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Air BnB new user question / concern

I'm concerned that if I make reservation with Air BnB and 3 months later a week before I arrive the 'host' decides to cancel ,,,,, what can I do ? As I understand it , I'm stuck trying to get new accommodations at the last minute if I can; to save my vacation.

We're a retired couple ,,,,, not too demanding on accommodations , that are concerned about renting from an 'owner' . we haven't done this before. Our daughter has used Air BnB without problems. But , I'm looking at planning a 3 week trip , this coming fall ,,, months ahead of time and don't want someone to cancel on me at the last minute and mess up the whole trip.

Please share your advice, knowledge and experiences. I would like to rent an apartment vs. a hotel but don't feel comfortable about the risk, ( as I understand it.)

Thanks in advance,,,,,,,

Posted by
943 posts

First, you might get more response if you re-post under General Europe

Yes there is some risk. You can mitigate the risk by doing some research of the place you hope to rent. Read many reviews. Get a vibe from the reviews about the owner. See if they've had cancelations. If they've had one, maybe the sound of the other reviews make you feel ok about the risk. If they've canceled more than once I probably wouldn't do it
There are owners called "Superhosts". You can filter your search to just search places run by Superhosts - they have good records for not canceling
If there is a cancelation, Airbnb tries to re-house you in another rental. Worst case scenario, I figure I will have to scramble to find something for our stay (usually a few nights). If you are planning to rent for the entire three weeks, you have a much greater chance of NOT being canceled.
I, and many others, rent Airbnb's months in advance, just like a hotel. You should do a lot of reading and comparisons of rentals and reviews (of which there should be many. I read several pages of reviews. I wouldn't rent a place with 3 reviews, for example). Alternately, you could ask the forum, as some people use Airbnb and can have recommendations.
Hope that helps.

Posted by
2275 posts

Rare, but can happen. I've been using it for years and never once had an issue or personally known anyone who has.

Check reviews and only rent from hosts with lots of positive reviews going back over a long period of time. Occasionally you will see a note in the review section saying the host cancelled on short notice. Do not book that apartment.
There are people airbnb lists as "superhosts" which means they have an excellent track record, and they often seem to have a variety of properties and run it like a business. You can even look to see if the host has multiple properties - and read the reviews of each. While there are concerns about the ethics of this (taking housing from locals), from your POV this usually means more consistency.

You can also rent apartments through booking.com if this makes you feel better. Often the same apartment is listed in multiple places.

Posted by
203 posts

We often use AirBNB and have never had a host cancel on us, although I have heard occasional cancellations can occur. You have two things you can do to lesson this chance considerably:

  1. Book highly rated properties with a lot of positive reviews.

  2. Book a place of a Superhost. It is tough to earn that title and a Superhost does not want to lose it.

Also, more and more cities are going after AirBNB and similar services as housing becomes less afordable for residents, so do research if the city you are planning to book has implemented any new ordinances that all hosts must adhere to and inquire.

With all that, we are still comfortable booking AirBNB and if you stick to the above, you should too. Also, AirBNB does guarantee your money back OR roll you into another property in the area. Not ideal if a last second cancellation would occur but it is uncommon and would be more of an annoyance more than anything.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for the feed back. Feeling better and 'safer' in using Air BnB now.

Thanks again and travel safe everyone

Posted by
5548 posts

We have rented AirBnB apartments, condos, and homes for four months, for six weeks, and for one week, all in highly desirable vacation areas in high season in Europe and the US. Never had a problem with any of them and we have another one rented for 4 and a half months this year. It is safer in my estimation than VRBO or HomeAway. We read reviews carefully and look for a Superhost. And you sometimes hear of a hotel not honoring a reservation.

