As December 7th looms, one long term Airbnb Superhost is questioning the value of the short term rental (STR) service along with its 30 billion dollar valuation.
Bill Dandie has been opening his home and hosting guests since 2016. With over 800 reviews and a passion for hosting he has become skeptical with Airbnb and questions their commitment to customers.
Bill comments “I recently worked closely with Airbnb to resolve a safety issue and feel the organization showed their true ability. As the standard customer service is exceptional, when dealing with the Safety department at Airbnb you are treated differently”
Mr. Dandie’s main Airbnb listing was removed when a customer filed a case. Based on the guest’s appeal to Airbnb and no interaction with Mr. Dandie nearly a month of no communication, guest frustration and business interruption ensued.
“In my four years of hosting I never experienced this before. Airbnb cancelled a guest reservation just after they checked in. Adding to the frustration they told the guest to vacate the premises immediately”.
After a series of cancellations Mr. Dandie called Airbnb. Customer service mentioned that their department wasn’t responsible for the matter and stated the Safety department would help.
For 15 straight days Mr. Dandie called hoping for clarity and to understand Airbnb’s current actions but unfortunately each call went unanswered.
Mr Dandie remarks, “After a significant investment of time trying to resolve this issue, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Out of the 15 customer service calls two agents disclosed the origin of the case. So with the guest details I decided to communicate with them directly”.
After Mr. Dandie and the guest talked it was clear that the accusation was false and was merely a mistake on the guests behalf.
The guest had contacted Airbnb weeks before and alleged that there was a hidden camera in the cabin.
Throughout the course of this case, Airbnb did not share any details with Mr. Dandie so he was unable to provide any input to the claim.
“After speaking with the guest I discovered that she thought an electronic mice deterrent device was a hidden camera. She apologized to me and later communicated with Airbnb who reinstated the listing.”
Mr Dandie lost confidence in Airbnb over an issue that could have been resolved in hours but lasted close to one month.
“As bad as the situation was for me, the safety agent made matters worse. In an Airbnb email, after it was clearly indicated the device was not a hidden camera yet an electronic pest device, the agent states If we receive another report about recording devices in your listing(s), we may remove you from the Airbnb community.”
Mr. Dandie continues to enjoy the STR industry and has added his top listings to other providers such as Vrbo and TripAdvisor.
In closing Mr. Dandie shared, “Based on my recent experience with Airbnb I’d avoid investing in their IPO. If mishandled customer issues continue and result in host alienation the foundation of their business will be in jeopardy.”