“As Invisible Tourists, we want to support locals of the places we visit, not make their lives more difficult.” ~ Alyse.

What are the troubling, lesser-known problems with Airbnb and similar platforms?

In recent years, the use of home-stay accommodation has exploded internationally. Sitting on the sidelines with one watchful eye monitoring this trend, as usual I decided to be a bit of a skeptic before jumping on the bandwagon and investigate the little-known facts about using a service like Airbnb for myself.

Despite its growing popularity there are some pretty troubling issues with Airbnb and their similar counterparts, leading many to ask if there are any ethical alternatives to Airbnb? Here I’ll reveal what it’s like to lift the lid on the hidden Pandora’s box of this craze – the results may surprise you, as they did me!

8 Troubling Airbnb Problems You Didn't Know | The Invisible Tourist

Yes, loads of people use Airbnb all the time without issues and that’s fine. Different people prioritise different things because there are different types of travellers. Many of my fellow travel bloggers could get you discounts on your first Airbnb booking and that’s fine, too.

In saying that, there is a time and a place for these services so I’d rather speak about the unpopular truths buried under the discount codes that are worth considering before booking a stay with a homestyle accommodation service like Airbnb. 

NOTE: I first published this article in March 2018 and have updated it since to reflect more recent events. It was regarded as an unpopular opinion at the time. Be sure to read my concluding comments for my overall thoughts on short-term homestay services.


Airbnb problems: Important reasons to reconsider using these services

I can totally hear people questioning my logic… They’re thinking, “But, aren’t you all about travelling like a local and helping people learn how to not look like a tourist? Then what’s wrong with renting a local’s place on Airbnb? It’s harmless and it’s cheaper than hotels, right?”

Ermm, not exactly. 

There’s a saying, “Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it” so truth be told, I have stayed in an Airbnb before. I was with a group for a girls’ getaway and my friend had booked the accommodation on our group’s behalf.

The place was fine (although I prefer to have my own bed rather than share with a friend!) However due to the facts I discuss below, it just wasn’t for me and may not be for others as well.


Let’s start with a few questions:

  1. Do you value your precious travel time, hate inconveniences and prefer to play it safe with accommodation rather than put yourself in a position that could have been avoided when you travel?
  2. Do you also prefer to enjoying everything a city has to offer without feeling like you’re getting in the way of locals going about their daily lives? 

If you answered yes to these questions, you’re likely to prefer hotels and other forms of traditional accommodation. If you answered no, the below facts may give you reason to reconsider using homestay accommodation services like Airbnb for your next trip.

While Airbnb’s slogan is “travel like a local,” there are some dark truths that actually make life more difficult for the locals they claim to support.
Let’s get into it!

Spend more time exploring outside when you stay in a hotel

1. Airbnb could be illegal in the city you’re visiting

This is a pretty surprising and very important point. Just because there are listings for a destination doesn’t mean the host and Airbnb are abiding by the local laws. For instance, here are some facts that might make us think twice about using Airbnb and similar services in the below major cities.

These are just a few examples and definitely not the only places where Airbnb is problematic. I highly advise doing some research into the destination if considering using Airbnb for accommodation:

Airbnb problems in New York City, United States

Did you know in 2014 that 72% of reservations made in New York City were illegal?

The New York state attorney general’s office released a report on Airbnb listings that revealed this unfortunate fact. Local laws in New York make it illegal to rent an entire apartment on Airbnb for less than 30 days, as this helps to keep the long-term supply of property available to locals. Despite this, New York City is one of Airbnb’s biggest markets where listings under 30 days are available to tourists.

“Airbnb consistently undermines the City’s efforts to preserve affordable housing, and regularly attempts to thwart regulations put in place to protect New York City residents.” ~ statement from NYC Council members Helen Rosenthal and Jumaane Williams.

Turns out Airbnb is illegal in NYC
72% of accommodation bookings in NYC were illegal during 2014

Airbnb problems in Barcelona, Spain

What are the Airbnb in Spain problems? Almost half of holiday rentals in the country’s second-largest city of Barcelona are unlicensed according to the council, which makes them illegal.

In 2016 Barcelona fined Airbnb €600,000 for refusing to adhere to local laws by continuing to advertise unlicensed properties. As a result, Catalonia’s capital has a team of inspectors who wander the streets sniffing out illegal rentals using designated apps that cross-reference licences with advertised properties. This helps to identify illegal properties and gives authorities the power close down the premises, boot out occupants and fine the owner €60,000.

“Barcelona exists for its people. The priority is it’s a place to live.” ~ Janet Sanz, Barcelona Housing Councillor.

TIP: Read my crucial Barcelona travel tips to not look like a tourist when visiting.

There are known Airbnb issues in Barcelona, Spain
There are known Airbnb issues in Barcelona, Spain

Airbnb problems in Paris, France

In 2015, 44% of advertised properties on Airbnb were permanently available for rental, despite laws in France’s capital stating that holiday rentals are capped at only being available for 120 days of the year.

The survey that revealed this disturbing fact triggered raids across Paris and fines of up to €25,000 for hosts. However, the authorities are now looking to increase this fine to €100,000 like Berlin (see below). It is now necessary for hosts to obtain a registration number from the Town Hall so authorities can monitor the 120 day cap is not exceeded and so hosts cannot avoid paying taxes.

Airbnb problems in Mexico City, Mexico

Due to Mexico’s lax travel regulations during the pandemic, Mexico City saw an influx of remote workers (known as “digital nomads”) in addition to tourists.

This surge in visitor numbers in need of accommodation caused a 40% increase in rent prices in popular neighbourhoods, pushing out long-term locals and small businesses in favour of more profitable short-term Airbnb rentals. 

It also caused a change in the social fabric of some communities, where trendy coffee shops popped up to cater to their new American or European guests.

Additionally, the local local government has recently signed an initiative with Airbnb to continue to boost remote worker numbers in the city, which in turn will add to the housing crisis. 

Airbnb problems in Japan

The recent explosion of visitors to Japan looking to travel on the cheap meant Airbnb’s started popping up in unzoned areas to capitalise on the new demand.

Being an ultra-conservative country, locals filed an overwhelming number of “tourist pollution” complaints: unruly tourists coming and going at all hours, hosting noisy parties in otherwise quiet neighbourhoods and disrespecting local customs.

In June 2018 the Japanese government resorted to tackling illegal Airbnb and similar homestay accommodations across the country (known as “minpaku”) by requiring hosts in legally zoned areas to obtain a minpaku license, placing 180-day quotas on when properties can be available to rent and shutting down those who did not comply. This crackdown is said to have cost Airbnb $10 million.

Issues with Airbnb in Berlin, Germany

Germany’s capital got so tired of Airbnb creating a rental property shortage for locals they created a law entitled “Zweckentfremdungsverbot”…

A bit of a tongue-twister, right? Roughly translating to “Anti-Airbnb” this law bans short-term leasing of properties to tourists without a city permit. Hosts in Berlin can be fined up to €100,000 for disobeying this law and you could be left without accommodation if your host is busted.

Airbnb issues throughout Europe

In 2019, ten European cities banded together and sent a joint letter to the European Commission highlighting the flaws of services like Airbnb. Cities who suffered from “explosive growth” of short-term Airbnb listings – Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brussels, Krakow, Munich, Paris, Valencia and Vienna – demanded the Commission address this issue during their next agenda.

Many Other Destinations: Illegal Subletting

Another disturbing trend with unregulated accommodation is illegal subletting. Did you know recent statistics in Australia revealed that 35% of Airbnb listings are by people who don’t even own the property, and do so without the knowledge of their landlord?

“Think of what you’d say to a neighbour if they were to ask who you are and why you’re staying there… Awkward.” ~ Alyse.

While tenants may not see an issue with secretly renting out their spare room on Airbnb for extra cash, there are risks involved for both the tenant and property owner. What the tenant fails realise is they could actually be in breach of their leasing agreement by having additional people reside in the property.

This leads to exceeding the number of people residing on the premises, handing out security keys without authorisation, no applicable insurance for issues related to subleasing, more issues regarding illegal subletting here. A tenant subletting without the permission of the property owner can result in eviction.

Airbnb's have caused issues throughout Australian cities such as Melbourne
Airbnb’s have caused issues in Australian cities such as Melbourne

2. Airbnb can have negative impacts on locals’ quality of life

This is one of the lesser-known Airbnb problems. Tourists hiring a place on Airbnb to enjoy a “cheaper” holiday actually pushes rent prices up for locals who need to live in the city. Tourists are visitors competing with locals for accommodation. The only difference is locals need it long-term, but hosts can charge tourists more for short-term stays so this is way more appealing to some.

For instance in 2018 on the Spanish island of Palma de Mallorca, tourist lets sharply increased by 50% due to demand, which in turn lead to residential rents rising by 40%. This made housing unaffordable for most local residents and pushed them out. As a result the island voted to ban Airbnb listings to make housing affordable for residents who needed to live and work.

Making the conscious decision to save a few bucks on a trip should not come at the expense of an actual local’s way of life. As invisible tourists we want to support locals of the places we visit, not make their lives more difficult!

Residents are also concerned raised Airbnb complaints about the constant stream of different tourists bumping their luggage up and down stairs in apartment blocks as well as coming and going at all hours. For long-term residents it’s easy to empathise that all the thumping and noise is bound to get annoying.

Vacant properties are negatively impacting locals in Sydney, Australia
Vacant properties are negatively impacting locals in Sydney, Australia

As someone who lives in a city where over 200,000 properties sit vacant due to landlords not renting them to locals (or anyone at all), I’ve seen first-hand how this has negatively impacted the rental market by causing prices to skyrocket as long-term rentals for locals become scarce. It isn’t really fair (or arguably ethical) on the local population trying to get by.

It’s also becoming known that some Airbnb hosts are treating their rentals as businesses. Padlocks or combination touchpads on doors rather than keys, instructions stuck around the property and “No Smoking” signs are dead giveaways that the Airbnb is being treated as a permanent holiday rental, which I mentioned previously under point #1 is probably an illegal listing. What happened to just renting out a spare room?

3. Privacy is never guaranteed

So, your host has also allowed friends to crash at their place during a stay and failed to mention it at any point. This may put a damper on the romantic weekend away planned with a partner, as the intimate moments they were hoping for may not be so intimate after all!

Recently, some stories have emerged about Airbnb hosts using sneaky hidden cameras in the bedrooms of their rentals. If that oddly-placed object or random smoke alarm appears to have a little webcam lens on closer inspection, that thing could be hooked up to the internet and the host is watching guests’ every move.

This became such a huge problem for guests, in March 2024 it led Airbnb to announce the ban of indoor security cameras for properties listed on their platform. Airbnb hosts found violating this policy would be permanently removed.

Alternatively, in a hotel we aren’t going to be left surprised with an unexpected stranger when returning to our room after a long day of sight-seeing. The likelihood of being spied on in a hotel room is much less of a risk. A hotel doesn’t need to spy on guests because they have insurance cover. It’s never ok to film someone without their consent.

If you're a lover of privacy, Airbnb is probably not for you
If you’re a lover of privacy, Airbnb is probably not for you

4. You’re at the complete mercy of the host

One of the common Airbnb host problems? Even if a room is showing available, the host has the right to change their mind and cancel a booking at a moment’s notice. Personally, I prefer to be prepared and organised, and being left in limbo a few days before a trip – with all other accommodation in the area being sold out – literally sounds like my idea of a nightmare.

In another example, imagine arriving at an Airbnb only to find two people already there hanging curtains, a TV left face-down on the lounge and a strong dog odour throughout. Animal fur, hair and dust were all over the house, it clearly hadn’t been cleaned in very long time, mouse droppings were in the kitchen and other accommodation options nearby were all sold out. Here’s how Airbnb treated these guests in this actual situation.

Airbnb have thousands of complaints about how they can’t really do anything to assist guests who are left stranded. In contrast, hotels have a lot to lose from this and will find guests a room or compensate somehow if they’ve taken their money.

Waiting around to exchange keys with your host may mean you miss a crucial flight or train trip
Waiting around to exchange keys with your host may mean you miss a crucial flight or train trip

Let’s not forget the potential issue of a host running late to meet a guest to exchange keys. This unaccounted-for delay could seriously affect the guest’s travel plans and may lead to missing a crucial flight or train to their next destination. With a hotel, checking in and out times are made clear. During that period there is always someone at the front desk when we need to leave, so it’s simple to plan our journeys.

There isn’t always time to wait around for someone to race from one side of the city to the other to collect keys!

With many Airbnbs, hosts require guests to do the washing up, take out the rubbish and may leave them with other obligations they need to fulfil before checking out. We do all that at home, sometimes it’s nice to forget about that during a holiday. 


5. Lack of safety and security regulations

Consistent standards and regulations are lacking across Airbnb rentals as they are basically private properties. Due to this hosts don’t have to follow the same strict regulations that hotels do like fire, security and safety. What fire and other types of hazards are there in a rental? Can we tell from the photos?

As mentioned earlier, illegal subletting sees a tenant distribute unauthorised copied keys to short-term visitors, resulting in unknown people in a residential block having access to building amenities. This can be a major security concern for other residents in the building who are there legally.

People who list on Airbnb also don’t have to pay for the same insurances that hotels do, therefore if anything were to happen Airbnb may not cover guests at all. This also includes theft of cash/valuables from the property, whether it was from the host, other guests or as a result of a break-in. Is there even a safe or secure place to store our valuables during your stay?

Additionally, some of the properties may not be very child friendly which is sometimes only possible to be discovered on arrival.

Is there a safe place to leave your cash and valuables?
Is there a safe place to leave your cash and valuables?

6. Bait and switch

This is one of the most annoying Airbnb problems. If you’re not familiar with this sneaky tactic, bait and switch refers to the generally illegal act of “baiting” a guest into paying for a rental that is substituted for an inferior one later down the track. The intent is never to provide the rental in the great location with amazing photos the guest paid for.

If a host is being a bit shady, they may contact the guest close to their arrival date to inform them of the change. As it’s so late-minute, the guest may be left with no other option but to accept the sub-standard accommodation they offer instead, sometimes even for more money! Know your rights if this happens to you.

You’re not obligated to accept their new offer. If your host is asking you to switch without officially changing the reservation on Airbnb, you’ll need to ask the host to cancel your reservation so you can get a full refund. If you have further issues, you’ll need to immediately call Airbnb so they can resolve the problem for you or find another place to stay, which may prove difficult if all other accommodation in the area is sold out at the time.

This fraudulent trend is becoming more and more common with Airbnb. Sure it’s also possible this can happen with smaller hotels as well, but is less likely as hotels have much more to lose by participating in this dirty practice.

You can read some Airbnb bait and switch stories here and here to give you an idea of what could happen.

If you're a victim of a bait and switch scam, you won't get the property or view you paid for
If you’re a victim of a bait and switch scam, you won’t get the property or view you paid for

7. There’s no reception, housekeeping or room service

While this may not be a deal-breaker for some, there are unseen benefits. Hotels employ dozens of locals to take care of things like housekeeping, reception, concierge services, kitchenhands and the like to keep the place running smoothly. To me, providing locals with jobs is quite important and staying in a hotel supports this cause. 

Additionally, the lack of a reception area with an Airbnb means checking in and out with a host may not be flexible enough to suit a guest’s travel plans, as I’ll expand on in point #4 below.

Another downside is there may be no place to leave your luggage after checking out, either. And what if you have an emergency and can’t speak to the local language? There is no reception to act as a translator to get you the help you need.

Room service is a nice luxury to have on occasion
Room service is a nice luxury to have on occasion (especially when you have a view like this outside!)

8. Do tourists really need an entire kitchen (and house)?

A lot of the time tourists don’t really need an entire house or apartment with a kitchen when they’re travelling short-term. Isn’t visiting a new place all about getting out there and experiencing local, authentic food? In turn this helps to support local jobs and businesses.

If not supporting locals in other ways through cultural experiences and spending, cooking some noodles in an Airbnb in an effort to save money doesn’t really help anyone. Hotels, aparthotels and other traditional forms of accommodation can also provide the basic amenities needed for a stay.

Additionally, booking an entire apartment or house on Airbnb means tourists could be inadvertently taking away long-term accommodation from a local. If the rental is being run as a business by a company who has multiple property listings, it’s usually wise to steer away from it as it goes against the original idea that Airbnb was founded on — a property owner renting out a spare room.

Why cook noodles in your kitchen when you're missing out on delicious, authentic local cuisine just outside?
Why cook noodles in your kitchen when you’re missing out on delicious, authentic local cuisine just outside?

What a lack of tourism does to neighbourhoods overrun with Airbnb listings

Now for the hidden Airbnb controversy. As we all know, in 2020 tourism completely ground to a halt due to a global event that shall not be named. This helped to starkly amplify the issues caused by short-term rentals for even the most stubborn of deniers. 

When it comes to the often unseen disadvantages of Airbnb, let’s examine the knock-on effects caused by the absence of tourism in destinations that had high percentages of unregulated accommodation listings.

Airbnb issues in Lisbon, Portugal

In the early months of 2020, there were 22,000 Airbnb listings in Lisbon. A sudden lack of tourists meant the majority of these sat empty for months.

Urban geographer Luís Mendes from Living in Lisbon stated, “[2020] has helped expose the negative aspects of Portugal’s recovery from the financial crisis, which was driven by real estate and tourism rather than a focus on the basic needs of local people.”

This excellent article about overtourism in Lisbon, Portugal highlights the need and urgency for sustainable cultural tourism if you’re interested in learning more about the topic. Unfortunately, this issue is not unique to Lisbon and is further proof of why being an invisible tourist whilst travelling is win-win for everyone. 

Airbnb issues in Barcelona, Spain

Local authorities are seeking to repossess empty short-terms rentals. If vacant properties don’t re-enter the long-term rental market for local residents, new legislation allows authorities to purchase them outright at 50% of the market value. 

The plan for seized properties is to be rented by the city as public and subsidised housing, while potentially fining the owners from 90,000- 900,000 for properties left vacant for 2 years.

Airbnb issues in Athens, Greece

According to local residents in Kaisariani, Athens, their neighbourhood actually became a “tourist hotbed” full of Airbnbs rather than a residential area.

Airbnb issues in Paris, France

As one of Airbnb’s top destinations globally, tourism to Paris took a huge hit. According to the Deputy Mayor of Paris, the city “needs to use the pandemic to address affordable housing and supply.

In the four central arrondissements of Paris, a quarter of all properties are now no longer homes but purely short-term rentals for tourists. As a result the city is planning to hold a referendum on the future of Airbnb listings.

Airbnb issues in Dublin, Ireland

One of my Ireland travel tips for tourists is to avoid unregulated accommodation such as Airbnb. Due to increased demand in short-term listings from tourists and limited supply, Dublin saw rents for local residents skyrocket and more than double from 2011 – 2019.

The sudden lack of tourists in 2020 meant 64% of short-term Airbnb listings in Dublin rushed to enter the long-term rental market instead. Great news for locals, at least!

Concluding why we should reconsider services like Airbnb

Sure, there certainly are benefits of using Airbnb if it’s done in an ethical and legal manner.

Thousands of travellers use the platform without ever having an issue. I’m not here to dispute that and I’m certainly not saying ALL hosts are bad – it’s neither fair nor accurate to paint everyone with the same brush. Besides, this opinion piece is not about that. It’s about questioning whether a service like this should be allowed to continue unregulated.

There is a time and a place for homestay accommodation. For instance, in rural areas where accommodation choices are slim services like Airbnb can actually help locals. In major cities where there already is plenty of regulated accommodation, whole property rentals by hosts listing multiple properties should be avoided in order to help preserve local life and their culture.

If short-term rentals have taught us anything, it’s now very clear that they create the likes of a horizontal hotel that spans the breadth of a city, pushing out local residents.

Let’s aim to help preserve local culture, rather than diluting it

I do think that initially the idea of Airbnb was fantastic a few years ago, where hosts would share a room of their home with a visitor who wished to experience the city like a local. Unfortunately, there are always people looking to make a quick buck, exploit the system and ruin the experience for everyone.

On an interesting (and maybe ironic) note, in the summer of 2023 Airbnb launched a new “Airbnb Rooms” initiative. Deciding to get back to their founding roots, this service allows travellers to rent out spare rooms rather than whole properties to save money. Do you agree with their reasoning?

As someone who values time more than anything else when travelling, the explosion of illegal listings, risks and ethical issues associated with Airbnb and the like do not outweigh the benefits of staying in a hotel for me personally. Considering that a pair of YouTubers also pranked Airbnb by listing a dollhouse and made $3,000 worth of bookings, it really begs the question of how much listings are actually checked.

By ignoring local laws, causing negative impacts on locals’ quality of life and lack of consistent standards, I believe unregulated homestay accommodation is unethical and I’m sorry to say for these reasons cannot support it.

What are your thoughts on these Airbnb problems? Do you feel the same? Let me know in the comments below! If you found this article helpful or you learnt something new, please share it or take a look at my popular travel guides and itineraries and my book for more ways to help you NOT look like a tourist on your next trip.

Alternatively, I’d love if you could join me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and TikTok for more travel tips and inspiration!

Until next time,

The Invisible Tourist

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Why You Shouldn’t Use Airbnb: 8 Troubling Issues You Didn’t Know | The Invisible Tourist

Featured image & New York pin image credit: Unsplash
Paris pin image credit: Chris Karidis
Airbnb logo used under Wikimedia Commons

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  1. I love staying at Airbnbs, so coming to terms with the fact that, in general, short term housing has negative effects on local social and economic structures is not easy for me.

    I am about to (hopefully) live in Spain for a year, and am not even going to go to the Canary islands, and probably several other places – the strain of tourism in those areas is so bad I don’t feel I can go at all. I don’t want to go someplace where people are doing hunger strikes and posting signs about how I am negatively impacting their livelihood, and contributing to homelessness etc. With the surge of digital nomads, cheaper and cheaper budget airlines, and more and more social media influencers chasing exotic video and picture-worthy destinations for higher amounts of likes, we are going to have to figure this sustainable tourism thing out. I was chatting about this in a Facebook group, and someone mentioned that boycotting Airbnb is, in her opinion, the #1 way to travel sustainably.

    Of course, there is nuance – I think staying with someone / renting a room of their house is very different than renting a whole unit. It would not jack up rental prices for locals in the same way, it would not allow hoards of tourists to disturb the peace, and it is a much more culturally rich experience, where the host is also present instead of sometimes being completely absent/ a business owner. Also, at least in the U.S. there are towns where I don’t think there are enough Airbnbs to have the effect of raising local rental prices.

    I think some commenters’ strong reactions to this post are simply due to not wanting to give Airbnb up, or feeling defensive about the idea that we are adding our small contribution to an industry that in general causes harm to local communities. (I will kindly say, though, that some sections of this article feel exaggerated, to those of us who have loved using Airbnb and never had any of the problems you described, and that exaggerated feeling may be impacting the feeling of credibility of the overall article/ weakening your main argument that Airbnb is problematic).
    Thanks for posting.

  2. Great article! I live in Venice Ca where there are Airbnb’s everywhere- there is a man in the Airbnb right next door to me and he is staying for 5 months. He has intermittent screaming, raging, cursing episodes- it’s been very unnerving. And needless to say the owners, who live elsewhere, are not going to do anything about. They are making a ton of money I am sure. It begs the question about safety. What about people that are not mentally stable that come to stay and move right into your back yard (essentially)? I am sure that there have been at least a few issues with guest that are unstable or even dangerous, And I can imagine that some one who is up to no good would be attracted to the ability to blend in and then easily moving from one Airbnb to the next, It’s been really disturbing and concerning.

  3. I gave up trying to use them as the registration process for a potential accommodation booker was onerous, intrusive and illogical. Why does the company need a photo of you as well as a photo of your passport or driving licence ? Other well know booking sites like Booking.com or official destination websites don’t ask for this ! An accommodation provider that I might have stayed at (if I had got through the registration process ) said she would not have received a photo of me to identify me as the guest so why do they need this personal data ?!
    I also agree with the detrimental effects the practice can have in many popular cities and areas where other people need to rent year round and are priced out
    Not sure how many Airbnb providers do pay tax either so unfair in contrast to more official bed and breakfasts or self catering units.

    1. I agree with you Hyacinth about providing sensitive passport information. How can we be sure what is done with it afterwards?
      They ask for it because it means there will be no one there to sight it when you check in. Thanks for reading!

  4. I understand your perspective and opinions. I have say though, I much prefer Airbnb to hotels. Many times, we stay in small towns or out in tge country where Airbnb is the only option. Try renting a hotel room in Mendota, VA! I also like that Airbnbs are homes and not hotel rooms. They offer more peace and Serenity most of the time. We like Airbnb to the point that we don’t look for hotels anymore unless there is not an airbnb option.

  5. I have a small cabin in northern Michigan & what was a quiet haven with loons, eagles & other nature surroundings is now party central. Loud families, drunks, kids throwing rocks at the loons… If every short term vacation rental home burned down, I’d celebrate. They destroy residential areas, drive housing prices too high for residents & somehow they get by with running a business in a residential neighborhood. They’ve legislated business ownership in residential areas so really the law doesn’t mean anything anymore. I hope there’s a housing crash and every single short term vacation rental owner loses their investment. They will deserve it.

  6. Was this paid for by the hotel industry? Sure sounds like it. I’ve travelled to many countries and always used Airbnbs with no issue. Way more space for a family, way more personal experience than an anonymous chain hotel can ever offer.

    1. Hi, as mentioned in my previous comments, I would need to disclose if this article had been sponsored, which it isn’t.
      The multi-billion dollar hotel industry does not need little ol’ me to defend them.
      As I’ve also mentioned in previous other comments, I think you may have missed the point of the article because it’s not about whether individuals have positive stays or not.

  7. When my husband and I travel, given the high cost of flights to Europe, we make the most of it and are away for a minimum of one month. We need a washer and dryer. Can’t find that in a hotel room. Laundry services are overpriced. AirBnB or VBROs have them. We have used them several times, never had a bad experience. Can honestly say we have had several bad experiences with hotels. For the same price or less, we can rent accommodation with living room, bedroom, kitchen and dining area. Why stay in a 300 sq ft room with one bathroom for the same price…..and no washing machine?

  8. There is so much to unpack here. I’ve used air b b’s and only had one experience that wasn’t so great. However, I think it’s concerning that hotels are held to such a high standard of:
    * ADA compliance
    * safety – working smoke alarms, fire extinguishers
    * taxes
    * noise/zoning compliance
    * building/safety inspections
    I’ve stayed at some hotels that were not as clean as the air b n’b’s I’ve stayed at. However, I think it is only fair that Air b n’b as a company needs to maintain a standard that is consistent with the other short term rentals. The housing that is used for air b n’b needs to be inspected by air b’n b as right now they are really benefitting from the loose standards. Air b n’b needs to be collecting mandatory taxes as well and do a good job of oversight, as otherwise small rural counties have to find additional money to do code enforcement, inspections & so on.
    What I see also happening is that the infrastructure in all of these areas is being severely impacted as well by Air b n’b (esp. when small houses are torn down & replaced w/larger houses to house more short term tenants) – and the full time residents are being taxed to cover this. The service industry workers can’t locate housing anymore and many others are being negatively impacted.
    I don’t know the entire answer, but Air B n’B has been benefitting from the not having to inspect, maintain inspection, provide true customer service to those impacted above and not having to make sure taxes were submitted properly. Since Air bn’b is no longer “just rooms in someone’s house,” they need to play by the same rules as hotels and not just try to play dumb when hosts end up having safety infractions, not paying taxes and not following zoning/code rules. Their business model is basically all profit, except for the outsourced “customer service” jobs and advertising. This isn’t fair to the people who live in any of those neighborhoods.

  9. About 5 years ago, I booked an AirBnB for several days as I had started a new contract job that was too far from my home to commute daily. The room I booked was to have included private use of the living areas and kitchen as well as a private bathroom. I arrived at the property to find it was already occupied by others. The room was literally just that – a single room off a hallway with several others rooms, all of which shared a bathroom. Security on my room’s door was a flimsy hasp with lock. The bathtub was filthy and there were floaters in the toilet. The kitchen was in use at the time of my arrival by other renters. As a single female, I didn’t feel safe at all let alone was totally grossed out by the condition of the rental. I fled! Contacted the host, told them I was canceling the rental and booked myself a local hotel room. Host didn’t want to give me my money back, despite the fact that this was a clear example of dishonest advertising on the rental. When I contacted AirBnB, they initially didn’t want to give me my money back despite the fact that I had pictures to back up my story. But told me their policy is to try to work something out with the host and require a minimum of 4 hours time in which to do so and as I hadn’t followed policy, they weren’t going to refund my money. They eventually relented but it took weeks and a lot of effort and persistence on my part. I had already worked a full day. It was late and I was tired. Not to mention, totally sketched out for my safety. I did eventually get my money back. But lesson learned.

