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Third party bookings are aging me


I wonder if that would only happen if they have to approve the house rules in some way? After all, a host could set house rules that are crazy and yet Airbnb could find themselves having to uphold them. It’s probably more likely that they’ll either set standard rules or do without the prompt altogether.

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I can certainly understand and support that. Although I’m guessing they would not allow stated fines for noncompliance or requiring signing of a separate lease agreement. But at least I would know that up front and not rely on it.

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I tell the guest they need to move the reservation to their own account, give them the number for CS, and let them figure it out.

I’ve hosted a couple third party bookings and will do everything I can to avoid them in the future. The two biggest problems I have with them are unreasonable expectations (the person booking on their behalf didn’t tell them basic things they ought to know) and communication (Air messaging is going to the wrong person; all the normal in-app tools like self check-in are inaccessible to them).


I just remembered one that went awry and is the big reminder to me not to bend in this one. Someone booked using brother’s account if I remember correctly. I told her to sign up herself and then it could be changed over without costing her (or her brother) any cancellation fees or anything extra. I spent lots of time explaining it to her several times and even call CS to have them aware I approved her to cancel free ONLY FOR her to be rebooked on her own account.

In the end she got CS to cancel Scott free (I had moderate so should have gotten something) and never rebooked. Not to mention that it tied up the calendar for several weeks and I didn’t get her dates rebooked. Only positive was that she did not get to stay and since it happened a few days before check-in she didn’t get to leave a review.


Love the keeping it as their issue to resolve

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My take is that in its early period (2009-14) AirBNB was A-OK with homesharing hosts setting rules and guest being expected to follow them. Anything else would have been a prescription for allowing guests into a room in a private residence and creating anything from annoyances to mayhem, spelling the end of the platform as no one wants this in their home.

Once the investors and their whole-house listings became a majority (guessing 2014-15, does anyone know?), “picky” and non-standard house rules posted by anyone, but especially homesharers, became a gross inconvenience to Air.

Right now, I’m sure they are trying to figure out how to officially toss these overboard as they are inconvenient dead weight to the speedy course to an IPO by the Good Ship AirBNB. Meanwhile as others have noted, CSX is in many cases blowing off disputes of all sorts involving house rules.


Given Uber’s IPO (so far), economic uncertainty and the aging business cycle Airbnb’s timing for an IPO seems bad.

The idea that Airbnb can remotely enforce rules is silly and always was. So they figured this out as time went by. It was he said/he said about so many things. I’m sure tons of hosts called in saying the guest violated a rule, provided no evidence and yet expected Airbnb to take their word over the word of the paying guest. Meanwhile there’s another host without all these silly expectations who houses guests with no issues year after year. I’m not saying all host expectations are silly. But I’ve certainly read some here that many readers here thought were silly. It reminds me of my teaching days when teachers couldn’t maintain order in their classrooms yet expected administrators down the hall to be able to do it.

So yes, Airbnb wants to get rid of all the hosts with non standard rules.

(That’s just one possible interpretation, not necessarily my opinion about what Airbnb should do)

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The idea that Airbnb can do anything from a remote call centre is silly. I used to say:

“One day, I’ll hear about a host who called Airbnb because his/her guests were making too much noise - despite the fact that this was a homeshare and the guests were in the same house”.

I thought it was too daft an idea to seriously contemplate. But it has happened.

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Oh yes, the IPO for Uber was a fiasco times a disaster.

I think Air’s IPO will be, or could be, a success, with the founders getting their billions, but then the company will collapse/be dismantled within 18 months after.


Exactly. AirBNB pretends it is “only a listing service” whenever it is in danger of being regulated by local governments, hiding behind the Communications Decency Act to say “we’re only a platform and therefore we are NOT responsible for user content, providing you user data, etc.”

THEN when it’s confronted with the ongoing disaster of whatever percentage of reservations go south (times a massive volume), all of a sudden it IS judge, jury and executioner as to whether a guest has to pay thousands, or a host is unplatformed, etc.

It’s an impossible ravine to straddle.


I find these predictions of disaster curious and not based on any evidence I recall you presenting. An alleged “insider” here a few weeks ago claimed that “under 6% of hosts/guests call or write in for any issue related to Airbnb… it’s a very low possibility that anything occurs normally.”


We had a gathering of AirBNB hosts here about a month ago, the occasion being a visit by Superhosts from East Asia visiting family on the East Coast. We have a fair number of international hosts that add a visit to the Baltimore host community where possible if they are Stateside, because we’ve been central in organizing some of the major Facebook groups that are international. So our local Hostess with the Mostest coordinates these visits.

I was asked to attend and it was lovely, and of note, was that the visiting Superhosts from Asia were as ABSOLUTELY certain as I am that IPO / collapse is the future. Sort of a “slow Uber” kind of IPO.

