Has anyone used AirBnB to find lodging?

Nov 1st, 2011, 06:34 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,866
any refunds are totally up to the apartment owner. That was the first policy of note.

Do your homework: What are the cancellation policies?

Please keep in mind that each listing has one of five cancellation policies specified in the Details section. The cancellation policies range from Flexible to Super Strict. We strongly recommend reviewing the policies that each host has opted for to avoid surprises. Should you decide to cancel, visit Upcoming trips section from your Dashboard and click "Change or Cancel" and follow the instructions. We will issue any refunds in accordance with the host's cancellation policy. Please note that our guest service fees are non-refundable.

Buyer beware, on Airbnb and elsewhere.
DebitNM is offline  
Nov 1st, 2011, 06:41 AM
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Thanks for the honest assessment, danlev.

One cannot repeat often enough: use airbnb with care.

I had an almost similar experience in another large European city. The bnb owner was so rude and unresponsive, I canceled the one night reservation. However, my money was never refunded and I could not post a review of that bnb, even though I had lost the money.

I now use other European bnb websites for Europe. IMHO, airbnb is better for the US.
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 09:46 PM
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Yes. I have some experience with Airbnb. I booked a rental accommodation home in Singapore. It was quite a nice experience. The price was very reasonable. The price may include hidden fees in some cases such as Damage deposit and other things. But overall, it was quite a satisfying and safe experience. We can trust Airbnb - 100%.
simon_louis is offline  
Jan 9th, 2012, 07:24 PM
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Grace_defloreis, protraveler, maya704 and all those who report having lost THOUSANDS of dollars on AirBNB, I think, discredit themselves as reviewers of ANYTHING. Call me crazy, but if you see the site for the first time, realize their concept is new, "young", yet to be perfected, but still go ahead and book THOUSANDS of dollars worth of accomodation, sorry, but you totally deserve what happens to you.

I don't work for AirBNB but I do offer an apartment for rent on AirBNB and so far, we had 11 guests. All of them happy with their experiences. We are happy too: we bought a small apartment next to our house in Florianopolis, Brazil, as investment, and to offer accomodation for friends and family who visit us, and of course, it was empty quite often. Now we are making money out of it and we get to chat with complete strangers - which can be fun. One guest stole towels. Another used more toilet paper than you can possibly imagine. But still, In spite of all these terrible losses, I decided to dedicate my first and probably last post on this forum to the defense of AirBNB, because SO FAR it has been very satisfactory to us and to our guests, and I don't like to see good things dismissed outright just because something went wrong with someone, somewhere.

I had problems with every single mobile phone carrier I used,with every single bank I had accounts with, every single airline I flew, ... So what?

You cannot find peace by avoiding life.
secretbay is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 10:27 AM
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Well said, Secret. With your life attitude, please don't make this your one and only contribution to Fodors.
nukesafe is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 02:37 PM
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ditto, secret.
ncounty is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 05:17 PM
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secretbay: I have the opposite impression.

For you, a first time poster who is the host of an airbnb property, I'm not exactly trilled to have you knock airbnb users like myself and say that some of us, just because we made reservations that didn't turn out well, somehow have "discredit themselves as reviewers of ANYTHING."

Oh, Wow! Kinda harsh, aren't you? Just because someone had one bad experience, that's going to rule out that person's reviews forever?

Besides which, since you are a first time poster, why should you be believed more than other posters? What makes you more credible?
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 15th, 2012, 02:57 PM
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We just got robbed of $500 for leaving the place we booked because it was appalling. I called Airbnb right away explaining the situation and they said they would take care of it. I sent them pictures and an accurate description of what happened and their response was basically "we don’t care". From what I have read online, they have never refunded any money to anyone. And now I can't even leave a review of our host, the link to post a review has been hidden. They claim they have the last word in every dispute but, no matter how bad your host, or how deceiving the pictures, they will just pocket the money, even after you prove that pictures and description were deceiving. At the time of booking there were no negative reviews but, in the 3 months coming up to our stay, a lot of reviews were not so enthusiastic. After dealing with customer service I tried to post mine but I did not have the option to leave any review. So, from what I read on many forums online, it looks like they intentionally prevent people from posting negative reviews or, at times, they have deleted negative reviews. The other smart thing they do is that they charge you for the full amount upfront, so in case something goes bad, you still get charged for everything. I'm considering filing an official complaint with the Tourism Beaurau in the Netherlands. I might not get my money back but I hope that some attention can be brought to their practices.
luciotti is offline  
Jan 18th, 2012, 12:21 PM
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Your tale disturbs me, luciotti, because it almost exactly parallels the experience we had with Airbnb in Amsterdam. I thought, however, that Airbnb had fixed their system since then.