  10. Just recently made an accidental booking and had given my credit card details. I immediately cancelled it but the cancellation fee charged me 90% the entire month stay. From 56k they refunded about 2400. The support services told me the host were not responding and they can’t help me. I was wondering if someone had the same experience in the Philippines so i can file small claims and file local laws to regulate them in the local government units. These should not go on unregulated. It also charges taxes not remitted to local business taxes and national vat taxes

    1. Yikes, Roehl! I hope you’re able to get more back, but it is an important reminder to always read the cancellation policies for each listing before booking. Good luck!

  11. Such a tough debate.
    On one hand, it helps regular people make some money and get ahead but on the other, it’s stopping communities from forming and people who live and work in the area from being able to afford places. There needs to be stricter rules on it.

  12. I’ve had an AIRBNB “sculpture enclave” for 13 years now in a good, convenient part of Tucson, Arizona. Most of my visitors are students, nurses, and in the winter “snowbird” tourists seeking respite from the cold. As a professional artist, and a senior on a tight budget, I can honestly say AIRBNB has made it possible for me to keep my home. For people like myself, the extra income AIRBNB has provided is a life saver.
    Because I travelled extensively in Europe and the UK in my youth, staying at inexpensive B&B’s and homestays. I wanted to provide something like that, first for students of my own who came for art class vacations, and then for visitors on a budget. So I made a big garden with 4 “tiny houses”, and some shared areas like outdoor kitchens. Mostly it’s worked well, and I have made so many friends and met such interesting people over the years!
    AIRBNB has changed over the years………..I try to create a friendly environment with the possibility of conversations and friendships happening among my guests, and often that is successful, although increasingly people seclude themselves, and behave as if my home and sculpture garden was a Motel 6. I’ve become used to people staying here a month, three months, and never making a single comment about the art they are living among, or the garden. In fact, in the case of younger people, as they walk by in the morning on their way to their cars with a cellphone in hand and earplugs, I seem to be invisible. It’s not the world I knew in my youth, and yes, all that you mention in this post is true. But there are also a lot of people like me who take pride, always with the hope of friendliness, courtesy, and appreciation. We’re not motels, we are sharing our homes.

  13. We just had a VERY horrible experience outside of Toronto with a “SUPER HOST” Here is their information below – incase you are considering staying at any of their places. My husband, myself, our adult daughter and boyfriend took a trip to Niagara Falls and Toronto over the 4th of July. We came across this place located 1/2 way between the two areas we were visiting. We literally only used the place for somewhere to sleep, arrived later in the evening the first day and was back to the place late the next night, and pretty much went right to sleep, woke up, got ready and left. We received a notification after our stay from Airbnb that the host accused us of breaking an extremely cheap chair we NEVER used. There are 4 of us that can attest to it. The host is not required to send any proof other than their word along with a picture that it was broken? The chair sat on a triangle like support system with 3 thin legs and one was separated from the base. You would have to flip over the chair and inspect it to notice there is a leg not completely attached – funny that someone would inspect their furniture that closely unless they knew it was broke and wanted to wait to put it on the next person staying there??? Who know it seems so extreme to us. Clearly Airbnb does not want to be bothered handling any complaints – there is no number to contact a live person, never gave us information on what to expect when we stay at this Airbnb – ie check all the furniture, run all the appliances to make sure they are working, I can go on and on but what is the point of using an Airbnb if you can be accused this easily of something in the home that was never used and the host is automatically awarded the claim? Does he keep records of every inspection of the home he does in between renters – especially since he doesn’t live there? We had access to the apartment when we got there using a key code – that btw it was not safely secured to the exterior wall. We again were not looking for anything other than a place to sleep and get ready to go do the different places we had planned and we are now getting accused of breaking a chair we never used. The chair is an outdoor patio chair with a max weight of 250 lbs. Did everyone get weighed before they stayed there to make sure they didn’t exceed the weight limit to lessen the integrity of the chair???? Very cheap piece of furniture to have in a home for renting to people. All of these points and them some were emailed to Airbnb and they only responded that we have to pay for it.
    Hosted by Carstin
    Joined in December 2013
    449 Reviews

  14. I would never stay in an Airbnb. Since the inception of Airbnb that company has spent millions of dollars to suppress and hide bad things that happen to guests of airbnbs.
    I will continue to stay in a hotel where the employees are trained, the environment is safe, and where me and my family will be safe. I will stay in a hotel where standards are maintained and where they have trained security personnel etc etc

  15. Alysse May I suggest that in your future travels you please select an Airbnb for yourself.
    Your article heavily favors hotel stays. You also blame hosts and Airbnb for lack of affordable housing. Cities and developers have for generations denied people affordable housing. Now, you make seem as if the individual property owner is the single cause of housing shortage in the world.

    Your article takes the exceptions out of context. There are millions of nightly stays on Airbnb and they occur without any incident.
    It would be accurate to state that some of those stays probably had issues. The issues could have created by the host or the guest.
    For example, last years I hosted 501 stays at my Airbnb listings.
    Never cancelled on any guest. Had ONE guest blatantly violate my house rules and had the group ejected from the property.
    All other stays were delightful.
    In 7 years of hosting we rate a 4.8 out of 5. That’s based on honest and in some cases dishonest feedback.

    Stay in 50 Airbnbs in 50 different cities and right an accurate article based on those experiences.
    Not based on the listing your girlfriend let you crash in during her Airbnb stay. The bait and switch you describe fits more a hotel than an Airbnb. Hotels show a picture of a room on their website. Not the room you’ll be staying in.
    On Airbnb, the pictures must match the listing that you actually booked. Come to Miami and stay at our place.

    1. Thanks for sharing your opinion, Ben!
      This article is based on numerous sources I have cited from around the globe, not on a one-off stay with my friends (which I did say was fine and had no issues).
      It just wasn’t for me, and the growing evidence globally against short-term vacation rentals confirmed what I had already thought, hence this article.

      As I mentioned in the article, not all hosts are bad, and some hotels can also have issues.

      For reasons I’ve stated, I won’t be staying in Airbnbs. This article isn’t about reviewing different Airbnb experiences. It’s about bringing problems to light some folks may not have been aware of.

      While short-term vacation rentals are not the only contributing factor to housing crises globally, as we have examined they are a significant one in popular tourism destinations so I refuse to contribute to it. Thanks for reading!

      1. I am personally fighting the STR situation in our town of Port Angeles, WA. I have seen the movement grow to the point where the housing is just not available any longer for residents. We have lots of job opportunities, but no long term rentals or homes that are available for a reasonable price. Every seller knows the market here is for someone from OUT of town to buy up and rent out with Airbnb. Few owners are even living in town – just buying up and hiring managers to operate their rentals. I am fighting it in my neighborhood now because the STR owners are in clear violation of city Zoning Codes. I’ve had to personally report 15 – in just my neighborhood! That doesn’t account for the rest of the illegal STR’s operating here. I would like to point out that, to the best of my knowledge, the sites like Airbnb don’t require background checks – and that concerns me as we have young children and live 1.5 blocks from an elementary school.
        It is definitely a problem and I won’t rest until these are regulated more fiercely. It’s unacceptable.

    2. Why Ben?? So that Alyse can then contribute to the demise of community? What this article fails to talk about are the se*ual assaults, lack of safety standards for guest and community, the increased strain on local law enforcement, sanitation, and government to manage. All of which impacts local taxes. Locals don’t eat take out every night overflowing trash cans with litter. ARB guest don’t support schools, sports programs, reading programs, meals on wheels they just suck up the housing from those that do. What about neighbors rights to privacy we live with a hotel now directly looking in our windows sometimes on all sides! Communities with amenities…work all week look forward to using the previously quiet pool, tennis court, whatever on the weekend only to be overtaken but somebodies illegal/legal hotel or how about just going to enjoy your backyard but nope every weekend their is a new group of entitled arseholes. There is a lot of talk about noise and understandably drunks slamming uber car doors at all hours of the night, parties from strangers Do NOT tell me homestay x gives a damn, so many out of control parties and x does NOTHING!! Complain to homestay x they just give the host identifiable information of who complained…think the complaining resident(s) get harrassed/intimidated…YEP! Homestays do NOT give a damn about neighbors. we talked alot about noise, what about the litter, vomit, urination that takes place in our communities from drunken tourist in residential areas.Then you have the severe light pollution from 1,000 watt lightbulbs going on and off at all hours. No rule against directly aligned windows fire hazard…yep…serious nuisance to neighbors….YEP. Then their is the parking problems, blocking in locals trying to go to work, taking street parking locals depend on, taking locals parking outright because they only need it for 15 minutes, uhm how is your poor choices the neighbors problem?? Community is NOT just a building! It is the little old lady whose husband died last year, it is the deaf/autistic child, it the vet with PTSD, neighbors look out for each other they check in on each other. We help out the woman struggling to take care of an aged parent or new mother spent with crying baby. Neighbors support each other..Homestays degrade that delicate tapestry that is community and are exploiting communities, residents, local law enforcement, fire departments, welfare, Affordable housing programs for their own financial gain. Home stays undermine all of this by not ACTIVELY supporting local laws, actively ensuring an equitable balance, actively taking taxes out of stay fees across the board, actively monitoring and ADDRESSING neighbors/resident concerns. What I have seen of these Homestay Companies and their host they act like mobsters. Just because something is legal does not mean it is Ethical and since these Homestay companies refuse to validate legal status before posting…just because it is available does not mean it is legal.

  16. I’ve read many of comments for both sides of the fence, let me say not once did this article (Alyse) say that ALL ABnB experiences or hosts are bad, it was about education and choices you can make. and She has has always said these are her own opinions and /or experiences. its strange how many of the negative replies include attacks, but Alyse has always been pleasant and accepting, of opposing opinions.
    Come on guys chill.
    on a side note i am from Australia, where ABnB has pushed the rental prices through the roof, beyond belief

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Gregga!
      I think there are a good portion of commenters that have skimmed the headings and drawn their conclusion from those, rather than reading the article to its full extent.
      But it’s ok, they are entitled to their opinions as well.
      I appreciate your support 😊

  17. This article hit the nail on the head. I’ve had similar experiences with AirBnb, where most stays were positive, but ultimately, I’d rather support local businesses and not be the target of someone’s review while I’m on holiday. It’s also interesting how hosts who own multiple units are not subject to accessibility standards, which is troubling when you realize how restrictive they can be to people who are mobility-challenged. I recently stayed at an Airbnb with a group, and the staircase had no overhead lighting, no proper handrail, and the stairs themselves were steep attic stairs. The host was not transparent about this issue, and it made for a very stressful experience. I’ll try to persuade the group next time to stay at a boutique hotel or real B&B.

  18. So you have some very valid points. One issue I’ve faced with Airbnb is bedding arrangements not being clear. For instance saying the property sleeps 6 when in reality it only sleeps 4. I now know how to make sure that doesn’t become an issue. Also, Airbnb is not always the cheaper option, which has surprised me several times.

    I started using Airbnb when we went from being a family of four to a family of five and at that time my children were 12, 9, and 1. Getting two hotel rooms was expensive and often difficult to find adjoining lock off rooms. So, Airbnb has saved me numerous times in this situation.

    I found your post though because my step father is doing something that has me very concerned, (he does many things in general but this one has me afraid for my mother’s safety). He has acquired an Airbnb hosts private contact information and made a deal as he puts it “through the back door “. To get the property holder to reduce their rate. While Airbnb provides little to no customer service if things go wrong, there are at least some protections . I’m extremely concerned they are going to show up at their remote destination and find no accommodation or one that isn’t safe. So many problems!

    1. Always communicate through the app. ALWAYS. This goes for hosts and guests. If something illegal happens or against terms, it is much easier for Airbnb to help. But in your dads case Airbnb wouldn’t be able to help at all.

  19. Interesting article. My boyfriend and I rent Airbnbs almost exclusively year round. We obviously prefer it to hotels. You almost always get more value for less money (in my opinion). It’s nice to have your own place with kitchen/washer & dryer. We haven’t had much of the problems you describe over the course of the last four years. We had one host cancel, but Airbnb support contacted us almost immediately to help us find another similar available rental and they gave us a $323 coupon to cover the price difference. We have enough income but poor credit, so it’s often difficult to get approved for longer term rentals; I wonder if Airbnb has kept us from being homeless for some periods. Airbnb also gives locals in some areas the opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have had to rent out their room or property in competition to large hotel chains and provides more choices to both hosts and renters. Just another perspective. Cheers.

    1. That relates to something I was going to say: the value-for-money (and to some extent the community impact) can depend heavily on your travel group and how long you’re staying. For two people staying 3 nights, the savings often aren’t worth the uncertainty, the potential for sneaky fees. Find a nice indie hotel and you kinda get the best of both, quality control and a connection with the locals.

      If we’re talking about a family of four staying for a month though, apartments can be a way better deal (either Airbnbs or apartment hotels). Plus you’re probably not going to be one of those people banging your suitcase up and down the stairs every few days or partying every weekend. You’re living there, albeit briefly.

  20. We have an airbnb in our street. It is illegal and unlicensed by the council. It has never been checked as safe for rental accommodation.

    Whilst you may be a perfect airbnb user it does not mean everyone who has stayed there before has.

    We have had weekend after weekend of strangers turning up and partying. Drug use, loud noise, police visits, overflowing bins and rubbish washing down the street.

    Everyone in the street hates it. We hate everyone who stays there.

    Told airbnb and they did very little. They said they had advised the owner and told the the owner that they must comply with the local law. Airbnb consider the matter closed. This is what they call neighbourhood support. The listing is still there.

    If you use airbnb you are contributing to the suffering of others.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear all that. I hope the situation will improve for you soon, surely if enough people are affected in your neighbourhood they may have to do something!

    2. What Airbnb has to do with this? Owner is responsible for making his place safe for surroundings, so sue him.

  21. thank you for your article – i couldn’t agree more. I believe when traveling one responsible tourist actually wants to meet people thinking the same way – the right way. In order to achieve this one should be independent – on the opposite side are corporate and individual interests.
    But there was something else that made me search and finally find your page. While trying to register in that platform i was told they knew details about the use of my last passport, details only government i thought should know. How on earth did they know? Are they in direct line with all government agencies assisting them? My first response was i am being watched and this should be illegal. I decided i don’t want to have anything with them. This should be exposed i believe – what do you think?

    1. That is a very interesting and concerning question, ny! If that is the case it’s surprising, but also kind of isn’t. I guess it wouldn’t be the first time 😔

  22. Thank you for this article.
    I’ve come to use Airbnb in the past few years since having young children. It can be a lifesaver having a home-like environment with all the amenities. However I have also encountered many problems and am fed up! I just had airbnb host cancel a 3 month stay in Berlin, this is for a work exchange trip. It is so difficult to find accommodation for this length of stay – too short for long term rentals so Airbnb seemed like a good option with a decent long-term stay discount applied. However host can cancel whenever they want, I’ve been anxious this very thing would happen & it just did.

    Also recently encountered a host that made us clean everything to standard for the next guest (and it turned out to be dirty and mouldy) and we had to bring our own linens, make up beds, it was not a cheap place either close to $300AUD per night! In Australia where I usually live very common to have lockbox option with no interaction with host in person, often the host doesn’t even live in the same city! We’ve encountered horribly uncomfortable beds, old and dodgy/broken furniture. Old expired food left in cupboards.

    I recently stayed in a holiday apartment through booking.com and the comparison wow, I contacted them at midnight asking for a cot as we arrived late, wasn’t expecting a reply but she offered to bring it over right then. It was so clean and fresh and comfortable it felt like luxury and the price was the same as the average Airbnb is now, with their rising prices but quality is getting worse. Like you say should be just for renting a room & having a local experience. My first Airbnb experience was amazing, 5 years ago staying with the hosts in their home. I’ll admit with children I’ve been lured into the entire home experience but I’m going to try to find alternatives as much as I can I hate what it’s doing to the locals and we are in a housing crisis. People need these homes to live in.

    Sorry for the long comment, but another thing I’ll add is hosts reviewing guests they never meet can feel weird and invasive (obviously it’s important when you’re sharing with a host as per original format). The host can leave a review saying you didn’t clean the place to hotel standard after charging you an extortionate cleaning fee & hotel prices! It’s having their cake & eating it too. Getting away with little to no cleaning costs (or employing a local as you said).

    1. What a shame, Bec! The host being able to cancel as they please is a huge downside to the platform, making it somewhat unreliable. And as you say about hosts adding the cleaning fee/BYO linens then expecting guests to clean up mess that they didn’t create (even mould in your case), the costs and drawbacks can easily exceed that of regulated accommodation. Sounds like some hosts are profiting off the cleaning fee without getting actual cleaners in between bookings. We know this is not all hosts of course, but as you said, it’s having their cake and eating it too! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I hope you were able to find some alternative accommodation in Berlin 🙂

  23. You cannot pay air bnb to take down negative reviews. You do not need camera footage to collect on an insurance claim that’s ridiculous. You don’t need video evidence to make a claim on stolen or damaged property in your own home so why someone would think that would be so in a business idk. If I were like “I got you on the secret footage I took!” I would immediately be shut down and banned and maybe arrested. A host can only cancel twice in a calendar year it has a hefty fine and the third time you are banned from the site. If someone were hosting and randomly let STRANGERS in to stay (which is just crazy), they would most likely be shut down. I do not like how you describe these issues like they are on going common practices among the air bnb community when really you are just describing isolated incidents with probably short lived hosts it’s very biased, unrealistic and lacks perspective. I don’t know how it is for the rest of the world but here in the U.S. I am happy to see people traveling. Not all people travel for pleasure either sometimes an air bnb is much more practical. I (I am a host) recently hosted a family of 8 in town for a funeral, they paid about half they would at a hotel and all had the choice to spread out or have meals at the table together etc. Cheap meals they cooked themselves. ALL of the poor experiences from my locals/neighbors (and even the ppl you describe in your write up) are from bad guests, not hosts (could be bad guest vetting too) but tbh most guests are great and better than LTR’s. Lastly, WHY would I leave money on the table for big time hotel chains when I can have some of that myself?

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Megan! I am also so glad to see people travelling again and understand not everyone travels for leisure.
      When I lived in New Zealand I stayed in a serviced apartment so my visitors and I could share meals together if we weren’t dining out.

    2. Megan K, There are obviously lots of different experiences across the world for both Airbnb hosts and guests – but I can’t comprehend how you can ignore so much of the accurate and deplorable issues that this article covers. You are just looking at it from your own point of view and don’t care about the extensive damage that this concept of renting out is creating for so many locals and people who are trapped in lower income brackets. It’s just disgusting that affordable housing is disappearing all over the developed world in the name of capitalist greed. I have just found out that the tenant in one of my UK properties has been Airbnb-ing my flat without my permission and, therefore illegally, for 18 months. That means my landlord’s insurance was invalid in that time and that is illegal for me. I have evicted the tenant in a city which has the least availability for rentals and he will get an honest/derogatory reference from me when he tries to rent again. Airbnb facilitates all this suffering for people. They are disgusting in their lack of due diligence plus everything else that Alyse points out in the article.

  24. Unfortunately running my properties as long term rentals was not viable as I was forced to leave my job due to the birth of my son who was born with a disability and he required my full time support. This coupled with the fact that landlords were losing more and more of their rights and my properties were negatively geared and I couldn’t possibly afford to keep them. The timing of both these problems coincided and I switched to Airbnb which I run as a business and not a charity – why should I. I worked very hard from a very young age I purchased my first property on my own and sacrificed a lot to do it. Switching to airbnb has meant I have been able to support my family and support my young son. I still employ local people to clean my properties and I offer a wonderful experience for my guests. I am hosting legally. Not once have I canceled on a guest before or make them pay for damage. I receive wonderful reviews. My experience from a hosting perspective has been wonderful. By hosting on Airbnb I have not taken anything from the local rental market, I was taking my houses off the market when I lost my rights as landlord anyway as so many other landlords have done. To say it’s irresponsible to book through Airbnb is ludicrous. I won’t waste too much of my time putting my point of view as you can’t argue with ignorance. Go buy a house and stop hating on Airbnb.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Selena!
      People running their Airbnbs as you are aren’t the problem 😉
      To counter your concluding comments, being a homeowner makes one empathise more with people who are having unregulated accommodation ruin their neighbourhoods.

    2. I Selena, I assume you live in Australia given mention of negative gearing.
      It sounds like you are a good host however it is difficult if not impossible to know which hosts are following laws and guidelines the quality varies widely.
      If your Airbnb was previously a long term rental that was easy to tenant then yes you are taking away a rental from someone who needs it, especially if it’s in an area with a housing shortage (which is most of Aus atm). I am a landlord myself of two properties rented on long term leases so I do understand your frustrations around long term renting however also recognise tenants don’t have a lot of rights here compared to other countries. We have a housing affordability problem that makes it hard for renters and property owners alike so I appreciate in your circumstances Airbnb is working for you & helping you cover costs, but please don’t try to invalidate peoples experiences or the truth of what’s happening. A lot needs to be done at policy level to fix Australia’s housing problems, Airbnb is a part of that problem. It’s not about doing away with it altogether but making it more fair for everyone.

      1. “Please don’t try to invalidate peoples experiences or the truth of what is happening…. It’s not about doing away with it altogether but making it more fair for everyone.” Brilliantly said, Bec 🙌

      2. Thanks Bec, you’ve neglected to recognise that as a home owner from the age of 23, it is not responsibility to provide long term rental properties to others. There is no long term rental shortage in my regional town, I don’t live onthe Gold Coast or similar where these issues are occurring. It is not a country wide problem. I pay my taxes, I don’t know why you think I should give more. I provide for my own family whom I am responsible for, I will not be guilted by anyone into providing for unrelated extras. A government public housing crisis is not an individual citizen’s responsibility. I am not taking away from the long term rental market. As mentioned previously when landlords lost their rights my decision was to either sell or Airbnb, I wasn’t keen on long term anymore due to lack of rights and affordability as I was forced to quit my job due to my son and my properties being negitively geared…as previously mentioned. I disagree with the ‘making it fair for everyone’, I recall at 23 many of my friends were traveling the world, partying etc, making their own choices as I made mine. I never complained that it wasn’t fair, everyone makes their own choices in life and just because someone sacrifices early on shouldn’t mean they should be penalized later in life for having foresight.

      3. You need to get your facts straight, because Airbnb is not taking anything from locals or anyone.

        If you really feel bad for locals who are being priced out of the market then talk to your local politician they need to sort out these issues.

        You are also forgetting that if somebody can’t afford to live in a certain area then maybe they should MOVE to an area they can afford!

        There have been housing issues even before Airbnb, it personally doesn’t matter to me, but I feel like everybody’s making excuses to find someone else to blame other than the city itself because all this starts in your city.

        If I rent two rooms in my house, that’s not going to change or help anybody let’s be honest.

        It’s a shame how people can get together just to blame and complain.

        How about we actually find solutions?

        1. Power1, As mentioned in my article and in numerous comments here over time, a local sharing a room or two in their house – provided they are not breaking any local laws – was never the issue this article was written to address.

  25. Hello,
    Our neighbourhood has been totally destroyed by an An unhosted and unmanaged AirBNB. So totally wrong. Considering we bought this property before this happened 3 years later. 14 years on we are now going through the stress of it all where had to complain to our Local Shire for the second time. Just a party house, people in our yard, banging on the door, mess from everything to wheelie bin to rubbish/scraps thrown over the fence. They had no approval at the time under our Shire Planning which has been done, but to no avail as owners do not live in this town.
    We are totally disgusted with unmanaged and unhosted AirBNB.

    1. So sorry to hear, Jan! That’s terrible.
      Keep pushing! Maybe if you can get together with some other neighbours you may be able to get through to local council?
      So typical of the owner to not even live nearby so they don’t have to deal with issues such as these 🙄
      Wishing you the best of luck in this horrible situation and hope you can have it resolved.

      1. One major problem we have in Canada and parts of the USA is that renters have so many “rights” and you can’t evict them even if they don’t pay you rent. Then you have to pay the electricity because it would be illegal to cancel. I won’t be renting to locals anytime soon. Collecting rents, damages to the property, and no controls over how many people stay are one big headache. I would rather do Airbnb for sure.

  26. We’ve used airbnb for holidays without much thought for the consequences for locals having read your article I am sorry for that. It is obvious (or should have been), and we should have known better (but didn’t). Be that as it may, we’ve had a hard lesson which will reform us. A last minute change of plan when visiting Montreal led to cancelling a hotel stay and booking an airbnb place that had excellent reviews, clean, convenient, etc. etc. We found it was convenient all right, but also dirty, damp. and lacking adequate ventilation and natural light.
    As we arrived too late to look for alternative accommodation we stayed the night – a mistake (try sleeping on a damp mattress) – but alerted the owner next day. She came to ‘negotiate’ but basically denied anything was amiss, despite the evidence of her own eyes (and the numerous photos we took to substantiate our complaint).
    Airbnb accepted her version of events, despite the photographic evidence we submitted (We wonder whether they even looked at the photos.), and denied we had any case for even a partial refund. As a result, since we lack any means of legal redress, we are out of pocket several hundred pounds.
    We won’t be using airbnb again, and would strongly advise anyone else to avoid them, take a bit more time and possibly spend a bit more and book through a responsible organisation.

    1. Hi Dave,
      I’m sorry to hear about your experience, that’s no good!
      I wrote this article to raise awareness about the issues associated with unregulated homestay accommodation, so even if it’s helped one person reconsider using these kinds of services, it was worth it 😊
      It’s a shame you had to have an awful experience, though. We live and learn I guess 😅
      Thanks for reading and taking the time to share your experience!

  27. A most recent issue we had as guests: after our departure, the host notified us that they had found a window blind partially damaged. We had not noticed it that but took ownership of the matter and immediately offered to remedy the situation.
    The reason I am reporting this is that it turns out that AirBnb offers zero guest protections in what is a unilateral, non-transparent, not- equitable process.
    Basically, the host can (and will) issue a refund request on the basis of a quote they themselves obtained, and where they are under no compulsion to prove that the refund request is proportionate to the damage, or that the replacement is of the same quality and materials of the alleged damaged ones. As far as you know, as guests you may be little by little helping the host to renovate the property to a higher standard.
    Nor does AirBnb appear to follow up any requests to have these mattes independently assessed.
    Lesson learned and AirBnb is now a thing of the past for us.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that, JB.
      I have been receiving a few private messages about this very thing happening to guests recently.
      It’s wise to be aware!

  28. I have a large historic ranch with freestanding apartments. As a senior short term rentals allow me to stay here and provide an opportunity for guests to interact with goats, alpaca, chickens and a horse. I have family visits so do not want long term rentals.
    Airbnb allows me to share. However post-pandemic there are so many scammers, squatters, and grifters, short term is so much safer than lease or long term Rentals. This sort of reality is creating more short term payoff rather than trying to deal with an Uber tenant slanted legal culture. This reduces lease able rental pools. Rent control in this crazy inflation is also not tenable.

    1. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Linda!
      I agree with you in your particular situation, short term rentals would be favourable. Sounds like you have plenty of room and can offer a unique experience for guests. The main problem is when unregulated accommodation is used in cities where there are already housing shortages in high-density areas. Those short-term rentals create many issues as I’ve addressed in the article. Thanks for your comment!

      1. A major difference is that AirBnBs in cities are more likely than hotels in the same area to offer a pool and free self parking. If I’m already paying a lot for a rental car because I’m on a regional roadtrip, the last thing I want is paid hotel parking and the risk a valet dents it up. Sometimes I have the car for just a day here and there with mass transit stuff in between. Sometimes the car rates are much cheaper to consolidate the outdoor/out of town stuff and rent for a full week. Sometimes I can stitch together a one-way into the city and another when I’m ready to leave. Good parking on-site eliminates a bottleneck and increases flexibility.

