Clearing the Air(bnb)
Recently, concerns have arisen about the safety of Airbnb. This is frankly shocking. After all, nothing should be safer than meeting a stranger online and deciding to become their houseguest.
Basically, some houses are doing the property equivalent of Catfishing. What you see is not what you get.
For example, hosts might advertise: “this is a sweet place to stay.” And then they rob or sexually harass you. And it goes both ways. Airbnb guests are also culpable for assaulting property owners.
Of course, Airbnb has a policy to prevent this. If you are the victim of a crime, you can leave a 1 star review. Some of the wise and brilliant employees of the Airbnb team thought this wasn’t enough, and decided that Airbnb should start requesting government IDs to validate users’ identities.
Airbnb upper management shut that idea down (faster than they shut down a Mexican Airbnb property where guests were continually robbed). Seriously, some guests rented a flat in Tulum, Mexico and they were robbed on their first night. They decided to stay and were robbed again the second night. They decided to stay and were robbed again the third night. Not sure what was left to steal. Not sure why the guests kept staying. Really not sure why they didn’t set up Home-Alone-type booby traps for the thieves on the third night.
Airbnb stock is set to go public next year, so they’re obviously trying to avoid bad press. They even set up their own magazine where they write about novelty properties like tree houses and hobbit burrows. But it didn’t help because a lot of other magazines and newspapers were writing about the real Airbnb news (shootings and sexual assaults).
During an investigation into Airbnb customer complaints, CEO Brian Chesky tried to deflect by roasting his customers.
He pointed to one complaint where guests wanted a refund because of a ghost in the house. He denied the refund because the advert disclosed that there was a “friendly ghost named Stanley” that haunted the property. The guests responded that they knew about Stanley, but that he was, in fact, not friendly. Brian Chesky is all “How do you adjudicate that?” Idk, Brian, maybe just give them a refund. The poor couple just wanted to make friends with Casper and instead they wound up living American Horror Story: Airbnb edition.
And that’s Airbnb in a nutshell. You think you’re getting a friendly ghost named Stanely. Instead you get an evil ghost named Stanley. You think you’re getting a nice family vacation in Ireland. Instead you get spied on through a nanny cam disguised as a smoke detector.
At that point, maybe it’s worth splashing out on a hotel. It might cost twice as much, but at least you don’t have to worry about a parrot or a sex offender (or a sex offending parrot) climbing into bed with you.