Living and Dying on Airbnb

Old Feb 15, 2017, 3:09 am
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by pinniped
I have to admit, the overall behavior of Airbnb as a company has somewhat changed my opinions in the past 2 years. Their system of allowing properties to accept/reject guests based on race and other factors has led me to think they need to be regulated more like Marriott and less like Craigslist.

I don't have a great answer. I think my opinion still holds that the central booking platform isn't the *primary* one responsible for the faulty tree swing. This, like many things in the "sharing economy", probably needs a level of regulation between the wild west and the full set of requirements a large hotel development complies with.
I would agree that a Craigslist type system shouldn't be held responsible. However, having looked at the Airbnb website I can see how someone might believe a greater level of responsibility and control exists. That combined with the fact that Airbnb processes the payment give me pause and makes me wonder whether Airbnb should be considered merely a booking platform.
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Old Feb 16, 2017, 11:03 am
  #32  
 
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Pinniped, Airbnb does not allow their owners to discriminate. I do not know if they had a rule that the owners could not but I do know that they now have one. I have rented houses and flats for many years from VRBO, HomeAway , and Airbnb plus a couple of places overseas like Parker for Italy. My rentals have not always been perfect when I forgot to ask the right questions. But I have had more problems in hotels than I ever did in a rental.
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Old Feb 16, 2017, 12:21 pm
  #33  
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Originally Posted by gungadin
Pinniped, Airbnb does not allow their owners to discriminate.
I've literally had an owner ask me for a photo prior to renting. The person point-blank admitted to me in a text that they wouldn't rent until they saw a photo.

Is this practice now banned?

And that's just one example: I'm sure people can easily be rejected based on gender, gender identity, or ethnic background based on how the property perceives the name of the guest.

Until Airbnb's system is completely blind - everything on the network is "instant book" or whatever they call it, with no way for properties to unilaterally cancel - they allow discrimination.
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Old Feb 16, 2017, 12:31 pm
  #34  
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Originally Posted by pinniped
I've literally had an owner ask me for a photo prior to renting. The person point-blank admitted to me in a text that they wouldn't rent until they saw a photo.

Is this practice now banned?

And that's just one example: I'm sure people can easily be rejected based on gender, gender identity, or ethnic background based on how the property perceives the name of the guest.

Until Airbnb's system is completely blind - everything on the network is "instant book" or whatever they call it, with no way for properties to unilaterally cancel - they allow discrimination.
Rules are in place and from what I understand enforced...for entire place rentals. I've never been required to identify my individual characteristics.
Airbnb - unlike Homeaway or other services - has a legacy of ROOM rentals. That segment will never be blind..nor should it ever be. If I'm renting a room in someone's house - or renting a room out in my house - damned if I'm not choosing who my roommates are. In fact, anyone objecting to individual identification should be automatically rejected. Similarly, who would walk into an apartment blind? Can you get back out when you see the chain saw collection?Go to a hotel if all you want is credit card id.
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Old Feb 16, 2017, 1:11 pm
  #35  
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Originally Posted by rickg523
Rules are in place and from what I understand enforced...for entire place rentals. I've never been required to identify my individual characteristics.
Airbnb - unlike Homeaway or other services - has a legacy of ROOM rentals. That segment will never be blind..nor should it ever be. If I'm renting a room in someone's house - or renting a room out in my house - damned if I'm not choosing who my roommates are. In fact, anyone objecting to individual identification should be automatically rejected. Similarly, who would walk into an apartment blind? Can you get back out when you see the chain saw collection?Go to a hotel if all you want is credit card id.
So we agree: they allow discrimination. It sounds like you support this.

I was trying to book an entire unit when I was asked for a photo. I only find it objectionable to ask for the photo as a condition of booking. I have no problem showing ID to the front desk, doorman, manager, owner, etc. to get the key. I also have no problem with the booking platform maintaining credit card information and enforcing rules about damages, cancellation, etc.

I've never attempted to book a single room in a house.
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Old Feb 16, 2017, 1:27 pm
  #36  
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Originally Posted by pinniped
So we agree: they allow discrimination. It sounds like you support this.

I was trying to book an entire unit when I was asked for a photo. I only find it objectionable to ask for the photo as a condition of booking. I have no problem showing ID to the front desk, doorman, manager, owner, etc. to get the key. I also have no problem with the booking platform maintaining credit card information and enforcing rules about damages, cancellation, etc.