  29. This is such a great well thought article. So much of what has been said here rings true with me, and reading the comments it is clear there is a ground swell of negativity toward this peer to peer disruptive technology. I am trying to fight the corner for individual, community and society here in the UK, before it is too late. Developers and speculators are buying up property here left right and centre with the sole intention of letting as short term holiday lets, all without planning permission and regulation. In a typical seaside town holiday lets outnumber residential lets my around 30 to 1. 15 years ago (maybe eve 5) those properties would of been available for local residents to live. When you make this argument you just look like a NIMBY, and people will say, well look what it does for tourism. But close analysis is demonstrating to me that these peer to peer lets are not doing very much for tourism at all. Search Rightmove and see how many residential lets are available in your area, then search the holiday let portals and see how many private holiday lets there are, when the result shocks you make these numbers known to your local MPs and ask them what they plan to do about it. Regulation, Licensing and Taxation would be at the top of my list.
    I have for just one week been working on my website Real Neighbours that tries to raise awareness of these issues.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Tony UK!
      I’m sorry to hear developers have been buying up properties in your residential neighbourhoods for the sole purpose of turning them into vacation rentals – this is not okay for locals trying to get by. Good on you for also trying to raise awareness to this issue!

      1. Thankyou for this article Alyse. Airbnb’s are ruining our neighborhood. One host, who’s charging 800.00 a night is building another ADU and an in ground pool on his property in the hopes of getting 2,500 a night like the neighbor 4 doors down who also hosts an Airbnb. Nothing affordable about those prices unless 10 people come and share the cost which then is a crowd issue. The whole Airbnb thing has a sleazy/ greedy element to it now. No Thankyou. I’m going to share your article at our next community meeting.

        1. I’m so sorry to hear that, Janet. I certainly agree with you about the crowd issue!
          Here’s hoping your community can band together and minimise the disruption to your neighbourhood.

  30. Thanks for a great, well-researched article. I’d like to add that Airbnb itself can also be a bit shady, as I’ve come to discover over the past 24 hours when our host cancelled at the last minute because his current guests have the virus and say they can’t leave. Airbnb told him they would rebook us in the same or better accommodations as their policy says, but I have now spoken to 9 different agents who have each told me a different lie to get me off the phone.
    1. Irish said she would get me to someone who could help me.
    2. John said he would get me to someone who could help me.
    3. Harry said he would get me to someone who could help me.
    4. Swati told me she could help me rebook if I agreed to let her start the cancellation process, which would initiate a refund. I told her I didn’t want a refund because we were supposed to check in soon and I needed new accommodations. She said I couldn’t be rebooked UNLESS I initiated the cancellation/refund process.
    5. Vincent said I could no longer be rebooked because I had initiated the cancellation/refund process. I told him what Swati said, and he said his shift was ending and he would get me to someone who could help me.
    6. Rachel said I had been issued a refund and a discount coupon that expires in less than a month (that doesn’t cover the gap in costs between our booking and a similar booking) and she thanked me and told me she was closing out the ticket. I told her not to close it. She called me and said if she closed the cancellation/refund ticket, she could “open a rebooking ticket” and get us taken care of. After I agreed, she sent a message saying she was now closing the conversation because I had gotten my refund. When I asked about rebooking, she said she was going off shift and someone else could help me.
    7. Someone who did not give her name said that only Rachel could help me because she is my “dedicated account manager” who will be with my account until it is resolved, and that Rachel was still on shift and would call me soon. Rachel never called.
    8. Sharisa either hung up on me or we were disconnected.
    9. Lito said he would definitely be able to help me as soon as he reviewed all of the notes on my account and called me back. I told him no one ever calls me back. He said he would “100% call me back within an hour.” He did not call back. I finally went to bed after 14 hours of trying to get rebooked.
    10. Rayne, the next morning, said thanks for letting her know about this shady host so they can stop things like this from happening again (I don’t think the host is shady–he has been calling on his end to help me, without any luck), and she said that because HE initiated the cancellation process, I could not be rebooked. I told her how Swati had told me the cancellation process was initiated. I said that I only wanted similar accommodations for the same price on the same dates, which is all I have ever requested. She said she understood and she saw a similar home so she needed to call the host to check availability. She promised she would message me and then call me to help me complete the rebooking. She then sent me five inexpensive listings about 10 miles from the beach that she said were “in my price range” and did not seem to recall anything else about our conversation. She is no longer replying to my messages.

    I am now 22 hours into this nightmare, and about 24 hours from what was supposed to be our check-in time. At this point, I’m trying to figure out what to tell the kids, who are packed for the beach. I don’t think I’ll ever use Airbnb again, and I would certainly not rely on their Aircover policy or their virus-related extenuating circumstances policies.

    1. Oh goodness, what a nightmare Heather! Sounds like not even the staff know the correct procedures!
      Sorry this has happened to you.
      The fact that a host can cancel at such short notice is one of the reasons I will never use Airbnb.
      Thank you for sharing your experience and I hope you managed to find some alternative accommodation!

  31. We’ve been trying to get our city to shut down the illegal AIRBnB on our street for a year. It is being sub-let by a pro, who has brought in a home furnishings rental company to stage the house. Then she quit paying for the furnishings rental. It took the furnishings rental company six months to get a judgement to remove their goods, while the tenant had no skin in the game. She brought in another home furnishings rental company to stage the house once again, for her illegal STVR business. The second home furnishings rental company continues to come by the house, presumably to try and retrieve their furnishings for non-payment. The tenant/sub-let-renter wasn’t paying her rent, when the homeowner/landlord finally caught up with her. She gave him a sob story, and he agreed she could continue the illegal sublet scheme, but owner upped her deposit. Owner in effect, gets a kickback now, for the illegal scheme. His tenant rarely visits the property, comes and goes in an Uber, so she can’t be tracked via her own vehicle license plate, car make and model. The tenant has retained a local business to run the rental, inspections, cleaning between tenants. It is unknown how many of these illegal (non-permitted in our city, outside of the district where the city permits STVRs) STVRs the tenant runs. The city refuses to enforce the Code violations, regarding not permitted, can’t be permitted due to the location. The constant parties, overflowing trash cans, transient guests is a real headache for our neighborhood. The past weekend it looked like a drug drop location, so many cars in and out. It has robbed our neighborhood of its local “flavor”. All our city cares about is that AIRBnB continues to collect and remit the taxes, much more than the homeowner’s taxes the city is also collecting. The illegal STVRs in our coastal tourist community have pushed home values artificially high, created a dire shortage of affordable homes for sale or rent. Senior citizens and families alike are finding we are being taxed out of our homes, by the artificially inflated housing investment market. As seniors in poor health, I’m not sure I can physically pull off another move to a lower taxed property. Our city’s homeless population is exploding, people are screaming at our government officials to do something to reclaim some housing for those living and working here. The officials are too caught up in all the extra revenue from the STVRs, and the artificially inflated home values, and the corresponding inflated property taxes.
    You are spot-on to shine a light on the problem, though our community government seems to have abandoned its’ citizens for short term $$ greed.

    1. Oh my gosh, what an absolute nightmare! I’m so sorry to hear all that.
      The middle class always seems to feel the pinch in these situations 😞
      Thank you very much for reading and for sharing your observations with this issue!

      1. What really stinks, at least in our city, and I’m guessing a lot of other tourist destinations, is that our elected officials, which city hall in effect, reports to, created this situation. Code compliance will not issue citations. It took us a year here, to come to this realization, that our city loves the tourism dollars, does not care for the residents. So, those who are actually homeowners are facing inflated property taxes to the point those on fixed incomes can’t remain in their homes, can’t afford them. The residents of the poorest neighborhoods have been forced out, with nowhere to go. Investors are incentivized to buy up our city’s housing stock, by the ever-growing tourism focus. So, the city gets not only inflated property taxes. They now get the additional STVR taxes that AIRBnB and other sites collect and remit. Our grocery stores, pharmacies, etc, can’t even find people to come to work for them, because the poor pushed out of their homes are no longer within walking or bus transportation distance. Our pharmacies now have to close down for a lunch break, for the pharmacists, because they are so understaffed. City hall and our aldermen created this mess.
        Now they want to remove the zoning laws, and allow ADUs free reign in our city, under the guise that it would help alleviate the unaffordable housing issue. So, a city that isn’t willing, or doesn’t have the manpower to cite the illegal AIRBnBs thinks the ADUs will police themselves?!

  32. excellent article!!
    I absoluutely loathe Airbnb!
    I have watched it simply destroy the fabric of culture in places such as Zanzibar, Amsterdam and am currently witnessing how it is driving up rental prices on the west coast of Canada.
    the whole company needs oversight.

      1. I’d like to thank the writer. I would also like to ad that it would be nefarious people’s dream to have brief stays at multiple cities & locations. Airbnb has no background checks & it’s a very easy way for criminals to have a safe harbor. Imagine an affluent city with Airbnbs in a residential street. The host is responsible for the background checks but the host doesn’t have access to the people until they’re in person. This is something we’ll hear of later on. Also, it’s artificially driving up rental costs for organic residents causing homelessnesses & outside investors from outside the US are buying 800 houses a day to rent as Airbnb. It’s an invasion.

        1. Hi Sandy, thanks for the thanks!
          Do you happen to have a link to where you read overseas investors are buying 800 properties per day to rent as Airbnbs? That’s an insane number!

      2. There are several false claims about Airbnb in your article:
        As an Airbnb host I do allow guests to leave luggage after check out. Guests are certainly not required to do any cleaning and no, there is no “waiting for key exchanges” etc. Guests leave thier keys and go at their convenience. You have over reached into the area of the ridiculous to thoroughly malign Airbnb. However I think you must know that the situation is not that simple. There are many positive aspects to Airbnb. I am not in favor of the big investors buying up property for Airbnb rental h
        owever home sharing is a good thing. Some people will always prefer hotels but there is no reason to completely lambast Airbnb and dump in alot of exaggerated negative aspects.

        1. Thanks for sharing, Bronwyn – unfortunately not all hosts are created equal! As mentioned in the article, I am not anti-home sharing, as Airbnb was in its early days. I am anti unregulated accommodation because it has gotten out of hand. From hundreds of comments here, many guests tend to agree with my sentiments, so saying I have “exaggerated” negative aspects is subjective.

          1. Sorry, as a traveler on a budget you are making claims about AIRBNB that I have never experienced and are very dismissive of what I am able to do financially. Yes, sometimes I need a kitchen to cook noodles in the room so I can do something else that day that is just as culturally immersive and financially supportive of the local residents. Although I appreciate many of the points you made, and you gave me some points to consider, the overall tone of the article is preachy and self-righteous. Glad you got so many positive reviews…but I guarantee there are many who read your article not commenting that share my views. In any event, I still enjoy some of your other articles and tips. Thanks.

            1. Hi AJ,
              I appreciate your comment and you make some fair points. If you’re doing something else “culturally immersive and financially supportive of the local residents” that’s wonderful and I fully respect that!
              As mentioned at the beginning of the article, I did initially write this in 2018 and although I have made updates since, over time my writing style has changed.
              I’ll take your thoughts about tone into consideration here, thanks for taking the time to read and comment 😊

            2. I have just recently started the process of opening our home to Airbnb. My husband and I have recently retired and plan to travel, the Airbnb will provide extra income and our house will not be left empty. I’m making sure to file the proper paperwork to be legal and plan to run a ethical business as I have prior to retiring. I’m sure there are some Airbnb that are not playing by the rules but that is life. Last Spring my husband and I stayed at a the Omni Resort on Amelia Island this was our second stay there where first time my husband ordered the breakfast buffet for $29.00 that he didn’t enjoy. This time the hotel added a valet charged of $35.00 per day, Resort Service charge $35.00, Health and fitness HFC $20.00 total for 2 nights our bill was $1,149.00. So many hidden fees I’m sure they listed in fine print somewhere but certainly not discussed upfront. However our family together have use the services of Airbnb and have been completely satisfied. As you said not all Airbnb are run properly but the same can be said for large resorts.

        2. I am happy to see your comment. As reading this article, which is well researched and thought out for other countries, I don’t thin it actually reflect the U.S. market. I greet every guest at check-in and after a 5-minute tour, I hand over the key and ask them to leave key on coffee table when they check out and to lock the bottom lock—a key is not needed. I also allow free early check-in if apt. is ready and also offer free late check-out if no guest is arriving next day. I offer luggage hold but it has never been requested because guests usually drive to my location. Also, as a host, I don’t charge a cleaning fee and I’m willing to bet my STR os cleaner than even the finest hotels. Why? Because I do wash my duvets, comforters, blankets, and pillows after every guest. And,the only thing I ask guest to do is to put their trash in the garbage bin that’s located outside their door. And to-date, I’ve been very fortunate that every guest has left my place tidy.

        3. You’re joking, right? Lately, there are booking that cost more than a good hotel. There’s often an expensive cleaning fee charge & in some places guests are asked to do actual cleaning even though they’re paying a cleaning fee.
          Taken from Air BnB itself: Entire rental unit hosted by Olivier (Apartment 128 m2 with amazing view on Effeil tower) 6 guests2 bedrooms3 beds2 baths
          Cost: $693 CAD X 5 nights ( I guess they refuse to rent out for any lesser amount of time)
          Cleaning fee: $67 CAD (oooh a discount for sure) & look what we have here: Service fee $499 CAD
          That’s utterly ridiculous!

  33. Thank you for such a thought provoking article. I need your help if you can …. I live in a town t cottage in a tiny village and the cottage next to mine has been bought and converted into a holiday let. The owners have never lived there and are offering the cottage as part of their wider business. The local council are hesitant to action any demand for planning permission for change of use as the owner is very skilled at finding loop holes and is stating that although it is a holiday let it is still being used as a dwelling akin to a family home. They are marketing it on their business web page and although self catering will provide meals at £75.00 per person. Their terms also allow for stag and hen parties.
    Please do you know of any legislation or information that might help me battle this
    Thank you in advance

    1. Oh gosh Dominica, I’m so sorry to hear that! Unfortunately I don’t know of any British legislation that could help you, surely there has to be something you can get them with? I know in many countries short-term holiday rentals should only be available for 180 days of the year (as an example). If you find these new owners are allowing guests full time surely your council would have to intervene?

  34. Alyse, I’m sorry but there are so many flaws in your thesis here.
    One- Lets throw the baby out with the bathwater. One host is bad so lets shut it all down.
    Two- Abnb has gone full throttle for one main reason of which you – it looks like youre a single travellor (although you mention you know how it is??) which is the first red flag. TRY AND FIND A HOTEL THAT CATERS TO FAMILIES for a reasonable price. Many families especially with young children DO need a kitchen and lounge. Many of them. Hotels have never catered to them and still to this day its hard to find something. ABNB caters to this fantastically. and its where they shine.
    You state “not all hotels are studios that dont cant cater to families” no-not all- BUT 99%. You havent travelled much if thats what you think. You also erroneously say theyre taking money off the locals. Really? ever added up the cost of a family of 5 eating out 3 meals a day for a few days? especially when younger kids diets are tricky? No- i didnt think so.
    Your negatives are directed at individual cities and their problems and bad hosts- period. Hotels have run a campaign to get rid or ABNB, just like Spotify- something new has come in to upset the cartel and they are upset. But they havent done a thing to fix what the problems really are.’
    Not one point youve made here fundamentally points out ANYTHING wrong with ABNB or VRBO et al. Youve just pointed out how some hosts have not done the right thing. And not once have you made any real ideas of practical regulation. Oh and ABNB is nothing new. It was just organised by real estate agents – now owners can control this and once again knock out the middleman.
    The main Hotels you say are the best thing to do- wrong – apart from some staffing- they contribute not much towards the local economy in any way. They have tax breaks/incentives/ pay no council tax /buy their food and products from usually an outside source and are tax structured in a way that minimises what they pay and contribute. Thye use transfer pricing and booking done in another country are also not subject to tax.
    ABNBs quite rightly should not be run by big businesses- good point. Lets keep it that way. But again youre trying to shut down them all down for those that dont do the right thing.
    Oh and cindy- Hosts are NOT allowed to relist a property they have cancelled for no reason. if they do the dates are blocked.
    Airbnb are far from perfect in their responses and fixes- But why are they targeted when there are many other sites which offer the same thing? Why havent you taken to task Hotels for not offering more family accomodation and more accomodation that you dont need or want a turn down or change of sheets every night? Hotels are living in the dark ages and need a kick to change their offering.
    This is a just a lazy one sided biased article which effectivly says “yeah there a couple of good holiday lets out there but most of them are bad and should be stopped and the houses all given back to the people and ill tell you what you can do and how often you can go out, where you can stay and how much you can spend”

    1. Hi Glenn,
      You don’t have to agree with all my points, and that’s ok. As I’ve stated numerous times, the point of this article is to raise awareness of issues unregulated short-term rentals have caused for locals. And by the replies to this article from hundreds of people from all locations around the world, many see the same issues as I have.

      As I’ve mentioned in other replies to comments here too, I have travelled solo, as a couple and as a group with children. When travelling with children we opt for aparthotels, traditional B&Bs or hotels with a kitchenette. Your comments makes one wonder what families did in the days before Airbnb?

      You make a lot of assumptions about me which are simply incorrect. That says more about you than it does me 😆

      Based on your comments I also don’t think you’ve read the entirety of my article or concluding thoughts – But hey, each to their own 😉

      1. Alyse, both of you have valid comments and observations. He is right, hotels are a nightmare and expensive for families, and they do almost nothing to fix it. Hotels caused airbnb and vrbo to be created by milking the clients. However, almost every comment you made.about airbnb is also true….it is a crap shoot, and in many cases, hurts the locals. I will always weigh both in my travels…..

      2. Ignore the salty replies. This article was never going to be popular with hosts or AIRBNB superfans! You’ve pointed inconvenient consequences to the choices we, as consumers, make.
        For families who find travel expensive in Europe… don’t forget camping/campsites. Europe has fantastic municipal camping near cities with tents/chalets/caravans available to rent, great facilities for younger kids (they can make friends too and have space to run around outside) they’re usually cheaper than hotels. Campsites employ lots of local people, use many local suppliers. Something to checkout next time you travel to Europe.

        1. Thanks for your kind words, Clair!
          It’s possible for us all to respect the opinions of others, even if we disagree with unpopular truths 🙂

    2. I agree with many of your points, and don’t agree on others, which is everyone’s right.
      To me the biggest issue outside of dodgy hosts (or guests)
      AirBNB seem to get away with real accountability most of the time, its all about their cut, and without hosts there is no business. so they don’t focus on the customer making it seem like they are forgetting/neglect the customer side.

  35. I really appreciate your attention to providing accurate information as well as stating your personal position on this subject at the very start. It brings you credibility; something so many bloggers have lost.

    1. A commenter challenged as to why an ABB host would ever want to provide a bad experience for customers; after all they want good reviews. Sure. But not all work that way (and reviews can be bought btw)….here’s why: ABB, as a company, is to it’s hosts, what HR departments are to employers. In other words, ABB protects the host first. Scammers take your money and run you out of the property you paid for, knowing that the rules protect the host…EVEN if the host is found to have intentionally deceived, ABB will take that up with the host separately. Meanwhile, you get little to no money back. Slick hosts know how to balance the line of running out customers/keeping money/not being banned. I had this happen. After renting a beautifully listed property and arriving at a roach infested blood soaked dump.

    If the customer leaves, host gets to keep the money AND potentially book another last minute person. Doubling night profits.
    2. I am struggling though to wrap my head around one thing. Renting a property that is illegal in it’s city is a non-criminal violating for the host (fines/maybe seizure of the property in the worst circumstances). This is a problem between host and city….how does it become an issue of ethics for the customer? I get the issues of impacting the life of locals…but those are listed as separate issues.

    So in and of itself, how does the issue become an issue of ethics for the renter?

    I’m not challenging it, I’m just really having a hard time understanding how we went from A to B on this one.

    1. That’s a great question, Paris!
      While it is a problem between host and city, it becomes an issue of ethics for the customer/tourist because they are the ones who hold the power to drive change.

      Some city authorities and hosts don’t care about the issues unregulated homestay accommodation can cause locals. But ultimately, it is the tourist that dictates the industry. It’s supply and demand – the more tourists want Airbnbs, the more will pop up.

      As I mentioned in the article, at the start of the pandemic hosts rushed to list their properties as long-term rentals in Dublin because there was no demand from tourists. If more tourists become aware of issues, they may wish to no longer use unregulated accommodation options and this will influence how many there are in a city.

      I hope that makes it clear and thank you for reading! 😃

  36. Having this information on hand is wonderful. Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for all of your assistance! I eagerly await your next post!

  37. Excellent article! Thank you. Honestly, I am mystified as to why AirBnb would require that you submit a picture over the internet of your passport or driver’s license as well as a recent picture of yourself when you have a valid credit card and need to pay a deposit. Obviously Air BnB has had a lot of criminal activity (just read the news) that requires the ability to submit personal information to the police. These Air BnB requirements are unethical and downright scary. Imagine having photos of your passport and/or driver’s license floating over the internet for any hacker to access. Seems like a slam dunk for identity theft or perhaps other illegal activity……I don’t use AirBnb for this very reason and am happy that you have brought to light other issues and given other individuals the opportunity to highlight their own experiences. There are other great home rental sites that don’t require sensitive personal documents to be scanned and sent over the internet. What other potential things are your personal documents being used for by AirBnB????

    1. Thanks for your great feedback, Sehelie!
      You’re so right about identity theft. How would we know where our sensitive personal information goes? It makes one think!

      1. I have an ongoing issue with Airbnb currently. I live in Ontario and wanted to spend the night in the city for my birthday. The listing I booked with had the incorrect phone number listed for the owner. I got a call from a random person shouting at me when I had no idea what was going on. He knew the exact unit and apartment building I was staying in. I called Airbnb as I was extremely concerned and the rep said that the listing was deactivated and I shouldn’t have been able to book. So I asked him how could I book a deactivated listing? He had no answer for me and said it was a high risk listing and that it was not safe and cancelled my reservation. He ASSURED me that I would get a full refund because I knew the host didn’t have a cancellation policy. He said if I cancelled within 48 hours I would get a full refund. I only received the cleaning fee back and they will not issue me a refund. They said the Host has to issue a refund but the Host has not been responsive. In addition this is not the Host’s fault it is Airbnbs!! I have been calling them and sending them messages but no has provided me with a refund! Airbnb has GOT TO GO! They are so shady!!!

    2. It does so to protect hosts. not ABNB. Unscrupulous guests are more likely to not put ID up if they have a bad record. and ABNB systems are pretty good for protection. If you are going to trash someones house you know you have your ID there and are more easily held accountable.

      1. Like regulated accommodation, ID can be easily verified by the host/reception at the time of check-in. But that means the host would actually have to be there to see it…

  38. Great article Alyse, well researched too. I’ve used Airbnb over the past 7 years and the hosts have been amazing, accommodating and bent over backwards to help us create some memorable experiences with both my family, and even the hosts themselves. Kindness attracts kindness, and great hospitality is a a treat for gratitude. However, I’m now looking outside Airbnb. My family and I recently stayed in a lovely Adelaide apartment but to our shock, we received a nasty guest review by a “Superhost”. Her review was rude and aggressive so I placed a formal complaint to Airbnb (of which I’ve heard and found out that they’re useless and do nothing). In short though, it made me realise that hosts and guests can say awful things about one another and that there’s most probably no re-course of action. This “superhost” made me realise that she’s just in it for the money and we inconvenienced her with a late check-in (despite giving her cohost courtesy texts, and accepting our late arrival with a friendly check in when we arrived). I’ve never said this before, but these “superhosts” at this Adelaide apartment were the epitomy of trash and did not reflect my previous Airbnb experiences. As a result, it’s left a nasty taste in our mouths of Airbnb, and we’ll now go elsewhere.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your experience, Toby.
      It really makes the process questionable when hosts and guests can leave inaccurate reviews about each other and there are no consequences for it.
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  39. Bizzare perspective as seen from someone who’s used airbnb extensively. I’ve never had a host cancel, why would they? For the same reason they want to rent the place to start with, they won’t want to cancel. For the money, you get much more room, better locations, less noise, and a cleaner stay than my hotel experiences. I’ve only booked hotels when I can’t find an Airbnb, and each experience reminds me of why I prefer Airbnb. Privacy *is* guaranteed when you book an entire place; so the statement to the contrary is just untrue. Plus you don’t share a hallway and walls like at a hotel. As far as being properly licensed, private rentals existed before Airbnb, both legal and illegal, and Airbnb hosts are just as capable of following laws as anyone else, whether running a traditional bnb, hotel, cottage, etc. In fact, you can rent a hotel room through Airbnb! The last time I stayed at a nice hotel in San Antonio, there was no hot water, a loud (and drunk at all hours) biker convention in the hotel, and hardly any staff to be found, this cost me $300 for a 100 square foot room that reeked of cleaning supplies. None of these things have happened to me at an Airbnb.

    1. Thanks for reading and for sharing your perspective, Thomas. Booking whole properties that take long-term rentals off the market for locals is one of the major reasons why I wrote this article, and there are dozens of comments here that agree. While you may have had good experiences personally, they are not universal.

      1. I’m an airbnb host of 2 properties on airbnb. Both of them where empty before I joined airbnb because I don’t want to deal with the hassle of having an unknow tenant and luckily, I don’t need rental money to live. These houses where our respective parents homes, are kept with the prospect of my young kids getting one each in the future. Not all houses on airbnb would be available to locals if they were not on the site, I totally understand that this is a problem in very big cities but I live in a very touristic area where short/holiday rentals have existed long before airbnb without interfering with locals who want to rent. Not all situations are the same. I’ve never cancelled a booking, I adhere to all local laws and keep my place cleaner that any hotel I’ve been to. I have an insurance in place should anything happen inside the property. I not only rent for the sake of it, I try to educate my guests into the history and local customs as much as I can, refering them to small local business which is something hotels don’t really do in my area . All my reviews and experiences with guests have been great overall and reviews from them all positive. I rent a modern house with 5 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, office and large living room, equipped with everything you’ll find in a regular home, with a large garden and a heated swimming pool at the same price of a regular size hotel room for 2 in my area. The vast majority of clients I have are families with 2 or 3 kids. As an airbnb user myself I can understand you don’t need a kitchen when you travel alone but if you travel with young children this is a necessity and the main reason I stopped going to hotels when I travel with my kids, not to mention the fact that I would need to rent 2 rooms if I wanted to stay at a hotel as most won’t acomodate more than 1 child in the same room. I don’t require any cleaning but take out thrash and do dishes which don’t take you more than 5 or 10 min of valuable sleeping or exploring time.
        Of course Airbnb have it’s problem and are not savoirs of the world. Normally I’m very critical to some of their antics. Yes, cancellations last minute are a possibility but I don’t think it’s usual at all, you are not at the “mercy” of the host, Airbnb in fact is rather strict with certain behaviours, they even penalize you for not acepting all booking requests so I don’t think it’s in their interests to keep a host that cancels last minute ( this cancelations are also not free for the host, you get charged against your next booking) Your article is misleading and generalizes too much in my opinion. I would also love to read one about people renting out lovely places, which we try to keep legal, safe and nice and some guests (fortunately a small percentage) treat like thrash and are completely unrespectful towards it. Hotels keep your credit card on file for a reason, I have no way to claim those damages at all. Airbnb host protection is rejected in 90% of the cases and you have to involve the police for them to even take a look at the claim. And before you mention, my neighbours at both places, one a house, other a flat in a building, are aware that I rent on airbnb and never had a complain. We do get along fine, they give me feedback and I give it to them. We are respectful of each other’s and if I’d ever had a guest causing any issue to them I’ll definitely would be the first to address it.

        1. Well said! Suddenly the author is missing but had you said something along “ I had an Airbnb that was messy” she’d be thanking you and telling you how she loves your support.

          1. Don’t worry, I am always here. You must feel very passionate about dismissing other people’s genuine concerns, seeing as you’ve left four condescending comments in the space of several days 😉

      2. Thank you for sharing this excellent article Alyse.
        I live in Wollongong a Coastal city of NSW where people who actually live here can no longer afford rental accomodation because of all the Air bnb’s. I live in a small block of 6 units that now has two air bnb’s. Both “Hosts” have two other Air bnb properties in their “portfolios”. Between 2 people, they are hoarding six properties whilst families are struggling to find affordable rentals.
        The problems we live with daily having these two businesses on our doorstep a constant stream of strangers entering our small “security” building at all hours drunk, parking issues, groups of seven in a small apartment having parties. The people who come and go by the day have no respect for the people that live here because they know they never have to see us again. We have lost our right to feel secure and enjoy a peaceful home and instead now we live with a constant sense of concern over what sort of customers will move in next door today.
        Air bnb has ruined our happy home life and the rental market is so bad that we can’t afford to move to a better place. When did the rights of a few to profit outweigh the right of the many to have affordable housing.
        Needless to say, I loathe Air bnb and everything it stands for.

