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Airbnb Promises to Verify All 7 Million Listings

If Airbnb were evil, they could verify the listings by forcing everyone to have pictures done and address verified by a photographer - and charging the host to do so.

Completely agree. I think there are 2 discussions twisted up together.

There’s no magic bullet, unfortunately. This host had previous issues, but is that down to his location? When I lived in the bay area, all the best house parties were in the hills. :sunglasses:

It seems unfair to shut the host down because people are taking advantage. Some of our forum members (missmiami?) who live in “party” areas seem beset by more issues. Daytona Beach will always have more issues than a listing in Peoria, IL.

Heck, the Amazon drivers are at all our houses. Airbnb could hire them as inspectors.

Joking, of course.

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I doubt they’ll approach with such a brute force method when they can mobilize guests as inspectors.

They’re already asking guests to verify amenities in the review. I was asked about CO & smoke detectors, in addition to towel and pillow counts after my last stay. My guess is they’ll incentivize guests to be informers (data & pictures).

For listings with high accuracy scores and few guest complaints, that’s an easy green light. It’s probably a much smaller % that need significant attention because they’re getting low accuracy scores, more party issues, or guest complaints.

From Airbnb’s cold corporate perspective, probably yes. They have more hosts than they need.

From a host’s perspective, no. While I know there are a few bad hosts, a zero tolerance policy would also catch good hosts that have a one-off experience with very bad guests. It would not be fair.

The question is, does Airbnb care if it is fair to the hosts?

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Absolutely (insert expletive here) not. Their policy is seems to be burn and churn. If a host costs them money they can just not support them, hope they go away and replace them. Cheaper to offer tiny referral bonuses if you get one of your friends to become a host than to invest in solving problems. I keep citing the 4 million spent on a failed effort in opposing the Jersey City regulations vote on Tues. How many problem listings could be removed with $4 million investment? And then maybe people wouldn’t hate Airbnb so much.

I’m never going to be removed or have a party here. I will probably never be regulated out of existence. But I care about the overall image of Airbnb and I care that Airbnb has turned a blind eye to KNOWN PROBLEMS. For example: I’ve seen hosts who state discriminatory policies (No homosexual couples, no obese people, heterosexual couples only, no pregnant women, etc) explicitly in the listing and Airbnb doesn’t remove them. I’ve seen listings where the host threatens the guest in the review or in the response to the review. Why are they still listed? I’ve seen obviously bogus listings remain up for months. I’ve seen clearly dangerous listings (10 bunk beds in a basement) with dozens of reviews.

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Yeah, the numbers were just for illustration, As I stated in the other thread, having guest be the informants is my best guess, too. It’s by far the most economical, but you can imagine hosts will find ways to incentivize guests to provide information that benefits the host.

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Yes, that’s ridiculous. No host WANTS that kind of thing going on at their property; certain features make it more likely that guests will target the property for parties.

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Sort of. What they did was bundle up a 2 recent high-profile headlines into 4 responses to make it look like they’re doing more. The first 2 responses are about protecting guests from bad hosts and the second 2 responses are about protecting hosts from bad guests. My belief is that the actual amount of effort that Airbnb will put into any of them is very small.

  1. 100% Verified. This is for protecting guests from scamming hosts. Its mostly a reaction to the story from Vice and scams like AJ the Superhost, but these scams are not new at all and I’ve read similar stories on other sites since I started hosting. I expect the verification of a listing is not new and will simply be an extension of the surveys they’re already asking targeted guests to answer.

  2. Guest Guarantee. We know that Airbnb has been doing the refunds for listings that guests say don’t meet accuracy standards for a long time, this is nothing new, but it’ll probably be easier for guests to get refunds now because I don’t expect them to waste time or money on their own investigation. The part that might be new is if they actually guarantee that they will find the guest another place to stay instead of a refund, which I don’t see how they can. I know they try to do this sometimes, so again not new, but at least they would be consistent. What’s interesting is that they don’t say that this extends to last-minute host cancellations, which is effectively the same problem for guests that are getting scammed by hosts (as opposed to being scamming guests).

  3. Airbnb Neighbor Hotline. Airbnb already gets calls from neighbors, so this is nothing more than prioritizing specific types of calls. The question is what are they actually going to do differently after a neighbor calls. Obviously, they are going to contact the host, and probably the guest, but what happens later is what’s important. Previously, if the host investigated and found a party/a mess/damage, then Airbnb allowed the host to cancel and evict the guest, but the guest would still get refunded for that day and any remaining days. I expect Airbnb will continue this behavior without changing the refund, deposit, or host guarantee policies, meaning there is effectively no change for either hosts or guests. At least neighbors might spend less time on hold. The huge downside to the neighbor hotline is that hosts with neighbors that already hate Airbnb will now be calling the hotline all the time for nothing.

  4. High Risk Human Review. I believe this isn’t anything new at all and it is simply the same algorithm Airbnb deployed in April 2019 for determining security deposits. I expect they will automatically flag reservations and cancel them. They might put the reservations on probation until additional investigations are performed, but honestly, I doubt they’ll make that effort.

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Thanks for the clarification. It’s obvious in hindsight that wasn’t just a reaction to the shooting.

But yeah, bottom line is the get some PR about it in the national media and then do a lot of nothing. The IPO may be delayed given the unfavorable environment.

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Yup, I reckon we’re both singing from the same listing description there mate.

JF

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This will undoubtedly happen. In Palm Springs where they have their own vacation hotline report, we read the reports and I would say 80% of them consist of neighbors calling to make up fake complaints about garbage/noise OR neighbors themselves not realizing they also live next to things such as major hotels or airports that are in fact the ones causing the noise. A waste of resources.

We had an anonymous neighbor alert us to a flyer that was being distributed around the high schools about a party at our house. They were able to contact us through setting up an Airbnb account and messaging us directly. I think bridging a direct line from local community to host is a better way to go. As most people on this forum have pointed out, hosts don’t want parties either.

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@KKC, @Keugenia, @Brian_R170, @AFineHouse The cleaning ladies who clean my two units told me that a couple of apartments that they clean are luxury properties in Miami and that guests routinely trash the apartment, including broken furniture, leaving food and dirty dishes under the bed, etc, and, yet, the hosts continue to rent the units to the same groups of guests who leave the units in terrible condition. I just can’t figure out the “math” that would justify accepting the certainty of damage to a property.

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Interesting. What are these “groups of guests?” If it involves discrimination of some sort then maybe that’s why the hosts continue to do it. OTOH I can imagine getting $20,000 a month doing STR and buying $5000 a month in replacement, repairs and cleaning.

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Tax write-off? That’s all I can think of.

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@KKC apparently the guests host parties where drugs are used; however, the rentals must be incredibly lucrative otherwise it would make no sense to allow the booking of guests that have previously destroyed the place. I even asked the cleaning ladies if it was possible that the guests used different names to return over and over again, they said that it was unlikely, and they mentioned that the guests come from one county away; I presume they are selling drugs or sex and the luxury condo makes them legitimate to their customers…

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@Keugenia @KKC I don’t know if there is a discrimination issue, but the guests are from a minority group. However, it still makes no sense. As for a tax write-off – wouldn’t it be easier to have a tax write off by replacing or upgrading appliances, as opposed to replacing broken furniture?

Yeah, and I don’t have enough information. I only have hearsay evidence from the housekeepers. Something is going on.

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It’s not sustainable if every rental costs more in damage and cleanup than it makes in profit, so I will opine, respectfully, that there is either misinterpretation or exaggeration about how often it happens and/or how bad the damage and mess is.

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