In our case, (reported earlier on this Forum) we checked in, found the place not as advertised (no door on a "private" room), sent an email right away to Airbnb giving details and saying not to transfer funds until issue was resolved. Unfortunately, Airbnb complaint department was not manned 24/7 then and, with the time difference, the money was transferred anyway.

Got an apology from Airbnb, and a "credit" to be used to cover another stay in an Airbnb place. Did not cover the money lost, but --- it was something. We also did not have an opportunity to post a negative review because we had walked.

Anyway, I thought the problems had been fixed with Airbnb now manning their complaint service round the clock. If you contacted them the minute you walked in the door and decided not to stay, I am puzzled why they still transferred the money to the landlord. Their rules, as I understand them, is that they do not do the money transfer for 24 hours after the scheduled check in, so you will have time to contest any issues.

The inability to not post negative reviews is a serious issue, and puts the integrity of the whole review process in question. What explanation has Airbnb offered you about this?
nukesafe is offline  
Feb 24th, 2012, 11:58 PM
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My boyfriend and I used airbnb last summer when we were up in Washington. We stayed with a young lady in her cute cottage just outside Seattle. There was some initial confusion over whether we were renting out the whole place or just the room, so read the ad carefully. I was concerned about sharing a common bathroom with people i didn't know but the girl really put us at ease. Her dog really liked my boyfriend and she had goats and chickens in the backyard. It was a great place to stay and my worries were unfounded as both she and her roommate left early the next morning, so we had the place to ourselves. We just left the key on the table, put the dog outside, and locked the door behind us. We also have a profile on the site, so homeowners can vet us. I am looking to use airbnb again, next month in Australia. I have only read on bad experience where a guy ended up with a meth lab in his apartment, but from what I read he didn't vet the people properly.

Good luck! hope this helps.

Linda_Brousson is offline  
Feb 25th, 2012, 05:42 AM
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Reporting in after another great airbnb stay - this time in Hilo, Hawaii. Great condo, perfect location, nice owner. A+ experience. One thing is different this time - airbnb charges your credit card for any deposit 2 days before your scheduled arrival and then refunds it when host indicated to them that there were no damages. First time, I sent a check directly to the owner, who returned the check upon check out.
DebitNM is offline  
Feb 27th, 2012, 05:00 AM
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It is risky to book with Airbnb. I had a great stay in Paris and a horrible experience in Amsterdam. I was locked in the apartment, wound up leaving after 1 night and Airbnb did not honor any of the return promises they made to me. They did not even honor the moderate return policy listed on their website. They also did not allow me to list my negative review of the host.
So, when you see all positive reviews it is because Airbnb only posts positive reviews. They also take no real responsibility for their bookings.
Betsyk is offline  
May 22nd, 2012, 04:17 PM
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As an Owner/Manager of vacation rentals for 11 years in Hawaii, I have just deleted the listing I tried on air bnb. Here's why and I recommend travelers consider my points here:

Air bnb clearly saw how successful VRBO (vacation rentals by owner) has been over last 15 years and saw that the people who tried to emulate them failed. So they decided to do it differently. Instead of charge owners to list their property, charge the clients a percentage and charge the owners a finance fee for collecting the money.

Here's what's really dangerous and why EJ had the experience she had,in my view

1 Because airbnb charges guests... and owners, they do not want either guest or owner talking to each other in any way until after a booking is made.

I refuse, but refuse to book anyone into any property I manage without preferably talking with them or at least having a fairly comprehensive email exchange. Why? Because a/ I want to make sure that they are getting what they are really looking for so that when they arrive, they are not surprised.... this includes location, type of accommodation, proximity to certain things etc..... and b/ because when I speak to someone I can get a sense of who they are.. and they can get a sense of who I am c/ because I like to offer personal service and try to make sure the guest has all their questions answered before they come about island, area, etc. etc.

2 If the guest cannot talk to the owner, they cannot ask simple but important questions which are of relevance to them. Sometimes they do not even know what these questions are until they get on the phone... "how far is the beach? Is it free standing? Is there wireless? Is this in a seclude area? how far is the road?

3 If the owner cannot talk to the guest, the owner doesn't know exactly what they are looking for. Listings such as air bnb (and air bnb for obvious reasons does not allow the owners to post links to websites which carry a lot more info) have basic info and photos. But there is always so much more

4 Air bnb has owners quote a price.. but the tax cannot be added on. Causes issues

5 Airbnb takes money from the guests at time of booking which is not released to the owner until after the guest has arrived... which means they are cleaning up... look at how many listings.. anyone want to figure out how much money in interest they charge?
This also means that if the guest arrives and doesn't like the place based on no other reason than for example.. it's too close to the road which point cannot be clarified except by direct communication in advance, they can simply say "don't like it" and the owner is left with no booking, no money

6 I spent 3 months trying to use air bnb.. took one reservation for a few days which was very close in....many people found me anyway when I was able to message them to search my name.. and those people were very happy. They were able to talk to me, had loads of questions and much preferred the personal contact The rental I advertised books year round almost 100% so I don't need airbnb. I certainly would never take a booking now for September and allow airbnb to collect interest on my money!!

