My first AirBnB experience was terrible
I booked a ‘chic apartment’ on the outskirts of Birmingham, as my husband and I had to move out of our house during renovations. It was a five minute walk from where we lived, so we knew the area well. Our expectations were not high, it was a new listing and had no reviews. Yet it was booked because all the good ones nearby were not available and it was convenient. The host was blind to the shortcomings of the building, which I mentioned on check in, claiming he was new to this and was learning. I later discovered that he had previously used another booking engine to let it, and they had been guests from hell. Hmm….
It did not go well
And culminated in AirBnB removing both my review of the accommodation and the host’s review of me. I gave a fair and balanced review, praising the good bits (the bed was comfortable, the apartment well equipped) criticised some safety aspects (the fire escape and lack of lighting on the landings). He claimed I was vindictive as he had refused my request of free accommodation in exchange for a good review.
I counteracted to AirBNB that this verged on slander as I had not asked for free accommodation. AirBnB offered me a credit, I asked them to donate this to a homeless charity, they insisted I took it. This accommodation now has a 5* rating. It is a pleasant apartment at the top of a very run down terraced house in Smethwick. It is not, as the host claims, in a chic neighbourhood. I know this because I live in the same neighbourhood.
My second AirBnB experience was very good
The husband and I needed to go to Winchester on family business. We needed somewhere to stay and I had the credit so we decided to try our luck with AirBnB again. This time I booked to stay in a home with a host offering a more traditional B&B experience. The host was lovely, the house was located on a private estate and was huge. The room and bed were comfortable and we had views over the South Downs from our room.
This was AirBnB as it was meant to be when it started out. Affordable rooms in people’s homes. My faith in the community of AirBnB was restored.
The third AirBnB was outstanding
Back in my home town of Birmingham and still unable to move into my own house due to renovations, we needed somewhere to stay. As I have documented previously, good AirBnB’s get snapped up quickly in this city and are not cheap alternatives to hotels. This one was one of two offered by the host in the grounds of her charming Edwardian home. One is The Coach House and the other, where we stayed, is The Garden Room.
Bed linen was from The White Company and Designers Guild. There was wine and chocolate in the fridge. The bathroom was huge, with The White Company toiletries and fluffy towels. The location in leafy Edgbaston and within walking distance of some of the best places to eat in the city made it an ideal location for business guests and those looking for a city break. It was everso slightly more expensive than the first one and about a hundred times better.
What I have learned
Do your research. Research the area, the hosts and the reviewers. Read the reviews. Don’t trust the reviews. Don’t give negative reviews as that way lies dragons. Ask people who know you to write reviews about you. And give AirBnB a second chance if the first experience is dreadful.
Try for yourself
Note about the credit
When I complained to AirBNB I did not do so to obtain compensation. My complaint was about the misrepresentation of the listing and the health and safety issues. They insisted on giving me a credit and I used this to book again, which was exactly why they gave me the credit, they wanted to keep my custom. I also donated £50 worth of items to my local foodbank.