I've never attempted to book a single room in a house.
We do agree about entire place rentals.
Since you never rent rooms, your objections (along with the implied insult) to renters being discriminating about who they room with is meaningless. You could do a thought experiment and see how you characterize yourself. Discriminatory? Cautious? More interested in an enjoyable experience than a rent check?
YMMV, but, again, I've rented entire places numerous times with Airbnb as well as other services and never have been required to produce a photo. In fact, maybe the reason my experiences work out is that, "Instant Booking" or not, before booking I engage the owner in an email conversation, so I have a good idea of how real the listing is and we both have a good idea of what our expectations are.
Frankly, I've suffered far more terrible hotel rooms than short term rentals.
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Old Feb 16, 2017, 3:33 pm
  #37  
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Originally Posted by rickg523
We do agree about entire place rentals.
Since you never rent rooms, your objections (along with the implied insult) to renters being discriminating about who they room with is meaningless. You could do a thought experiment and see how you characterize yourself. Discriminatory? Cautious? More interested in an enjoyable experience than a rent check?
(1) I never stated an opinion, let alone objection, about shared-room rentals.

(2) I didn't insult you. We agree that Airbnb permits discrimination, and your statement of "That segment will never be blind..nor should it ever be" is supportive of that, correct?

I'll go one step further and suggest that if a city attempted to make discrimination on shared-room rentals illegal, that segment of the business would simply go to a less-publicized platform than Airbnb. It'd go underground. I think regulation should mainly focus on whole-unit rentals - those are the places that are starting to look a lot like serious hotel operations.

As for me, I'd be extremely discriminatory - but I'd never open up part of my house as a hotel. I'd say "no" to 99.999% of the people in this world, and the other 0.001% could crash in the guest bedroom for free.
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Old Feb 16, 2017, 4:43 pm
  #38  
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Originally Posted by pinniped
(1) I never stated an opinion, let alone objection, about shared-room rentals.

(2) I didn't insult you. We agree that Airbnb permits discrimination, and your statement of "That segment will never be blind..nor should it ever be" is supportive of that, correct?

I'll go one step further and suggest that if a city attempted to make discrimination on shared-room rentals illegal, that segment of the business would simply go to a less-publicized platform than Airbnb. It'd go underground. I think regulation should mainly focus on whole-unit rentals - those are the places that are starting to look a lot like serious hotel operations.

As for me, I'd be extremely discriminatory - but I'd never open up part of my house as a hotel. I'd say "no" to 99.999% of the people in this world, and the other 0.001% could crash in the guest bedroom for free.
Yes, I'll step back on reading connotations into the word "discrimination," since it can be meant to infer cautious regard and judgement without necessarily meaning prejudiced or operating on stereotypes. Like you, I don't open my doors to just anyone. I've got coworkers I've known for years that aren't getting invited. So let's move off the room rental part of Airbnb and concentrate on the entire place rentals that are more commonly understood as vacation rentals.
I don't know when your experience occurred but I do believe that if what happened to you happened this month, Airbnb would delist the property. But since it's never happened to me, I'm only guessing.
Again, anyone considering a vacation rental should not approach it like booking a hotel room. More care and proactive communication is part of the deal if you don't want your travel spoiled. On Airbnb the "magic word" is Superhost. Start there. Next thing to insist on is "flexible cancellation." "Moderate" is acceptable. Strict cancellation policy is a big red flag. Avoid it. Third, look at all the reviews, mainly to make sure you never see "The host cancelled this reservation X days before arrival." If it happened once, it can happen again. Find another place.
To be fair, careless hotel booking can ruin a trip just as badly. But if you're content with cookie cutter corporate hotel rooms (on the plus side, no surprises...mostly) or willing and able to pay for top tier hoteliers, it's a load easier arranging hotel stays than short term rentals. At first. For me, str's are now straightforward...after doing 8 in the last two years.
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Old Mar 5, 2017, 12:26 am
  #39  
 
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The biggest issue is the lack of ADA housing and rides.
In fact Airbnb has not been discriminatory on race or ADA issues to the extent to which uber offers almost no ADA compliant vehicles. Like none. Anywhere.
You can make due with airbnb, in fact you may get city center CBD on airbnb when you would otherwise have to pay top dollar for modern suburban office park hotels with ADA rooms, you cannot leave your house with uber. like. ever. #uber fail ADA
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Old Mar 9, 2017, 10:28 am
  #40  
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Curious...and maybe we're straying from the airbnb topic...but how is a standard Uber/Lyft any different from a standard street-hailed taxicab when it comes to accessibility? When I think "ADA vehicle" I'm envisioning the van with a lift (is that correct?). I have no idea if the companies that operate those have an Uber-like app.