Posted by
248 posts

Cancellations are a legitimate concern. Last year we lost a reservation in Venice when the hosts cancelled "due to apartment damage". It was a scramble to come up with an alternative but we did. The reservation was a bit risky. It was a newly refurbished apartment and the host had very few reviews. I suspected the reservation was a bit risky when I made it but the location and price were irresistible...in hindsight it was too good.
What I suspect happened is that the hosts tried to make a go of renting the apartment through ABnB and did not get the traffic they wanted...I think they ended up renting as a longer term rental.
There are a few drawbacks to ABnB...sometimes you get a bad deal and there is very little that you can do about it.
That said, we have had really good luck with our other hosts and have always recovered from the hiccups. You should feel pretty safe with your plans.

Posted by
20566 posts

We had the same thing happen five years ago. A month before arrival they had a fire. Quick to return deposit but a problem finding something at that late date in a popular area. You just have to roll with punches. I thought they might have received a better offer but we stayed in the same area and walked by the apartment. One window completely burned out. Unfortunately it became a week in a B&B, a week in a hotel, and then we bounced around for another week. Not as relaxing as we had anticipated.

Posted by
186 posts

We have rented about 5 apartments through Airbnb, in Seattle, England, and Scotland, and had uniformly wonderful experiences. Of course, we did our due diligence and read all the reviews, scoured the photos, booked with Superhosts if possible, etc.

Then a few weeks ago, for an upcoming trip to Louisiana, I was about to book an Airbnb with a Superhost for a place with great reviews, when I was idly looking at the house on Google Maps (to see how to walk to the nearby venue) and had figured out which house it was – then, curious how much a cute little house in Louisiana costs (answer: a LOT less than a Bay Area house ... which I knew, of course!), I went to Zillow and found to my horror that the Airbnb house was FOR SALE – and here I was about to book and pay half the rental fee, for a trip several months out. I kind of freaked out b/c when was this so-called Superhost going to tell me her house was on the market? Was she going to cancel on me at the last minute?!

Needless to say I didn't book this place. I did some more research into what happens if a host cancels; tried to contact the so-called Superhost; alerted Airbnb to the problem; found alternative accommodations; and – perhaps overreacting, but still freaked out about arriving on graduation weekend in a small-ish town without a place to stay, if the new host cancels at the last minute – also booked a hotel for the same week, which I can cancel at the last minute. The only wrinkle here is that I need to remember to in fact cancel the hotel if all goes well with the Airbnb!

Posted by
2761 posts

I have used AirBnB a number of times in several countries, and have never had a cancellation. However, I know it happens, for a variety of reasons, but I'm not particularly worried. It's always been for just a day or 2, and I figure that I could always find a replacement on short notice, particularly since we travel off-season.

Posted by
885 posts

Please also make sure that the flat has a registration number if appropriate. Many European cities make owners of holiday flats register with the city. If there is not a registration number in the ad, and the owner says he doesn't need one, run far away.

There was an article today or yesterday about AirBnB scams in NYC and from the article and everything I've read, if the owners cancel your stay, you have little recourse because AirBnB probably won't help much. If it were me, I'd reserve a hotel just in case. I know people rave about AirBnB but as a condo owner who's building had to enforce kicking out a tenant because they rented their condo as a holiday flat, I'm in favor of more regulations.

But I'd reserve both for piece of mind. And if the price, location and photos of the flat look too good to be true-it probably is.

Posted by
5817 posts

I have never had a problem with Airbnb but I have turned up at a hotel to be told my room had been given away and that my only option was to walk to another (lesser) hotel they had found for me.

Things happen, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

Posted by
3768 posts

I always make sure I look thru the reviews - if I see more than one 'cancelled by host' review (airbnb will do a generic post if this happens to the best of my knowledge) I keep looking.

I've only had it happen once, in San Diego (and I've used airbnb probably 50 times since 2011) - and it was one night of a 3 night stay - she double booked and offered to let us cancel the whole thing, or to give us 10% off our other two nights. This happened while we were already on vacation, less than a week until we were to stay - I went with the discount on the other 2 nights and just used expedia to book a hotel for the other night. If worse comes to worst, you can always use booking.com or expedia or hotwire to find a last minute accom.