After Airbnb said they had raised $1 billion yesterday in the latest round of funding and announced they'd become profitable last year, Hacker News has exploded with negative comments about Airbnb from both a guest and hosts perspective.

I have compiled a few comments from the thread for everyone.

Airbnb has lost its appeal to me, it's cheaper & easier to use hotels

In my experience Airbnb is in big trouble. I ended up using HomeAway

Airbnb is usually a terrible deal for guests

Unless they fix reviews & get more people to review honestly, they'll run into problems

It goes both ways, problems with hosting and too many guest refunds

There are a ton more comments. Some good but mostly bad. You can read the full discussion here.

What are your thoughts?

Comments

RichardVRichardV
5 months ago

Airbnb is a "disruptor" apparently and a Unicorn. What did they disrupt? The housing market for sure in certain cities. 90 day booking restrictions for example (London), banned in Berlin etc.

The Airbnb service startups now have limitations on their business plans and on the ground issues, residents abuse and legal challenges. This is disruptive and not necessarily a good thing.

Airbnb has opened up new tourist routes and brought income to airlines and local businesses, so the economic contribution has been interesting.

But what is the real message. "Live like a local". I know personally that even if you live in a foreign land for several years it's hard to live a like a local. Its smart marketing, the offer of shared spaces and local people. This was the shared house approach it all started with. This is long gone. Head off to airdna.co and check out the stats on whole apartments. It's a misnomer and still carries through in the press.

Is it better than a hotel? Depends: If its more space and similar price then maybe, always depends on this vs location, its quality, is it really licensed or allowed, and how convenient is entry.

You can of course have parties that hotels may frown on! Hotels have front desks, are quality controlled and for most business people so much more convenient with bars and breakfasts. They also tend to have well organised support and be in convenient locations, You can always use Uber to get a cheap taxi though...Uber and Airbnb, neat merger.

As this thread shows all the latter can be a problem and hence the "SuperHost" status.

Do Airbnb love Super Hosts? Yes of course. Reviews pay booking dividends . But Super Hosts don't always let their places all year and being smart cookies realise being paid at checkout, being charged a commission and the guest paying up to 12% extra could mean more money in their pocket if they did it direct.

Many are direct marketing too and certainly doing rebookings direct. Do Airbnb see this as a problem? Of course, they want 24/7 and all the margin. This is why they hate leakage and try to force instant book and convenient cancellations. This is also guest centric and owner impossible for so many. The two are hard to equate. Booking.com's mantra "Most rooms with free cancellation" is the killer, but does NOT apply 90% of the time to their rental inventory. Clever marketing again!

Airbnb also want to ensure quality inventory and no come-back. Hard with a thousands of unstandardised accommodation. Bad review police-ing is expensive!

Do Airbnb want to be in the main holiday rentals seasonal space? Yes, they just bought Luxury Retreats for $200m, but even this is a slippery fish as these are mainly managers and owners who market everywhere and want/need maximum margin. It's an unusual play but maybe just paying to understand the market more. Trying to forcing any form or control on these properties may well see further industry rebellion.

Add in the Trips launch and other revenue streams and you can see strategically they realise a zenith is approaching on the main models and which company needs so much litigation?

Best prices? Lots of comments on this. The best price is always likely to be direct, price parity slipped out the backdoor years ago. The "Guest Service Fee" is not charged direct. Imagine paying $2000 and then seeing a further $200+ as a service fee. Look under the question mark at checkout, it's their fee not the accommodations. This is beginning to annoy people (a lot).

They could often just book direct with a little searching. It may take 10 minutes, and that's $1200 per hour work! Even lawyers struggle to get that!

The big brands: Expedia (inc HomeAway), Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, essentially offer the same thing and thousands of properties are advertised on all of them simultaneously as they sit out front and use the guest fees to pay Google Search (the real controller).

The smart guests are using them to identify great places and then phoning and emailing direct (using Google again) but saving money and getting more information.

Ref [http://www.guestservicefees.com]

helen62helen62
5 months ago

All valid points

russelltrussellt
last month

And their tie-up with Trooly is beginning to feel a bit too Big Brother-ish for many hosts and travellers.

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