Any experience with Airbnb?

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Old May 30, 17, 1:06 pm
  #571  
 
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
I think you dramatically reduce your airbnb risk by only booking accommodations with many positive reviews. I try to stick with 4 1/2 stars or better, and prefer only 5 stars.
Very true - unfortunately, Airbnb users are notoriously over-generous with their stars. People are reluctant to post negative reviews about a person's home after meeting them and developing a relationship with them. (Unlike, for example, at a hotel.)

The place we stayed where the heating broke was absolutely filthy - and it was a 4.5 star place.

(Some say Airbnb deliberately hides lower reviews - but that's merely hearsay.)
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Old May 30, 17, 1:15 pm
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I've had excellent airbnb experiences in Tokyo (x3), Osaka, and Nagoya.
Also Hong Kong (x2), Shanghai (an enormous apartment in the French Concession), Tallinn, Cape Town (x2), Goteborg, London, Prague, Berlin, Leipzeig....
But have never rented airbnb in the US.
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Old May 30, 17, 6:49 pm
  #573  
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Originally Posted by gonebabygone View Post
Very true - unfortunately, Airbnb users are notoriously over-generous with their stars. People are reluctant to post negative reviews about a person's home after meeting them and developing a relationship with them. (Unlike, for example, at a hotel.)

The place we stayed where the heating broke was absolutely filthy - and it was a 4.5 star place.

(Some say Airbnb deliberately hides lower reviews - but that's merely hearsay.)
Yup, I usually follow mama's rule when it comes to airbnb reviews: unless the host just doesn't give a damn, I keep my mouth shut if I don't have anything nice to say.

It's probably not good for the site, as it doesn't lead to improvement and customer satisfaction.

Also, I've heard you can be blackballed by potential hosts if you leave a lot of
negative reviews. Who needs that -- picky people who will scare off other guests?
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Old May 30, 17, 6:56 pm
  #574  
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BTW, airbnb got back to me about the host who wanted to more than double the rent on me. It seemed to be a form letter from a non-native speaker. It didn't exactly address my problem -- it seemed to focus on hosts who want "off-site" payments for security deposits and such. But it appears they did remove the property from the website. Honestly, I think it was an inexperienced host who rented the property through other channels and didn't fully understand how airbnb works.
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Old Jun 1, 17, 10:41 pm
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post

Also, I've heard you can be blackballed by potential hosts if you leave a lot of
negative reviews. Who needs that -- picky people who will scare off other guests?
Hmm that's interesting, never heard of that. I think it's all about how you leave the feedback. I am brutally honest, but try hard to be winsome and gracious. So far no problems.
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Old Jun 1, 17, 10:41 pm
  #576  
 
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
BTW, airbnb got back to me about the host who wanted to more than double the rent on me. It seemed to be a form letter from a non-native speaker. It didn't exactly address my problem -- it seemed to focus on hosts who want "off-site" payments for security deposits and such. But it appears they did remove the property from the website. Honestly, I think it was an inexperienced host who rented the property through other channels and didn't fully understand how airbnb works.
That's helpful, thanks for the info!
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Old Jun 2, 17, 5:43 am
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Yup, I usually follow mama's rule when it comes to airbnb reviews: unless the host just doesn't give a damn, I keep my mouth shut if I don't have anything nice to say.

It's probably not good for the site, as it doesn't lead to improvement and customer satisfaction.
It's not good, for the reasons you mentioned, and I wish (as a host myself) that people would be more honest. You don't need to be nasty or overdo it, but the hosts should know if they're doing something wrong.
Also, I've heard you can be blackballed by potential hosts if you leave a lot of negative reviews. Who needs that -- picky people who will scare off other guests?
It is technically possible to read the past reviews people have left for other hosts, but it's quite a chore to find them, and I'd be quite surprised if more than a handful of hosts did this. Even if I did do it, it would be pretty easy to discover if a guest had a history of being overly pissy/critical or was just leaving honest feedback on a mediocre/bad property.