        1. I’m so sorry, Kerry! I’ve been to lovely Wollongong several times so I know exactly what you mean about the small unit blocks. Short-term rentals should be forbidden in this case, how awful for actual residents having to live in that way 😞

        2. Why don’t you just move? if you can’t afford the area why bother struggling. It’s funny how you’re so quick to assume that these two rent tools have ruined your life, your cost of living, but the true mere fact is that you don’t make enough money.

          Complaining and agreeing with the woman who wrote this article is not going to change anything you really should consider making different choices

  40. Thank you for this. This is a great article, and really underscores how the AirBnB market is screwing over locals.

    I live in a medium-sized city with outlandish property values. I have been researching the properties let on AirBnB in this city. I cannot tell you how many there are. I have been looking only at the single family dwellings to let, and there are “over 300” in a city of less than 250,000. That means there could be 301; it could be 1000, it could be even more. The cut-off for a “large number” for AirBnB is 300. Sydney has 300+ and it is large, and a major vacation destination.

    I have been checking out those out: Who owns them, how long they have owned them, etc. I have not even cracked the surface. (I have checked out about 100. Which tells that there are waaaaaaaaaaay more than “300+” single family units available to rent here.)

    But of the ones I have checked out, most are owned by people who bought them specifically to rent out as AirBnB properties. (The owners’ primary residences are much nicer, large ones, and the properties were purchase in the past couple of years, while the owners’ primary residence remains the same.)

    Meanwhile… There housing is INSANELY expensive in this city, for what this city is and where it is. It is one of the most inflated housing markets in the US. And I have to wonder how many units get purchased for AirBnB’s…

    1. I love all your investigative work, Lee! It really does make one wonder, doesn’t it?
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your findings!

    2. This statistic validates the feeling that people in my town have. We have been feeling completely overrun by Airbnb. We have over 300 listings of full house-full time rentals and we only have about 900 homes in total in this town. At least once a week a long term local posts in our local group begging for someone to rent a house to them as their current landlord has decided to boot them out and turn it into an airbnb and they don’t want to uproot their entire family. Every home we tried to buy got outbid by an investor and turned into an airbnb. There is only one neighborhood in town that has managed to write into their community laws that they are banned – and the homes there are really nice and don’t sell for as much as the mediocre homes outside of that area because investors DO NOT care how much they pay. Just proving that airbnb is inflating the prices well-outside of what a local living and working here could afford. SO unless you want to live in that neighborhood (which I don’t) you are forced to bid against deep pocketed and often foreign investors. They often just buy sight-unseen. Our town is not incorporated, so we are at the mercy of the county. The county refuses to do anything about it and tells everyone who writes in to them that they don’t have any complaints about them, so they don’t care. It’s unreal.

      What’s truly baffling is how zoning is ignored in these instances. Residential neighborhoods are not zoned for commercial businesses to operate. I cannot buy a home and turn it into a restaurant or bar or anything else besides a HOME unless the zoning permits commercial use. I cannot build a hotel in the middle of a neighborhood, yet these people are allowed to turn homes in neighborhoods into full time hotels.

      1. You are absolutely spot on Stacey W! Especially about zoning issues. It really baffles the mind, doesn’t it? I’m so sorry for what’s happened to your neighbourhood 😢

      2. You sound like you may be in the city I am in!

        There is a city council meeting in two days that I’m going to attend. It’s about requiring insurance and licensing for listing on Airbnb. Why anyone would rent without the property insurance is insane. But people are complaining about it.

        People still seem to think the Airbnb is mostly about some family room to eat a little extra renting out a room or an in-law unit. But the vast majority of listings are whole residences.

  41. This was an interesting read and definitely gives me pause in our trip planning. We have used all different types of accommodations and by far and away, Airbnb has been our favorite. I spend a lot of time researching a place so as not to violate (to my knowledge), local laws or trouble local residents. We really love experiencing a new town like a local and staying in a hotel would never provide that experience. Of course, there are certain destinations where a hotel has been the right choice, but I refuse to stay at any hotel that charges a “resort fee”. I know there’s no easy answer here, but I appreciate your article as we will most definitely be mindful of our future accommodations. We were in Portugal a few months ago and are returning in March. We absolutely love the people and culture and hope our visit will only have a positive impact on the locals.

  42. I have rented a home for just shy of 16 years. The landlord told me I could stay as long as I wanted and could make improvements to the house I live in. Over the years I built a fence around the front yard, paid to plant trees and landscape, replaced a window in the dining room that leaked, replaced a back door that was being destroyed by the sun and weather with a fiberglass door, replaced screens, completely gutted the old/smelly bathroom and remodeled it, put in an attic access with drop down ladder in the hall, installed ceiling fans, removed urine stained carpet and refinished the hard wood floors. Half of a back room was raw dirty plywood so I paid to level the entire floor and put in a new floor. Put in a new floor in the kitchen. I also painted the entire place before I moved in, the landlord didn’t paint or clean…. ever. I did many other improvements to the property over the years. Then, some friend of hers whose son airbnb’s a room in his mother’s home and a room in a manufactured home and his couch in a condo got in her ear. He actually rents out his couch. They told her to kick me out, the place is nice and she could get a lot more money doing an airbnb. She’s been on disability since I’ve known her and I have handled most of any issues around the property as she can’t deal with things, it overwhelms her. So now I’m being kicked out and I suspect her “friends” are going to be in charge of the airbnb and making money off of her. Bottom line, I’m screwed and all of my money spent on materials and labor to make the place decent to live in, will now be used to enrich her. I’m angry and ‘ I’m concerned about what this means for communities everywhere. Rents where I live have gone up over 40% and airbnb’s aren’t helping. I have friends who live next door to an airbnb and they aren’t happy. No one in my neighborhood is okay with the home becoming an airbnb but no feels there is anything they can do about it. Thank you for the article and thank you letting me vent.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that, HE Wagner. That’s so awful! This is the thing: once landlords realise they can earn more money from tourists who stay short-term, it becomes more favourable to list their properties as vacation rentals. It’s really sad for locals who need to live and work in the area such as yourself. I hope you can come to some kind of compromise with your landlord considering the time and money you invested into the place, wishing you luck!

  43. Thank you for letting us all know this. I had no idea. Booked for an Airbnb for March to New York, but now going to cancel it and get a hotel. Don’t want to be part of forcing people out of their homes.

    Also, instead of going to popular museums, going to try focus of other parts of city, e.g. Stonewall Inn, African Burial Ground National Monument, Keith Haring’s Bathroom Mural, National Museum of the American Indian, famous graffiti art and jazz clubs in Harlem (my partner loves jazz). If have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know! 🙂

    1. This issue is definitely one that flies under the radar for most.
      I love all those ideas for museums and completely agree, Judith! Thanks for your comment 😊

  44. You have not mentioned the worst thing about Airbnb: Their Customer Support service (often they don’t even assist you at all)

    1. Thankfully I have never had to connect with their customer service (because I don’t use the platform). But to my understanding it can be very frustrating for some people!

  45. My wife and I are currently staying in an Airbnb after having stayed in a hotel for over a month, and sometimes you don’t know how good you have it until it’s gone. While our hotel room wasn’t spacious, we were still situated at the end of the top floor overlooking a quiet pasture. After having moved into our airbnb, we were beguiled into the charm of the place. Now we have to contend with an old building, inconsiderate neighbors above us, and less than ideal accommodations. Be aware that if you negotiate with a hotel for an extended rate, that’ll equate to roughly the same price as any airbnb and you’ll gain the benefit of having hotel services at your disposal anytime you wish. We’ll never use an airbnb again.

    1. I think I would feel the same if I did use Airbnb, Brett. Sometimes it is handy to have the extra services of a hotel, as you mention. Thanks for your comment!

  46. Alyse,

    First I read your article and a lot of the comments. I do feel you have strong negative feelings towards short term rentals.

    What you don’t understand is not everyone wants to do short term rentals. I tried to rent my home long term. The first tenant ripped me off for 5k and I was only able to evict them after taking them to court. The second tenant did the same thing plus 30k damage to my home.

    So short term rental is a better option for myself no on is there long enough to get that comfortable.

    You also have to understand not everyone wants to stay in a hotel.

    1. Thanks for reading, Paul!

      I understand not everyone wants or needs to do short term rentals, that’s not the issue. The article aims to highlight the impacts tourists using unregulated accommodation for short-term stays has had on local communities. As mentioned in the article, for longer-term stays aparthotels can be great options, and I’ve also made some suggestions for more types of accommodation that don’t cause these issues in my guide to alternatives to Airbnb. Thanks for your comment!

  47. I live in a beautiful Mountain town in BC, Canada. For the last 6 years we have had %0.01 housing availability rate and insanely high rents. In a low income, rural area. Although local bylaws state that only 80 short-term rental home are allowed, a quick google search for housing in the area shows well over 200. I quite doubt I will personally be able to live in this town for another 5 years at this rate. I have been evicted twice to have my home turned into an Air BNB. The whole tone of the town is different than when I moved here, and there’s no real sense of community anymore. Air BNB is cancer to small towns.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that, Rachael. There’s nothing worse than losing that sense of community that made the neighbourhood so lovely to live in previously 😔 Thanks for sharing your insight and I hope things will improve for you!

    2. Thanks Alyse
      Very important analysis and I think you are being too kind. Like a good number of the digital extractive industries the platform has played booster to capital finance, nominally been a bump for landlords after service fees have been excised, decimated municipal tax base, in this case eroded affordable housing stock while making home ownership ever less likely for fewer as we approach rentier status for a greater majority and has soured me on most of them for similar reasons.
      When I traveled Europe 40 years ago there were fantastic homestays in Edinburgh, Chichester, Savern, Ulm and Stockholm fostered by visitor center listings with gracious hosts and no administrative parasites. Maybe those days are gone. Caveat emptor.
      In Portland where I live the nefarious Uber/Lyft cabal inserted themselves with little to no city council oversight over dinner with the mayor and ilk as the city blinked. That’s a digression but a rhyming history that sickens me. The local cabs lost what percentage of business – look at New York – and I have service industry friends taking ‘ride share’ to and from work as public transit has been eroded. Tax base disappears as capital flight rears its ugly head.
      Props to Barcelona and all the cities across the pond that have pushed back. This will get more grim as it proves all a platform needs is an arsenal of attorneys to lawyer up and write their own rules. The States are proving less capable of defense and it shows. Everyone seems to think it’s the cat’s meow, like going to Disneyland without talking to Abigail and peeking behind the veil.
      Nelson is my favorite ski town in B.C. I’m not sure where Rachel lives and I guess she could live there like I wish I could but can’t. For all the reasons herein and more.
      Peace out,

      1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Paul! It’s a complex situation globally, isn’t it? I’m not sure why some tourists tend to shy away from traditional B&B accommodation these days, hosts always showcase the best of their country’s hospitality! It’s a shame they are overlooked for unregulated accommodation options.

        I agree, it’s important to really question what goes on behind the scenes as a lot of bad coverage is kept out of the media. Hopefully as more people become aware of the issues, things may begin to shift back to how they once were 😊

  48. This was a super interesting read. I’ve been renting various properties out for YEARS on Airbnb and we are in the process of shifting away from the platform. The added fees that get added to our guests kill us. Although it’s scary moving away from the advertisement that comes with hosting through a platform like Airbnb, it feels empowering and in integrity to leave and do our own thing. Thanks for sharing this perspective Alyse!

    1. I’m glad you found this interesting, Danielle! I think the added fees are a definitely turn-off for some people. Good on you for doing what is best for you and your property, all the best for going out on your own – you’ve got this! 😊

      Further reading for anyone interested, I’ve noticed on social media guests have been recently perplexed by the high cleaning fees added onto bookings, when they are expected to do much of the cleaning before they check out. The comments at the conclusion of this article provide insight into guests’ expectations:

    2. Danielle,
      More AirBB hosts need to cut the cord!!! I have been a property owner and booker with them and I totally hate the way AirBnB controls EVERYTHING with EVERYBODY. I do whatever I can to go around them and book properties to avoid these criminal fees they charge and put in their pockets. Power to all of your property owners. Get a website and take your own bookings!!!
      My latest grip: So it is no longer a “booking” or “rental” but an “Experience” now??? Oh PLEASE!!!
      Then today (which inspired me to find this link) AirBnB texts me after I attempted to book a place and they kept blocking me and writes “You’re invited to book your stay…” This word manipulation is total CONTROL. Like the constant line “For your safety and security…” communicate only through our website.” TOTAL CONROL.
      If only the steeple will wake up and see how they are being used. Good luck to all of us.

      1. As much as I dislike AirBnB, I would like to add that this article seemed extremely pro-hotel, like, did the industry contract Alyse to write these comments? There are SO many other negative AIR BnB issues to write about besides pointing out the amenities and services of motels/hotels. How do they get away with charging these EXORBITANT “security fees” on each booking??? Property owners can’t control that, and renters can not either. It’s either their extortion fees or the highway. It is also AirBnB’s website that I find unbearable. They want to know way too much personal information about guests (which hotels do not ask), they CENSOR any kind of information from communications they can not control or benefit from, and just today, because I asked a host about paying, their website blocked me from making a reservation because they/the robots thought I was trying to sabotage them. Such an innocent dialogue and they kicked me to the curb. When the website has been too controlling of my inquiry to a host earlier this year, I just bailed and booked a motel. Which was in a town that had really crummy places to stay and I have to admit, I wish I had a more homey environment to stay in than a creepy motel.
        AIRBnB has so much taken over the industry that I wonder if people know how things were before it came about. I have had lodging properties for decades and watched this powerhouse evolve beyond belief in a very, very short time frame. I watched them get INCREDIBLE MEDIA COVERAGE that VRBO and HOME AWAY never got! Why was that? They took over the industry so fast and made other platforms (like VRBO) change to be like them to survive. Even the hotel industry got hurt and had to make big changes. These are all issue that I would like Alyse to write about.
        I am rambling on, but there are so many issues with this company that need to be challenged!

        1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kathryna.
          As mentioned in the article, am pro-regulated accommodation – meaning hotels, hostels, traditional B&Bs with a host and serviced apartments.
          I always find it amusing that people jump to the conclusion a $570 billion industry contacted little old me to write this article for them 😆
          If they did, for reader transparency and by law I would need to disclose it.
          My accompanying article about ethical alternatives to Airbnb describes why it’s important we look into how things were before the sharing economy took off.

          1. Hi Alyse,
            My point was you took on only one aspect against AIR BnB–why hotels are better.
            There are SO MANY reasons to stay away from this company that do not have anything to do with hotels/motels and I wish you had addressed more issues like lack of customer service and outrageous fees they tack on to reservations.. Those are hot topics out there.
            But perhaps you can focus on them in another post. I certainly appreciate you and anyone busting this company on what they do and how they run their business.

        2. Thank you Kathryna, I am in the same position. I hate airbnb. I used to have a website that would appear on page one of a search. athe bog corporates have pushed me down the list and I now have to charge an uplift of 27% to cover their fees. One of my listings I was a gold star host. Within 6 months it was delisted due to a couple of bad reviews (guest complained tea and coffee was not available) Airbnb encourage you to differentiate by including these little things. But airbnb don’t pay for it, I do, or lift prices further?
          My solution is to leave a “compare the market” pamphlet for every guest. It shows what the total price is from several websites. It shows my direct website is always 15+% cheaper. The owner makes the same whether airbnb or my direct website.
          The industry has somehow added several new intermediaries into the booking cycle. All at the cost of the holidaying guest. Go figure
          Wil Cuperus

  49. I’m an airbnb host. If you provide a bad experience, you get a bad rating. You can “bait and switch” once, maybe, but your listing will be downgraded and our rating will show it.

    There should be laws regulating airbnb…like there is here in Chicago. We have a license to host. We live in the house that has the guest rooms, so we are the hotel staff and help our guests if they need anything.

    I use it when I travel, but it’s not for everyone.

    1. You make some fair points, Brad!
      I agree about the bait and switch issue, you’re right it would damage the reputation of the host. Although I wonder what’s stopping that host from setting up multiple accounts to do it again?
      Thanks for reading 😊

      1. Hi Alyse,
        I have an AirBnB full basement apartment. Light and with it’s own heat pump for air conditioning or warmth. It has been set up as a home away from home with full kitchen if that’s what a guest requires. Towels and extra sets and bedding and extra sets of sheets all available. Keurig but also option of French press or drip coffee. Cream, milk, tea bags and sugar provided. I bake scones the morning I expect guests to arrive. Leave printed information on where to find delicious food in our area and also places to see. Though my AirBnB is in the forest, I’m within seven minutes of 5 beautiful sandy beaches. I have parking for guest vehicles and an additional queen-size bed can be set up for $20.00. There’s a ten dollar cleaning fee.
        I also have a breakfast option that doesn’t even cover costs, but I enjoy the guests who choose to have that meal. Five choices and their choice made the day before. I have beach towels for guest use and a barbecue outside and trails through the forest for their use. Guests wake up to lush green and songbirds welcoming the day. I am across the road from our Rails to Trails system and often bicyclists come and spend a night on their way somewhere else, then drop in again on their way back. Many guests are here for functions such as weddings. I offer to drive and pick them up if they’re drinking and I don’t charge for that.
        I love what I do. And I enjoy my guests. I’m not good asking for payment so appreciate that AirBnB handles that. I also like that they screen not only the AirBnBs but the people who travel and stay in them. I have found people very trustworthy, and happy to stay here. Over the two years on either side of 2020 I have only had a facecloth and hand towel taken. Once a mug that disappeared showed up when that guest returned a few weeks later for a second stay. The rating system insures great behavior and to be able to read other hosts’ feedback is reassuring.
        I try to offer more than what travellers expect when they arrive. For people who run AirBnBs outside their home, it’s a different story, but I imagine most hosts who offer guests an area in their home, their offering would be similar.
        I checked with provincial guidelines and don’t have to register my AirBnB because it is in my home. Pictures show exactly what you get. Modern and completely furnished. Own entrance.
        And as far as taking rental units away from locals, I have to admit I’ve been burned by the last two long-term rentals. Mental illness I was not told about meant sabotage of my septic system that took thousands of dollars to correct, and also I was fearful to rent for a long term because I could not be assured it was being taken care of. Such a mess. Another woman who said she was single and being sexually harassed by her landlord – well I let her move her things in weeks early to help her get away.
        The floor has in-floor radiant heat and she was told to keep the floors as clear as she could . She moved in with a daughter, a dog, and two cats and was a hoarder. She turned on my in-floor heat in mid summer. I was afraid she’d burn my house down. So many lessons learned. I like that with AirBnB there are short stays and happy people drive off in three or four days.
        It works both ways I guess.


    2. There’s no way to leave a comment or rating for bait and switch because the host cancels precicesly when you arrive in town and then offers a different apartment at the same rate, in cash.

      Happened to me, we were left stranded (me, wife + infant) and had to pay double the rate elsewhere for lack of immediate alternatives. Of course we didn’t take the shittier same price apartment in cash from these crooks.

  50. Very judgemental, here’s one for you, typical “white” america. Get a life! Your post was the epitome of where the seed of hate stems.

    1. Perhaps take a look at your own comment as I am not a white American 😆 Sorry you think pointing out facts with sources equates to hate, but each to their own!

    2. frankly, I find airbnb expensive, with their hefty service fee (for which they reciprocate with a robot service if you do need their help). Because I travel with pets I find Aloft an excellent substitute. In Tulsa Aloft downtown has secure parking; very nice reception personnel; good size rooms; good bathroom; fridge (which I very much needed), micro, coffee machine and downstairs even a toaster and 24 hours coffee. I used to stay in airbnb but have now been “converted” to other forms of accommodation, including pet-friendly hotels and motels. I also had an excellent experience in Super 8 Muskogee OK where there were very few airbnb which were also extraordinarily expensive. Goodbye airbnb. Let’s start another organization ruled not by robots but by caring humans.

  51. Hi, when I go on holiday. I mix motels, hotels and airbnb. Sometimes we get a motel room for us and air bnb’s for guests. All of my airbnb stays in europe, the middle east, new zealand, australia have been great. Had 1 hotel in my lifetime that has not been great, it was in Doha, Qatar next to where the Qatar mall was being built in 2014. The grand mercure hotel. 4.5 stars. Stars… What a joke of a rating system. Also had 1 motel that was bad in Thamel in Kathmandu, Nepal and another in Delhi, India. Word of mouth and positive reviews in aggregate is what I go by for all airbnb, hotels and motels. Use your commonsense and you won’t have a problem.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences, David. As mentioned in my closing comments however, this article is not about whether you’ve had a good or bad time with Airbnb. But yes I agree, if people use their common sense many issues can be avoided.

    2. What you seem to leave out is homeowners who rent out their homes as airbnb. Homes they normally live in and stay elsewhere while rented. It’s quite common in the US and it doesn’t make anyone else’s rents higher or take a home away from others. It also supports locals-the homeowners! These hosts often use local cleaning companies to turnover the rental and local handyman to maintain them, again supporting local jobs. There are the same issues at hotels where people go to check into their rooms and find a uncleaned room or someone already in it. And many make it easy with a coded lock box to check in or check out without waiting on someone. Most hosts respond and are nearby when someone has any issue, just like a hotel. Every airbnb I’ve stayed at was cleaner and more comfortable and at the same time cheaper than a hotel. There are two sides to everything.

  52. I cannot believe that you could write such a scurrilous article, knowing that it would damage honest persons’ BnB businesses. You’re lumping together many countries and many situations. Is it unethical to rent from a 78-year-old-woman who has no other means to make money than rent a room in her house to strangers? I have made a few friends this way and been able to live a far more decent life than occasional pet care affords me. I use AirBnB as a guest, too, as it enables me to pay $30 a night where motels charge three times that. Why do hosts kick folks out? One reason is the incumbent guest decides to stay longer. I was kicked last year when the host thought he had come down with illness. I had a two-month reservation guest cancel the day he was supposed to arrive: do I blast AirBnB guests because of that? Let’s stop discussing apartments in Paris and get back to the thousands of persons changing sheets and making coffee because that it our business model to stay out of poverty!

    1. Hi Millicent, judging by your comments I don’t think you may have read the concluding paragraphs of my article. Provided the stay is a hosted one where a room of the home is being rented whilst the owner is there and they are not breaking any local laws, there should be no issues. Age does not come into it. The point of this article is to bring attention to the numerous issues faced across the globe by unregulated and unhosted homestay accommodation services where residential properties have been inadvertently taken from locals.

  53. Thank you for this article. I can testify firsthand to the destruction that Airbnb has wrought on my town. Thanks to a state law, towns cannot regulate short term rentals. As a result, nearly every home that is sold is for Airbnb, and places for long term rental are getting increasingly harder to find (and more expensive). Many businesses have trouble finding employees because no one can find a place to live here. A school superintendent quit before he even started because he was outbid on four houses. Young families are not moving here and as a result, one elementary school was shut down due to lack of enrollment.

    1. Oh gosh Sedonan, I am so sorry to learn what’s been happening in your town. That’s so awful for the entire community! So many people don’t realise the generational impacts unregulated short-term accommodation can have on local populations trying to live there and get by. Without housing, jobs, or even a local school, the future doesn’t look very bright (and I say that with a heavy heart).

      Visitors need to need to me made aware of these issues, they run so much deeper than first thought. What happens to a community when the very reasons it’s desirable to live are taken away? Thank you so much for sharing your insight and best of luck to your community – I hope you can band together and demand action!

    2. Oh wow, this is almost exactly what our town is going through! The county has the pen on writing any regulations in for us since we are an unincorporated town and they absolutely refuse to do anything about it because they get the profits from the tax. Every single week more locals are posting desperate plea’s for anyone to rent them their home because the place they were in just gave them eviction notice to sell and/or turn into an airbnb. Buying is not an option for anyone living here because the investors will outbid you on any offer – often giving cash offers well over asking, which asking is outside of what anyone can get approved for here. The school attendance is dropping drastically. In the last house we lived in, as far as I could see up the street each direction was Airbnbs. We were the only resident on that stretch of road. It should NOT be allowed to turn residential homes into full-time hotels – THAT is a commercial business and if I can’t turn my home into a restaurant or a grocery store, then why can someone turn their home into a hotel? I seriously hope this gets dealt with at the top and people stop getting booted from their homes and are able to buy in their town again.

      1. Honestly, overall I did not like your article. To give you constructive criticism, I suggest you write about both sides and be more objective. This way people would hear you out more, and not hate as much. You’re making a great point, and I am very glad that I had the chance to read your article, it changed my perspective. However, you’re also writing from a very biased and ignorant view at the same time. It’s very obvious. Write about the whole truth of Airbnb not just one side, and people will be more open to considering and hearing your voice and advocacy for locals.

        Good luck,

        1. Thanks for reading, Sophie! You don’t have to like the article and that’s completely okay. The purpose of it is to start a discussion about issues folks may not have been aware of and whether services such as these should be allowed to continue unregulated.

          I welcome objective and constructive criticism such as yours. In my concluding comments, I have mentioned instances where Airbnb can be beneficial, however I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the “whole truth” of Airbnb, as you say? Thanks for commenting!

  54. As a long-term traveler and fellow travel blogger, can I just say thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this. I have had a few experiences with Airbnb, which I have used in the past when I stayed for a full month in a city (like I always do when I go to Israel). Some experiences were ok. Most were beyond bad – horrible places, and little protection from Airbnb which always suggested I’d deal with the host before going to them. I have had disgustingly dirty places (which appeared perfectly fine and nicely reviewed); run down places (which appeared charming in photos) and the like. Now, with the latest ordeal of Airbnb unilaterally cutting the associates program, I do not intend to ever stay at an Airbnb again.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Claudia! I greatly appreciate you taking the time to comment, your thoughts really mean a lot coming from a fellow travel blogger 😊
      I’m sorry to hear you also had some terrible experiences with Airbnb. Something I am noticing lately in the comments is people saying photos didn’t match the reality of the property, and high reviews for such properties. It seems untrustworthy.
      Yes, I heard about the closure of the associates program. Thankfully I was never an associate for reasons in this article, but I can empathise why it’s unfortunate for so many travel bloggers. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts!

  55. I am currently having the exact issue you discussed in which my tenant is illegally subletting my house on airbnb against the terms of our lease and airbnb has refused to do anything about it. This is such a terrible company with a p*ss poor customer service team. Currently in the process of evicting them for breach of lease contract but while we wait on the slow court system, there’s not much else we can do.

    1. Oh no, Brad! I’m terribly sorry to hear that, how awfully frustrating for you. It’s a shame Airbnb won’t do anything about it and you need to go through lengthy legal proceedings. Wishing you the best with the outcome!

    2. You forgot to mention the complete hell they cause to once perfect neighborhoods. We lived peacefully, in our nice, crime-free, quiet neighborhood, for 26 years, until the houses on each side of us became Airbnb’s. Loud parties during the week, that go all night. Drunk tenants trying to get into our front door. Obnoxious drunks throwing up on our driveway. Abusive men beating their significant other. Mentally unstable people flashing weapons to families strolling by. We had 10 police cars show up because tenants in one Airbnb was threatening to shoot their friend. Tenants have tried breaking into our garage. Tenants that have caused property damage to homes in area. The homeowners just don’t care and reaching out to Airbnb has done absolutely nothing.

      1. I’m so sorry, Norma 😔 It must be truly awful to live there now, especially since you have lived there so long. Such a shame. I hope things improve for you somehow, thank you for voicing your concerns.

  56. Pay attention to item 4.
    I had repeated case of cancellation, just a few hours before the check-in.
    I had a repeated case that all hosts in a given area first accepted and then cancelled a few hours prior to check in.
    What are you going to do?
    You already have travel plans and now your accommodation is gone!

    1. Yes, exactly! This would be so inconvenient and stressful. Sorry to hear of all your last-minute cancellations, I hope you were able to find alternate accommodation that didn’t cost you an arm and a leg!

      1. Hi,
        I had to stay three months in one town in Switzerland. It’s too short for permanent rental.
        I’ve booked three apartment, one for each month.
        They all cancelled on me or rejected the booking. Once the refusal came 48 hours prior to check in.
        When I look for an urgent substitute, all places in town are gone and I need to book a place far away.
        Worse thing: one host requested a meeting with me, talked to me as if I was a criminal or this was a job interview. Then he waited a whole week and then cancelled.
        Thank God I’ve got friends and family who can lend me their sofa for the night!

        1. Oh goodness, that’s quite awful! Very odd all three cancelled or rejected you. Cancelling on guests 48 hours beforehand definitely doesn’t leave you with many options, I’m glad you were lucky to have friends nearby to help you out in this tough situation! Thanks for sharing your story, it’s becoming a common occurrence unfortunately.

