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Old 08.09.2021, 08:41
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Airbnb watchouts

We just had a rather trying experience with Airbnb and I thought I would post about it here so EFers using the platform can be better informed.
1. If you are stuck and need urgent real time help, the only way is to call their US number ( which btw is not publicised and not listed as a help option anywhere on their website). If you use the Help function on their website / app, you will be left playing footsie with their bot. The chat utility doesn't work because they are obviously understaffed - in my case, I got a "live" chat agent responding after 24 hours! Consequently, we were stuck at the airport for a couple of hours because the host had not given us check-in instructions, was not answering his phone and it took us that long to figure out that there was no online help available and to find the US number.
The above means that you have to avoid any properties with few / no reviews so you are sure that you will not need Airbnb intervention and to try and figure out how quickly the host responds. If possible, exchange a couple of text / WhatsApp messages to check out how responsive and quick the host is.
2. Be aware that hot water is not a given unless listed as an amenity. Our apartment's boiler was not working, the host was absconding again and we were shocked when Airbnb informed us ( had to call the US number again ) that since hot water was not listed as an amenity, they really couldn't do much. I don't know to what extent this could be stretched to the many things that we take for granted.
Net, be very cautious: try and stick to superhost properties; make sure you have all the info you need well in advance - some hosts insist on giving check-in instructions on the day you arrive and this is very avoidable; look carefully at the amenities and don't take anything for granted.
Apologies for the long rant. A vacation is so precious in these Covid times and it sucks hugely when you get shafted.
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Old 08.09.2021, 08:54
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

Lots of airBnB properties apparently have hidden cameras in the bathrooms and bedrooms so it's probably worth doing a bug sweep when you first arrive like they do in spy films.
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Old 08.09.2021, 08:58
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

Hope you post a scathing review on air bnb
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Old 08.09.2021, 08:59
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

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Lots of airBnB properties apparently have hidden cameras in the bathrooms and bedrooms so it's probably worth doing a bug sweep when you first arrive like they do in spy films.
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Old 08.09.2021, 09:15
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

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Hope you post a scathing review on air bnb
I did. But, the host was not the villain of the piece - he was thoroughly disorganised and very new to the business but was very apologetic and humble, offered to move me to a hotel, etc.
What was shocking was how horrible Airbnb customer service is. They just don't want customers to hassle them and have erected a firewall to prevent customers from reaching out to them. And when you do manage to make contact, their service ambassadors ( they actually call them that ) are callous, unconcerned and bureaucratic.
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Old 08.09.2021, 10:40
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

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We just had a rather trying experience with Airbnb and I thought I would post about it here so EFers using the platform can be better informed.
1. If you are stuck and need urgent real time help, the only way is to call their US number ( which btw is not publicised and not listed as a help option anywhere on their website). If you use the Help function on their website / app, you will be left playing footsie with their bot. The chat utility doesn't work because they are obviously understaffed - in my case, I got a "live" chat agent responding after 24 hours! Consequently, we were stuck at the airport for a couple of hours because the host had not given us check-in instructions, was not answering his phone and it took us that long to figure out that there was no online help available and to find the US number.
The above means that you have to avoid any properties with few / no reviews so you are sure that you will not need Airbnb intervention and to try and figure out how quickly the host responds. If possible, exchange a couple of text / WhatsApp messages to check out how responsive and quick the host is.
2. Be aware that hot water is not a given unless listed as an amenity. Our apartment's boiler was not working, the host was absconding again and we were shocked when Airbnb informed us ( had to call the US number again ) that since hot water was not listed as an amenity, they really couldn't do much. I don't know to what extent this could be stretched to the many things that we take for granted.
Net, be very cautious: try and stick to superhost properties; make sure you have all the info you need well in advance - some hosts insist on giving check-in instructions on the day you arrive and this is very avoidable; look carefully at the amenities and don't take anything for granted.
Apologies for the long rant. A vacation is so precious in these Covid times and it sucks hugely when you get shafted.
For everybody's benefit, could you please leave here their US number? Thank you
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Old 08.09.2021, 10:43
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

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for everybody's benefit, could you please leave here their us number? Thank you
+18442342500
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Old 08.09.2021, 10:44
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

I find the least likeable part of AirBnB being the uncertainty when checking in.

Sometimes it's fine but when stuck on a busy city street with luggage and kids, in the pouring rain wondering if the person with the key will turn up is not much fun.

A coded key box with the code being send by txt a few hours before your arrival has been the best option for us so far.