I do look at reviews that other hosts have left my prospective guests (this is easy), but that's as far as it goes.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 11:01 pm
  #578  
 
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Originally Posted by travelmad478 View Post

It is technically possible to read the past reviews people have left for other hosts, but it's quite a chore to find them, and I'd be quite surprised if more than a handful of hosts did this. Even if I did do it, it would be pretty easy to discover if a guest had a history of being overly pissy/critical or was just leaving honest feedback on a mediocre/bad property.
That's a really good point, it would take a very, very motivated (and suspicious!) host.
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Old Jul 29, 17, 8:27 am
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My family and I just stayed in a bunch of airbnb's in Europe, with mixed success. I did gain a lot of additional insight into the pros and cons from the experience.

First, reviews are definitely not very reliable. You MUST avoid unreviewed properties and anything less than 4 1/2 stars, but even the better properties are risky. People are just too nice to their hosts, in a way you don't find on sites like tripadvisor. You will not get accurate information about the weaknesses of a particular property (like it's too small, the shower sucks, it's not very clean, the pictures displayed aren't accurate, etc). My college-aged daughter stayed at an airbnb in Dublin that had 4 1/2 stars, but was way more hostel-like than b&b like, even though the listing cost over $100/night. None of the reviews said anything negative about the property.

The biggest risk are the beds. They're often bad. If a good mattress is important to you, you should simply avoid airbnb. There's really no way of knowing whether the bed will suck in an otherwise well-regarded property.

A weird quirk I ran into is that hosts can post a translation of their listing into English, but when they do, you don't see the ORIGINAL listing in the local language. This becomes a problem when the host "forgets" to complete all the listing fields in English. In France, I stayed at a property that listed "Breakfast" as an amenity without any mention of a surcharge, so I assumed it was included in the price (at every other airbnb property that listed breakfast, it was always free -- this is afterall "Air BnB"). You can imagine my surprise and annoyance at check out when the host presented me a bill for 8 euros for each (simple) breakfast we had consumed. That's when we discovered that the host forgot to transfer that subject field to his English listing from his original French listing. At a hotel, I would have refused to pay that extra cost, but this is very hard to do at somebody's "home" (who has otherwise treated you well). When I complained to airbnb (they were at least 25% to blame for concocting a confusing system for the hosts), they offered me a $25 voucher, which didn't cover my entire cost, but at least offset half of it.

I will continue to use airbnb, but it will always be a second (third or fourth) choice, when other resources do not produce accommodations that seem satisfactory to me. Airbnb is simply riskier, and I like to minimize my risk.
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Old Jul 30, 17, 10:28 am
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post

The biggest risk are the beds. They're often bad. If a good mattress is important to you, you should simply avoid airbnb. There's really no way of knowing whether the bed will suck in an otherwise well-regarded property.
Agree 100%. I stayed at a place in Salt Lake City and the bed was so uncomfortable. I thought it was way too soft. It did not have a box spring. The mattress was on a platform with straps. I mentioned this to my host and she said, "some people think it's too hard." I didn't mention it in my review because bedding is so subjective.
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Old Jul 31, 17, 10:47 am
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I think the bloom is coming off the rose for me with respect to Airbnb... I'm sure I will use it for the next few years while my kids are young and there is great value in being able to have an apartment with separate bedrooms vs. a regular hotel room or a typically much more expensive hotel suite. But that said, there is a PITA factor that starts to wear you down with Airbnb.

In my first booking in Houston I had a situation where the previous guest overstayed which delayed my entry by several hours (not fun when you have a baby ready for a nap), and when I finally got in the place was still messy from the previous guest. I realize it wasn't the host's fault, but it still made my life more difficult.

I decided to try it again and booked a place several months out for a trip in September. Then the host comes back to me wanting to cancel for one reason or another. OK, fair enough. But she wants ME to cancel, losing a credit that I had and relying on her goodwill to refund the money. Apparently she was at risk of having her listing removed from one more cancellation. Obviously I wasn't going to go for it, but it was annoying to be put in that awkward position in the first place. And then of course so many of the best Airbnb options for my trip were gone.

