the terrorists who are responsible for this.
It's good that Chante will not be out of pocket @Helen3 . Once again, my observation on the sorry state of affairs was merely an expression of sympathy/empathy/solidarity with someone who was distressed that her autonomy had been taken from her, and distressed when she thought she was losing much needed income through no fault of her own. Host to host solidarity, leaving the politics to others!
@LivThis is another reason why Airbnb needs to drop that ridiculous policy of hiding full guest names and other information before we approve. Airbnb doesn't have enough staff to fully vett guests and I've been one of the first to point out that there are "patriots" in the host community.
For those of us who are not corporate, multi-unit owners, knowing if we are going to be compromised before approving a guest is helpful.
Given the events of January 6th, cancelling reservations is not enough given the FBI has now reported that there will be armed protests in all fifty states next week. We really, really need to eliminate the guest ID restrictions and the AI bots that are scrubbing our messages when we at least try to have a conversation with potential guests first.
This is a life or death issue and I can't determine if a guest is a fit if our messages are filled with "this website was deleted by Airbnb" when the guest was simply trying to tell me their last name or the first names of their family members.
I always wonder why these terrorists in the US are referred to as 'patriots' @Christine615
'Patriots' make them sound like they are doing something noble, when nothing could be further from the truth.
I do agree with your point that this is not just about Washington. Hopefully Airbnb will listen to requests for penalty free cancellations where it can be shown there are concerns about bookings.
@Helen3 Agreed. They are domestic terrorists. But they call themselves “Patriots” I suspect as a nod to the insurrection hundreds of years ago. Expect to see many many trials as the FBI works through their process, including members of Congress.
People who believe in freedom don’t demonstrate it by beating police officers, breaking windows and barricaded doors and spreading bodily fluids throughout the building. They don’t hang nooses and show up with bombs and zip ties to take politicians hostage.
This whole thing is nuts over here. But it did shine a light on what the FBI has pointed out for years. The greatest threats to Democracy are home grown.
Most had no masks and were shouting, thus creating a super spreader event on top of it. 😢
So so sorry the odious Hawley came from your state (we have our own crop of wanna be insurrectionists here in the golden state- look for the area of highest Covid rates to find those unspeakables districts) I am very glad indeed that airbnb is paying out those hosts, the best thing the could have done in these scary times
I think it is completely WRONG for Airbnb to cancel reservations. WE should be the deciders and vet them - if they have a concern, Airbnb should be reaching out to the hosts to give them an option. And then they can offer to NOT ding us for cancelling. This is extremely alarming that they are playing politics.
More people should be outraged at Airbnb deciding that ALL reservations will be cancelled. This can happen to anyone, anywhere. Airbnb should NOT be involved in politics.
@Fergark0 Ain't gonna happen. You'll note, airbnb started getting involved in politics in the run up to their IPO, and it will continue even more so now, as they are a publicly traded (aka Wall Street backed) company.
A key part of the Airbnb brand is a commitment to diversity and inclusion. They have always been involved in politics, whether it is lobbying local and national government around STR issues and against STR restrictions to helping those who have become homeless as a result of fire, floods etc to trying to bring in restrictions against hosting in the illegally occupied territories on Israel's Left Bank.
There are other STR listing companies that don't have this stance. As business owners we are free to choose who we list with, just as we are free to choose who we buy our food from and our furniture and decorations for our listings.
I think it is a brave move for them to do this, particularly as they will still cover the costs of the booking meaning no Washington host will be out of pocket.
If their approach to doing business makes you feel uncomfortable, then I would definitely suggest you vote with your feet and use different marketing channels @Fergark0
@Fergark0 is a brand new host, by the look of their profile. So I expect they signed up believing Airbnb to be 'just a booking platform'. Probably never crossed their minds there was an agenda, poor them!
(Noted with understanding, not snarkiness; don't shoot me!)