Dear Diary Travel Tips

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THINGS GO WRONG WITH AIRBNB?

Airbnb is a fantastic service don’t get us wrong, if it wasn’t for their introduction into the accommodation market we wouldn’t be able to afford our year long full time travel journey. However, this is just a friendly reminder that Airbnb does not operate like a hotel and you are still at the mercy of a property manager, home owner or old grandma.

This is the story of the time we could not get into our Airbnb apartment which resulted in us being left stranded during our first night in Los Angeles.

What happened?

Simply, we arrived at our apartment at around 9pm after a flight from Honolulu and the key was not where it was supposed to be. After attempting to contact the property manager and owner for about 45 minutes our only option was to contact Airbnb’s emergency line.

What do you do?

Well it actually wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be to get ahold of Airbnb. For starters their Airbnb Support page on a mobile phone is a terrible user experience and we had to opt into hotspotting our phone to the laptop to get the full site to co-operate (this could have been due to a user error at the time, but we distinctly remember having to go this extra mile). Luckily, once we finally got the number we promptly got through to their emergency centre.

What did Airbnb do?

The Airbnb support team member informed us that they had to attempt to contact the property manager and owner first (standard practice) before taking matters further. After about 15-20 minutes we received a phone call back and a confirmation that they too had no luck. The support member informed us that they would look into the issue in the morning and we were told that we could book a nights stay at our hotel of choice to the maximum of $USD250 (refunded with a receipt).

Why did this happen?

Simple – human error. The property manager forgot to place the key into position after checking the room was clean and then went to sleep. He did know that we were arriving at 9pm – our only suggestion was for him to do his job and stay up to ensure our safe arrival.

How to make sure it doesn’t happen to you

In all our Airbnb bookings we always receive a confirmation email from the property manager or host with directions and how to get into the apartment about a week before arrival. We would recommend that on top of replying to this confirmation is to also send a friendly reminder on the day of your arrival, maybe even a text when you are leaving the airport.

Bonus Tidbit: 

Our hotel room for the night came to $247, it cost us $16 for a return Uber ride and we ordered a well deserved $45 in room service. Our Airbnb support member went out of her way to refund us a total of $308, way over her allowed refund allowance.

Would we stay in Airbnb again?

Of course we will, mistakes do happen – people are people at the end of the day. We always like to judge companies not on how they mess up but instead on how they respond to their mistakes.

Something as simple as a barista making your coffee incorrectly can be a positive experience if they respond by remaking it with an apology and a smile.  Now imagine that same situation where the staff member argues that you said you ordered wrong and refused to change it, would you go back to that cafe?

Note: Upon researching for this article we did come across a standard support number: 855-4-AIRBNB (247262) – we can assure you that this is saved in our phone.

If you didn’t already know, we are currently daily vlogging our trip around the world. Of course the time we got stranded from our AirBnB was recorded, feel free to check it out below. Just ignore our poor attempt at comedy in the beginning.

Have you stayed in an Airbnb rental before? If not and you would like to sign up to Airbnb why not use this link here so you can receive a $30 Airbnb travel credit.

Stephen and Jess signoff

Disclaimer: If you do sign up for the $30 AirBnB travel credit, we do receive compensation which helps keep Flying the Nest on the road longer. This post was not commissioned or sponsored by Airbnb.

READ NEXT: 22 SPECTACULAR & BIZARRE AIRBNB RENTALS

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  • Allison

    I had a similar experience in Buenos Aires where I forgot my key in the room. It ended up being a mess, because in most buildings in Argentina you also need the key to exit the building as well! I too had trouble contacting AirBnB’s customer service line.

    The reception was terrible, they said something was wrong with their servers, and it took several attempts to get through. Once I did they were finally helpful, but luckily I found the building manager quickly. I’m glad to know that they will reimburse a hotel though, since that experience I have been a bit weary of AirBnB even though I love the concept!

  • Well done Airbnb! Like you said it wasn’t their fault the host didn’t put the key in the right spot but I liked Airbnb handled it.
    We had our first glitch with them recently when a host cancelled our booking. Luckily it was for August so we still had time to find a new place but Airbnb gave us an additional 10% on top of what we had paid so if we couldn’t find a place at the same rate we had a little extra to work with. I really expected they would just refund our money but that was a nice touch, plus a good way for them to help ensure we booked with them again and didn’t take our business elsewhere. Win-win. 🙂

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