I think I'll grin and bear it until the kids are old enough to stay up late such that a separate bedroom doesn't matter anymore, but once that happens I think I will be done with Airbnb.
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Old Jul 31, 17, 9:06 pm
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Originally Posted by EmailKid View Post
I'll take your word for it

Would be curious if you could share a couple of examples.
Originally Posted by mot29 View Post
Not the original poster -- but 2 good experiences with airbnb customer service.

My first booking was for a room in Bangkok years ago during the floods. A week before, I got a message from the host asking if he could cancel as some friends of his had been flooded out of their place and he was trying to accommodate them in his spare room. I agreed and he cancelled through airbnb. Airbnb reached out to me, thanking me for allowing the cancellation and refunded the fee and booking charges and gave me a $25 credit. I ended up booking a last minute deal at a Citadines property instead.

Second was booking 1 room in an apartment in Amsterdam. I checked in about noon and all was fine with the living room and kitchen which were shared with the other 2 bedrooms in the apartment. When I came back that night the other tenants had checked in and left the kitchen a mess and had taken over the living room as another bedroom.
I contacted the host the next morning who agreed to allow me to cancel the rest of my booking. Airbnb also reached out and refunded the unstayed nights and issued a credit for the booking fee plus some extra $s.
In May I had my first AirBnB cancellation. Had booked an entire apartment in lower Manhattan with access to a gym back in February, and a week beforehand received a cancellation with a message from the host, simply "building no longer allows guests." By that time there were no available properties meeting those criteria anywhere south of Midtown, so AirBnB swiftly offering the refund plus a $60-something credit on a new booking, while a nice gesture, was not helpful. Ended up at a new CY property which was at least in the location I needed with gym.
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Old Aug 1, 17, 8:10 am
  #583  
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Originally Posted by heraclitus View Post
I think the bloom is coming off the rose for me with respect to Airbnb... I'm sure I will use it for the next few years while my kids are young and there is great value in being able to have an apartment with separate bedrooms vs. a regular hotel room or a typically much more expensive hotel suite. But that said, there is a PITA factor that starts to wear you down with Airbnb.

In my first booking in Houston I had a situation where the previous guest overstayed which delayed my entry by several hours (not fun when you have a baby ready for a nap), and when I finally got in the place was still messy from the previous guest. I realize it wasn't the host's fault, but it still made my life more difficult.

I decided to try it again and booked a place several months out for a trip in September. Then the host comes back to me wanting to cancel for one reason or another. OK, fair enough. But she wants ME to cancel, losing a credit that I had and relying on her goodwill to refund the money. Apparently she was at risk of having her listing removed from one more cancellation. Obviously I wasn't going to go for it, but it was annoying to be put in that awkward position in the first place. And then of course so many of the best Airbnb options for my trip were gone.

I think I'll grin and bear it until the kids are old enough to stay up late such that a separate bedroom doesn't matter anymore, but once that happens I think I will be done with Airbnb.
Who would ever think that the "sharing economy" could cause problems? Or that professional hotel and property management might have advantages. Thinking outside the box can be useful, but sometimes there are reasons that we ship in boxes, and not plastic bags.
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Old Aug 1, 17, 12:34 pm
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Who would ever think that the "sharing economy" could cause problems? Or that professional hotel and property management might have advantages. Thinking outside the box can be useful, but sometimes there are reasons that we ship in boxes, and not plastic bags.
That's very true, but even if Airbnb doesn't necessarily meet all of my needs I'm grateful for the option. Despite the headaches, it has made travelling with young children easier and less expensive than opting for suite hotels.
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Old Aug 1, 17, 12:47 pm
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Originally Posted by heraclitus View Post
That's very true, but even if Airbnb doesn't necessarily meet all of my needs I'm grateful for the option. Despite the headaches, it has made travelling with young children easier and less expensive than opting for suite hotels.
Right, it does help, which is why I'm sometimes willing to use it. Before airbnb, for example, it was often difficult (or expensive) to rent family accommodations in Europe if you just wanted to stay a couple days. The Brits, for example, tend to price their accommodations on a per-person basis, so a b&b could be crazy expensive for a family. Airbnb gives you more options. I'm careful, so I've yet to have a horrible airbnb experience. That said, they have a very imperfect business model.
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