I totally understand how accessibility to Airbnb whole-unit rentals can be a problem. I don't know if Airbnb is skirting rules that apply to other hotels.
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Old Mar 31, 2017, 10:24 am
  #41  
 
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Originally Posted by rickg523
Again, anyone considering a vacation rental should not approach it like booking a hotel room. More care and proactive communication is part of the deal if you don't want your travel spoiled. On Airbnb the "magic word" is Superhost. Start there. Next thing to insist on is "flexible cancellation." "Moderate" is acceptable. Strict cancellation policy is a big red flag. Avoid it. Third, look at all the reviews, mainly to make sure you never see "The host cancelled this reservation X days before arrival." If it happened once, it can happen again. Find another place.
To be fair, careless hotel booking can ruin a trip just as badly.short term rentals.
I have just completed a week in an Airbnb rental in Tokyo and have come to the conclusion that the listing and the reviews were unreliable. There were good points to the rental but there were also deficiencies that had I known about I would not have made the booking. I wrote a rather lengthy review starting with the positive features and ending with the comments I wish I had been able to hear about beforehand. My review was cut to just the positive bits. My review was much longer than the average but online I dont think there are space constraints on entries so I am of the opinion that dishonest practice was afoot. No more airbnb for me.
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Old Mar 31, 2017, 10:38 am
  #42  
 
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Originally Posted by gbs1112
I have just completed a week in an Airbnb rental in Tokyo and have come to the conclusion that the listing and the reviews were unreliable. There were good points to the rental but there were also deficiencies that had I known about I would not have made the booking. I wrote a rather lengthy review starting with the positive features and ending with the comments I wish I had been able to hear about beforehand. My review was cut to just the positive bits. My review was much longer than the average but online I dont think there are space constraints on entries so I am of the opinion that dishonest practice was afoot. No more airbnb for me.
Your review was edited to just the positive bits? Are you sure you can't just hit the + More to read your entire review?
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Old Mar 31, 2017, 11:37 am
  #43  
 
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[QUOTE=Domat;28111635]Your review was edited to just the positive bits? Are you sure you can't just hit the + More to read your entire review?[/

The +more function does open up a larger part of my review but it is still truncated and omits my discussion of the unsatisfactory features.
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Old Mar 31, 2017, 1:20 pm
  #44  
 
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[QUOTE=gbs1112;28111922]
Originally Posted by Domat
Your review was edited to just the positive bits? Are you sure you can't just hit the + More to read your entire review?[/

The +more function does open up a larger part of my review but it is still truncated and omits my discussion of the unsatisfactory features.
The unsatisfactory features would have been at the top and the good feature after the +1 had you put them in opposite order. If you're implying the host is able to somehow change their profile in some way, that's impossible
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Old Mar 31, 2017, 1:38 pm
  #45  
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Originally Posted by gbs1112
I have just completed a week in an Airbnb rental in Tokyo and have come to the conclusion that the listing and the reviews were unreliable. There were good points to the rental but there were also deficiencies that had I known about I would not have made the booking. I wrote a rather lengthy review starting with the positive features and ending with the comments I wish I had been able to hear about beforehand. My review was cut to just the positive bits. My review was much longer than the average but online I dont think there are space constraints on entries so I am of the opinion that dishonest practice was afoot. No more airbnb for me.
Reviews are reviews. Unless you know the reviewer, it's always YMMV. Even if you're familiar with the reviewer, your stay may differ.
What I said was look at the reviews mainly to see if you find a history of cancellations. That's the ONE thing you can count on being accurate in an Airbnb review. And it should be the first and most important thing you need to know about a rental. Past that, just like with any property - rental or hotel - your experience will be what it is. If you crave certainty in accommodation, choose a chain hotel that advertises its consistency across properties.
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