Monday, February 6, 2012

Our Bleh Airbnb Experience

Last month we packed all our things and made the big move, as travel lovers (and insiders) we were excited to try Airbnb for the first time and so we booked ourselves into an apartment for a month while we looked for a more permanent place live. We were so inspired by the honest, cheap and friendly vibe the whole thing seemed to have, and what better than living it up like a local?

We arrived on the weekend and things were looking fantastic, the apartment was spacious and so beautifully decorated, I was in bliss and I swore this was a new, cool way travel. But come Monday morning we were awoken by loud drilling and banging resonating in our bones. Yep, The host neglected to tell us the apartment downstairs was undergoing heavy construction.

After contacting the host we were assured this only had a couple days to go and the rest of the work would only be painting, we were satisfied. But as the days continued the noise also continued. From here on the host was unhelpful and almost impossible to connect with, Airbnb offered no solution so we decided we would live with this, the beach just a couple blocks down would be our quiet retreat when the noise, dust and smells got too much for us.

But 3 weeks in the power company turned off all power to the flat, again the host was difficult to reach, a few hours later after Airbnb managed to get in touch with them the host explained to us that it was due to them not having paid their electricity bill the last few months (seriously?!) they then proceeded to rig us up with electricity by stealing it from the neighboring apartment.

I decided with one week left that it wasn't the end of the world, after all I could warn other travelers by writing an honest review of our experience. But that was not the case, because regardless of the evidence in videos, texts and pictures we sent to Airbnb (by their request) it now seems like they have taken the hosts side and removed our negative review

I understand that this is a delicate issue for Airbnb, after all who is telling the truth? But if Airbnb want to succeed they need to understand that their stakeholder is the customer and not the host.  By all means don't banish the host from doing business after one negative experience, but what is the purpose of a trust based service when you can't leave a negative review?

Before the review was removed we received an apology and a coupon to use for our next booking and we may have given it another shot if our review was not removed, but if this is how Airbnb works then how can we trust that the next booking we make hasn't had a negative review that was simply removed?