I Quit AirBnB. You Should, Too.
Last year brought some changes for sure. I got more questions about our air systems and the brand of our cleaning products than I did about our views or how close we are to the NOC for adventuring. I trouble-shot corrosion from people spraying their own hand sanitizer on our countertops than I did replacing broken wine glasses knocked over accidentally while enjoying the fire outside. It was a strange – but good – year, to say the least.
We saw changes in the faces and names that stayed with us – lots of new friends that “discovered us” when their eyes were turned away from international travel or from the crowded beaches they used to frequent and headed for the sanctuary of the mountains. We saw changes in when people came to stay, as school schedules didn’t matter so much and workweeks and weekends kind of started to blend together. But the change I least expected had little to do with any of this. The change that hit me hardest was what happened with my relationship to AirBnB.
For most, the term “AirBnB” is like one of those noun/verb words. You know, like “google” – it’s a thing and a thing you can do. In fact, AirBnB is pretty much considered king of vacation rental engines. When they took their company public in November, their offerings were larger than the three largest hotel chains combined. Impressive, for sure. Unless you happen to own one of the spaces they rent. I noticed this year AirBnB had a lot to say about refunds and rules, and how to clean and be safe, and who could come and why. As a professional glamping destination for over ten years, worrying about all that didn’t make any sense to me – especially since their whole stick was, you know, getting people together to somehow make this world smaller and closer, more personal and intimate. If that’s what they say, then why tie the hands of their homeowners?
And then it hit me. They went public. In November, I stopped being an advertising client, one where they made Sky Ridge available to more people all over the world. In November, I became their employee, and I had to do it their way, keep with their standards. And, if I didn’t, I got penalized until I ‘came into compliance” with their rules. Not that rule-keeping is a problem for me. Heck, our standards far surpass AirBnB’s, and our customer service game is way stronger, too. But I didn’t go into business to work for someone else. I went into business to do things the best I can for my guests. So that got me thinking….if AirBnB upended things for me, what did they do for my guests?
Here’s what I found. On average, they’re charging you about $150 more than the actual cost of the reservation than if you booked it direct, sometimes more. They purposely keep you from interacting with your host until you’ve committed to the inflated price, mostly by scaring you into thinking you’ll be scammed if a homeowner invites you to speak off of their platform, even if that’s just to answer a simple question prior to booking. That’s not allowed. And, to top it all off, they can cancel your reservation if they feel it would be in your best interest, with no reason or rationale given to you or the host, just that “community standards” are questionable.
That’s not cool with me. I want to chat with you about your plans, help you decide if you’re close enough to the riding stable or if you should look for somewhere closer. I want to know if this is a surprise birthday that you have a budget for so I can help with the costs if it’s that important. I want to give you that closer, more intimate experience that AirBnB promises yet strips away without you – the guest – even really knowing it. And I don’t want you to pay more than you have to pay. So, I quit. And you maybe should stop “AirBnb-ing it” too.