Beware of as host

I want to share my terrible experience and warn other hosts from using for renting your property.

I host people through Airbnb in multiple listings for quite some time already and because of low demand in Winter I decided to try also as a host to fill up the properties a bit.

Besides the fact that the whole backend is really weird, non intuitive and confusing, I was supposed to host a second guest today, a couple from Belarus. I enabled the imported calendar on so when there’s a reservation at Airbnb the dates get automatically blocked at Booking and vice versa. So for this couple the dates at Airbnb were of course blocked as well (4 nights).

I set up the reservations at Booking as non-refundable which means the guest can’t cancel it. However I can’t process credit cards so the guests pay only after arrival in cash. The other option is to request payment before arrival via bank transfer but this is rather complicated, involves high international bank fees and noone really wants to do this. I decided I will believe the people and accept cash on arrival. So there is actually no guarantee and no payment in case the guest simply doesn’t show up.

And exactly this of course happened. I tried to contact the guest 7 days before arrival about the arrival time and deposit. I tried email 3 times, then SMS and then called. No reply at all. Yesterday night I realized it is almost obvious that the guest isn’t coming and contacted support and requested to cancel the reservation in naive hope another reservation will show up in last minute either on booking or Airbnb.

What the support (located in Singapore btw, I am from Europe) told me is that they CAN NOT cancel the reservation because I didn’t request the deposit, I requested only details about arrival time in the email discussion and that the only thing I can do is to wait until midnight of the day of arrival and only then contact them to mark the reservation as “no show”. I of course tried to call/SMS the guest about deposit but to no reply. Also, when they didn’t share the arrival time, it was obvious they can’t come (there is no reception so they have to meet me to get in).

They did this also in very rude, uninterested way.The only effect this will have is that I will not have to pay comission on this reservation to booking (lol). Noone at cares about 4 nights completely wasted and noone cares about €XXX in lost revenue. And of course tons of time spent trying to contact the guest and their always occupied support.

To sum it up, there is absolutely no guarantee if you use as a host that the guest will show up and he risks absolutely nothing by doing so, because you do not have his payment details. The company doesn’t care at all. Only solution is to waste lot of time and money with international bank transfers and deposits, which will put off majority of people anyway.

My recommendation is to stay far away from It may bring you more reservations than Airbnb as it is more popular, but it will almost certainly also bring you more headeache and problems.

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I have no problems with them, of course you need to pre autorize the clients cards.

I am normal guy renting a flat, I do not really have any credit card terminal or something like this. I looked up Squareup but it is not supported in my country and honestly it just seems like lot of extra work for nothing. Besides I read tons of horror stories of guests using stolen or empty credit cards.

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I agree if you can’t pre autorize or check clients cards, it’s better to not used but I get most of my clients from them so for me I will not be able to continue without the business they give me (or at much lower price)

if you are in Europe, you can’t used stripe?

is this what you use?

I have stripe and used also on my phone with stripe app.

I have only one appartment that I rent

I will check it out but still it is additional hassle + fees that could easily handle by themselves much better the same way Airbnb handles the payments and it would make the things much easier.

In some countries (don’t know the exact list) they can take care of the payment like airbnb do

Thanks for sharing the big warning, I can totally hear and understand your frustration and I’d be pissed too! :rage:

Not that it sounds like you want to deal with them again but can you accept paypal? Most have this these days? natively doesn’t support Paypal so only way would be to create a custom invoice with PayPal and then send it to the guest and hope he will pay it, but that is once again additional hassle plus more fees for PayPal. :confused:

Hi Dev22, I’m sorry to hear what happened. I initially listed on but later decided to delist from them because I get enough booking from other sites, and is the one that involves most troubles, like having to deal with credit card, no show, some guests expect hotel experience, etc.

I wonder if you have tried tripadvisor and VRBO/Stayz? These two platform now brings me more than half of my booking. For the first month, all my booking were from Airbnb, but since the second months, other platforms are picking up.

If you have listed on all possible platforms and still need more booking. Then I guess you have to stick to, and you need to register for some payment processing website, and they can process credit card on behalf of you at a fee.

Good luck and happy hosting.

correct me if i am wrong but from what I can see VRBO is focused on US market and Stayz on on Australia which doesn’t really help me since I am based in Europe…

I think they have another brand called Homeaway. Is that available in Europe?

Well why don’t you simply request a deposit, then, in future?

He had but he didn’t charged the client

Thanks for the heads up. I listed on but I’ve not activated my account. Just recently a rep reached out and wants to guide me through the portal (as if that’s the problem). In actuality I’m wary of the site for reasons like you and others have mentioned. Plus I’m lazy and Air has kept me fully booked for now.

The fact that you have to collect the payment and then repay the site seems like a giant pain, in addition to the concerns of double booking, etc.


Yeah Booking is problematic.
When you mark as a no show and ask them to reach out to the guest and they can’t, then they do cancel your booking.

I think the solution is not to indicate anything as non refundable.

Of course this then means that your calendar could be booked for a long stay who never shows making it impossible to book at short notice.

I’ve had a last minute booking $600 booking made, rushed to prepare the place, and then no show, no response etc.

What this has meant is that my prices on booking are much higher than anything else to make up for this and because I can’t process cards, I receive cash on arrival!

Why can’t you process cards?

I’ve been using iZettle for a while, and this works fine to receive money from “cashless guests”.

If you are not able to process credit cards then is not a good platform for you. For those of us who can, is by far the best OTA there is. Once you know how to use the extranet, you can set your cancellation policy and payment structure as you please. For example for peak holiday dates we put full payment and no cancellations possible from 30 days prior to arrival. We collect payment and there is no problem whatsoever. With one property we require payment 30 days prior to arrival all year and for others we collect 2 weeks prior to arrival. This alleviates every problem that you listed. The difficulties you are having are because you cannot collect payment NOT because is inefficient. The customer service is exceptional. I would very highly recommend We have great guests from them and Expedia as well.