AirBNB – critique

AirBNB is a way to get rooms for cheap in a new city. It beats hotel room prices and you get to meet some new people.
There are definitely some drawbacks to AirBNB, things you will not experience in a hotel situation.

  1. Hosts not held to professional standards – calendars may be out of date. Hosts can cancel without financial penalty. I don’t know how many times I have checked off a series of dates and hit submit only for the host to reply: “oh, well my nephew is coming into town and that day is no longer available… yadayadayada“.
  2. The review process is based on free speech, not conflict mediation. AirBNB (hypocrtically) calls itself a community. But are the hosts and guest trained in community living and communication? Do they agree to resolve conflicts directly and honestly or do they use the review process to launch a bitter vengeful assault? I once stayed at a place of an elderly lady. I had numerous issues with the unit, but I wrote my review of her (and the unit) beforehand and gave it to her and said: “I am willing to discuss all of these points before posting a review.” By contrast, she never once alerted me to any negative impressions she had about me. But she sure did unload on me in her review! And what is tragic is that I can see how she drew her conclusions, but all of her conclusions were faulty and missing vital information.
  3. The reviews are made by reviewers whose psychological makeup is not clear. In other words, in most cases you are reading a review by someone you dont know. So what good is knowing what a review says if you dont know anything about the reviewer? That’s why I dislike and do not participate in the reference process when looking for a job as a computer programmer. For instance, the lady in the review above had a mother with a serious mental illness. I am not sure if the illness was inheritable, but it wouldnt surprise me.

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