Having said that, we've never had a dud AirBnB - they've all been brilliant - especially the ones in cities.
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Old 08.09.2021, 10:54
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

I agree - the check-in is the worst aspect.
We have also had generally great experiences - even in this particular case, the apartment was fine. It's Airbnb's "after sales service" that revealed itself to be so pathetic that I will hesitate to book with them again.
Incidentally, Booking.com is also listing a lot of apartments now - they seem to have better quality control and they are reachable.
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Old 08.09.2021, 11:26
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

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I find the least likeable part of AirBnB being the uncertainty when checking in.

Sometimes it's fine but when stuck on a busy city street with luggage and kids, in the pouring rain wondering if the person with the key will turn up is not much fun.

A coded key box with the code being send by txt a few hours before your arrival has been the best option for us so far.

Having said that, we've never had a dud AirBnB - they've all been brilliant - especially the ones in cities.
I guess this is the issue. AirBnB is more expensive or the same price than a 3 star hotel for 1 or 2 persons. Uncertainties make AirBnB more expensive in this case.

AirBnB makes sense for more than 2 persons because it's cheaper. I guess the equilibrium in a few years will be more hotel rooms aimed at families, slightly larger, 3+ beds and a price competitive when compared to AirBnB.

I once fell for the small letters in a AirBnB offer. The rental was 1 room in a house, not the house with 3 bedrooms. The info was there but in the small character section. I got a full refund after several emails and calls but the experience made me look to hotels once again and I'm happy with them. Of course, for 1 or 2 people.
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Old 08.09.2021, 12:19
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

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you have to avoid any properties with few / no reviews
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be very cautious: try and stick to superhost properties; make sure you have all the info you need well in advance -.
Very important suggestions these , used to stay minimum of 2-3 times a year pre covid times at air airbnb and never had an issue and all stays were with superhost properties..

Also equally important is to read the reviews and be cautious if you see all of the reviews were recent and have similar text.

I agree with you though, looking at how much airbnb charges per stay, better service is expected.


Are there alternatives ? I generally find booking.com to be too expensive for family trips.
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Old 08.09.2021, 12:54
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

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Are there alternatives ? I generally find booking.com to be too expensive for family trips.
Camping?

Family room in a youth hostel?
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Old 08.09.2021, 12:58
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

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AirBnB makes sense for more than 2 persons because it's cheaper.
It makes sense for families, even if it isn't cheaper. Generally, loads of space - and a kitchen too so you can cook or prepare food, or get a take-away when the kids are too tired to go out.

Standard hotel rooms are a nightmare for kids of any age.
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Old 08.09.2021, 13:07
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

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Camping?
Camping villages can be a good option, specially if you can get something with private bath, sharing a public bath/toilet with small kids can be difficult. But these tend to be booked much earlier or too expensive in high seasons .


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It makes sense for families, even if it isn't cheaper. Generally, loads of space - and a kitchen too so you can cook or prepare food, or get a take-away when the kids are too tired to go out.

Standard hotel rooms are a nightmare for kids of any age.
Exactly this , space with kitchen does help a lot with kids.
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Old 08.09.2021, 13:12
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

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It makes sense for families, even if it isn't cheaper. Generally, loads of space - and a kitchen too so you can cook or prepare food, or get a take-away when the kids are too tired to go out.

Standard hotel rooms are a nightmare for kids of any age.
Absolutely true. And with many hotels having a 2 person no extra bed rule, one has to go for 2 hotel rooms even when one has 1 kid, like us.
I think Airbnb's business premise is great, execution is very poor. I go through reviews and the description with a fine-tooth comb before finalizing a place but have heard of horror stories if one is not careful and / or booking last minute when choices are limited.
But what really matters is that shit happens - all the time and even in the best of hotels - and if there is no recourse, your vacation can go to the dogs very quickly.

Last edited by Nocando; 08.09.2021 at 14:43.
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Old 08.09.2021, 13:13
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

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Camping villages can be a good option, specially if you can get something with private bath, sharing a public bath/toilet with small kids can be difficult. But these tend to be booked much earlier or too expensive in high seasons .
Most campsites in Germany and a few here too (the one at Lauterbrunnen does) have private bathrooms you can book for your stay or family bathrooms which you can have sole use of.
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Old 09.09.2021, 13:33
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Re: Airbnb watchouts

Agree with the comment for Booking.com service - we've had a couple of instances where we've shown up, key in lock box scenario where the supplied code hasn't worked and/or key hasn't been in the box! And a couple of other instances where we unexpectedly stranded, not able to find any same hour accommodation and were facing the prospect of sleeping in the car - in each instance a call to the Booking.com customer service team and voila - sorted everytime!
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