Air bnb is basically making a lot of money & not providing any service to either guest or owners. I give them a big thumbs down.

I recommend guests use vrbo.... the owners pay to list their property there... the guests pay nothing extra and you can be in direct contact with the owner/manager.

I actually have to say I can't understand anyone booking a vacation rental without either speaking to or having direct communication with the owner/manager. You are booking blind. And for owners... it's not worth it folks. The only owners I see who appear to like airbnb are the ones who don't want any personal contact with guests and want it as easy as possible... just book it, don't expect to talk to me.

Once guests arrive, I allow them total privacy. They have my local number if there are any problems but they have privacy and seclusion.
fourwinds is offline  
May 22nd, 2012, 04:19 PM
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also, check out this article on Digital news:

fourwinds is offline  
May 22nd, 2012, 11:17 PM
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What you say has some merit, fourwinds, but I think you are a bit off on some of your points, or are using old information.

We have been renting our guest room in the Pacific Northwest for a couple of years now with great success. No problems, and no bad guests. We have also used Airbnb for a number of our own trips; New York City, Portland, Oregon, Milan, Italy, and Amsterdam. We have had excellent experiences as guest except for the Amsterdam trip. You can find the details of that disaster someplace earlier in this very long thread.

The first place I think you are off a bit is that the two parties can "talk" with each other via email to ask questions and get answers before you book. You have to do it through Airbnb, of course, but you have the ability to clear up ambiguities in the listing before you plunk down your bucks. As soon as you book, Airbnb supplies the email/phone numbers of the parties, so you can communicate directly. You also have, as a landlord, to look at the reviews that other landlords have posted about the potential renter before you accept the booking. We always email and/or talk directly to the renters before their arrival to see when they may be getting in, and to see if they have any questions or special needs.

The other place I think you stack the deck is in the link to the old article. You may note that the article is almost two years old, and Airbnb has made big strides in fixing the teething problems they had in the beginning. In our Amsterdam fiasco the problem was the time difference made it impossible to contact Airbnb with our complaint before they transferred the money to the landlord. That has been fixed by them now having established 24/7/365 staffing to handle such problems.

That doesn't solve the problem of someone trashing your property, or walking off with the TV, but that is a risk that every landlord faces when he/she rents their place.

Anyway, sorry it doesn't work for you. Works for us.
nukesafe is offline  
May 23rd, 2012, 05:55 AM
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Hmm, fourwinds is a new member and the only post is the comment from yesterday on an old thread!

The only owners I see who appear to like airbnb are the ones who don't want any personal contact with guests and want it as easy as possible... just book it, don't expect to talk to me.

Maybe where you are, but I have found the opposite to be true. I only came to use Airbnb in the last year, apparently after the kinks were worked out. I have nothing but good things to say about it, on both sides of the equation (host and guest).

IMO, Airbnb successfully takes advantage of the best of "web 2.0" social media, leveraging customer reputation and also providing professional resources at key points in the process. I have nothing against the older companies like VRBO and Homeaway, but they are definitely old-school when it comes to the potential of the web!
ggreen is offline  
May 23rd, 2012, 06:24 AM
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It sounds like fourwinds has multiple rentals and isn't in the same category as most of the owners who list on airbnb, who are trying to rent out a room in their home or the granny cottage in the back. Two different areas altogether.

The things that fourwinds mentions are things i would expect of a more formal and professional arrangeent, whereas with airbnb, it's much more casual.

When abroad, I tend not to use airbnb because there are other means, other websites, that more suit my needs. However, in the US, airbnb has worked for me - but always with a lot of investigation on my part. airbnb fits a niche for some people. It's also a way for me personally to meet local people and to get a feel for the local area, something that can't be gotten in an impersonal hotel.
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 07:53 AM
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BEWARE!! Airbnb.com is really bad in helping hosts when guest commit illegal activities or misconduct. If we see guests smoking weed or do bad things in your home, airbnb wont come to help in getting him move out. Instead, airbnb allow kicked out guests to put bad reviews on hosts even guest is a maniac. Airbnb doesnt realize if nobody host people Airbnb.com will cease to exist I removed all my listings from airbnb for safety and happiness.

dcdude is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 10:56 AM
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dcdude: first time poster and only one post - came in here specifically to slam airbnb.

It's really important for visitors and hosts to be very careful whom they select. I go by the reviews, both of the visitor as well as of the host. They're an invaluable aid in selection of any airbnb property/guest.
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 30th, 2012, 10:57 AM
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Er, um, wouldn't a call to the police in such a situation be more effective in removing a pot smoking maniac from your premises?

Just sayin' ----
nukesafe is offline  

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