          1. Yes, it’s so odd that I assume there’s a WhatsApp group of all hosts in the area, and the first host talked thrash about me in front of the others.
            By the way, he talked to me as if I was going to perform some kind of immigration crime, he asked if I plan to register his airbnb as my permanent address, and I strongly denied and then he asked if I’m an illegal alien, and I proposed to show my permanent residency ID, and he “politely” didn’t want to.
            I wonder how many people rent a hotel room, check in and then say “Darling, shall we go to ski?” “oh no, let’s enter the city hall with our birth and marriage certificates and register room 210 as our permanent address”

            He cancelled due to “public health concerns”-
            These days, it seems sufficient to just say “well, we cancel due to public health concerns” without actually bothering to state what these concerns are.
            A host should’ve dealt with public health fears in advance and either deactivate the opening or be brave and keep his/her part of the deal.

    2. First time Airbnb user just two weeks ago. The ad and the 3 pics were misleading, house was a total dump. Had 4 full time unemployed tenants that had no food in the fridge or cupboards living there including the hosts father. Bathroom was suppose to be shared with one other guest but the whole place used it. Hairs and urine all over the toilet, inch of mold on the bottom of the shower curtain. No covers on the electrical sockets. Stunk like mold. The kitchen was disgusting. I was working a 12hr night shift with a houseful of loud tenants that were there ALL DAY.

      I had a 27 day booking & was refused a refund after being there the 4 days it took me find another place. Refund mediation was done through a text message and before I could respond the chat was closed, I was told it was no problem to edit my review until the Airbnb rep read it then he stated he couldn’t edit it because the “system” wouldn’t allow it. The rep elevated my inquiry which has been done a few times for a few different “inquiries” I’ve had and all with no response.

      My review still hasn’t been posted and somehow this host has 57 reviews with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars which blows my mind. I asked a different rep about how the health standards are regulated and I was told it was done through pictures! Pictures that the host sends in lol, WOW! Just remember you can’t smell a picture.

      I ended up getting in touch with the city and within 2 minutes of being on the phone I was told it was an illegal business and they would shut it down. When I was leaving a review there was a question that asks if the address was complete. Every time I checked “no” the site dead ended me lol!!! no joke.

      I can no longer access my receipt on the app and they’ve threatened to kick me out of the “community”. I’ve learned very quickly that the host is their revenue stream and you’re not so keep that in mind because “Support” won’t do anything for you. This article was a great read and I wish I came across it sooner.

      1. Oh no, that sounds revolting, Jay!
        I love that you say “you can’t smell a picture”, that’s so true (unfortunately).
        Very interesting to see your host had an average of 4.7 star reviews, that doesn’t sound consistent with the standard you encountered.
        I’m really sorry you had such an awful experience and hope you never have a repeat occurrence in future. Thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts!

  57. This is very helpful for me since I’m thinking of using Airbnb when I travel to my destination country this summer. Thank you very much for sharing!

  58. That writing is unfortunately is load of BS. I stayed at various AirBnBs around the world – probably 50 times ~last 10 years. At least 45 of them were amazing cultural experiences that would be otherwise impossible. Keep in mind that “wise” locals are much better off listing/hosting on airbnb than working at your dingy hotel for a minimal wage.

    1. I beg to differ, Mike. My entire blog is based on creating authentic, more meaningful travel experiences (that have never included using Airbnb to do so). But thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      1. Your entire blog is a beat up of airbnb i am an older dude that has just finished building his dream home for the family to come and visit on Xmas , Easter etc but the family are all to busy finding their ways to pay for there next holiday to somewhere else. You have a very broad brush to be able to say that all airbnb people are trying to take you for as much as they can without giving any compassion. Come stay with us . Our downfall is trying to please people who can’t be pleased. Some people find fault, some people find (what is the opposite of fault?)
        Some people find it anyway

        1. From your comments I don’t think you’ve read the entirety of my article (or blog), Gordon. Feel free to read over my concluding thoughts, because accusing me of saying “all airbnb people are trying to take you for as much as they can without giving any compassion” is simply not true 😉

        2. I’ve read many of comments for both sides of the fence, let me say not once did this article (Alyse) say that ALL ABnB experiences or hosts are bad, it was about education and choices you can make. and She has has always said these are her own opinions and /or experiences. its strange how many of the negative replies include attacks, but Alyse has always been pleasant and accepting, of opposing opinions.
          Come on guys chill.
          on a side note i am from Australia, where ABnB has pushed the rental prices through the roof, beyond belief

        3. My family owns 2 vacation rentals, and we have used Airbnb to help get our name out there. Your article is too long to hold my attention, I thought maybe I’d find something relating to what we are going through. We are planning on removing ourselves from Airbnb but first want to reach out to all our guests so they don’t have to miss out on their trip. From a hosts perspective, we have seen how corrupt Airbnb is. They allowed over $63,000 to be rerouted to suspicious accounts. After we noticed, they assured us it was being resolved. It was not resolved. We had to keep pestering them. We got a little over half of the money back after many phone calls with them (and telling the news about it). Then we file a subpoena a year later to get the account numbers of where our money was going and they locked us out of our account for over 4 weeks with no explanations. Our guests had to show up at our cabins in hopes of getting in. We had to put signs up to tell them to call us so that we could communicate with them. I saw how little they cared about our guests and us. We had someone leave early because they felt uncomfortable not being under the safety of Airbnb because of this. We were charged $550 for this situation and Airbnb lied and said we canceled their reservation. They are such a corrupt company. They really don’t care about the individual.

    2. And people like you Mike are a bane of my existence. I have one airbnb(like) room right above my flat, and second one at the end of the corridor. Every single weekend I am forced to live someone’s else party, sometimes in workdays too. Yes I can call police and I often do, but it takes a while to convince them to come and doing that 1-2 per week? Infuriating.

      Airbnb should be banned entirely in non-hotel buildings, sorry.

      1. So sorry you have to deal with that, jrc! The level of frustration must be awful 😞 We can only hope more tourists start to realise their negative impacts on locals and think twice about renting in unregulated areas!

    3. Hi Alyse,
      Im sorry to hear all the negative experiences people have had using AirBnB. I know this was written a while ago, but I just wanted to share a couple thoughts and my experiences.
      It sounds like most of the issues mentioned in this article are caused by inconsiderate guests and inconsiderate or law-breaking hosts, vs. the actual corporate company of AirBnB. I have many times have had absolutely horrible travel experiences due to inconsiderate hotel employees or inconsiderate hotel guests, but that is a reflection of the people, not necessarily the corporation.

      I just this past year tried AirBnB for the first time, and currently staying somewhere for our second AirBnB stay. Both times, the hosts have gone above and beyond, and have shown much more hospitality than Ive experienced in any hotel. I will also say, we have done our best to be respectful of the home, neighbors, and rules.

      In regards to the comments about just trying to get a cheap rate and why would you ever need a full kitchen while travelling?? As a family of 5, with twin special needs toddlers, I would say AirBnB has made travelling more accessible to those who dont fit the normal 4 person or less group. To stay in a hotel, we have to book 2 adjoining rooms or upgrade to a suite to fit my family. That itself gets expensive and hard to book, making the trip not possible. Also, have you ever travelled with multiple toddlers or infants? Storing milk, snacks, what they will eat for meals (not always available in a restaurant) bringing diaper changing pads, etc is not easy in a hotel room (which is barely doable with the tiny fridge and may or may not exist microwave), and definitely no sink for rinsing bottles. Also, to be prepared for the option that the hotel has no more pack n plays, you now need to pack and haul that 4ft, 20lb monstrosity with you. Time to eat? No high chair or table? Looks like the hotel bed sheets will have baby food on them before you even get to sleep on night one. All of that is not a worry in a family friendly airbnb. Also, the ability to have a bed in a room with a door on vacation with kids is worth its wright in gold. Autistic toddler #1 wont sleep until 9:30pm? Luckily autistic toddler #2 that fell asleep at 7pm is not disturbed in the bedroom with the door shut. Please take my kids on vacation in a hotel room for 5 days and see if you change your mind 😄. We actually have and are considering going on a vacation before they turn 10 and can expect to have a good time ourselves, too.

      I just hope other families dont get turned off the hope that they might be able to use airbnb for a much more relaxing and less stressful vacation because of your article!

      1. Hi Whit,
        Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

        Yes, I have travelled with small toddlers/infants multiple times – domestically and internationally, short term and long term – and never used Airbnb. I understand the appeal of Airbnb to parents as a whole house with a sink, multiple bedrooms and fridge is convenient. That’s the reality of travelling with kids, they need so much stuff! However when I have required these things, I have stayed in multiple bedroom serviced apartments or regulated B&Bs. It can be difficult to discern whether an unhosted Airbnb stay is taking that property away from local residents, and to me that is not worth the risk.

        The aim of my article is to make people aware of the ethical concerns regarding services such as Airbnb, and the negative impacts their choices can have on local residents. There are plenty of regulated options for families to consider, as I have written about in my guide to ethical alternatives to Airbnb. Thanks again for your comment!

  59. Booking a room through Airbnb is the worst experience I had. Basically, Airbnb expands the number of hosts while the guests’ rights are not protected. Many issues would arise in such a place. For hosts, a place is their properties and they have all the rights to make rules. Of course, Airbnb has all policies to protect them. For guests, they look for affordable stays. When the payment is done, guests are stuck on its non-refundable return policy.

    You might encounter privacy issues when the host jumps into your room and asks you to turn off the light on the bathroom. Your room might be invaded by their pets if the door is open. Especially during current times, it’s really undesired. You don’t want a host with no mask. You don’t want their sick daughter to stay next to you and be out sometimes. You don’t want a long-term staying tenant who surprises you because you are not informed by the host.

    At the end of the day, you have nowhere to go to resolve these issues during your stay. Lucky for the hosts, they have non-refundable reservation policies. And they even can threaten you to call the police. As for Airbnb, it just a platform that seals the guests’ money. Any issues/tickets raised during guests’ stays are postponed and forced to close.

    1. So sorry to hear about your bad experience, Sherry. We live and learn, these kind of risks are associated with services like Airbnb unfortunately. Here’s hoping you don’t have a similar experience in future!

  60. Thank you for the wonderful article.

    Airbnb is a stupid gimmick and I cannot understand why anyone would choose it over a hotel. To pay for a room or a house with absolutely no services is sheer stupidity.

      1. Just politely, as an airbnb host ( we also host bookings.com and Homeaway Stayz) ,most of your article is nonsense and not true. For example airbnb demand, rightly, very high standards. You cannot delete or change someones booking. If people were not staying at airbnb host it would just be another website. You dont actually stay at airbnb you stay at a mom and pop house or unit who needs the money.
        Sorry but not buying the above at all!

        1. For reasons I’ve explained in the article and in many of these comments, not all Airbnbs are created equal, Paddy. You must have missed the part where large corporations were buying up entire residential blocks of apartments for the sole purpose of renting them out, unhosted, on Airbnb. Unfortunately, people are not always saying with “mom and pop”. It’s been proven that many Airbnb hosts own multiple properties, which takes residential leases off the long-term market.

          1. And many don’t. Your article needs balance to write about people that are desperate in the economic climate and need Air b n b to feed their children and pay the mortgage.

        2. I definitely agree with this article for the most part but i was curious if you had any thoughts about things like tiny house airbnbs. cause those types of places are the ones that i’m most interested in staying at. i guess it’s not quite related to the rest of your content as these types of places are usually out in rural areas mostly away from any “locals” that you may be trying to act like.

          1. I think there is also a time and a place for TinyHouse accommodation. You can usually book through them directly without having to go through Airbnb or other platforms.

            Provided the portable house doesn’t cause damage to the local environment and its temporary occupants “leave no trace” of their stay, they can be a great option for experiencing rural areas! Thanks for your comment, David 😊

  61. I was all for air b n b until the house next door to me became one. Our neighbourhood is a quiet seaside community with lots of young families and retirees. It’s since become riddled with disruptive drunken parties every three days/weekends because of the rotation of air b n b guests in several houses in the street. This has negatively impacted the quality of life for the locals who have to put up with it.

    I feel that the intention of using air b n b to experience the local lifestyle and people has totally shifted since it’s inception. In my experience people are using it because it’s cost effective and guests have more freedom to let loose and party with little consequence.

    I agree that it should be regulated by local councils/prefectures in the way of zoning, additional rates or cap the amount of bookings per year.

    1. Definitely, I think many people just don’t realise the inconveniences these types of issues can cause for local residents. I’m so sorry to hear your neighbourhood has had to deal with this, Jacs.

      Completely agree that the use of Airbnb has changed over time and is now, for the most part, very far removed from its initial intention. Thanks for sharing your insights and I hope things improve for your neighbourhood soon!

  62. Yes, I agree 100%, in fact I have been making the same argument since Airbnb first started and now I operate one. I only went to Airbnb because the unlicensed illegal one right next door in a teacher’s home was doing more business than I was and looking at the complete remodel and months of public hearings I went thru to obtain all the lodging and food service permits was eating at me.

    I own a vrbo stand alone townhouse in a commercial zoned and licensed building, the major difference between me and a hotel/motel or BnB is my guests can choose to enjoy the same privacy as if they were in their house back home, if there are any problems the people who help me are in the building next door and I’m down the block. The property is patterned after a presidential suite in major hotels, themed in the 1930’s Jazz Age post Victorian Style with bath and bedrooms upstairs and common areas on the first level. At first I marketed on Booking.com and my own website, but after contracting with Airbnb, my occupancy nearly doubled the first year. Now I am getting almost 100% and only using them. Before looking at AirBnB I adjusted my rack rates to include the AirBnB discounts and merchant fees, making my place one of the more expense in town too. If guests book direct or go to Booking they actually find a rate about 30% lower, which is the same net to me.

    I hire housekeeping staff after each guest, plus having a handyman to make repairs.
    I have seen a shift from weekend and week long vacationers to more traveling professionals and persons relocating who stay several months.

    Yes, non licensed Airbnb’s do not have adequate fire exits, no compliance with hotel motel licensing safety or fire inspections here. They vary from very nice modern to sleeping bags upon the floor. I only stay in licensed establishments when I travel and have yet to stay in an Airbnb due to privacy issues.

  63. Wall Street Journal: Airbnb Executive Resigned Last Year Over Chinese Request for More Data Sharing.

    Airbnb shares your personal data with Chinese government.

  64. This is really great reading. I work in the travel industry and have expressed for many years how holiday rental platforms such as Airbnb in a large cities (and of course smaller towns) takes jobs from locals, affects the rental markets for locals, and avoids paying city/local taxes……and also as you mentioned, more times than not, is illegal. I really enjoyed this read. Thank you.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Emminie! While there were a few of us who warned about these issues early on, it’s good to see more people are now seeing the negative impacts platforms such as Airbnb have had on local communities. Let’s hope we can keep raising that awareness!

  65. I appreciate the information in this article. Three years ago, I made a trip to New York City for the week leading up to Thanksgiving. I booked an AIRBNB and learned a lot about the downsides of it, though I have to say that my time there did not, fortunately, turn into a disaster as a result.

    For the sake of brevity, I encountered these issues:
    1) I did not know it and it was not disclosed that I would be sharing the common areas, bathroom included, with a couple, neither of us being aware of the other. Fortunately, they were very friendly and we got along well.
    2) The owner, not from this country, told me if anyone asked who I was, I was to say a friend of a friend of the owner. This, as I learned later, was my first clue that the rental was illegal.
    3) The pictures and description on the website were not exactly representative of the actual apartment. I was relieved to find, however, that at least the place was clean and adequate for what I needed.
    4) I checked out of the apartment in the morning, but spent the afternoon and evening in the city before flying out. This meant that I had to take my luggage with me. What a hassle!

    In short, I dodged a major bullet. The rental could have turned out to be a disaster, but I got a place to sleep and got through my time without any major problems. Based on that one experience, I agree with you that Airbnb is NOT the way to go and I will seek other types of accommodations for my trip to Paris. Thank you for the great advice!

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, RL3! I’m glad to hear you dodged a bullet as well. I know a lot of the time things will go smoothly with rentals such as these, but as you say when there are clues the rental is illegal and is perhaps not the way to go in many places!

    2. I’m curious what kind of accommodations would you prefer for your Paris trip? What about lodging do you value when you’re away from home/going to tourist destination?

      1. I can’t speak on behalf of RL3 but they share the same sentiments on this issue as I do. I personally prefer mid-range hotels (around 3-4 stars), traditional B&Bs in places such as the UK, New Zealand (that are regulated) or serviced apartments. These types of accommodation are in areas zoned for tourists and do not take long-term rentals off the market for local residents. Hope that helps!

  66. As someone who is/was considering Airbnb for the very first time I always like to do as much research as possible before I travel, generally stay in hotels because it was only short term, and came across your article. Now I have second thoughts. I was looking for accommodation in Australia for a couple of months while I get myself settled after living overseas, and I knew a hotel would possibly be out of my reach, which was why I considered Airbnb, plus I prefer to have somewhere to myself rather than just renting a private room, and cooking for myself rather than eating out all the time. But one thing I did notice is that properties are often listed on multiple websites at decidedly different prices. Airbnb Australia and Airbnb UK showed the same property, both listed in AUD but there was $1000 difference in price for the same dates and same length of stay. It makes it very difficult to know why there should be such a difference in price. Then of course it makes you start thinking about the legality of it all, even if this particular flat seems perfect, has a ‘super host’ and excellent reviews Now I realise more research is going to be needed, because it is too far to travel to end up living a nightmare.

    1. That’s very strange and annoying to hear, Linzi! I’m not sure how they can justify charging more for the same thing on different sites?! Luckily you did your research! Thank you for thinking critically about this issue and many others. Perhaps a serviced apartment may suit your needs if they fall within your budget? Best of luck with your accommodation hunting and thanks for your comment!

    2. I can explain why. Unscrupulous commercial hosts will post the same listing for the same dates on different hosting platforms to see which guest would book at the higher price at last possible minute. Once they have multiple bookings they will take the highest paid booking and cancel the other reservations on the other sites. Whole house bookings are a risk to book. it is important that the guest vet the host, verify they are homeowners, the listing is a primary residence, legal, and make sure the host blocks the dates on other platforms once you book within 48 hours of your booking.

  67. People defending their “right” to cheap holidays, while locals struggle to pay their rents, is a typical example of first world problems. Thanks for your article. i suggest you research the impacts of airbnb/mass tourism in Lisbon.

    1. I completely agree, Joana. If something is cheap it is *usually* not a sustainable option, unfortunately. Yes I’m very aware about the situation in Lisbon. In case you missed it, I linked out to where readers can find out more about overtourism in Lisbon towards the end of the in article above 😊 Thanks for your comment and here’s hoping things will improve in future!

    2. I respectfully disagree. I am born and raised in New York City. I am a local and it’s my right to make money. I know plenty of people including myself who have been burned severely by the rental laws here in New York City. We have a lot of professional squatters who will ruin you and because of the laws here, there is nothing that you can do about it. This is nothing, but New York City government overreach that effects locals’ bottom line.

  68. I live above an AirBnB in Brisbane, Australia and it is a nightmare. Because they are not under the surveillance of any hotel staff, they do pretty much what they want. I wish legally a real estate agent had to declare the presence of an AirBnB in your building before you signed a lease. This is a suburban area, very far from anything you could consider touristy.

    1. Oh gosh, that sounds awful Emilie. I’m sorry to hear that! This is exactly why there needs to be some sort of regulation with Airbnb. People can’t seem to realise that their “holiday” destination is someone else’s home!

  69. Dear Alyse

    I can’t agree with your views in this. Long term renters normally leave your house in a poorer state when they are gone. At the same time, gentrification is multifactorial and Airbnb is not to be blamed for it.
    And last but not least, my gain is their pain. Hotels charge ridiculous amounts for the service they provide and jobs in the hotel industry pay not good salaries as they use to hire poor immigrants for food and cleaning.

    It is true however than sometimes you can face problems with check in and check out, but so far I have had so many bad experiences with airbnb as with proper hotels.

    Finally, regulation should be prompted in case of market failures, liberty of trade should be the principle, however.

    1. Hi Paul,
      You don’t have to agree and that’s ok. We All see the world differently and base our opinions of our own experiences, research and word of mouth. Thanks for sharing your views!

    2. I experienced a very unfortunate incident when a neighbor illegally rented their property out short term. My family owned a condo in a 422 unit condo association in a city where the minimum lease length is one year. A neighbor let their condo out to out of state tourists for two weeks. The neighbor also left a gun in their condo. I was strolling by my pool that evening when the illegally renting tourists felt they had a reason to demand to know why I was standing by my swimming pool. The security guard, who is a good friend of mine,arrived arrived in his golf cart while the tourists were screaming at me for being on my own property. The security guard called the police and three uniformed officers arrived. The tourists went inside the condo that the illegally rented and returned with the gun and pointed it at me. The police took the gun away and took the illegal renters away in the police car.

  70. Thank you for this article! I’m working on a paper on tourism gentrification, touristification, and how the lack of regulation when it comes to the sharing economy can be very detrimental to local populations and even lead to displacement. I will definitely be citing this article! When online marketplaces are managed well, they can be a benefit to locals. Unfortunately they often are not and, as you can see on many Airbnb listings, many properties are managed by professional property management companies leaving you to wonder who really is benefiting. I look forward to reading more of what you’ve written!

    1. Thank you so much, Sophia! I completely agree with everything you’ve said. Best of luck with your paper and thanks so much for your comment 😃

  71. I live next door to an AirBnB and it has been an absolute nightmare. My neighborhood is a designated national historic neighborhood and serves as a tourist attraction as well. It is a quiet neighborhood where most people are in bed by 11:00pm. We pay very high taxes in this neighborhood and do so to live in such a beautiful neighborhood with protected property values. These are the reasons I chose this neighborhood.

    The AirBnB next door (advertised as a two-bedroom, 1.5 baths, sleeps 14 for $113-$259) has hosted a sex ring, drug dealers with a police drug bust, sports team, and countless late night parties with 20-40 people. One host told me the she was having a birthday party because she didn’t want people with the virus coming through her home. The latest party was a fraternity reunion party (approx. 40 people) which included drug use and aerial fireworks at 2:30am. The house is approximately 20 ft. from my house.

    When we checked with AirBnB, they said the house had not been rented through their website. A problem I have with AirBnB is it is very difficult to file a complaint with them. Their complaint form is buried deep on their website, not that it matters because they do nothing about the problems we have had.

    1. Holy moly Trout, that is all just plain awful! I am so sorry to hear you’ve had to deal with these horrible experiences right next to your home. This is EXACTLY why legitimate hotels/party venues are located in zoned areas, so they do not disturb residential areas. What has been going on next door to you is completely unacceptable. Would your local police do anything about it? Surely having so many people through doing illegal activities counts for something? And, how does a 2 bedroom place sleep 14+ people?? I hope the situation improves for you very soon as having to deal with all that on a regular basis is no way to live 😓

  72. Yes no no no to airbnb no help when theres an Actually issue with the place you were suppose to stay. My most recent place had a pest control issue such an issue that I left and rented a hotel room the first night at 1230 am. And both responses from host as well as the company was basically to bad peat control issues arent covered for refund. DONT DO IT DONT RENT AND AIRBNB!!

    1. This is why I believe there needs to be some kind of regulation, so everyone has to meet a particular standard – even with pest control. So sorry to hear you had this experience, Yessy!

  73. Hi Alyse, I can certainly relate to some points you raised , having had personal experiences. Once, I arrived in Stavanger, Norway at 11.30pm and opened the keybox by code only to find it empty. In slight panic, I enlisted the help of a nearby restaurant who kindly phoned the Owner, who said he had forgotten to place it. Another time, the “house” rented out 6 rooms sharing the small kitchen, a 2 seater dining table, and a sofa. It was clearly filthy and unhygienic. But the one that I remember most though it was 3 years ago, was the unit in Madrid, which was cancelled by the Owner 2 days before my arrival, forcing me to book a Hotel nearby to solve my needs. To top it off, when I wrote to the Owner about the short notice, she retorted that it was actually very kind of her to inform me, as she could have very well just not showed up to open the door for me at the appointed check-in time! My complaint to AirBnB about this incident got no response.

    As for the comments by Dono above who wrote about not getting paid by AirBnB, it is a surprise! Because AirBnB takes our money in FULL the moment we book even though it is many months in advance. If none of it is getting to the Owners, then AirBnB is using the cash for its own needs. Owners, beware!

    I do have several stays where it was an extra room, or an extra shed near the Owner’s house from which we could interact with the “locals”. These, I find very enriching! And should be the only reason for us using this option of accomodation!

    1. Oh gosh Mah, sounds like you’ve had some unlucky experiences – sorry to hear that! I think it’s so unfair of a host to cancel last minute (unless for an unforeseen emergency of course). It would be awful trying to scramble for alternative accommodation last minute in a busy city when everything is sold out. It really sucks that money seems to be withheld from owners at times when it shouldn’t be, as well. Thanks for your comment!

  74. I’ve always wondered about how Airbnb works over a rental property. I completely appreciate you going into great detail over the experience. As someone who likes to peek behind the curtain on how everything works. This is great. Thanks for sharing!

  75. I am an Airbnb Host for the last 5 years. My units are considered illegal in my City. However, my issues with your article regarding this fact is that whether a unit is legal or not in the town where it is located is of no concern to the guest. Any potential fines are between the City and the Host. I would not rent the units – all in my home with separate entrances – but for airbnb, so not one unit is being taken off of the rental market and this is true of most Airbnb hosts. I have always used a cleaning and laundry services between guests. Rooms including door knobs and every nook and cranny are thoroughly cleaned and sterilized between guests. Your issues with rental market and cleanliness are without foundation…guests are welcome to check the star rating and comments provided by prior guests if they are concerned with any airbnb cleanliness. I am looking for another service besides airbnb, because they are highly discriminatory toward Hosts and quite frankly they are out of cash. As a Host, it is April 9th and I have not been paid for guests who stayed in February. Guest deposits on rooms – some returned and some not – were unilaterally and arbitrarily taken out of Host accounts and given to guests without Host input or other non-cash alternatives given to guests. e.g. Airbnb could have offered no refunds, but rather offered discount certificates, re-booking other dates without penalty and holding of credit for future stays INSTEAD OF GIVING AWAY Host money and Airbnb money and liquidity to keep their business and their employees. CNBC yesterday provided an article, as did many other national organizations: Airbnb has only 12 months of cash remaining until they are 100% bankrupt. They have not paid me for February and every time for the last 3 weeks that I am able to get someone on the phone after hours of waiting, I am told, “that someone will complete the accounting, pay me and I will hear or see the money in my account in a couple of days…21 days of telephone calls every single day and not one cent paid to me.

    1. Hi Dono,
      I understand the points you make, and am glad to hear you seem to be a responsible host. As my travel blog is has a huge focus on responsible travel I believe the issue of whether the property is legal or not SHOULD be a concern to the guest. Mentioned in the article are many instances of negative impacts illegal listings have had on local communities, and as tourists I believe we should not contribute to making locals’ lives more difficult.

      Sorry to hear about the issues you are having getting paid by Airbnb – that’s no good. Hopefully they will come through with payment soon! Thanks for your comment 🙂

  76. Some interesting points. As a host some are true but some are also not true. If a host is a super host, then that means they have never canceled a reservation in the last two years.

    1. It’s funny how many people are surprised when someone expresses a different opinion, John 😉 Take a look at some of the references I have cited in my article, it’s not just me who is concerned.

