I made another post because I called Airbnb and they confirmed that these changes go into effect for ALL HOSTS April 5th. I thought that was a unique enough topic (confirmation vs one unconfirmed email not received by all hosts) to require its own thread, but apparently not, so that thread was closed. So here we go again.
For safety reasons, I’m really concerned about this policy. Apparently all hosts (maybe just all in the US, where I am) have been emailed about this, but I didn’t see the email. Another host posted about this so I decided to call Airbnb and ask. Here’s what they said.
Now, if a guest books more than 14 days in advance, they get 48 hours to cancel, even with a strict booking policy.
I told them that was a huge security issue for me. I host out of my home and live in a large city with normal levels of large city crimes: robberies, break-ins, etc, so security is a big issue for me. Now, with this policy, I have not only provided people with detailed photos of my home, but I can also give them my address without ANY guarantee that they intend to stay, since they can cancel within 48 hours. This is completely unacceptable to me.
Some other hosts may not care about this. Yes, anyone can break in at any time. But Airbnb is the perfect way to case a property before committing a crime. And Airbnb is easy to game. It’s easy to fake your identity and set up new accounts after getting kicked off, if you really want to. I’ve had guests who were clearly psychologically disturbed and potentially dangerous, even though I thoroughly vet everyone I host. So we need MORE ways to protect ourselves, not fewer.
The true strict cancellation policy also incentivizes guests to thoroughly read and understand the listing description and house rules prior to booking, since they can’t cancel. Now this incentive is gone. It’s hard enough to ensure that guests do their due diligence prior to booking, and now it’s even harder.
The Airbnb rep told me she could change my address to a more vague one. I had her change all my listings to the street name, but not the street address. I am also working to update all my automated messages to avoid sending guests my address until they are truly a confirmed booking and the strict cancellation policy is in effect.
Maybe if I didn’t live in my listing this wouldn’t be such a big deal. But to me, this is a HUGE misstep by Airbnb.
If some hosts want to provide their address even with flexible cancellations and unconfirmed bookings, go for it. But this is absolutely not something I feel comfortable with, and it should be optional for hosts.