We’re the researchers who conducted a study analyzing 839 Airbnb guest horror stories to see what’s most likely to go wrong with your next stay. In the process, we also uncovered multiple dangerous loopholes & scams that are going unchecked. A...
I’m Asher Fergusson. This past September, my wife and I experienced two consecutive Airbnb nightmares that left us and our 10-month-old son on the street in Europe. It was a horrible experience.
As a result, I decided to conduct an Airbnb guest research study, and subsequently wrote an article about its findings. My research partners were Sheana Ahlqvist, PhD and Erin Smith. They are also joining me on this AMA.
We’re doing this AMA because we want to see Airbnb succeed, but our findings indicate they are not doing a good enough job keeping up with their massive growth. We uncovered multiple dangerous loopholes & scams that are going unchecked and we want to bring awareness to these issues.
Summary of our research:
According to Airbnb customer service, 3% to 7% of stays turn into a “problem stay” (that’s over 2 million ruined trips per year). Here’s what’s most likely to go wrong on your next stay based on 839 3rd-party online reviews shared by dissatisfied Airbnb guests:
Host cancels stay (20.5%), Scams (15.4%), Unsafe conditions (13.4%), Not as described (12.2%), Fake Listings or Reviews (3.8%), Discrimination (1.1%)
We found that Airbnb customer service makes everything far worse: 82% of the people who had a problem with their Airbnb stay mentioned customer service as a problem. 57.5% of those people listed customer service as their primary complaint.
See our full infographic that was submitted Monday to /r/Dataisbeautiful here (it has over 2,000 comments, many of which are stories from other dissatisfied Airbnb users) : https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/7hk5xu/according_to_airbnb_customer_service_3_to_7_of/
Other key findings from our research:
- Lax or nonexistent ID requirements and background checks for hosts
- Price point arbitrage scam with duplicate listings
- Co-founder Brian Chesky claims a natural “immune system” is supposed to regulate good and bad users, but the review system is flawed and often biased.
- A scammer can use the same listing photos on multiple accounts.
- A host who has been "permanently banned" can get back on the platform instantly under a different name.
- Listing addresses are not verified so a "bad" host can list any address whether they own the property or not.
ASK US ANYTHING!
Edit: Thanks everyone! We signing off at 4:30pm PST but will check back in the morning to see if there are any unanswered questions. Cheers, Asher, Sheana and Erin.