  77. I totally understand where you’re coming from regarding effects on local renters. And while this is definitely a concern and a difficult issue to resolve I do find this article paints an incomplete picture, particularly after reading some of the comments from people who have never experienced Airbnbs first hand.
    We are a family of 4 who are not wealthy by any means but have decided that we will save our money to do things, not to have things. We want our children to understand other people and cultures and gain an appreciation for other places in the world. I can honestly say without the option of Airbnb this wouldn’t have been possible. Many hotels only allow 2-3 people in one room. To stay there we would have to rent 2 rooms. Those that do have family rooms are often so expensive they are out of our price range, especially as we try to stay in the main tourist areas in cities so we can walk to the local sights. Both inside and outside traditional tourist areas, we have experienced wonderful hosts – like the lovely farmer in rural France who explained farm life to our kids, the host who met us in Paris (100km away from his Airbnb) to return our daughter’s kitty cat bag that she’d left behind, the lovely French family in Nimes (they lived on the ground floor of their house and rented the first floor as Airbnb) whose 4 year old son played with our kids all week. His Mum couldn’t believe how much his English improved during that time…..some of these hosts still keep in touch! I have honestly looked for alternative family friendly accommodation but it is completely out of our price range in most places….yes, even the serviced apartments! Travelling with kids is completely different to travelling solo (I’ve done both). We try to recreate a home environment, go to local markets, buy fresh produce and experiment with local recipes. We have home days, rest days and need a “home” in which to spend these days. We don’t miss out on the local cuisine. We do eat out because we can afford to because we are staying at Airbnbs. I always thoroughly research properties and only choose those that have multiple, recent, excellent reviews. We only stay at properties that are registered legally. Many locals are not greedy and do benefit from being hosts – I’d rather pay them my hard earned dollars than some international hotel chain. I don’t believe it’s fair or right to boycott Airbnb because there are problems. These problems are being addressed in many areas with registration and compliance becoming mandatory. Until hotels change their focus and become more family friendly there is no way we will be forgoing our wonderful Airbnb experiences.

    1. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Alison! We can agree there is a time and a place for Airbnb – for instance in rural areas where accommodation options are limited so homeowners are happy to share a room or area on their property. This is fine as this was the initial intention of homestay style accommodation. As mentioned in the article, companies have exploited Airbnb and the like by purchasing several or even entire residential apartment blocks for the sole purpose of renting them out to tourists for more money. This has proven, in many cities, to have priced locals out of the long-term market and creating long-term rental shortages. Generally speaking, hotels cost more for a reason. I believe as tourists this is a price we are obligated to pay in order to maintain the quality of life for local residents. Thanks again for your comment!

      1. Interesting information. I’d never thought about the impact you described. I am an air bnb owner but I’m on the other side of the spectrum. My air bnb cottage is in Pocahontas County West Virginia near Snow Shoe Ski Resort. The third largest county in the state with only 8,500 residents. My place sits on 20 secluded acres with only four houses within five miles. Jobs are scarce for the locals and tourism is their main income so I end up providing an income for a young couple as caretakers because I live two hours away. My place was a family hunting and vacation cabin at one time and i remodeled and turned it into an air bnb. I provide services to skiers, fisherman, hunters, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. My experience so far has been nothing short of gratifying while offering me a passive income and helping the locals. This area just happens to be so rural it can only benefit from an onslaught of tourists. Without them there would be no economy in these small towns that surround the ski resort and mountain playgrounds.

        1. Sounds like you have a lovely property, Rodney! Your situation is absolutely ideal for Airbnb because of its rural location and there isn’t any other accommodation options nearby for visitors. If tourism can only help rather than hinder the local community, it’s a win-win for tourists and locals alike! This is the point I hope I got across in the article, many thanks for your comment and sharing your perspective 😊

    2. Airbnb is a scam. They have highly unethical practices. They are out for your money and nothing else. You are at the mercy of the hosts. Yes, some are good, but some are very, very bad. Don’t risk it. I’m out $650 and Airbnb will do nothing. I repeat do not use Airbnb. Unethical practices. Stay away. Far far away. There are plenty of good affordable local options. Thank you Invisible Tourist!

  78. Hi, I actually always use Tripadvisor since I started traveling, I had lots of bad experiences with Airbnb. Thanks for your helpful content!

  79. I stayed in two Airbnb’s units during my recent trip to Florida. Three nights in each unit. Both units had five star reviews and both were “super host” properties. The hosts were cordial, until…you really needed them to be that way. The first unit was so filthy, I couldn’t even touch the appliances. To ad insult to injury, there was no bedding for the sofa-bed, which, we were very clear about needing during our pre-rental communication. When the bedding was finally delivered upon our additional request, it looked as if it was taken out of Salvation Army: mismatched, of the wrong size and with holes. Makes you wonder about all those 5 star reviews. In addition to the above, a couple of large dogs were barking in the unit next door (same hosts). And guess what? After I left my HONEST review, all hell broke loose. The “cordial” (pre-rental) hosts became vicious and insulting post-rental, even though all of the issues I reviewed were related to them by me timely during my stay in their rental. I always pay attention to how various hosts react to the reviews which are not flattering. Their reaction says volumes, but….I am guessing people will still flock into their sub-par units and perhaps even leave five star reviews. Go figure.
    My second Airbnb had a different problem: an angry tenant next door. She was constantly screaming on her phone, and, judging by the sound of it, throwing furniture around. The walls were very thin and there was no way we could get any rest with that going on during the night (every night) and in the wee hours of the morning. After we complained the host, the problem stopped….for two hours. We complained again, but at that time the host’s only reaction was that the behavior of the people in her unit next door was “simply unacceptable”. That is it. Upon our return home I contacted Airbnb and filed complaints against both hosts. Upon their investigation, Airbnb credited 20% of the price paid for the first rental and even less than that for the second. Hardly a suitable remedy for the anguish we ended up purchasing with our hard earned money. Never again will I rent from Airbnb. Needless to say, during the same trip we stayed in Marriott, Hyatt and Quality Inn, all of which came with free (really impressive quality) breakfasts, clean, matching (and without holes) bedding, quiet, spotless units and their staff that was there to tend to you every need, and the best part? All three hotels were cheaper (per night and in total price) than those two terrible “5 star” “super host” Airbnb units. Boy oh boy, have I learned my lesson!!

      1. Hope the incentives the hotels give you to shill for them is “sustainable…” because
        most of what you wrote was fake news.. Yet another “Airbnb Sucks” type hitpiece totally bought and paid for by the hotel industry. Yawn.

        Luckily, most of my guests would rather enjoy the affordable and personalized stay we offer than settle for the overpriced anonymous and at this point outdated experience hotels offer. They probably don’t get the free stays paid stooges like you get.

        1. Isn’t it incredible to think someone can have a different opinion to you, and not be paid to do so? It’s quite the revelation! Accusing anyone of such things without having any evidence to back up your claims says more about you than it does me, Jenica 😉

  80. Whilst I totally agree with most of your post (as a matter of fact I’ve written something similar about 4 years ago – with references to the same cities and issues), there’s one point can’t agree with: the convenience of the kitchen!
    This is our only reason that, despite all knowledge of the possible consequences of renting an airbnb, we occasionally still use their service. We are both vegetarians, which makes eating out very difficult in some cultures. Add to this my allergy for garlic and finding a restaurant can turn into a half-day task, a lot of running around, frustration, and a grumbling stomach (not to mention the feet hurting like hell). Also, our most important meal is breakfast, a good European style breakfast, which is not offered in many countries. Having kitchen facilities saves us a lot of time, disappointment, and money.
    I’d wish more hotels would take this into account and offer cooking facilities. But for them meals inhouse, particularly breakfast, are real money earners – so why offer any alternative? Just think about the all the discounted rooms in hotels, which then only offer a $18 breakfast buffet, no alternatives!

    1. Ah yes Juergen, I remember you leaving a similar comment when I had first published this article some time ago. You weren’t a fan of the ample garlic used in Australian cuisine if I recall 😉 Thanks again for your comment!

  81. SO RIGHT
    for me number 2 “negative impact on local’s quality of life” you put your finger on it!
    Anyone who is a local would understand this, people should really start seeing this beyond their own interest.

    Just imagine one moment, a situation that was made simpler however quite close to the truth…
    You are in a village with 20 houses, you have a life there and because of some unexpected circumstances need to find a new house however 75% of the houses are occupied by “tourists” coming and going all the time and no one wants to rent you a house because they are happy to rent them to people for more money…. not only that, most of the houses now don’t want their old tenants because they want a piece of the cake… so many locals are on the streets desperate… what would you do? how would you feel?
    Do people ever think about this ?
    Can people sometimes think about the other side and the effect and consequences before thinking of their own personal gains?

    Market and economy is going crazy.
    Frankly am dreaming for the day Airbnb will go bust and the property bubble to burst. Even if there are some advantages, but at this point people look in Airbnb because there isn’t much left and it has invaded the market and not in a good way.
    Lives of locals have been ruined, demand for long term accommodation is crazy and there is hardly anything. It has become a nightmare trying to find something reasonable, and something full stop. The obsession for short term holiday rental has become a nightmare for locals, also because those so called “tourists” come and go as they please and don’t respect anything.
    I some cities there were some initiative to discourage and make it difficult for the home owners, I pray for this craze to calm down because it has practically ruined my life.

    Keeping in mind everything that has been said… so what is more important to you, your life or your holiday? which one would you prioritise ?
    And beware, you are going on holiday now and taking advantage of airbnb but being out of accommodation long term in your own city/place because of airbnb can also happen to you! so think…..

    1. I’m so sorry to hear this has happened to you, Jazzy. Your comments are exactly the reason why I wrote this article. So many tourists are now seeking cheap, fast holidays. In my opinion this travel style is not always a sustainable or responsible option. Unfortunately the impact this has on locals would never cross the mind of these people because they only worry about how they can save money, not about the negative consequences of their actions. I hope your situation improves soon and thanks for your comment!

  82. very upset with airbnb .had our accomodation canceled with 7 days to go in tenerife.only a very few poor quality apartments left at this time of year where we want to be.we have had to go in a hotel and cut our trip short, which we have had to renew our return flights and loose the ones we had booked costing us about £1000 more for a 2 week shorter trip.we have been offered a refund and a 10% voucher but only if we book again with airbnb at a greater cost than we paid in the first place . we booked our accomodation more than 4 months ago and paid in full, the reason we were given was just an emergency thats all.we feel very let down by this treatment by airbnb and tell their customers to be aware of this treatment .

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that happened to you, Stuart. I guess that’s the risk people take when they use homestay services like Airbnb. Such a shame these things can happen when you already paid in full, it’s very inconvenient!

  83. Valid points, even if some of them may come across a little shrill, or as a promo for the hotel industry.

    I’ve been staying in Airbnb units in Kuala Lumpur for the past six months, while finishing a university programme. Simply because my long-term lease expired — and looking into a short lease is always an excuse in this country for landlords to ramp up the rent.

    So Airbnb was not my first choice – but there’s too much greed and inflexibility in other parts of the supply chain as well. They don’t call this time in history a Neoliberal Age for nothing. ;-

    I’ve stayed in units where I ran a fever the entire time; my urine turned green for a while; neighbouring guests from China and Philippines would slam doors at all hours and throw all-night discos. My previous unit had no gas in the stove; the current one provides a microwave only (both are listed as having a Kitchen). After five weeks of nothing but restaurant and takeout food, I ended up at a hospital emergency and was prescribed meds for cholesterol and blood pressure. So yes, there are pros and cons.

    Having said that, when I stay in an Airbnb listing, I’m quiet as a mouse. No one knows I’m here. I keep the place spotless and often leave gifts for the host. I buy the security guards meals and drinks. I tip all delivery staff generously.

    Ultimately, I appreciate the privacy and anonymity. I like having a washing machine at hand. Etc. etc. Hotels have become much too impersonal, unfriendly and obsessed with cost-cutting, and frozen in a 19th-century mold overall. I’ve stayed in 5-star hotels here in Malaysia where breakfast started at 6am and not one staff showed up till 7:15am. Or where the one restaurant was constantly booked out (by random non-guests) and room service only listed sandwiches at €20 a pop.

    I do agree with you that regulation needs to be in place. Let’s hope that Airbnb can be a catalyst that helps the travel industry and all its “stakeholders” realign in a more sustainable direction.

  84. Your article fails to address a fundamental question – Why should tourists like myself be compelled to prop up the hotel industry in the city I visit just so that their owners and shareholders can milk more money out of us and make hundreds of millions of dollars every year? If hotel rates, service and amenities are on par with Airbnb, of course many people like me will choose the hotel over Airbnb. Your article seems like some sponsored post paid for by some hotel to discourage travellers to book an Airbnb and book a hotel instead. No one owes anyone a living and everyone can spend their own money the way they deem fit. The only true reason why governments in many cities are against Airbnb is because they are pressured by the hotel businesses and their owners and shareholders with deep pockets to prop up their hotel industry. That is why those governments are against Airbnb. Imagine if Airbnb does not compete with anyone but brings more tourist dollars to their cities? They would be in bed with Airbnb! Personally, I would travel only to cities that offer value for money, and one of the most important things I look out for is affordable and pleasant Airbnb stays. That is why as a whole, Airbnb does bring more tourism dollars to their host cities. This is a new era of smart phones, Internet and freedom of choice. The old economy model is dead. The new share economy is here to stay. Get over it!

    1. One thing I love about the world of blogging is we can write about our opinions and experiences to share with our audiences. Not everyone has to agree, and that’s perfectly ok. If you actually read the article, you would have known I could have made tonnes of commission through recommending Airbnb (or any booking site) but I chose not to. Isn’t it amazing to think that someone can have a different opinion to you? 😆

  85. Happy to see this kind of content on the web. I want to thank the writer for this fantastic information. I have bookmarked this page so that I can visit again and read all the new stuff on your website.

  86. Hi Mrs. Alyse!
    Thank you so much for this advice. I’ve traveled a lot to places like Japan, London, Germany etc. and I’ve never rented out an airbnb because no, you don’t really need a kitchen for tourist purposes. If you came to explore the cities and cultures then you should eat there not make your own food. Although I knew this much about them, I didn’t realize they were illegal. Instead of Airbnbs they could rent out an apartment, or hotel or even a capsule hotel (I stayed in one in Japan and it was a lot of fun). There are many other options, so I totally agree with you. Also, can you do a capsule hotel review next time you go to a place in Asia like S. Korea or Hong Kong?
    Thank You!

    1. Hi Jayda, I agree about tourists not needing a kitchen, especially for a short stay. If so, there are usually serviced apartments with kitchenettes to fulfil this need. I don’t think a capsule hotel review is one the cards for me as I’m a little claustrophobic 😉 Thanks for your comment!

    2. That’s your opinion about kitchen. You don’t know every tourist’s situation. You might want to spend $25 to eat out and maybe I’ll spend $7 to eat in the kitchen. 😁

  87. I’ve personally never used anything but Airbnb for travel over the last 4 years with the exception of Vegas because, well, Vegas. Have literally not once experienced an issue with any host or property. There are several ways to avoid every single issue you mentioned in your post with a little due diligence. Seems like you make some decent points but only look at worst possible scenarios, not all of the ways these things are avoidable.

    1. I have had quite a few beautiful experiences using Airbnb, in New York, NZ, and Australia. Frankly, Airbnb is here to stay due to the affordability it presents as well as the great locations, where an ordinary tourist can visit.

      And please do remember, that big-time hotels also goof up sometimes, as it happened to me at Salt Lake City.

      Just because there is a kitchen option, doesn’t mean that one cannot eat out. But the flexibility provided by Airbnb is really wonderful.

      Of course, we were taken aback in Sydney Airbnb, when we noticed that a Chinese family was staying there. A bit of compromise on privacy. But manageable.

  88. Since my first Airbnb visit in 2011, my travels have taken me to a total of 92 Airbnb rentals in 33 countries: twenty-eight places in the USA, three in Spain, three in Ukraine, four in Sri Lanka, six in India, two in Estonia, three in Guatemala, two in Canada, two in Italy, four in Croatia, three in Mexico, two in the UK, five in Sweden, two in Norway, two in Azerbaijan, four in Belgium, three in France, and one each in Moldova, UAE, Singapore, Iceland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Panama, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Ireland, Netherlands, Denmark, Georgia, and Armenia.

    My stays have been a mix of both spare rooms in homes where the owners are present and entire apartments to myself, sometimes where I meet the hosts and sometimes where I have never met them.

    These are my main reasons for preferring Airbnb:

    1. Much more space than a hotel room! I’m not confined to a tiny bedroom. I have a living room and kitchen that I can use. Extra space is a huge factor for me.

    2. Home cooking – sometimes by the host and sometimes by myself. I can have breakfast at home without venturing outside until later in the morning. I like a relaxed morning time without having to shower and dress to go out for breakfast. There’s a kitchen!! Hotel rooms don’t have that. I would much rather go shopping in a supermarket to buy food to cook myself than go to a restaurant.

    3. Choice of amenities in advance – washing machine so I can do laundry, air conditioning during hot months.

    4. Much more flexible with checking in and out – no problems with late departures, as frequently happens when hotels have to turn over rooms.

    5. Personal pick-up from bus and train stations on several occasions.

    6. Seeing what a real home looks like, rather than a cookie-cutter hotel room that could be anywhere in the world.

    7. Personal concierge services from the owner who has only me to take care of, not a whole hotel full of people.

    8. Personal approval ratings from previous visitors instill confidence. Most hosts do their best to earn Super Host status.

    9. The price is much lower.

    10. Security and privacy, with nobody coming into my room to make the bed or change towels.

    Conversely, I have a spare bedroom in my home. It has now been on Airbnb for two years. Having traveled as much as I have, I know how to cater to the needs of visitors, and I enjoy doing that.

    In addition to hosted stays (when I am here), I can also put my entire place on the calendar as being available, renting it out to people who stay here in my absence. In the dozens of times I have done that, I have never had a one problem with visitors. Not only that, but the rent that I collect from them while I am traveling go towards paying for my own travels. I get to travel for close-to-free.

    I am sorry you feel the way you do about Airbnb, but it is a perfect arrangement for me, and I am doing it 100% within the regulations of my home community. I will continue to use it for as much as I can.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Jay. I’m glad to hear it has been working out well for you personally. The thing to remember here though is no one individual experience is universal and there are exceptions to each point you have mentioned, as many commenters here agree.

      It’s great you’re abiding by your local Airbnb laws and using the service as it was initially intended, as mentioned in the article there’s no problem with that. It’s the misuse and abuse of the service that’s causing issues around the globe. Each to their own 🙂

    1. By your logic, the hotel lobbyists must have paid off each commenter here who agreed with points in the article. It will be an amazing day when you realise there are other people in the world who might hold a different opinion to you without being paid to do so 😄

  89. I’ve had good experiences with Airbnb abroad when travelling to Poland (did this three times so far), only starting to have problems and realising the issues that can go wrong when I started using Airbnb in my home country, England. Ironic.

    What if the host doesn’t reply to my messages, do I just show up at his door? What if the exact address isn’t even revealed to me? What if I can’t even cancel with a refund?

    What if the host sysmetically rejects bookings based on race or gender etc. Is that even wrong? Will you even know why your booking was rejected? Unlikely.

    What happens when the host has listed their property incorrectly? You were expecting a private room as per the listing, but arrive and there’s someone else in your room as well… Do you receive a refund? My own little private space to sleep in is own of my few but important requirements as a very private person.

    I guess it’s all part of the experience. You get wiser with each one.

    1. I completely agree, Epiph. Sometimes there can be too many uncertainties, but I guess some people will always be willing to take those risks. Each to their own!

  90. Very well written article. It’s amazing you pointed out all the problems with AirBnb 2 years ago that are coming to light now. I love hosting my spare room but the longer I’ve been a host, the more I think about not using AirBnb as a guest. I work hard to earn my guests trust but worry I’ll get a host that’s complete opposite of me: not clean well or cancel my booking. My first choice for travel is hotels. I completely agree with all the reasons to why guests should think twice about booking an AirBnb. It really depends on the host & good hosts are hard to find.

    1. I definitely agree with you, Alina! It is a balancing act. I did receive a lot of criticism about this article in my fellow blogging community when I first published it, I guess I hit a nerve. But now in our community there is a wave of change as some bloggers have begun to see these issues and aren’t promoting homestay services like Airbnb anymore, especially in cities where overtourism is an issue. Thanks for your comment and happy travels!

  91. Interesting article from guest
    perspective. Tell me though, what should we do about guests who can’t seem to commit to an arrival time, don’t read house rules or house manuals, and try to fit their hotel dreams into home realities? Not that I didn’t enjoy reading but what are the responsibilities we should expect
    from guests?

    1. Hi Dex, they are very important questions too! I agree with you 100%, guests should also be held accountable for their questionable actions. It goes both ways. It’s only fair they turn up at the agreed time and treat the property with respect. Somehow these days Airbnb has begun to gain the reputation of being like a hotel, which is why some guests are expecting that kind of experience. Airbnb seems to slowly be moving away from its originating idea which was for a local to share their spare room with a visitor. Now people are expecting a hotel-like service. I believe if they want to treat a property like a hotel they should actually stay in one, not someone else’s home. Unfortunately I’m not quite sure of what actionable steps can be taken to hold irresponsible guests accountable – but some kind of penalty seems fair if they waste your time and don’t respect your rules! Thanks for your comment 🙂

  92. Some of the comments raised here are valid. Others seem a bit drifting towards the overly pessimistic. I have stayed in AirBnB all over the world, as well as in hotels, long-term living/extended stay, and in friends’ homes. Generally, I have found AirBnB to be a reliable option. Often, people in touristic regions rent through AirBnB, as a better clearinghouse rather than rely on less reliable advertising platforms. I can see how problems can exist from AirBnB listings, e.g., residential neighborhoods should not be given over wholesale to share listings. I respect the rights of municipal governments to regulate and limit these. However, let’s not dismiss the shortcomings of hotel rentals, including hidden fees (especially for online bookings) and high local taxes (often 20 % of daily rates, often hidden from consumers as well). The hotels are often, as well, faceless mega-industries that favor frequent travelers over the occasional customer. I would not be surprised if many of the politicians favoring AirBnB sanctions were not at least partially influenced by the hotel lobbying. Similarly, much of the resistance to Uber and Lyft comes from the cronyism associated with old line taxi industries. If you have ever encountered a problem with a taxi in Rome, Madrid, or Paris, you know of which I speak.

    Please be an informed customer using AirBnB and check out local regulations. I had mostly great experiences with AirBnB. Ironically, the worst that I had was with an irresponsible person that was actually renting a room in her house while she was living there.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Vince! I am surprised to hear many of my American readers think that hotel lobbies are behind any Airbnb protests. This may or may not be true, but you can be assured much of the concerns do come from regular local residents in cities throughout the world where short-term accommodation rentals have caused major issues. There are countless stories throughout the media if you know what to search for. In saying that, hotel rentals are not perfect either although you can be certain the hotel is regulated and in an area zoned for tourists, where many Airbnbs etc are not. This is a major concern. I agree, customers should thoroughly research their accommodation choices before coming to a decision. I wanted this article to provide a different perspective on the Aibnb debate without focusing on whether individual experiences with Airbnb have been good or not… It’s is not about that 🙂

  93. Of all the reasons, none of them seem that bad compared to the fact that hosts can pay Airbnb to take down negative reviews, which throws the customer expectations out the window. Also, Airbnb keeps all of their service fee in the event of a cancellation, even when the host sets the policy as flexible and asks for nothing.

    1. Can hosts really pay Airbnb to take down negative reviews? That’s quite damning if so and definitely sets unrealistic expectations for guests. Do you have any evidence to support this? I would love to see. That’s also annoying about the service fee as well. Thanks for your comment, synonymous!

  94. I agree with AirBnb having serious issues with management. However most of the issues are overblown hype. Abnb is often an affordable option for families, especially in Europe. If hotels were not so greedy with families, they would be a better option. AirBnb also is helping build a lot of residence, that one day will go onto the main market. The rich will always bixxx about the commoners

    1. I am sure if you spoke to some long-term residents in Lisbon, Barcelona, Athens etc they would disagree with you about hype, Nick. There are reasons why hotels cost what they do, I wouldn’t say they are being greedy for the sake of it. I’m not sure who you’re referring to exactly when you say “the rich” – If you’re referring to me as I wrote this article, I am by no means rich in a monetary sense. In fact, my blog focuses on travel with a mid-range budget (in between backpacker and luxury). I just save alot, live within my means and prioritise travel over other luxuries. Personally, paying extra for accommodation is something I don’t mind doing if it means I am not harming the local population. The aim of this article is to get people thinking about the impacts their “cheap” Airbnb accommodation is having on local communities. As I always like to say, a cheap holiday should not have to come at the expense of a local’s way of life. Thanks for your comments!

    2. Airbnb is only affordable for groups in certain locations who are all paying. That’s not a family.

  95. I never used air bnb but I’m glad I got to come across your article here before I did make any plans! Come to think of it, I think my friend had an illegal stay in one of the NYC sure bnbs if the short terms are all illegal!! I do prefer the peace of mind with hotels where I know they’re required to compensate you if you lost a room or something. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Geraldine! I’m glad this article was able to explain the issues why Airbnb may not be a good fit for your travels. Yes, in NYC it’s a major issue – hotels are quite pricey so lots of people look for alternatives when there aren’t really many (especially in Manhattan). I stayed in Midtown, Manhattan for two full weeks a little while ago, which was obviously going to cost a lot to stay in a hotel. But when researching how homestay accommodation was illegal for under 30 days, I was happy to fork out the extra expense for a hotel! Like you, I much prefer peace of mind 🙂

  96. This article makes no sense Airbnb is a win a win for Travlers and for host. Host make a few extra dollars in a super expensive world and guest save as much as 50% for entire units over hotels. It’s all about communicating with the host along with reviews super host status is also important. I’ve had hundreds of Airbnb experiences with hosting and traveling and never had one issue. I’m my eyes I will never stay in a hotel again. Open your eyes the only reason local government makes it illegal because they don’t get there taxes what’s should be illegal is how governments waste zillions on wars that accomplish nothing.

    1. Thanks for commenting, maya. I’m not sure if you read the article before commenting as it’s not about whether your experiences have been good or not. There are illegal and unethical concerns regarding Airbnb I wanted to bring to light 🙂

  97. Just found your site and love it. You’re right on my page, travel-wise! I’m going to spend a happy while rummaging about on here.

    it’s such a shame that AirBnB has become problematic, and is too often used very cynically, rather than in the original spirit it was intended to be used, creating all manner of negative tourism impacts. That said, I’ve been all over the place with it, using it very much in the manner originally intended, and I think you may be missing out by writing it off all together.

    We’ve had some amazing stays with some fantastic people, who genuinely love sharing their homes and helping you enjoy where they live. A guy in Cali (Colombia) turned a transit overnighter into 21 hours we won’t forget, when he took us on a whistle-stop city tour, out dancing at a live salsa event in a park, (that we frankly would never have dared go into without him – scary high perimeter fence and security at the gates), and incredibly then to his friend’s 40th birthday party! We’ve been invited out for dinners and drinks, given little tours, almost missed things on our itinerary due to flowing and fascinating breakfast conversations, been thoroughly looked after and felt like we were genuinely getting to know the locals. I’d be lying if I said we hadn’t had a few less great places, and less great (more cynical) hosts, but we’ve found it no more hit and miss that choosing hotels. Some just do the job, some surpass all expectations. We’ve found scouring the reviews for frequent gushings over your hosts (particularly with references to invitations to various things, or to long chats over glasses of wine), are a good indication.

    We’ve been lucky enough to not have had any big problems, but if we did, the decade of successful travelling like a local experiences it has given us would certainly stop us ditching it straight away. My only qualm with it is that, though using it in it’s originally intended form, and travelling like a local, I’m inadvertently supporting all those cynical listings and tourists who don’t respect the place and people they’re impacting on.

    One final point is that although we could now afford to use guesthouses and hotels, we haven’t always been able to and would have missed out on a lot of travel experiences for trying to do so. It’s always a tricky balance between protecting local populations from the negative effects of tourism, and keeping the mind-expanding and humanity-enriching benefits of travel open to as many people as possible.

    Anyway, this was a very long way of saying, maybe keep an open mind about AirBnB… never say never!

    1. HI Adele, thanks for your thoughtful comment! I’m so glad to hear you love my blog 🙂 I do agree with much of what you say actually – If you’ve been using Airbnb the way it was intended, I can understand why you would use it (as long as the accommodation is legal and it’s an owner renting out their spare room or house when they’re away, as that doesn’t create much of an issue for locals). Sounds like the local experiences have made a powerfully positive impact on your travels, which is great.

      It sounds like you do you research beforehand which is essential! But as you say, even when using the platform as intended you’re unintentionally supporting the people exploiting it. This is like being stuck between a rock and a hard place, but it comes down to what we value most. I think this is why I’m reluctant to get behind homestay services like Airbnb.

      The main point I wanted to get across in this article is the awful damage to local populations that Airbnb and homestay accom is doing when it’s being misused, by both property owners and tourists. Although, it sounds like you’re being an Invisible Tourist and you have the best intentions at heart, which is what more travellers need to be mindful of 🙂

      1. Thanks Alyse,
        It is a balancing act, and I do worry about supporting the less scrupulous AirBnB’ers out there. Perhaps us regular users who want to continue using it in the manner it was originally intended could push them to take steps to return the model to that original vision. For example, stopping people listing multiple flats would be a great start. Anybody listing several separate flats on there clearly isn’t just using it to share their own home and I steer well clear of them.

