What has been your experience, as a host, renting on AirBnB?

What has been your experience, as a host, renting on AirBnB?

I rented my first room on AirBnB last year, advertised as an airport layover. A few weeks before my reservation, the host moved me to her other property about an hour a way. It was an upgrade from a private room to a whole apartment, but I really just wanted a place to sleep near my early-morning flight, and I had to get up an extra hour early and spend $60 on an airport shuttle. (The original booking was walking distance to the airport.) I was a newbie so I didn’t complain or think to ask the host to cancel. I just complained in the private feedback to AirBnB. I see now looking back at her profile, she has canceled on a lot of guests and her listings are gone, so perhaps enough people complained.

I booked another place on instant book for a place in NYC next month and have been asking some basic questions about the accommodations (it is unclear what the sleeping arrangements are from the listing). I’ve been having trouble getting the hosts to write back, but it is a strict cancelation policy so I feel like I’m stuck. These guys have 5-star reviews from dozens of guests, too!

The second experience could turn around and become great once I’m there, but my two experiences so far have made me a bit skeptical about staying on AirBnb at a guest. Maybe it explains why my guests, so far, who are experienced AirBnB users LOVE staying at my place? I write back promptly and offer what I say I’m going to offer!

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I had one bad experience, although I nipped it in the bud. I was going to rent from a woman in Italy, but since my journey was going to be a long one (over 18 hours, door to door) I asked her about a shuttle service between the airport and her place. She said that the fastest way would be a train, metro (subway) and then bus. Well, I’m in my 50s, and in reasonable health, but I know myself well enough to know that after 18 hours of travelling, I would not be up for all of that, which I did say to her briefly.

So I asked again, and she just repeated the same thing, but sounding a lot less patient. So, I thought, look it up yourself, which I did. So I booked a shuttle, and the company said that they tend to drop people at central points in various neighbourhoods, depending on the needs of the passengers. I figured, okay, it’s an hour from the airport, once I get into town, I’ll take the shuttle and then a cab. So I told her about the shuttle’s policy and asked her if it was reasonable and could she name a landmark that was a reasonable distance from her home.

Well, I got back an even less patient response–she was clearly fed up with me–and since I was going to be renting a room in her house, I cancelled. I DO get that asking a lot of questions can be annoying, but I did explain after my first query, the duration of the my flights, my age, my desire to be comfortable between the airport and her home. Because she’s a host, I thought she would understand.

She wrote a nasty-sounding review (!), which I think disappeared because I couldn’t find it the last time I looked. I have information about shuttles and transport between the airport and my place and I’m very quick to share it when people ask. If someone explained things the way I did, I know I would be able to help them easily.

The next host gave me the information, no problem, btw.

That’s my only bad experience.

How did Air let her review you, given you canceled?

I was just wondering about that a few days ago, but I did see something written somewhere, by her, so I went and looked again. I couldn’t find it, so I’m not sure what it was that I actually saw. But it did seem like a review. Arrghhh, it could have been in my cancellation somewhere. Sorry if I sound muddled here, but it was almost a year or so ago and I remember being very surprised by it. Unfortunately, it happened in the middle of a lot of travelling, so I let it go and didn’t look for it again until just a few days ago. She was complaining about me, which, in all fairness, maybe I deserved, but I was surprised that we had problems, host to host.

Xena, I’ve said it before… but here it is again. :slight_smile: I’m a six-year host and I would never use Air as a guest! I want the certainty, pamperedness and professionalism that comes with a hotel and am willing to pay for it. I also believe that at the end of the day, a hotel stay is cheaper and less hassle. You can cancel last minute, don’t need a deposit, and don’t pay a cleaning. Also… you wouldn’t have the unknowns… such as the airport nightmare mentioned above! That would have pissed me off!!!

That said, I tend to travel at peak low season for most places… (January/February) so I can take advantage of low rates and crowd -free touristing. I don’t care about going to a place for nice weather and prefer the snow and cold since I live in the tropics year round. I have all the cold weather clothes and duds you can imagine, so I’m comfortable and love the change of pace!

Case in point… I just traveled to DC to help my son get situated in his intern housing and see the sights before his job on Capitol Hill began [insert obnoxious proud mom grin here] and wanted a boutique hotel for under $100 a night. After some searching I finally found the Normandy (http://www.thenormandydc.com/) and could not have been more pleased, as it totaled out at just $702 for 9 nights including tax.

I know that’s not for everyone, but we just loved the hotel stay. It didn’t even occur to me to look for AirBnBs in the DC-Dupont Circle area, but I am willing to bet if I had found something it would be a heck of a lot more than $88 per night with tax. Plus… Air fees, plus security, plus cleaning… etc.

So that’s my two cents!

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This is simply unacceptable!!! The hosts need to communicate with you immediately!


I have had 2 great, 1 bad, and 1 pretty good experience as a guest. It’s like Kona said - it’s the unpredictability that bothers me, or charms me. I just had a romantic getaway for my husband and I in DC and would NOT have booked airbnb. Also, the price of my hotel room with a little kitchenette was cheaper than the apartments available, and a room in someone’s home was not what I was looking for!!!

