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nukesafe Oct 7th, 2009 02:01 PM

Has anyone used AirBnB to find lodging?
I just ran across this site, AirBnB, on the net, and wondered if anyone had used it to find a place to stay. It advertises "Travel like a Human -- Rent nightly from real people in 1394 cities in 87 countries". Is it legit? I looked at the site and some of the listings in private homes seemed to be too good to be true.

Any comments/experience?

Dayenu Oct 7th, 2009 02:09 PM

Interesting! When I find a new website, first of all I check if there is a street address to contact them. THERE IS NONE, only e-mail and phone.

Second, living in San Francisco, I checked a couple of places - and judging by description and reviews it's like I rent an apartment for myself, and let travelers like you occupy one room. Is this what B&B is all about?

Some have shared, not always clean, restrooms, some don't have breakfast.

I didn't check, but I bet BBB has lots of complaints, if this thing is even registered with BBB!

I would worry about safety of staying with strangers, being at their mercy in their apartments or houses.

nukesafe Oct 7th, 2009 08:24 PM

Well, Dayenu, I don't know what you mean by "safety of staying with strangers, being at their mercy in their apartments or houses". One does that every time one rents a vacation apartment. Do you know every B&B or hotel owner at who's property you stay? Do you feel the desk clerk is going to come in the middle of the night and molest you?

Anyway, I looked at some listed for Paris, and some of them sounded interesting; some did not. In any case, it did not look more threatening to me than renting through VRBO.

Anyone actually used them?


Andy_Sydney Nov 1st, 2009 08:58 PM

Hi nukesafe

Did you find any further information about Airbnb. We to are interested in using the service....but can't find a single review from anybody that has.....lots of media info....but no actual users....that is apart from reviews posted on it's own website??


ElendilPickle Nov 1st, 2009 09:58 PM

I read the article about it in the New York Times, and it sounds legit. Here's a link:


chloeprofits Nov 27th, 2009 10:51 PM

My daughter used this in London and she said it was great. I am getting a room ready now to list on airbnb. I live in Florida and the season is coming. Great way to make some extra money.

qkkr Jan 27th, 2010 06:02 PM

I used this for a 10 day vacation in Paris (just got back last night) and it worked out quite well.

I will say that there were one or two hitches with the payment. My credit card wasn't properly billed until about two days after my arrival, because Amex initially questioned the charge, and there was some minor confusion over fees-- what I paid Airbnb vs. what was eventually deposited in the host's account. And one odd thing on their website is that they don't seem to separate "reviews" vs. "friends feedback." But the visit went well. The property, neighborhood etc. were exactly as represented by the owner, we got a great price, etc.. As with eBay, I'm sure much depends on the reputation and intentions of the individual renting out the apartment or the room. If they have a good reputation that establishes that they're honest, you can do very well.

And it really helps if you have a common language with the person renting out the space-- our host had pretty good English, I have passable French, we managed well enough.

So... it definitely can work, I'd do it again without hesitating (if I could actually get some more time off, which may not happen any time soon).

qkkr Jan 27th, 2010 06:06 PM

I will specifically mention my host, by the way-- "Agathe S", with a flat to rent in Rue des Martyrs. For those confused by the "renting a room in an apartment vs. renting the whole apartment" thing, some hosts list a room, some list a whole apartment or house, and you should just read the listing to see what's on offer. In Agathe's case, for example, she has two listings-- you can either rent the whole apartment (in which case she goes and stays somewhere else while you're there) or just her guest bedroom (in which case she continues to occupy the master bedroom while you're there, you share the kitchen/bath etc.).

I think Airbnb has some maturing to do as a site, but the basics work as long as the host and guest are straight with each other.

sheilpw Feb 1st, 2010 09:26 AM

I stayed at the Wee Cottage in Austin through AirBNB- it was represented as funky and charming- actually a health and safety hazard-mold and rust in the bathtub (unfit for use)- the only source of heat for the cottage was tiny gas heater in bathroom-lumpy, damp bed held up by a cinder block....I stayed one night (slept in my clothes) and went to a nice, clean hotel for the rest of my stay. They refunded me for the other 5 nights- but it was a struggle (lucky, I took pics). Since the accommodations are not checked-and I suspect the "reviews" are edited (they would not let me post my review)- Be Ware!

bmccarren Mar 19th, 2010 01:18 PM

I both rent out and have rented on Airbnb. It's great. You need to be aware that the service charges BOTH renters and rentees a service fee. Whomever is doing the renting does not know what Airbnb will charge the renter, as it depends on length of stay. Read the terms. As for the commenter who rented a place found unsatisfactory/not as advertised (Wee Cottage in Austin, I'm talking to you), you should call Airbnb immediately, within 24 hours, & request they withhold your payment to the renter. Like Austin, take photos if you can. And guess what? Airbnb will with hold the $. They do not deposit it to the renter AT ALL until the renters have been in the rental, presumably, for 24+hours. There's a reason for that. Duh. Be informed is better advice than 'be ware'.

None of my former guests have written about my place. It would be nice if they would, but they paid up, showed up & each assured me all was well. I can't make anyone write a review. The advantage for the renter is you usually have a kitchen & often a personal concierge. In my case, I have provide a map of local venues (grocery stores, decent restaurants & menus, sights and bike/car rental locations), all within walking distance. I give them my phone number (I'm just steps away), but I also give them total privacy if they don't want to see my face. When I travel, I want it all to be 'right' and not to have to ask for anything so I respect others may want that as well.