        I think if the cynical hosts were tackled, many of the more disruptive and disrespectful users would drop off too. Staying with a stranger who wants to show you their city/town/whatever is unlikely to appeal to the types who rent a cheap apartment, trash it and upset the neighbours.

        Also, it’s good to see some countries or individual cities are tackling the impacts of indiscriminate AirBnB use, without stopping it entirely. I just came back from a weekend in Bilbao, where AirBnB is now very heavily regulated and owners have to apply for a licence to host tourists. This means those who are doing it properly can carry on doing so, without those unfortunate impacts. We stayed with a lovely couple who rent out two spare rooms in their own apartment and were always around, to give us advice and/or lend us a brolly (it rains there way more than we had realised!). More approaches like this would make the whole experience much safer for both parties and reduce the local impacts considerably.

        I guess it’s similar to Uber in that it’s a market disrupter, and comes with unintended consequences that society has to tackle as they become apparent.

        Anyway, thanks for your reply and I hope one day you’ll be able to try out AirBnB in all good conscience.

  98. What an odd article.
    We have stayed in AirBnb’s in the UK, Europe, North America and South America and have had a uniformly good experience. We’ve formed warm relationships with our hosts, have explored out of the way villages and getaways in places no hotel could afford to locate, and have always appreciated that we had a kitchen to bring our family together. And all at a cost well below what a hotel could offer.

    What you’ve ignored (either on purpose or through neglect) is that AirBnB operates on the principal of a “reputational economy” … risk can be mitigated by simply reading reviews or contacting and developing a relationship with hosts … as a guest I do my best to ensure that I leave the places we visit in as good, or better shape, than when we arrive, and conversely, we patronize hosts who have an established record of welcoming their guests such they earn a “superhost” accreditation.

    None of that is to say that things can’t go wrong, but I know that you know that you’ve been disingenuous with this article … you could just as easily have quoted times where guests have had poor experiences with a hotel chain; or engaged in serious discussion about what it means to have young people priced out of urban real-estate markets and how platforms like AirBnB make it possible for those of modest means to buy in …

    But of course it’s the internet, and clicks doncha know … c’est la vie.

    1. Thanks for your comment, T. If you’re happy using Airbnb then that’s your choice 🙂 As I’ve responded to a few of the similar comments here, this article isn’t about whether you’ve had good experiences using Airbnb. Yes some of these issues may also happen with hotels as I have mentioned in comments here, so I’ve not neglected the fact people should be responsible and do their own research – I encourage it.

      I compiled this list of reasons to raise awareness of some problems that others may not have been aware of with Airbnb, especially the ethical and illegal concerns. As I’ve seen first hand the damage to local communities illegal homestay accomm is causing in some cities, this issue is close to my heart, not just about the “clicks doncha know” 😉

      I take it you mustn’t live in a city where the median house price is well over one million dollars with foreign investors snapping up properties for the sole purpose of renting them out on Airbnb to make a quick buck. So no, Airbnb does not always provide a way for people to enter the property market, in certain places it has the opposite effect. Anyway, people are free to analyse both sides of the debate and come to their own conclusions.

  99. My wife and I have stayed in many different countries, even Cuba and have used Airbnb.
    I have to tell you that in all the places that we stayed using Airbnb we could not have a better experience!!!
    I just wonder if the person writing this article got paid by the hotels!!
    I only got one word to describe this article..Bullshit!!!!!

    1. Thanks for your colourful comment, Cesar. As others in the comments have mentioned, this article is not about whether you personally have had good experiences with Airbnb. It’s to highlight the illegal and unethical concerns that can be associated with homestay accommodation. Interesting how you think I must have been paid to write this simply because my opinion differs to yours, that says more about you than it does me 😉

  100. I know you’re trying to help people out and you make a few valid points, but honestly on numbers 3-5, my eyes rolled pretty far back in my head. Not having room service is a “troubling” reason to not use AirBnB? Ok, right.

    I noticed a comment or two about traveling with small kids and the need for a kitchen. Yeah, we need a kitchen. People with families need that type of amenity if we’re traveling on a budget. And to your point about taking housing from locals or not using restaurants to support the economy? Should we just stay home and not pump any money into the local economy at all? Because that’s the alternative for some us.

    I’m probably coming off harsher than I intend, but some of your arguments make sense and others hold no water at all.

    1. All good, I love your comment Josh. I’m a big fan of eye-rolling myself and I can understand why you may have felt the need to with points 3-5 🙂 And that’s completely ok, not everyone has to agree. I understand first hand how helpful a kitchen can be when travelling with children however there are serviced apartments to fulfil this need. The room service point is meant to be tongue-in-cheek while also highlighting the jobs this creates for locals in hotels that are regulated (while Airbnb isn’t). Room service is by no means a deal breaker for me personally, it’s just a little luxury convenience that hotels have over homestay accommodation that makes me feel like I am really on holiday, if I need it. And yes, unregulated accommodation such as Airbnb IS taking housing away from locals, as referenced in the article. Hotels and hostels are designed for visitors and are in areas where tourists are expected. Anyway, thank you for your objective comment 🙂

      1. I appreciate how open to comments you are and that you don’t get overly defensive in your responses to criticism. That’s really refreshing. I mean that sincerely.

        I just think you are throwing the baby out with the bath water regarding AirBnb. As I’ve said, there’s validity to your arguments in a few cases. But I can’t condone your advice to boycott AirBnB (that’s how I interpret it, maybe I’m wrong). Really it’s on each of us as consumers to do research on 1) The legality of the Airbnb in the areas we decide to use the service, 2) Look at reviews and lessen the possibility for bait-and-switch or other issues from hosts that you highlighted. I can’t really see why you would have a problem with the service if those criteria are met.

        Traditional hotels or hostels seem to be better suited for how you personally like to travel. And that’s perfectly OK. But it seems that your personal preferences are influencing your overall opinion on Airbnb and the advice you are giving.

        I mean no offense, but I do like to play devil’s advocate and hope you are open to friendly back and forth.

        1. Thanks so much, Josh! I am always open to a respectful and healthy debate. I think more people should be 🙂

          Yes, I completely agree with you that people should do their own research and not just take my word for it, I highly encourage it! That’s the beauty of the internet. I can’t really say I have serious issue with Airbnb IF 1) It is legal in the city and 2) Not causing issues for the local population, but for me all the other little things add up as well. Personally, I research a destination to death before I visit but I am aware many people don’t and have booked dodgy places that have caused them headaches. That can be said for hotels as well so people definitely need to do their research.

          You make a fair point about how traditional hotels are better suited to my travel style. This blog is mainly focussed on mid-range hotels as accommodation options for all the non-luxury, non-backpacker travellers out there like myself. Maybe for some of the points may I have let my opinion influence the article, however this is my little corner of the internet so I believe I can and readers can come to their own conclusions, like you have 🙂

          No offence taken, and I am really glad you shared your thoughts on this article!

  101. If anyone will read this comment
    this is some post for promoving hotels…
    because most of the points here arent true.
    Just google more and see how Airbnb is the same as any other website, good or bad, well, it all depends of the host you choose.
    In a hotel YOU are not guaranted to stay there… they could just kick you out if you disturb other guests or employes!

    1. I’m sorry you think that, Paulo. If this was an article solely to promote hotels, I would have scattered many affiliate links throughout leading to said hotels. There isn’t one affiliate link or way for me to earn commission from this article, sorry to disappoint you. A quick Google search will also show that Airbnb is not the same as any hotel website because Airbnb is not regulated. This article aims to bring to light the unethical and illegal concerns Airbnb and similar homestays are having on local communities, not about good or bad experiences due to a host. Thanks for your comment!

  102. I couldn’t agree more. I feel that the issues lie in the imbalance between what we pay for and what it costs our host destination, and the fact that experience sold as “staying like a local” cannot ever be met, since, you’re not ever a local unless you’re home, you’re a tourist! So all it boils down to is a cheap visit to a lovely place, at the expense of the place and it’s people. Added to this, the reality is, that it’s impossible to know what you’re in for, as there is no accountability, apart from an aftermath of a negative review, at your disposal as service user. We used Airbnb this week for our annual getaway and never will do so ever again.

    1. I agree with your comments 100%! Sorry to hear you didn’t have a positive experience with Airbnb. This is why I believe it should be regulated so there is consistency across the board!

  103. One thing you forgot to mention is that AirBNB has a proven track record of pocketing money and not forwarding it to hosts. This happened to us after AirBNB banned us for life for failing to preapprove a non-disabled guest with a dog, and then didn’t forward about 1 week of bookings from other guests. AirBNB is not trustworthy for handling your money as a host.

  104. The odds of dying from injuries in a car accident are 1 in 77. The instances of serious issues while using Airbnb are 0.004%

  105. I’ve done a mixture of private rooms and whole places on AirBNB and I’ve only had good to great experiences. I agree with the poster above who said it’s all about doing your research – I only book places that have a lot of good reviews. If I’m staying in a hotel, I’ll do the same thing. I think that in theory AirBNB is a good idea for those people (like myself!) who have aged out of hostels but don’t want to pay $200 a night to sleep in Vancouver. (FWIW, I find AirBNB prices for short stays in Europe not worth it, but I haven’t found that across the US and Canada. It’s always massively cheaper.) For longer stays I’ve found a kitchen is really handy for breakfast

    However, I disagree with the people who run their AirBNBs like businesses, especially in major cities. There needs to be some kind of limit to how many properties can be listed/how many nights people can stay etc. It doesn’t look like they’re going to address this though – probably because they don’t care as long as they’re making money.

    1. My thoughts exactly about people running Airbnbs like businesses, Holly! In some cases with companies having several whole houses listed purely to rent out on Airbnb to make a quick buck has gone too far. technology moves faster than the law, and I can only imagine governments not bothering to do something about these issues whilst they are making money from it. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  106. Great article! Currently planning a trip to Japan, so came to this article via the 2 week in Japan itinerary. I completely agree with all of your points. I would much rather stay in a hotel due to all of the points you’ve mentioned. However, I have stayed in an air bnb probably half a dozen times. These have mostly been in Australia where we’ve just gone away for the weekend have wanted to go somewhere where there’s not a lot of hotel options. I stayed in one in Sydney, but never again because it didn’t have air con so we had to sleep with all the windows open and it was right next to a train line. I didn’t even think about a place not having air con, you just assume these things when staying in hotel. Stayed at 2 while in europe earlier this year. One was in Wales because we wanted to stay in a self contained farm cottage and another one in England where the hotel prices were super expensive. My partner and I ended up sleeping there in single beds because the double bed was so tiny! I think airbnb has it’s place, but it’s certainly not my first choice in many locations!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Karyn! Oh gosh a Sydney accommodation without air con in summer is definitely NOT ideal. You’ll find that much of our older buildings don’t have air con in them at all (crazy, huh?!) Such a shame it was next to the noisy train line for you as well, ergh. I do agree with you Airbnb can be a great option if there aren’t many hotel options (especially in remote areas), provided everything with it is done legally. I hope you have an amazing trip to Japan and you’ve found my Japan guides helpful 🙂

  107. I use Airbnb regularly as well as Hostels, Hotels and B&B’s and have travelled extensively around the world. For me it’s all about weighing up your options vs what the objective of your getaway/holiday is.
    What do you want to see?
    What amenities do you want?
    Where do you want to be located?
    What’s your budget? etc etc

    Airbnb can be a brilliant thing, and in many ways supports local people. For example, a person who has a spare room available to rent and chooses to rent it on Airbnb because they don’t want to have a permanent tenant due to lifestyle choice. This would-be-empty spare room gives that person some extra income which they will likely spend in their local community, or to save up money to buy a new car, or to allow them to quit their job and open the small cafe they’ve dreamed of owning, or quite simply it might help them to keep afloat in a some of the worlds most populated cities which are experiencing accommodation price-rises not solely-caused by Airbnb.

    Another example….my parents have a small hut/house in their garden which they Airbnb after I convinced them to do so. My parents would never ever rent this out permanently as a long-term lease, because my mum wouldn’t want somebody living there all the time. But this works well for them, the extra income has allowed my mum to retire and join my already-retired father and they both enjoy meeting people from around the world who come to stay there. They recommend all their favourite local spots in the village and my dad even sometimes drives the guests around The Lake District so they can see the sights. They now spend their time travelling around Europe and beyond, travel which they would not have time to do if my mum was still at work and which brings money to the places they visit. I know this is a bit of a fair-fetched example, but I’m just demonstrating how Airbnb can benefit locals.

    The rise of Airbnb style accommodation which makes it cheaper for travellers to visit cities along with cheap airlines (I’m thinking of Europe) means that many more people are travelling for weekends away, bringing money into the places they visit. People whom may not have justified that same weekend away at traditional hotel prices.

    Using Airbnb you have to go into it with your eyes open. There are clear giveaway signs that a listing might be fake or troublesome. i.e. if a person thinks “Ooooh £1 per night in this Airbnb with only one grainy photo of a random apartment block, sign me up!” ….obviously they’re headed for trouble. Read the reviews perhaps. You wouldn’t book a hotel which was lacking in information, clear photos or which had no contact information, so why is Airbnb any different?

    With regards to stories of Airbnb’s not being up to standard, I get this… but this can also happen with hotels, and in my personal experience it’s often the person staying at the Airbnb/Hotel who has ridiculously high standards that aren’t achievable, or just through pure snobbery. The whole point of Airbnb is to experience a city more like a local (so people need to be accepting of cultural differences or what is considered “the norm”). If my accommodation is clean, comfortable and the overall package reflects the price I paid then I’m happy. It’s a totally different experience to a hotel and people need to be assess what they’re going into before they do so.

    The thing about the hidden cameras, whilst I agree this is utterly terrible, there is nothing to stop this happening in a Hotel, B&B, Hostel or anywhere else to be honest. If some weirdo wants to do this, they can do it.

    What I also love about Airbnb is that local hosts are much better tour guides than a hotel receptionist who has an entire hotel of people to look after. As a result, the host is able to recommend their local “haunts”, most likely helping to support the smaller local businesses in the local neighbourhood rather than the bigger chains etc that tend to surround larger hotels in city centres and which may even have referral agreements with certain hotels.

    I’m just playing the devil’s advocate to demonstrate you can look at Airbnb from the other end of the lense, but I do agree with you on the legality issues of Airbnb and the fact that in reality it has now gone beyond what it’s original idea/objective was.

    It may be illegal in some locations, but so is Uber, speeding whilst driving and drugs amongst various other things. But people still do them. The answer then isn’t for everybody to stop using Airbnb, but instead, the ownership is on Governments and Airbnb (plus it’s competitors) to work together to regulate this booming industry because the idea of what it originally set out to do was and still is a great idea, but we need to get back to that in a way that protects everybody involved.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Kyle. It’s great to hear the benefits Airbnb has had for your parents (provided Airbnb is legal in their city) and I do agree with some of your points.

      While I do agree that cheap airline fares and Airbnb have made travel available to those who may not have justified the cost previously (and therefore bringing in $ to the area), I believe that travelling someplace for the sake of it being “cheap” is encouraging travel for the wrong reasons. Travel is a privilege but many people these days see it as a right. To travel mindfully by minimising the negative impacts tourism has on locals is not always the cheapest option, and is therefore shunned by most looking out for their hip pocket.

      Yes, it’s true that hidden cameras can happen in both hotels and Airbnb, my point was it’s less likely to happen in a hotel. A hotel has a reputation to uphold, whereas an Aribnb host who gets caught can open another account under a different name and carry on. It’s much more anonymous in a sense.

      Many of the benefits you stated about Airbnb sound much like the traditional B&B’s that have always been around (that are legal and regulated). It’s nice to hear many of your Airbnb experiences have reflected this, and like you I believe that’s the way they should be, too. But what I wanted the overall takeaway to be from this article was Airbnb seems to be moving further and further away from this traditional style. From my research and others’ comments it’s becoming more of a fast-churning, impersonal machine that’s causing considerable damage in some cities. It’s ok to disagree with this, but I wanted to highlight what’s been happening so people can be aware of both sides and make their own informed decisions.

      You’re very right, it does need to be regulated to get back to what it once was. The more benefits to be shared by everyone, the better!

      Thanks again for your comment 🙂

  108. I have to say, this article put many things in perspective for me. I started using Air BnB a lot more in the last year, for work. I tired of staying in hotels and requested my employer book through Air Bnb for me, moving forward. I started also using this platform for personal use. Though, I have enjoyed many of my stays, I have to agree about the possible unintended consequences that come from booking through a service that may be illegal in some places, and are deeply negatively impacting locals’ lives/livelihood. All that to say, that recently (in the last six months or so) I have been very wary of using Air BnB. Many hosts now add occupancy, service and other miscellaneous fees that often make a short-term stay a lot more expensive than booking a hotel. I thought my “occupancy” was accounted for in the price per night for already staying in an Air BnB lol…anyway, great article. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Daisy! It’s great to hear you had many good experiences using Airbnb, but as you say are now becoming more aware about the unintended consequences using it brings. Is that so about the occupancy fee?! What, are people going to rent out a room/house and not actually “occupy” it? That’s quite absurd! *eyeroll* So glad you enjoyed the article 🙂

  109. I’m torn every time we book an Airbnb. As a matter of fact, I published a very similar article some 4 years ago. If it wouldn’t be for cooking facilities we would prefer most likely hotels or real B&Bs.
    But once you have special dietary needs an Airbnb is often the easiest and best option! We are vegetarians and, to make matters worse, I have a garlic allergy. Can you imagine how frustrating the search for a suitable restaurant can become in countries where garlic is a traditional part of the cuisine? Or in Australia in the meantime, as it has become oh so fashionable and simply is part of every prepared ingredient our chefs rely on.
    So often that we stumble hungry from one restaurant to the next during daytime excursions. So often that I am forced to order something I really don’t feel like eating.
    If I could find more easily apart hotels with a decently equipped kitchen (not only a kettle, toaster, and a microwave!), I would love it. And I’d give Airbnb a miss.
    Our home is in Byron Bay, so we have the first-hand experience of how intrusive and disruptive any holiday let can be…

    1. You make some very valid points Juergen, especially regarding allergies. Haha I have to agree here in Australia we love our garlic! But I can understand how difficult it can be for you. Although, if you don’t mind me asking, what did you used to do before Airbnb and other homestay options became mainstream? 🙂

      1. I have an Airbnb apartment with over 150 positive reviews.
        Many of my guests are families and prefer the home from home feel and more importantly it is far cheaper than staying in a hotel.
        The guests help to support the local bars, restaurants and local shops.
        If I didn’t use Airbnb it would be someone else or even advertise myself.
        The point is my apartment will always be a holiday let for as long as I own it.
        So in summary I don’t think comparing a Airbnb property with a hotel is valid.
        The customer has a choice and will base it on what suits their particular needs.
        I don’t think a hotel would like wet suits drying on a hanger in the room or suite.
        Cheers Alan

  110. To many of the commenters here: it is not only about whether your AirBnB experiences have been “good ones”. It is about the adverse effects on the local people. But some people are hopelessly unable to contemplate anything but their own selves. Greed and profiteering have taken over AirBNB. I have no problem at all with people who actually live in a house to rent out a room, and that’s how airBnB likes to portray itself, but that is a crock. A large amount of listings are whole houses, whole apartments rented out to short term visitors all year round, often by out of town companies. This takes a lot of housing stock off the market and drives rent up for people who actually live there. This is a huge problem in popular tourist markets already strapped for housing/ affordable housing like New Orleans where I live.

    1. Well said, Kim! So glad you share the same opinion regarding the negative impacts of Airbnb and similar homestay accommodations on local communities. It’s the whole houses and apartments people use for short stays that are the biggest concern. Thanks for your comment!

    2. I completely agree with Kim. I hate airbnb exactly for this reason, that it not only contributes to the deterioration of the community but also to an increase in rents and decrease in available housing for people that actually live there.

  111. Everything has a beginning, middle and end. This certainly looks like it could be the beginning of the end of the Airbnb phenomenon. I loved the idea of someone sharing their residence and local knowledge with a stranger who might actually become a friend. In cities where rent is unmanageable for the young and middle class, having a chance to earn some money to “make” the rent sounded brilliant. I also think kindly of older folks who can remain in their larger homes who generously provide a room and local expertise to travelers.
    The, to put it generously, entrepreneurial spirit, or more cynically, greed has rapidly replaced the original good intentions of the founders. The founders are now also victims of their own success. As a host, I receive advice from Airbnb on how to maximize profits. It is obvious that Airbnb is promoting a less personal, more hotel like, experience than a friendly local willing to share a spare room. It has reversed it’s original position. Now they want the host to just disappear. Here are a few for the suggestions a host will receive:
    Provide easy anonymous access with a keypad or coded key box. That room for two could become party central when 6 people arrive.
    Eliminate, or reduce, the evidence that you actually live there. For example you are encouraged to provide the tiny disposable toiletries one typically finds in hotels. (Just check eBay for how other industries respond to the Airbnb phenomenon).
    The host is now regarded as a bother or impediment to the guest’s experience instead of a valuable resource, unless they are selling “an experience”.
    Airbnb makes it easy to mange multiple properties. Management companies have sprung up to service the properties. (One might argue that does support local employment, but still runs counter to the Airbnb origins)

    I believe there is a big difference between the urban and rural Airbnb experience. In the rural area where I live Airbnb’s have sprung up everywhere tourists would like to visit. We are not at the point of “over tourism”, and we might actually be helping the local economy because the hotels are running at capacity during the brief peak period. People are building units for the sole purpose of renting on Airbnb. The look of Airbnb’s is so uniform that they may as well be chain motel units.
    I rent my retirement cabin as a way of maintaining and improving the property. I also insist on meeting my guests to explain the house rules, offer suggestions and answer questions. I enjoy meeting new people and learning a little bit about them. Even still, I have had a few guests who felt it was unnecessary to meet me and preferred to figure things out for themselves. I suspect they have had that type of Airbnb experience previously and that’s how they thought it was intended to be.

    In the end I think local governments will come to grips with the phenomenon and either regulate or ignore it depending on how the money flows.

    Kris Gage has lots of hotel and Airbnb experience and has some really strong (expletive laced) feelings about each.

    1. The fact that Airbnb hosts are receiving advice on how to be vacant in a sense is definitely a backflip on their previous stances and founding idea. What a shame to hear that, John. The toiletry thing is a bit laughable as I was under the impression you were meant to be staying with a local in their home; not in a hotel. I also agree that governments will either regulate or ignore depending on what’s more profitable for them. It’s an annoying situation, isn’t it! Thanks for your comment 🙂

  112. We just arrived home (USA) from nearly a month in Japan; it was our first and likely our last time using airbnb. I chose that because, as a family of four traveling for an extended period, I really wanted to be able to do frequent laundry. I did not want to haul laundry around a neighborhood to get to a laundromat, nor did I want to spend Y600 for the hotel to wash one pair of underpants. Additionally, our youngest child is profoundly disabled, medically fragile and complex, so I like the idea of separation for him to sleep, adequate refrigeration for his meds, and ease of making snacks for him and his teenage brother. Many of our good friends, also families, have successfully used airbnb around the world.

    In a word, it sucked. The first one, in Tokyo, was hands down the best of the four. The host had shared so much information both about how to use everything in the apartment and also about the neighborhood. However, even though I only searched for wheelchair accessible homes, this wasn’t. (Had a step up into the apartment, another step up from the genkan, etc.)

    The second had a steep flight of stairs to access the elevator. Kinda defeats the purpose. I immediately contacted the host, saying it’s a severe problem; he promised to bring a ramp … and never did. I reported it to Airbnb.

    Neither the second nor third properties left any information, instructions on how to use the Japanese appliances.

    The fourth did the bait and switch by canceling days before we were due to arrive, then “magically” having another unit for more money, of course. It did not have many of the promised amenities, like a clothes dryer, plus it was filthy. My favorites were that host’s signs: 1) leave her a 5-star review and she’ll refund you Y1000, and 2) if the police or local government come by, tell them we’re friends of hers (host), visiting. I took photos and submitted to airbnb’s customer service.

    While the ryokans and hotels in which we also stayed were fine, terrifically positioned, and had small regrigerators, I still couldn’t do nightly laundry. I need a better mousetrap!

    Thank you for this post.

    1. Oh goodness, I am sorry to hear of your bad experiences, dux! I hope your tainted accommodation didn’t have negative impact on your overall trip. Japan has just introduced strict regulations on Airbnbs and other homestay accommodations (called “minpaku” in Japanese) to help curb some of the issues you had. Airbnb hosts in Japan now need to show guests a Minpaku License which demonstrates that they have registered their residence with the government. Perhaps the fourth Airbnb you stayed in was denied her license and therefore operating illegally. Thank you for your comment and I hope you don’t have issues on your next trip 🙂

  113. Nice blog!

    I used to be a big fan of Airbnb, but recently decided to no longer use them. I strongly agree that short term rentals cause problems for local communities, but my reasons extend even beyond that.

    In my experience, the places have gotten worse over the years. There are so many people who either buy or rent a property, throw in a few pieces of cheap furniture, and put in on Airbnb. I find a lot of the places to be sterile and depressing—even more so than a hotel.

    I also find that interaction with the hosts has changed. I rarely meet them now whereas in the past it felt more like a friendly community.

    Finally, when booking in New York, I’ve been asked to tell any neighbors who ask that I’m a friend of the resident. Lying like that makes me uncomfortable.

    1. Thanks so much, Marianne! I have heard this as well regarding the standards of Airbnb accommodation. Some hosts’ (definitely not all!) only priority seems to be about making a quick buck by taking advantage of the system, which is a real shame. It would be also unnerving having to lie to neighbours about why you’re there. That in itself should be enough evidence that it’s not the right thing to do :/

  114. PS. Part of my husband’s enjoyment on holiday is having time to cook, have in house cooking lessons and using local ingredients. Pretty much impossible to do that in hotel/motel/efficieny units.

    1. Hi Sandy, I certainly agree with you that staying away from home is never the same as home. It’s great your husband enjoys cooking whilst on holiday. However I disagree that cooking is impossible without using an Airbnb – there are serviced apartments to fulfil this need.

  115. I am a big Airbnb user and have had 99% positive experiences.

    Agree there are risks but also benefits – important to do your due diligence.

    If hotels provided things like windows that open and usable kitchens and space to relax outside Id be more inclined.

    I travel a lot for work and tend to get sick each time I stay in a hotel. Despite all of my strategies!!!!

    Staying away from home is never the same as home. Do your research and figure out what your comfort zone is!

  116. Me? I have always loved hotels– to me, it seems like a luxury even a simple motel of the type I used many years ago, that is clean, well-kept, and has hot water, I also like to splurge on room service once in a while. The thought of a kitchen when traveling for fun turns me off. IT’S MY VACATION TIME for fun and pleasure, a get-away– no housework, no hassles. So now that you have called to my attention to what that system does to the local economy vis-à-vis labor and housing? all more reasons for me never to use Airbnb.

    1. I cannot agree with you more, Maryhelen! Amongst many other benefits holidays to me are about getting out there and enjoying locally-cooked food without having to clean dishes afterwards ? It doesn’t need to be 5 star – as you say, just clean and well-kept. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  117. There is a marketplace for both hotels and AirBnB’s. I have stayed all over the world in both hotels and AirBnBs and I enjoy the offerings and personable aspect of Air BnB. Hotels do not often offer the modern basics for free-wifi, snacks, netflix, etc….

    Hotels will offer a room and what you see is generally what you get. They charge much higher due to staff to pay for (that you rarely need anyways) as well as many other overheads.When you order breakfast-it can be very expensive for room service.

    Air BnB ideally, is great for people who want to have the best of both worlds. A host who has a decent knowledge of the local area, recommendations for sight seeing, restaurants, a nice clean room with enough privacy and leave themselves open and flexible for communication. Likewise, some hosts leave a simple breakfast for guests (others do not) and some like myself provide a more elaborate breakfast experience for an additional fee-which is much cheaper than a hotel, yet providing just as good (if not better) product because I do not have staff to pay and everything is made with very high quality ingredients and freshly brought from the kitchen to your door (or to your native garden view verandah which most hotels do not have).

