His name was Sean. I was slightly upset and he was completely calm. I’m guessing it was incredibly late at night in Airbnb land – although, you know, accommodation providers never sleep.
Airbnb, for whom Sean works, describes itself as a community marketplace for accommodation around the world. It was founded in 2008 and I started using it a year later to find a place in New York I could actually afford to stay in for a month. My friends were horrified. How could I possibly send money to strangers in the fond hope that it would all work out OK?
Good question.Before I’d even left , one host had decided not to go ahead. But instead of panicking, I emailed Airbnb, which responded straight away.
I’ve had many good luck stories with Airbnb but not everyone has had that kind of experience. Think of Jacquie Young and Dieter Winkler who rented a house on the Gold Coast and then found themselves subject to a police raid because the Airbnb host turned out to be hostinghydroponic cannabis in a locked room.
As reported late last week by the BBC, airbnb confirmed the Young-Winkler family was refunded $1800 and offered reimbursement for their new house.I don’t know whether Sean was the lucky bloke who handled the Gold Coast debacle – but he certainly handled mine. We arrived in Italy to a gorgeous apartment billed as accommodating six people.Nearly everything about the apartment was glorious. The water view. The main queen-sized bed with the perfect mattress. The kitchen perfect for a couple of cooks determined to try every permutation of artichoke available at the markets. Dishwasher. And a host just one floor up who could interpret various things for us.
But five ns with privacy issues really struggled with the whole annexed bedroom concept. And while Airbnb couldn’t make the bedrooms discrete, Sean found a nearby place to rent which cost us more but accommodated everyone’s modesty. I have four or five emails from him, all making sure that the arrangements were on track.It turns out that the annexed bedroom is quite a feature in some European homes: two bedrooms linked by a doorway, with access through only one room. Which isfine if you are the parents of small children and they can’t escape unless they pass you – but not so great if you are all adults who expect to be able to leave your bedroom without having to pass snoring friends.
In contrast, the only hotel we stayed at during our time away had real trouble even dealing with minor issues. It had our money for about a month beforehandwhereas Airbnb holds the payment until you’ve checked in and made sure everything is OK.
The rental service is definitely not perfect – there were serious concerns over the way in which it handled early complaints. Homes were trashed by renters and the service handled the issues poorly. At least two women were sexually assaulted by their Spanish host. Since then it has changed the way it deals with emergencies.
And it’s true that this kind of accommodation carries with it more risks – particularly if you travel alone. One host tried to increase our fee after we’d signed up and threatened to reject our booking unless we paid up. However, through airbnb, it turns out it’s possible to stay in the centre ofParis or in New York for less than it costs to rent an apartmentin New Acton.
ns, rent out your houses. Those cosy little bedrooms with just one door could prove a realearner.
@jennaprice or [email protected]杭州龙凤论坛m