I rent via Airbnb when I do not have family in town and am not involved in a Home Exchange. I have exchanged with people from all over the world, & though I am relatively new to Airbnb, I am very travel-experienced. I like working with them. When one guest booked a price I had made a mistake on, and he knew it, Airbnb was prompt to rectify the issue (as was the guest).

Airbnb probably does not edit reviews, but removes unsuitable properties as they are notified of them BY RENTERS. That seems obvious since they list thousands of properties. They are responsive and gain NOTHING by presenting poor options for users. That's just dumb.

bonsejour Jun 7th, 2010 01:34 PM

I tried contacting Airbnb because of changes a rentee made after we had begun emailing and agreed upon dates, times, fees. I emailed them, had no response, so I called both the 800 number and the 415 number. I left my name and number, as it appears they have no one there to answer the phones. They say that they will call you back right away. I have not been called back.

nukesafe Jun 7th, 2010 03:57 PM

All I can say is that we have rented our guest room to about half a dozen different renters so far, and have had nothing but pleasant experiences. Two of them have written positive reviews, so we must be doing something right.

Absolutely no problems with our guests or AirBnB. I did get a couple of grumbles because our rainy spring screwed up the Tulip Festival timing for one flower lover/photographer, and the couple who came to Anacortes to go kayaking on Memorial Day weekend got totally rained out. Hardly the fault of the room, however, so they left happy. The AirBnB fees are not high for either the landlord or the renter, so this kind of less formal accommodation can be attractive for both, as the price is usually much less than local motels.

bonsejour Jun 12th, 2010 06:29 AM

My concern about Airbnb continues to be that their attitude is very hands off. If there is a problem, how do they address it if they never return phone calls.

I did receive two email replies. These responses in no way addressed the concerns that I had. The initial response was completely unrelated to what had been expressed to them. Another person left a message and received no return phone call either.

They did state that they would take the issue up with the host, but they had no way of knowing who the host was, given the number of hosts that I had contacted. Return phone calls were requested, this was not at all acted upon.

My sense is that they are operating out of someone's house, and treat their physical website as the sole component of the business that needs maintaining. Their customer service is NON EXISTENT.

nukesafe Jun 12th, 2010 11:52 AM

Well, you may well be right about their function. I view them as merely a service that connects landlord with prospective tenant, not as a go-between agent. As I said earlier in this thread, we have used them very successfully to rent our guest room in Anacortes. If someone is interested in staying with us, they fill in the Airbnb form, and their request (automatically?) gets forwarded to us. We then talk directly with the renter, either by email or telephone to make arrangements.

I know we get requests from Airbnb to rate our guests, and I assume our guests get a similar note to rate us. Whether or not this information goes anywhere other than a database, I have no idea. All we care about is that we have had a series of really nice people stay with us, and we get our money from Airbnb promptly.

We also list with Craigslist, which is even more impersonal, but which has also supplied us with nice folks who love our view.

I think you are expecting too much from an online service like this. They are not a travel agency.

woogawooga Jun 12th, 2010 05:40 PM

I went to NYC for a few days earlier this year on a budget of course. I used airbnb and had a decent experience staying at a place in Harlem that I found on there. I think the hardest part is coordinating with potential hosts and waiting for replies. It takes some patience and persistence; it's not as easy as just booking a normal hotel. I think it's a great concept and it let's you have more of a local experience. It requires you having a bit of faith though in the people hosting you.

I'd say it's user beware. If the experience makes you too uncomfortable or nervous than you probably shouldn't use it.

maya704 Jun 16th, 2010 08:48 AM

Beware of Airbnb!

This site has taken off like wild fire but be aware of the risks. Behind the pretty facade there's little real structure or organisation. They do not offer any sort of protection and are not interested in helping resolve problem situations. And problem situations will come up believe me, in which case you are on your own. I have had a terrible experience with them. Following a failed reservation I was left out nearly $1000 and Airbnb just walked away. Be aware of what you're getting into. These people are just out to make money on your back.


Dayenu Jun 16th, 2010 09:44 AM

Weird. Most replies are from the first-time posters :)

protraveler Jun 30th, 2010 10:29 AM

Do not book anything with . I had a problem with a apartment that was absolutely not the apartment I rented.

I left the apartment and I tried calling them for 3 days on their 800 number 1 (800) 615-3017 .

I now am out $1200 and know the holding music by heart and would like to drive a screw threw my head if I ever hear it again. This has been by far the worst experience renting vacation rentals ever !!!!!!!!!!! This is a bull*%it company with no real support when something goes wrong.


nukesafe Jun 30th, 2010 12:51 PM

Wow, sorry to hear that. We just had a couple leave our rental guest room yesterday, and had absolutely no problems. Perhaps it is quite different if one is on the "guest" side of the equation, as the rent money is deposited in our PayPal account before the guest arrives, and we have had nothing but good experiences with the folks that have stayed with us.

Of course it helps that our place is exactly as advertised, and we go out of our way to be helpful. If a renter were to be unhappy, we would make it right on the spot with no need for AirBnB to get involved.

I'd appreciate it if you would follow up with the results of your complaint, as we really would not want to be associated with a company that is unresponsive to its clients. We get plenty of bookings through the Seattle Craigslist, so we don't need to rely on AirBnB, so I'd like to now for sure that I'm not dealing with a fly-by-night operation.

protraveler Jul 1st, 2010 05:31 AM

Airbnb is a over-hyped unresponsive company ! You find good deals on any vacation rental website you just have to know how to look for it !

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