    All in all, most people have great experiences at both hotels and AirBnB’s…but some have negative experiences at both. With both however, you will want to do your own due diligence before making a booking and ideally with Air BnB you can ask the host anything and they will have an answer as nobody knows their own property like the host.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Russell! I do agree that there’s a marketplace for both hotels and Airbnb’s. In terms of snacks, wifi and Netflix, I can do that at home and would rather spend that time out of my hotel room enjoying local food when on holiday but each to their own 😉 As I mentioned in a few of these comments Airbnbs are fine IF they are following local laws, which in many instances they aren’t unfortunately. But yes, there can be positive and negative experiences with both but it’s less likely if travellers do their research first to avoid any nasty surprises!

  118. Hi Alyse – interesting article (I actually came here scooping out hints on how to write blogs!) It certainly seems a lot of effort to respond to every individual comment but I guess that is part and parcel of the whole thing.

    In terms of AirBnB it’s not the company itself but the platform upon which it is based. Instantaneous communication between supply and demand and a method of wide market reach with minimal barriers to entry. I am a town planner in a tourism reliant area and can attest to the home rental market putting significant artificial accommodation pressure on our locality.

    As AirBnb is a market, opposed to a provider of accommodation, its strength is in the diversity of its traders (such as Doug) who position themselves in the market as they see fit and may take the criticism of airbnb as a criticism of their particular business.

    In the focus area of my municipality there are more houses than permanent residents and proximity to a major city results in many of these houses being business concerns of those in the city with the added advantage that they can be used as personal holiday homes when desired. Similarly – air bnb hubs will be created with a product aimed at particular market segments just like a hotel would divide its room rates.

    The systemic issues which are created are housing shortages in tourism areas which can result in a number of symptoms such as poor offseason economic activity, vehicle congestion, infrastructure strain during peak seasons and cultural stagnation. In the most general sense – this would be the homogenisation of tourism destinations that we see world over.

    Interesting in the long/term vs short term rental situation discussion
    A holiday house is maintained for a market position/advertising and review
    A long term rental is a home – even if for a limited time, the same standards of clinical presentation are not usually applied to some ones home and is another difference for the discerning customer on whether or not they are actually receiving a homestay experience as airbnb tries to market its offering or are just occupying a serviced apartment.

    In terms of the subletting discussion – many renters sublet rooms to cushion the rents, and ironically if they do this – the airbnb experience would be truest to form.

    It is my opinion that there is little social or economic benefit to the host communities in which airbnb hubs occur (that is a significant number of holiday focussed dwellings) and in these circumstances differ very little from a hotel – infact they may be owned by a hotel via an agent. However; if your host resides onsite (see profile) you are likely to have a unique and personable experience (good or bad).


    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Lachlan! I do agree with many of your points, especially how some have unfortunately seen my criticism of Airbnb as a direct attack on their small business. That was not the intention of this article and should not be taken to heart on a personal level by any Airbnb host. And I definitely agree that if the Airbnb host resides on site (and is there during your stay) the guests are very likely to have a unique an personable experience as you say 🙂

  119. Wow, this entire post sounds like it was written by the Hotel lobby. You are wrong on so many levels here. I am a very responsible vacation rental host and would like to point out some errors in your thinking.

    While there are some cities that have outlawed Airbnb, most just have regulations to protect guests, hosts, and locals. This is a good thing.

    While there are admittedly some hosts that don’t care about their neighbors, once again these are a very small minority. Short term rentals actually spruce up a neighborhood as their property has to look nice and keep constantly clean and fresh while long-term rentals tend to go the other way as renters don’t care as much about their property. There is no proof at this time that the few Short term rentals in a city would actually raise rent prices and there are actually studies that prove that this is not true.

    Airbnb hosts hire cleaners, repair folks, use lots of Uber and Lyft drivers and bring locals to town that may not be able to afford the costs of hotels. In addition, we find that the money they save, they spend in local restaurants, shops and on entertainment, thus helping local small businesses. We have nearby restaurants that have actually had an increase in business because we recommend them all the time.

    As for your luggage, we have a service that will pick it up and deliver it to the airport for you. They will also pick it up at the airport and bring it to the Airbnb.

    You can also be a the mercy of your Hotel. They can cancel reservations, overbook, raise prices have noisy guests etc. Airbnb Hosts that cancel for ANY reason are penalized with lower rankings and less bookings and can even have their account canceled.

    Most Airbnbs don’t have a key exchange. We have a keypad lock that is changed for every guest. We also don’t have any “obligations” that our guests need to fulfill other than to sign the guestbook with their wonderful comments.

    While many folks don’t need an entire kitchen, some, especially families welcome it. Especially if you don’t want to have to get dressed and made-up to go out for breakfast after a night on the town. You can save substantially with a quick breakfast or lunch and use the savings to have a fabulous dinner. If you think you are really getting a “free” breakfast at a hotel, think again. It is included in your rate whether you eat it or not.

    If you are worried about privacy, just make sure that you rent an entire apartment or house and not a room. Then there will never be a problem. As for camera’s in the rental, there are laws against that just like in hotels and it has happened both places but is an extremely rare occurrence. BTW, we have insurance to cover our guests and rental just like any true host would.

    We have to be inspected by the fire marshall and have all safety and security taken care of. Fire alams are installed, fire extinguisher is provided as well as an emergency exit map. We even have a safety ladder on our second floor. Does your hotel provide that?

    As for Bait and Switch, once again that could happen but the reviews would quickly put that rental out of business. Read the reviews, the host can’t alter them. This can certainly happen at a Hotel too where you are in an older property or in a sketchy area that you don’t know about until you get there.

    In conclusion, hotels get tax breaks from city governments to build so that they bring tourism to town. Locals have to make up those taxes. If you do your due diligence upfront, you will have a far better experience for much less money by staying at an Airbnb. We go out of our way and above an beyond to help our guests make memories. We are Airbnb Superhosts, VRBO Premier Partners and have the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. I can guarantee that the guests from 39 states and 15 countries in the past year to our Airbnb would never have had the same experience staying at a hotel!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Doug. My opinion is based on my own values, reports and experiences of others which are referenced. The statistics and experiences demonstrate that not everyone responsibly runs their Airbnb/home-stay and by reading the comments above some people also share this opinion. A few points you mention in favour of Airbnb without references are ones I already addressed in the article and explained why I was against. Not everyone has to agree and that’s ok. I also stated it is unfair to paint everyone with the same brush — not all hosts are bad or are breaking the law. This blog explores ways visitors can help put local populations first on their travels and that means the way in which I do so may be different to how you or the next person would. Readers can examine evidence from both sides and come to their own conclusions.

    2. Thanks Doug. Your responses are spot on. The author is really uninformed about how Airbnb operates and I doubt that she has stayed in many rentals. Why is it so popular if it’s so bad??

      1. Hi Sue, I’ve mentioned in the article how many Airbnb’s I’ve stayed in. I believe it’s so popular because the #1 thing many travellers prioritise over anything when travelling is cost, and Aibnb has a reputation for being cheaper than a hotel (which is not always the case). Not everyone thinks or cares about the legal and ethical implications Airbnb and other homestays have on local communities. It’s these legal and ethical concerns that prevent me from using the service. As another commentor has mentioned, this article is not about whether you have personally had a good Airbnb experience. The point is to raise awareness about issues arising with this service that people may not have known, and they are free to make their own informed decisions after seeing both sides.

  120. I can’t understand why anyone would book through Airbnb. The biggest issue not mentioned there is that they add an extra commission to each night’s stay which the guest pays! It can be up to 12% Twice I have found places on Airbnb and then booked the same place via a real estate agent or directly through the website of the property itself. First time we saved over $300 on a villa in Italy for 4 nights and the second time it was over $600. Yes – this is true. You can compare the prices easily and Airbnb is always more expensive. (No doubt, pays for the salaries of all their multinational lobbyists influencing our politicians and the expensive Google ads knocking out the competition.)

    1. Thanks for your comment, Ally – that’s sure some food for thought! I had heard from Airbnb users that once you add on the extra commission costs, the final price can end up being more than a hotel especially for a short-term stay, but I didn’t investigate exactly by how much. Thank you for providing some insight into how big the difference can be based on your experience!

  121. I think you’re making the right call that if these things are that important to you and you need the highest service and everything perfectly organised, airbnb is definitely not for you. Airbnb has gotten to a point where the guests are expecting hotel service and as you’re not paying for a hotel, don’t expect that service. I for example like the local experience and don’t want the tourist experience so that is why I prefer Airbnb over hotels. The one point I would like to debunk that Airbnb’s don’t employ any local people, I would say the cleaners turning over those Airbnb’s are often the same cleaners that would be working in hotels. Anyway, as I said, If you read this post and you’re thinking in the same way, yes then please do not use Airbnb. You’re making you’re life and your hosts’ life harder than it needs to be.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Marijs! Although to me (and many others) it’s not only about expecting the highest level of service; that’s just a bonus with hotels sometimes. It’s more about hosts and Airbnb operating in cities where it is illegal to do so and the negative impact this is having on locals and their communities. Someone who prefers to stay in a hotel for these reasons does not necessarily make them the stereotypical tourist who doesn’t want a “local experience” as you say. In fact, it can be quite the opposite: My entire blog is based around this subject 😉 If hosts are employing local cleaners then that is a good thing for sure, with the exception of hosts using their Airbnb as a business because that is unethical for the reasons I’ve mentioned in the article. If you’re interested, take a read of my article that debunks the whole “tourist vs traveller” debate here https://www.theinvisibletourist.com/invisible-tourist-vs-traveller/

  122. wow great article!

    I have never used Air B n B and don to plan too. I am like you and need all my ducks in a row when checking in , and dont want any surprises ,like waiting for a key etc!

    thanks for shariing


    1. Thanks so much, Valerie! Haha yes it’s definitely true about preferring all your ducks in a row, I like that analogy 🙂

  123. Have always wanted to try AirBnB but being an OC, the fact that they don’t have standards like hotels do with cleanliness, I really can’t bear the thought of sleeping in a not very clean bed! Not all hotels are spic and span but I always make sure I go to reputable hotels. So AirBnB is definitely a no no esp you’ve highlighted those other reasons.

    1. I definitely agree with everything you say, Raquel! Hotels aren’t always perfect either but there is a certain type of expectation with them depending on what number of stars you book. Airbnb needs something similar!

  124. great points! i’ve had good, bad and ugly airbnb experiences – one threw me in the ER with fractured foot from a dirty abc unsafe roperty with loose steps – my bc was bitten by fleas and other bugs. another my train cancellation made me miss key pickup and luckily had a local friend in london to collect at second location.
    hospitality means something different to everyone – one host might think one loo roll is kind and another welcomes you with wine. to me i want something nicer than home, that feels a reward for my hard work and that doesn’t involve cooking on vacation
    airbnb allows folks to travel that otherwise can’t afford to buy the local ramifications are straining too

    1. Goodness, those are some pretty awful experiences, Suzanne! I definitely agree about feeling rewarded for your hard work, especially when it comes to not cooking on holiday ? Thanks for your comment!

  125. This is fantastic, and sums up why I still haven’t got around to using Airbnb! I think it’s a good idea in principle but as soon as you start paying for something there are certain expectations that the host may not be able to uphold. (like being punctual which can impact your travel times, or not helping with any problems) That’s why I actually quite like couchsurfing (where the service is free), but again I don’t utilise it as much as I could because I prefer to have the flexibility of leaving bags somewhere or turning up whenever I like. But the underlying issues of Airbnb are pretty bad, like driving up rents.

    1. I totally agree, Clazz! When paying for something there is always a certain level of expectation that follows, and the consistency across different rentals with Airbnb can be so drastically different ?

  126. This is such a great post! I have only done an airbnb once in Croatia and it was a good experience but I usually just feel more comfortable in a hotel!

  127. I have never used Airbnb. I love the peace of mind that comes with booking a hotel. I’m not a snob looking for luxury – most of my hotels are bed and breakfast types as I hardly spend time in the hotel in a new city (just need to sleep and keep my bag)
    The point that resonated with me is the jobs to the local (hotel staff) and the rent

    It’s a great article – thank you for sharing!

    1. I agree, Mayuri! I’m not a snob either as I have stayed in numerous Bed and Breakfasts all over Ireland, Scotland and New Zealand. Never had any issues! The difference between traditional B&Bs and Airbnb is that B&Bs are regulated and have to be registered as a business and the owners pay taxes like any other business – Airbnb hosts do not, but some local governments are starting to crack down on this (as mentioned in the article). You’re definitely right about just needing a place to sleep and keep your bag when travelling. Thanks for your comment!

        1. Neither Mayuri nor I said “but” and I explained that I have stayed in traditional B&Bs so not sure why you made that comment, Bk. Some people only see what they want to see, Just sayin’ 😉

  128. I did not know that Airbnb was illegal in some places! Especially not New York, wow. I’ve never used Airbnb before, always been intrigued but quite hesitant due to safety. The camera point is quite scary.

    1. It’s quite surprising isn’t it, Sophie! Especially since New York is one of Airbnb’s largest markets. People just don’t know about the 30-day clause, and most visitors would not be staying for 30 days so wouldn’t realise their Airbnb is actually illegal. To me, along with many other reasons, that’s just not worth running the risk. Thanks for your comment!

  129. I for one love Airbnb. I have had excellent hosts and accommodations and only once had a problem and I had an Airbnb customer service rep help me immediately, solve the issue quickly and follow up later to make sure I was happy. I am writing to you currently from my 41st Airbnb. If you do your research it is a wonderful way to enjoy your travels. I don’t think a blanket negative opinion is fair as most hosts and accommodations are, in my extensive experience, great.

    1. That’s great you’ve had great experiences with Airbnb, Laureen. It sounds like you do your research into them before your stay which is definitely a wise idea! As I mentioned in the conclusion of my article, I wasn’t saying all hosts were bad as it’s neither fair nor accurate to paint everyone with the same brush. The aim of the article was to make people aware of the negative impacts Airbnb and other homestay-stlye accommodation can have on locals and their way of life, that most potential guests probably didn’t know about 🙂

  130. Couldn’t agree more, I’ve been based on a Greek island for the last few years and have seen first hand the negative effect that Airbnb has had on the local population. Rental prices have increased as wages have shrunk and it’s made some areas completely unoccupied for most of the year so all local businesses suffer.

    1. Ohhh I am so sorry to hear that, Amanda. Poor Greece has enough problems as it is right now. Tourism is meant help boost the local economy and improve living standards for locals, not come at a negative cost to them. I hope something can be done about the unoccupied areas – that’s very sad and not very fair on the local population.

  131. Ooh controversial I love it! I’ve used numerous AirBnBs, all over the world from Hollywood Boulevard to Crete and (touch wood) haven’t had any issues. Although we have always booked an entire apartment. Some of my favourite travel memories are due to Air BnB.

    I agree with your points regarding illegal sub letting and the lack of local jobs (although majority we have stayed in have had cleaners) and find it similar to the local cabs VS Uber debate – its alot of “what if” risks but for me,for the time being anyway, the pros out weigh the cons.

    1. It’s good to hear you’ve only had good experiences with Airbnb, Lauren. The good experiences are why people keep using them and that’s definitely understandable. Yes, illegal sub-letting is a huge issue and that’s one of the points I personally can’t get past. That’s interesting to hear yours have had cleaners so that’s a good thing for locals at least. You’re right, it is very similar to the Uber debate – technology moves faster than legislation in most cases!

      1. Airbnb provides more jobs not the other way around. Also, illegal subletting is not the issue. People seem to associate the word illegal with immoral or unethical when in fact some people have to do these things to get by and may not even know what they are doing is illegal. As a renter I care more about about the house than my landlord does and this is one of the reasons I list one of the rooms in my home is because long-term tenants cause more damage. They get too comfortable, break the house, break my things. Airbnb guests are never here, they only come to sleep, wake up and shower and leave again. Airbnb is no longer illegal in Vancouver and nothing changed except the law. Its may be difficult to get past but it just takes some critical thinking.

        1. Hi Jé, thanks for your thoughtful comments on my article. I agree with some of your points. While I agree some people unknowingly illegally rent their room etc on Airbnb to help them get by, unfortunately being ignorant to the local law isn’t an excuse to allow it to happen. It’s wonderful to hear that as a renter you personally take care of the place you are staying in, however from my personal experience I have seen the damage some (definitely not all) renters cause to a property simply because they don’t care; it’s not their problem. If only all renters, both long and short term, were mindful about where they stayed there wouldn’t be much need for this article. Good to hear it’s now legal in Vancouver – when it is legal and regulated there are some benefits. Thanks again for your comments 🙂

  132. Agree, there are definitely issues with Airbnb. In the apartment building, I live we have several illegal ones. And now we seem to be constantly having problems with the Airbnb tenants – parking and blocking people in, being too loud, even throwing up in the elevator. As a residence association, we wanted to turn a blind eye, but really we can’t much longer.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that, Anisa. That’s very annoying and unfortunate for you. I understand most guests wouldn’t behave in that manner but there are always people who ruin the experience for everyone. I hope your building is able to figure out something soon so everyone can co-exist in a peaceful way. Thanks for your comment!

  133. The possibility of hidden cameras is the big one that unsettles me, honestly! You highlighted some very important pointers! Although I’m not certain yet if I will skip Airbnb totally in the future :/

    1. It is a bit creepy isn’t it? If you’re still thinking about using Airbnb in future, there are ways you can check for cameras to be sure you don’t get caught out (under the “sneaky hidden cameras” blue link in point #6 🙂

    2. In the article linked it also mentions that hotels have been found to have hidden cameras as well. The argument that you shouldn’t book through Airbnb because of this is not really strong when the possibility of a camera is everywhere. Airbnb hosts are also insured up to a million dollars, and home owners can get insurance for other things as well so the argument that the reason behind Airbnb “spying” is because of insurance is not true… especially with voyeurs in the hotel industry.

    3. I believe you fail to notice that pulling from a hotel industry is a small scratch on the stupendous amounts of money these companies make- and it directs that financial aid towards young couples saving for a house, elderly couples who like to meet new people, business men who have space they don’t use, and many other people who are only trying to make some money on the side. Losing local life is unavoidable, because we as a race are overpopulated and we’ll travelled- sorry but if you live in a city, or an up and coming neighbourhood, chances are you’ll hear an occasional party, people talking, and suitcase wheels- and get this- from locals AND tourists. Hotels are over priced, with just as many faults and misconceptions as air bnbs, but with the lack of character, warmth, living essentials, and the coziness that comes from visiting someone’s home. I agree that there should be laws and regulations to bookings and listings as well as a steady flow of communication between the host and their government and its laws- but I do not agree that there should be bans on a site that undeniably brings people closer. Ultimately, we should let people do whatever the hell they want with their spare room.

      1. Thanks for your input, Tori. If you read the article and comments here I never said it should be banned. I questioned whether it should be allowed to continue unregulated because of many issues it has caused.

  134. Gosh, so scary to think of all the possibilities! I’ve always been wary of using Airbnb but have tried twice and so far had good experiences. Like you’ve mentioned there’s definitely a chance things can go bad quickly though!

    1. Many people do have good experiences and that’s ok, provided everything is legal in the city of course. I think if things turn bad the annoying thing about it is you have to go through a third party to try and sort it out. Thanks for your comment, Lisa!

  135. Hmmm, I don’t disagree with some of your points but as a member of a family with small kids, Airbnb is a fantastic option. Hotels just aren’t great if you don’t much fancy going to bed at 8pm with your kids!

    1. Haha yes I know first-hand that travelling with small kids can make things a little trickier. I agree Airbnb is a good option only if it follows all the local laws correctly, which in many cases it isn’t. Not all hotels’ rooms are studios where the whole family ends up being crammed into one room 😉

    2. Cassie I hope that you or your kids never get injured in one. I got really severely injured my first day. Airbnb ghosted me and it took three days to get a response. I’m a few weeks into my injury with no assistance at all from them. And adjuster contacted me asking me for the story and that was it never heard back.

    3. Hello,
      I was stunned that Airbnb doesn’t do checks for safety. My daughter’s friend rented the Airbnb so she didn’t look into it until last minute. She asked me “what why would the Airbnb renter say keep the windows locked for safety?”
      That was just the beginning of the longest weekend of my life. The Airbnb you rent could be in the middle of the worst neighborhood on the eastern seaboard. They rent to any area. This place was in what the residents call the 4 corners of hell. Sh**tings every other day within 2 miles of the building.

    1. You summed up the entire subject so perfectly in just a few words, Jessica – I completely agree with you!

    2. I agree. I usually look exclusively for “guest houses” on a local’s property. It is such a shame people exploit such a great idea. I feel like if it’s solely a rental property it should fall under local laws for hospitality rentals. That would solve so many problems.

      My small family stayed in a cool tiny pod house on a local farmer’s sheep lot in Scotland, which seemed a clever way to earn extra money.

      1. You’re exactly right, Gray! I believe it would solve lots of problems as well. Your stay in Scotland sounds lovely!

  136. I agree with you 100%. I used to use AirBnB travelling through Europe years ago. Once I booked a place in Oslo and turned up at the arranged time. The guy took another forty minutes to show up and when he did, told us he had to clean the place (it was 8pm by this point and we’d been stood outside waiting in December, in winter, in NORWAY). Also, the bed was advertised as being for two people and my boyfriend and I could barely squeeze onto it. After I started hearing about AirBnb longterm rentals making prices soar for locals, alongside my own experiences, I decided never to use it again. It was a great idea in theory, but in practice… not so much.

    1. Goodness, LC!! December + 8pm in winter + Norway sounds like a very unpleasant and unforgettable combo. Maybe the bed was intended for 2 children?? Such a shame, I hope it didn’t tarnish your experience there too much. Good on you for also supporting locals by standing up to Airbnb – you’re right, in theory it is a great idea but the expectations can be very different to the reality unfortunately!

    2. Used AirBNB a few times. Each time have found faults, flees,leaking showers, electric faults where system kept tripping, no heating in winter and my very last one a collapsed ceiling and damp smell and people throwing stones through the window (Lisbon, Alfama). I made a big complaint to Airbnb for a refund but they said I was in the wrong despite photos and obvious neglect from the owner who lived in France. Eventually Airbnb ignored my messages and now I don’t get a reply. I will never use them again. I urge people not to support these types of businesses for many many reasons. Hotels and Guest houses are far superior and u can argue face to face if u are I satisfied and usually they amend the situation with minimal fuss.

      1. Goodness sounds like you’ve had your share of bad luck with Airbnb, Vic! Sorry to hear that. I agree about being able to discuss issues face-to-face with an authoritative figure as well. Over the internet it’s all too easy to just ignore the complaints and never reply. It’s rude.

  137. You make some very good points! Personally my partner and I have had great experiences (most of the time) with Airbnb accommodation in Europe and North America in the past but nonetheless, it isn’t a perfect system by far!

    1. Thanks so much, Lisa! Definitely, it wouldn’t be so popular if everyone had a dreadful experience. You’re right about it not being perfect, I believe there is a lot of room for improvement on Airbnb’s side. Hopefully one day we might see things change 🙂

      1. DEAR Alyse

        I have been travelling both for business (regularly) and for leisure (less regularly) many decades before all these online travelling platforms even existed, and my preference has always been towards B&B types of accommodation. Me (and my peers) preferred the ”family feel” of the places, not to mention the dramatic cost difference compared to a decent hotel booking (3 stars or higher).

        The reason (-s)? The details on the dwellings are far more descriptive and comprehensive than those of any other platform I have used and know of and that for me is the actual catch, the excellent quality and quantity photos of each and every accommodation that are far better than those of any other site.

        Kitchen: Yes, some of us NEED a kitchen, because after we return exhausted from a long day at a fair or a business trip to get to a place, we don’t always feel like going out in the crowd, there are ppl who prefer the privacy of their own space and we may love preparing a meal for ourselves, the way we like it. Is that a crime? Why couldn’t we try to have that, if possible? On other occasions we may love mingling with the locals and eat out, but having a kitchen gives you an extra option at no extra cost.

        1. Thanks for your comment, Theresa. If you’re happy using Airbnb then that’s your choice 🙂 I compiled this list of reasons to explain why I personally won’t use homestay services like this, and to raise awareness of some problems that others may not have been aware of, especially the ethical and illegal concerns. People are free to analyse both sides of the debate and come to their own conclusions.

        2. Theresa you seem to be well traveled and much more open to home environments like myself. It’s too bad you don’t write a blog about travelling. This is very well written.

          1. Hi Rose, I take it you must have skipped over the part where I said I enjoy staying in traditional B&B’s in New Zealand and the UK 😉

    2. Thank you so much for publishing this. I live in a building with 14 apartments, of which 2 are short term lets with Airbnb and Booking.com. Last summer I felt like I was living in a cheap and unsafe hotel. Constant stream of strangers coming and going, communal door left unlocked, late night parties, masses of rubbish left outside. I’m pressing for legislation to regulate this business. I want to have real neighbours again.

      1. Oh Lucy, I am so sorry to hear that! You shouldn’t be made to feel unsafe in your own home. This is the type of point I am trying to get across with my article – It may seem fine to use such services for a “cheaper” holiday, but if the rental is in an unzoned area it can become problematic for locals for the reasons you state. It’s a shame people can be so careless. And that’s only 2 out of 14 apartments in your block! I’ve read about some apartment buildings in Lisbon where most if not all apartments are Airbnb rentals. It definitely needs to be regulated! Thanks so much for your comment and I hope things get better for you somehow 🙂

      2. It sounds like Airbnb isn’t regulated where you are and in that case you can report these complaints to the city and your building management. The same as with a tenant living there you can make noise complaints as well.

    3. While you write a very thorough blog about the perspectives of guests; you might want to look into the headaches and problems of hosts. I have had my home trashed with no recourse from airbnb; when I wrote an unfavourable review of a guest who damaged my property, took items and left 6 bags (I know because I bagged them) of alcohol empties (after there was a no party rule), she turned around 6 months later (I assume when the unfavourable review was affecting her and her group of friends getting confirmations), and sent a report to Airbnb that I was a racist, so without even asking me about the truth, Airbnb limited my access and tried to force me to read and acknowledge a discrimination policy they had. Meanwhile, I teach inclusivity and multi-culturalism in my courses! Perhaps look into how airbnb actually handles issues – which it does pirmarily through automated emails, which is the one I got telling me to read and “sign” my understanding of a policy about what I already have been teaching for 20 years!

      1. Oh goodness Tanya, that’s awful! Sorry that happened to you!! It’s dreadful when people throw around labels like that with no basis aside from they don’t like what you have to say. Plus, it dilutes the REAL meaning of the word. Airbnb definitely need ways to improve on issues such as yours, like allow you to counter-claim and present evidence. They shouldn’t just take the claimant’s word for it. It’s not like you would make up that someone trashed your home, you’ve nothing to gain from that especially 6 months after the fact!

    4. Most of what you said in the article is fine, except about kitchen. Is my option if I want to eat out (to “support ” local restaurants), or to cook myself something. It’s like, you would try to force me to take a cab, instead of walking somewhere, to support local transportation!

      1. If you dread the unknown, best you use a booking agency and commercial hotels. Thr Airbnb places I’ve been in have been super without exception.

    5. I wouldn’t even consider an air B&B. It is just the strangest thing to be in a strangers house…. or to have strangers in your own house. I am all for privacy and don’t like feeling awkward. The entire concept is mind boggling honestly. I tried a B&B once out of pure necessity and won’t ever do that again either. Guess I’m old fashioned.

    6. I manage residential apartment buildings in Sydney Australia. Airbnb is not permitted by the local council, is not permitted by the building bylaws and is not wanted by the apartment owners.
      Since 2014 we have terminated 28 leases (entire apartments) due to people hosting Airbnb without seeking permission from the leasing agent or apartment owner.
      These crooked hosts often use front persons to lease the property claiming they will reside there. They avoid paying tax.
      Just in City of Sydney local government area there are > 10,000 listings (mostly illegal). Rents for local workers have skyrocketed in recent years.
      Now it’s 2020 and with the current global issue, Sydney is in lockdown and most of these are being returned to the normal rental market. Some karma at last!

      1. Great to hear you are one of few real estate managers on top of illegal listings, Phil! As you say, at least there is a silver lining to the situation the world is in right now 🙂

    7. I did have a bad experience with Airbnb. I booked a rental two months ago on Hilton head Island and I received a phone call last week and they were doubling the rate. They gave me an option of canceling or paying the new higher rate. I wouldn’t pay the higher rate and I wouldn’t cancel so they canceled the reservation and I won’t be charged any fees. I really liked the place but it was the principle of shit, I just couldn’t pay them double after I received confirmation and even communicated with the host. It makes me uncomfortable now with Airbnb knowing that these things can happen.

      1. Wow Cindy, that’s terrible – especially after you had already locked in the price and received a confirmation months ago!

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