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I used to be an enthusiastic AirBnB host. Now…less so

AirBnB

(Photo: TeroVesalainen via PixaBay)

A few years ago, I began as a host with AirBnB. This company is now known as “the biggest hotel of the world, without a single bed”. In the early days, AirBnB was about meeting new people, while making a few bucks along the way (hosts) or spending less for lodging (guests). And it was fun to do. It sure was. Now, not so much anymore. Why…?

AirBnB has grown too fast

From my point of view, AirBnB has grown too fast. It used to be nice when AirBnB was a relative small player. It drew a specific type of guest and host. It was clear to everyone that an AirBnB stay is not a hotel. It’s not even a B&B. The founders marketed the story that it began with them not being able to pay the rent. So they put four inflatable beds (Airbed-and-Breakfast –>AirBnB) in the livingroom, and let homeless people sleep there for some money. AirBnB had a certain vibe, and it drew people who matched the concept.

Flash forward a few years, where AirBnB is referred to as a Hotel Chain. Everybody knows AirBnB now. As a host, I’ve noticed this in a strong increase in stays. A good thing, you may think. Except, it is not.

Becoming a second job

AirBnB used to be a fun way to make a few extra dollars. Every now and then, you’d welcome someone in your home, have a chat with them and make some dollars. Nowadays, it’s becoming like a very demanding job. Of course, you can always take the listing offline for a while, but I’ve actually noticed at times that reservations come in at a moment when it is impossible to determine whether or not I could welcome these guests at the requested time. Sure, you can decline, but when you do AirBnB penalizes you.

Attracting the wrong kind of guests

More important is that AirBnB is now attracting the wrong kind of guests. And no, I am not referring to the guests who left the matress drained in booze (despite the no eating and drinking rule) or who left quite a valuable stash of ecstacy in my room. No, I am referring to the type of people who make demands. They read your offer, and they demand a discount (standard answer: no). Or they think they should be able to have extra rights (no). I have a clear listing on the site, which says that you cannot use the kitchen. The reason is simple: when I come home from work, I want to be able to make myself a meal. This is mentioned in the ad, clearly. People read this, and make the booking.

Yet, when it is time for the review, the give a negative rating because they weren’t allowed to cook. I mean: you knew this when you booked, right? Or even more peculiar: they complain the kitchen wasn’t squeeky clean (you know, the kitchen which they aren’t supposed to be in, in the first place?). I’ve even had a guest who was staying for a bit longer, whom I allowed to use the fridge, microwave and kettle (which is an exception) and they whined about not being allowed to use the oven.

The sense of entitlement some people have is ridiculous.

You have to do as I say, I pay

I have even had one guy telling me I had to do as he demanded, because he was paying “good money” for the stay. But actually, the amount of money the host gets is about half of what you see on the AirBnB site, provided everything is done legal. Without going into the numbers, basically the thing is that guests are getting a bargain. When I pointed out the offer which he bought, he threatened to give me a negative review. This particular person was quite blunt about it. As a result, I had to drop the facade of friendliness and be (professionally) blunt in return. Needless to say, I got a negative review.

AirBnB system does not value hosts

Now, I don’t mind if a person doesn’t like me, or the room in my house. I guess it wasn’t a match, and we’ll be happy not to see eachother again. With others, things ARE fun. Because, yes, there still ARE people who still have the original vibe. But the ratio of “fun guests” to “assholes” has been steadily increasing over time.

I’ve approached AirBnB about guests making unreasonable demands. Their answer: you better put in more effort.

Uhm.. yeah, that sure makes me feel like a “valued host”. They seem to be forgetting that AirBnB was never meant to be a competitor to professionals. It was meant for people with a spare room, who like to rent it out every now and then. But as the AirBnB star has rissen to the Silicon Valley Sky, they’ve started to forget who they’re working with.

AirBnB has gone the Uber way. Uber has been setting the rates for drivers (and dropping them too, just when people got too heavily invested to be able to quit). And AirBnB too is giving their small hosts the finger. And this at a time when local governments too are trying to combat the site.

AirBnB needs to change their game. If they do not, they might find hosts walking. And when hosts go bye-bye, AirBnB will no longer be “the biggest hotel chain without beds”. They will become “the biggest website without turnover”….

2 Comments

  • July 3, 2017 - 1:33 am | Permalink

    I so agree with that! I have never been a host but a user, and I have stopped using AirBnB because I feel that the charm is gone. It’s a pity.

  • July 4, 2017 - 11:48 am | Permalink

    So so agree! I startes using Air BNB sometime first in 2014 and last in 2017. The prices have completely changed! Airbnb is no more the cheap affordable option. In some places it’s actually cheaper to stay in a fully licensed hotel and this unfair advantage to hosts also makes me a bit sad. Its definitely illegal in my city to have Airbnb but people still do.

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