After reading a new article stemming from a recent Airbnb stay resulting in a death, I immediately knew what my next Monday Travel article was going to be about.
I’ve had my fair share of renting nightmare Airbnb homes. My accidental rental of a drug den and real life ghost story luckily didn’t lead me to any physical harm, but I was horrified by the lack of quality control, liability, as well as misleading marketing. I thought this so-called miracle way to travel could use some improvements and here is how:
- Show the number of times a place has been booked compared to the number of times it has been reviewed. Many cases, when it’s a less than thrilling experience, people don’t review the place. I would like to know of the hundreds of people staying there, how many are providing a positive feedback.
- Update photos! The marketing techniques used on Airbnb are impeccable. Impeccably deceiving. I’ve rented apartments that looked like they were flooded with natural light, only to find a dark dingy hole in a wall. Updated photos that accurately portray the apartment is basic criteria.
- On that note, allow guests to upload their own photos when providing feedback. As a consumer I’ll see things that most people would forget to photograph. Not only will this help future guests to understand the rental better, but also provide helpful tips to the host on how to improve lackluster conditions.
- State the cross-streets or actual neighborhood. Again, descriptions can be misleading. From personal experience, I found an apartment titled “Santa Monica getaway”, only to be located in a run down part of Venice Beach. By no mean is not the same location. Make sure the location is properly labeled to avoid confusion as well as disappointment.
- Lastly, inspections. There needs to a be a trained professional to inspect the condition, cleanliness, and safety of the home before it is rented for $300 a night. That’s just common sense. To keep the seamless application process everyone raves about, I suggest having homes not yet inspected listed as “in training”. These should be placed at a 10-20% below the market value, which provides an incentive to rent the home and for homeowners to have their place inspected.
On a serious note, my heart and prayers go out to the family who lost their father. I know this is a rare case, but none the less difficult. While there are many qualified Airbnb homes for rent, there does need to be a marker of quality and an issue of liability while Airbnb continues to grow.