The evidence is everywhere on this forum, the AirBNB official Community forum, the Facebook groups, news media, and our own experiences. Problems of all descriptions, for which hotels have gigantic front and back office staffs, and AirBNB hosts, don’t. AirBNB has moved on from one lovely little idea that worked nicely into a new and monstrous model from which NOBODY gets out alive. Barring perhaps the top tiny percentage of hosts with a model such as yours (onsite separate unit) and a combination of superlative management (far above average) AND good luck. Everyone else maximum will find themselves tripped up and their investment wasted. Maybe with some nice memories of the income and amazing guests, along the way.

With that said, a new homestay platform that is better thought out may come out of the ashes.

There are a couple of ways to look at the 6% figure. As low, or acceptable, or as pretty dang high!! I think it’s on the high side. That means if you have 100 bookings a year, per the average, you’ll have a problem guest every 2 months. Maybe a SERIOUS problem guest. Then, given the lack of due process/fairness at CSX, you can be out on your ear.

And even at 1-2%, which would be more indicative of a smooth operation, if you have a very serious snag among this smaller batch of problems, it can be curtains for certain. If AirBNB isn’t at circa 0.5% of stays are smooth, well … we are all rolling the dice.

Do we remember the failure rate of the space shuttles? 2 out of 135 missions. That’s 1.5 percent. To me, that’s INSANELY high because when things fail, oh how they failed. Yes it’s a stretch to compare this to AirBNB, but point being, if 6% of visits lead to problems, and say 1% of visits lead to BIG BIG problems, the second figure is worrisome.


tl;dr Companies like AirBNB tend to collapse because they are:

  • riddled with insurmountable problems and conflicts in their mission
  • poorly managed
  • grow too quickly

All these signs are there.


Anecdotal evidence at best.

My entire life I’ve heard and been told that Jesus was coming back soon on exactly the same basis. It’s been 2000 years so I’m not going to base any of my decisions on that possibility.

Yes, Airbnb could fail. It could also succeed and it seems to me that the evidence is greater that it’s the latter. However, since I am not dependent on the Airbnb income, I have to admit it doesn’t really matter much to me. If Airbnb fails and I need more $$ I’ll go back to having room mates like I did off and on in the decades before Airbnb.

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I’m probably not explaining it well because, to myself (financial editor for years) and the East Asian Superhosts (AMAZING grasp of how to capture and grow the market in their city), it’s almost too obvious that the AirBNB basics are flawed.

So you sort of start from that assumption (AirBNB is a mess), because you are immersed somewhat in the world of finance. We had never met or talked before, but saw all this eye to eye. AirBNB reminds me so much of Demand Media Studios … grab the money and run.

When you read hundreds and hundreds of complaints about CSX being hopeless on every forum there is, you realize that this is pretty close to Boeing and MCAS, and you just can’t run a service company w/o service. It’s kind of a “game over” problem for a company. Fatal like an airplane with engines that are too big and want to pitch into the ground, and flawed software and sensors.

Anyway, I thought I would step back and find some articles with financial analysis to see what the analysts say, since they can much better articulate Air’s strengths and weaknesses. Who knows, it wants to be the Amazon.com of travel, and maybe it can do this.

^The company’s view of the present and future. Everything is roses:

Our platform is fueled by hosts and guests who are loyal to Airbnb because we treat them like members of a community, not commodities."

Other assessments:


The plan, such as it is: Drawing loosely on Amazon for inspiration, Chesky wants Airbnb to be an everything store, but for travelers. Chesky hopes a billion people a year will use Airbnb by 2028, a giant leap up from the total of 400 million who have used the service during its first ten years (roughly 100 million people have stayed in an Airbnb so far this year). Following the Bezos blueprint, he’s rewiring Air­bnb’s technology so that it can quickly scale up hundreds of businesses and categories faster than ever before.

… the biggest hurdle to Airbnb’s growth is restrictions imposed by legislative bodies, municipalities as well as communities on the use of lodgings in a particular locality for short-term rental purposes. Over recent years, though, Airbnb has done well to engage with a number of stakeholders to push regulations and rules which are aimed at making short-term renting easier.

A key factor that separates Airbnb from a bulk of the multi-billion dollar startups (“unicorns”) is that it is now cash flow positive, and has seen a positive EBITDA figure for the past two years. As many startups have fairly low upfront investment requirements, their business models can be easy to replicate with low barriers to entry. This leads to a long list of startups that compete with the first mover – forcing the companies to burn cash to capture a larger share of the market quickly. While ride-hailing pioneer Uber has yet to turn a profit despite its impressive growth worldwide, Airbnb is now cash flow positive and also has a sizable cash balance – putting it in an enviable financial position among the unicorns.

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