Unpopular Opinion: Airbnb Has Become Terrible

This piece is from the guest point of view. I got a kick out of it though it’s not meant to be amusing.

  • The early days of Airbnb, like the early days of the internet, were full of promise…in a word: terrible…

Well, the early days of journalism, were also full of promise :roll_eyes:


And the early days of the USA…


And the days of my youth…

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And when Coke still had coke in it… :rofl:


“In fact, Airbnb’s own search tool doesn’t allow sorting at all,”

…says a writer that has never apparently used airbnb. Sorting and filtering is how guests find their right fit.


Actually, Airbnb has done something bad lately with their filters. If guests filter for say, a pet friendly listing, they are shown a few pet friendly listings and all the rest are not. Same with all the other filters- pools, child-friendly, whatever.

There was a thread recently on the Airbnb CC-a host was getting a lot of requests asking about his pool, when he doesn’t have a pool. Other hosts and guests said this is happening all the time now- Airbnb showing guests properties that don’t align with their filters.

I don’t know if it’s a programming glitch, or some brainiac at Airbnb decided this was a good idea.


New amenities lists and I was asked about pictures of a hot tub that I don’t have, that was ticked on the amenity list.
I wish we would get a heads up about new things so we can check that we have them.
I remember a guest asking about hot water to the accommodation and it wasn’t ticked!

Sorting and filtering aren’t the same thing. Airbnb has filters but they don’t have sorting. Sorting is ordering the results by some measure like price (which is what he’s referring to in that section), from lowest to highest. Others could be distance from some point, star ratings, or oldest to newest.

You filter first and then sort.

I agree with him on that. It’s one of the most annoying things about searching on Airbnb. However, it’s always been that way so it doesn’t really support this assertion that Airbnb became terrible. LOL.


I’m curious: if his “facts” state that 72% of the problems are with CS and 22% with scams, why doesn’t he use anecdotal evidence to support these issues- which are shared by guests AND hosts? Because outlier-or mythic- stories about vomit and pot are click-bait, which is the main purpose this piece.


The author missed a key point. Airbnb is a listing platform. To refer to a rental as an Airbnb as a Airbnb property implies ownership. Everything he mentioned can be said of any/all listing platforms.

Oh well, I read it.

I mostly agree with the writer. What the article doesn’t cover is why this has happened. I feel that Airbnb’s greed and 10% of the bad guests have ruined it for the 90% good guests.

  • Airbnb prefers more expensive listings. Less than perfect listings by hosts with lower ratings have been kicked off the platform. The quirky & affordable listings by part-time hosts are fewer in proportion compared to corporate listings.
  • Hosts were earlier doing it for fun. Until they get a problem guest. They quickly realize the costs of cleanup and the hassle and decide to raise the prices, and hire professionals.
  • Initially some hosts provided amazing service and the early guests hold everything to that same standard. If it doesn’t meet that standard then they provide low ratings. As a result, hosts have to make everything perfect aka expensive.
  • There is no room for errors, guests are allowed to threaten to leave bad reviews to get their way. So you end up having to hire professionals. Guests don’t want to wait for responses, so hosts need to hire co-hosts to help out and that increases costs.
  • The flawed review system compares an affordable property to a luxury hotel. Affordable listings mostly get pushed down the list due to lower ratings to a point where guest don’t see them. No bookings and eventually the host feels it’s better to long term rent out that property.
  • There is no easy way for guests to sort by rating and price. Filter, yes. Sorting no. I can do that on hotels.com
  • Unnecessary burden on hosts to respond to all inquiries within 24 hours. Their own support falls well short of that standard.
  • They prefer more bookings even from people who could be problem guests. That increases the burden on hosts, who respond by increasing rates to account for the risk.

These are the ones that come to my mind.

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This simply isn’t true. I stayed in two listings last year in big cities (Denver and Nashville) that were under $80 a night for one person. The one in Nashville definitely falls into the quirky category. As an Airbnb guest doing searches I find these listings regularly. I know you’ve had a bad experience with your lower priced listing but aside from that, why do you believe this to be true?


Have you ever used Airbnb as a guest?


that’s the response rate you get measured on. No?

I do have a work around to the response rate thing. I send a canned response which doesn’t address the guest’s question.

I have stayed in multiple Airbnb since 2010. Not sure what you are getting at.

Ok. You are right. If you want to find them, you can find them. But they make up a smaller proportion, and rarely show up on top.

Nope nope nope.

11 years as a host, had some less than stellar guests, but the experiences never made me see a need to ‘hire professionals’.

Indeed, at this point, I see myself as more ‘professional’ than a self-proclaimed pro. And I am still ‘doing it for fun’. AND making a living at it.

I still provide amazing service. it is what professionals do. If you are finding it hard to maintain quality in your listing, sure, find someone who can help you. Or leave the platform - we long haul hosts prefer that the airbnb experience continually climbs, since that means that the guests we have look at airbnb as a high quality platform, and not a ‘cheap’ way to stay.

Errors happen, guests who threaten bad reviews are kicked off platform (extortion is specifically mentioned in the TOS - you should read it, btw); and no, only hosts with bad ratings get ‘pushed lower’ - a high priced airbnb is pushed low if the rating are bad, it’s never about $$$s in this case.

I only speak for myself, but when I go on this forum I hope that I do not see these blanket proclamations (like the article and some of the generalizations you make here). I prefer, myself, to see posts that are respectful of all…


There is absolutely nothing unreasonable about expecting a host to respond within 24 hours.

When I use Airbnb as a guest I search first for IB properties so I don’t have to wait for a response to know my booking is confirmed. Honestly, if a host can’t respond to my request within 24 hours it’s not a host I want to stay with anyway.


Indeed, I try to respond within MINUTES. It is a business, remember house_plants?


The response time (in general terms like “within the hour”) is stated on a host’s profile and that’s something a savvy guest might look at, especially if it’s not an instant book listing.


I’m on instant book and get most of my bookings from people who IB. The majority of inquiries I get are “is this available”, “can I bring a dog”, “can I get a discount”.

I don’t want to host any of the people who send such inquiries, so responding to them doesn’t help my business.

I send them a polite canned response to keep my response rate high.

So for me, the requirement to respond within 24 hours is a burden. I see that others don’t view it as a burden.

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There are ways to get to the within an hour response rate without having to respond to the inquiry.