However, even with my one bad experience, we got to stay in a tiny town along a river in West Virginia. The town would never have supported a hotel, so the airbnb home brought in tourist money and gave us a chance to sit on a front porch and watch the sunrise in a country setting. Complete with the chained-up dog next door : (. But it was lovely and fun to hang out at the local ‘swimming hole’ on the river. In December we stayed at a duck farm in Detroit. It was perfect for the 6 of us. It was in an area bad even for Detroit standards, the ducks did wake us up at night (who knew ducks party all night?) and it was filthy from the shoulders up (cob webs everywhere) - but for the price and the experience and that price, it was great!!

I’m returning to our first AirBnB place in May - and trying a new place on a later leg of that trip. We’ll see how it goes!!

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LOL! You are brave and adventurous to travel on Air with a family of five!! I guess in my old age I don’t want to encounter too many unknowns by staying in Airbnbs. :slight_smile: which romantic DC hotel, I’m curious?

I have only hosted so far, and most of my experiences have been positive. Most guests arrive when agreed or notify otherwise, and have left my flat in decent shape. One was less good at communicating, leaving me to wait for hours for them to arrive. My upcoming guest was the first one I’ve had real problems with - already before she has checked in. She wanted to change her reservation ON THE MORNING of her supposed arrival. She was adamant that she could do this and that I’d be a jerk to charge her for it. I hope she proves to be a nice guest anyway.

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Depends on your cancellation policy. If not set on Strict, this is the price you will pay and she may be right.

I have the cancellation policy that states that cancellations and changes have to be made 5 days in advance.

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Yes… Erika, I’m reading this on the other thread. Everything Manoahost is saying is spot on! Take her advice! don’t let guests bully you. I would report this to Air and maybe cancel, as Manoa suggests. I would hate a situation like that!!!

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I already considered cancelling, but I sure could use the money so I compromised. But I seriously think of closing my booking calendar for a while to avoid new difficulties. I will report this to Airbnb. It is done when leaving a review, right?

Some Big Trouble guests aren’t worth the money. Think you will learn eventually to recognize the red flags. Open the case now. Call Air. Air once told me during a difficult guest that I NEVER had to accept someone who made me uncomfortable and could always cancel and ask them to leave.

As for the review, I would wait for the last minute. You don’t want to prompt her into writing a bad one.

It’s midnight in the guest time zone, if she hasn’t already left one. If she has, it won’t matter. Then you can fire away.

Call Air now and explain how uncomfortable you are with this guest and are dreading the arrival of someone already completely unconcerned about respecting you and felt no compunctions about bullying you!

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My kids and I I have used airbnb in Berlin, Istanbul, Paris, Rome, the Italian Riviera and Brooklyn.
I use it myself for short trips/small towns around Europe for work.
We have always had a great experience and its fun to see what other hosts do so you can compare it with your own set up. (for example, one didn’t provide a bottle of water-or a glass to use the tap, or soap, which we found weird, but was given to us on request).

I can close my eyes on not so clean room, or other small issues but not when host is not friendly and not helpful. It doesn’t take too much time or effort to be friendly, it takes much more time and energy to be an ass. If she was helpfull and considerate from the first try, you would not have to ask again.
If you ask me, that was the only time I was really pissed atva host who would not answer any of my questions. She would refer me to internet until I told her that if I could use the sites and find something, I would, but there is a reason why I am asking her and not Internet.
She was a lousy host In general, had me locked out one night, and smoked in a house. That was in Italy also.
As a host my experience was very good so far, though I had my share of situations.

Well, it can be tough to fit 5 into one hotel room, and, I don’t like eating out every meal so like to have a kitchen. It’s not just the expense of eating out, but the hassle. I don’t mind spending the money on a GOOD meal, but you never know until it’s over. Hanging out in the room after a busy day of sightseeing, eating mac and cheese, noodles, or homemade chili brought from home is much more relaxing the finding a place that looks appealing to all 5 of us. So airbnbs can provide what we need. Our first was one in Mobile AL where we visit my 93 year old parents. The woman was incredible - gave us space in her pantry and fridge, full access to kitchen, three bedrooms, private bath, and use of a tv room upstairs with a HUGE tv. All that for a bit more than a chain hotel room. AND we could sit out on her beautiful patio, and she made an incredible homemade breakfast every morning!!!

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I do sometimes rent hotels when I travel, but usually only when I am going to a fan conventions and it is worth it to pay more to be on site at the convention’s hotel. (And the cost of renting a car would probably cancel out what I saved from getting an AirBnb room.) As a millennial, I have certainly crammed four or five people into a hotel room too! Now that I’m in my 30s though, I am not as satisfied with the cheapest lodging offering anymore.

I was finally able to get ahold of my host for my trip next month and am not impressed. They took over a week to reply and clarified the listing is not as described. Do you think Air would wave the strict cancelation fee in this case? I already am unhappy with communication and accuracy, which is making me dread the stay.

Contact them and see. I’m not sure the lack of communication would be enough of an issue, but the lack of accuracy is. Let us know what happens!