Airbnb Is Even Worse Than I Thought

Airbnb makes sense in towns where there aren’t suitable hotels. It makes sense to rent a full house for a large family or when traveling with a group of friend. But the current homesharing model is very broken, and as a result choosing Airbnb makes no sense for most stays.

There are several issues with Airbnb, to name just a few:

  • Airbnb doesn’t have your back. They’re a brand when they want you to rent through them, when something goes wrong they’re just a platform connecting guests and owners. They’ll ‘kind of sort of try to help find you another property’ if the owner cancels on you.

    That, and the host can cancel on you without reason up to the day before. Like, what do you mean?! I'm about to arrive at the destination and now I have no place to stay? For that reason alone, hotels are now my preference.

    — Polina Buchan (she) (@Polina_Buchan) June 14, 2022

  • Cleaning fees but you have to clean yourself anyway – wash the towels, run the dishes, take out the trash, move furniture back to its original position to name a few items.

    AirBnB be like:

    $120/night

    $3,245/total

    (Cleaning fee $1,600. But please be sure to dust, vacuum, take out garbage, wash linens/bedding, steam clean carpet, apply fresh coat of exterior paint, and install new appliances)

    — christina • marie (@christinaixchel) June 14, 2022

  • Doesn’t work well for short stays. You need a lot of nights to amortize cleaning fees and other fees across for it to make sense.

  • 4pm or 5pm check-in, 10am check-out. a hotel, with all its rooms and guests coming and going at different times, can often accommodate early check-in and late check-out (and standard times are often more generous than with Airbnb). A single unit has people leave, gets cleaned, and turned around for the next guest. And they don’t have housekeepers on staff so they need a buffer for whatever service they’re using.

  • Too many scams. You need to carefully parse listings and all of their rules, read every review, and still you might find yourself with something very different than advertised.

  • Airbnb adds too much to the cost. Airbnb’s value add is you, they sell you to homeowners. And Airbnb’s value is that because they have a lot of users, people list their homes, and so you keep coming back. They aren’t just taking a couple of points for this, they may add 20%+.

  • Too much risk. The biggest reason I avoid Airbnb whenever i can is nonrefundable rates. The model sort of requires it – one person owns one property, and if a person cancels and they cannot resell the place they’re out of luck and income. But life situations happen, I do need to change travel plans, and hotels are much better for this.

The concerns I have with Airbnb, though, are hardly the only ones. Others have had far worse experiences.

Caleb the last one I stayed at the owner turned away my delivery person citing her “no guests” policy. I’m still not well.

— Tawny Newsome (@TrondyNewman) June 14, 2022

the last air bnb I stayed in did not provide toilet paper and the heat was stuck on 90 and she wanted me to stay in the unit during a 5 hour window to wait for the repair guy

— pliny i'm baby (@falseroxy) June 14, 2022

The last airbnb I was at, I caught the owner peeking through the window while I was inside. I opened the door and confronted him. I actually had been sobbing inside b/c I found out my dad was dying, so I confronted him, with tears and all.Super awkward experience and I was livid.

— Andria🌻🇺🇦 (@audrialemnisca) June 14, 2022

Cameras are actually permitted in common areas of home rentals but pervs sometimes place them in the bathroom or bedroom (this happens at hotels too). You know a common area of a hotel is public, but most people expect privacy throughout the home they’ve rented.

Hotels are FUN. Room service, bars, poolside drinks, a concierge, and no chores. Airbnb is just housesitting for someone you don't know and you have to pay them.

— Amy (@thevertfraise) June 14, 2022

You’d think with all of Airbnb’s problems hotels – which do face a substantial threat from having such a huge supply of rooms to compete against – would lean into their advantages. Instead many hotels are walking away from their unique selling proposition, dropping services and room cleaning. That may save money in the short term but will cost them greatly over time.

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