Leaks, No Coffeepot, Can’t Get In? Here’s How to Resolve Common Airbnb Issues

Leaks, No Coffeepot, Can’t Get In? Here’s How to Resolve Common Airbnb Issues

Summer is here, and one of the most exciting parts of the season is taking much-needed time off and exploring somewhere new, especially if you’ve been looking forward to your vacation for months. Although you’ve packed the essentials, curated your itinerary, and prepared for unforeseen circumstances, there are some surprises you can’t plan for — especially when your Airbnb accommodations don’t meet your expectations. 

Although most short-term rental hosts do their best to ensure their guests are safe and have a comfortable stay, sometimes the unexpected happens, which begs the question: What do you do if you have a problem during your Airbnb stay? Do you let it go, contact the host, or alert Airbnb? The answer is: Yes, depending on the situation. From common problems to feeling unsafe, here are six tips on resolving issues with your Airbnb the right way.

Consider whether you can solve the problem yourself.

Some issues are simple enough to resolve on your own. “Depending on the problem, see if you can fix it yourself first,” suggests Chris Cerra, who has a newsletter that shares Airbnb deals with remote workers. If you can’t figure out how to get in or find the coffeepot, scan the original listing to see if the host included that information. “Maybe there are instructions somewhere in the booking confirmation or the general listing page,” says Cerra. Additionally, many hosts publish guidebooks within their listings to help guests navigate the property.

Give the host a chance to rectify the situation.

Although some problems may eventually require intervention from Airbnb, your first step should be to alert the host that you are having an issue. “Almost all problems can be easily solved when a guest contacts us directly,” offers short-term rental host Amy Stride. “We know our properties very well. Often an issue for a guest is not an issue for us. We know the solution, or we’ll work hard to find it.”

Because Airbnb works on a reviews system, most owners are concerned about customer service. Future guests will read feedback from prior stays and look at the overall star rating to determine whether or not they want to book a property. Travel blogger Claire Summer frequently reserves Airbnbs and realizes how vital the rating system is. “Hosts need gleaming reviews from guests, and they will go out of their way to be accommodating to ensure you are happy,” she says. Summer also notes that contacting the owner allows them to correct situations. “My first port of call when something goes wrong in an Airbnb is to contact the host,” she says. “I’d say nine times out of 10 this will get the problem solved quickly.”

Communicate with your host via the Airbnb app.

Even if your host lists their phone number, WhatsApp contact, or email address, only communicate with them through Airbnb messaging via the app or website. If you have a situation that amplifies or needs mediation, having documentation is essential. Think of the platform’s messaging service as a system of checks and balances to cite the problem and keep things civil.

Alex Gillard is a wildlife photographer and avid Airbnb user who has stayed in over 50 short-term rentals. “When Airbnb is arbitrating disputes, they will be consulting your chat history with the host on the app,” he says. “I always prefer to bring things like dirt, leaks, noise, and potential hazards to a host’s attention both on the app and any other medium of communication we have open.”

Document the issue with photos if necessary.

In addition to written documentation of a circumstance, if the issue is more unsavory — for example, damage, uncleanliness, bugs, or an unsafe situation — take photos. Your best defense is to take pictures and send them to your host through Airbnb messaging. “Without photo evidence of what you are alleging, it’s going to be your word against theirs,” warns Gillard. Sending an image gently alerts your host that you have proof that something’s awry. Of course, not all situations require photos, so use images to clarify and explain issues to your host while having evidence should the need arise.

Ask Airbnb to intervene on your behalf.

When a host is unresponsive, uncooperative, or confrontational, you may have to escalate your plight by contacting Airbnb. Their website has a help center where you can find answers quickly, but your best bet is to call them directly. You can explain the conditions to an Airbnb representative, who can access your account and see the message exchange with your host. They will also contact the Airbnb owner to ask about the situation. 

“If an owner is not responding, then the next step is to contact Airbnb,” advises Stride. “If a holiday has not met expectations and the host has been unhelpful, then that is the time to contact Airbnb. They will arbitrate in a dispute, and they will offer refunds if it is appropriate.” 

In the event that you feel unsafe, it’s best to vacate the property first before contacting your host and calling Airbnb. Representatives are available 24/7 to aid guests, and Airbnb also has tips on confidently choosing a safe stay.

Be honest in your review.

No matter how proactive a host is, things happen. For example, light bulbs burn out, appliances break, and the last guest may have misplaced the Keurig, leaving you unable to make your morning cup of coffee. If your host rectified the situation, praise their efforts, but if the listing was misrepresented or there was an issue, leaving an accurate review can benefit future guests. 

However, it’s best to address issues immediately instead of simply leaving scathing feedback. “If you wait until after your stay when you’re writing the review, it’s too late for the host to fix the issue,” says Airbnb Superhost Rena Pacheco-Theard. Owners rely heavily on Airbnb’s rating system. “They can’t fix what they don’t know about, and a negative review can hurt their ability to host future guests. Timely communication is key,” adds Pacheco-Theard.

Ultimately, hosts are in the business of hospitality, and guests are searching for unique stays, fair value, and accurately described listings. “Good hosts list their homes on Airbnb because they want to delight their guests, and they will go above and beyond to make that happen,” concludes Pacheco-Theard. “Things come up during stays, so let your host make it right. Good hosts are not adversaries; they are doing their best to make your day.”

6 Alternatives to Airbnb to Try for Your Next Trip

6 Alternatives to Airbnb to Try for Your Next Trip

When traveling, securing a place to stay the night is a must. Although Airbnb may be your go-to — which is no wonder, since it’s well-known for unique properties and ease of booking — the platform is not the only way to secure one-of-a-kind accommodations.

Several other companies (some even debuting before Airbnb) provide everything from luxe properties to free stays if you’re willing to do a bit of work while you’re on site. So whether you’re looking for a one-night stay or seeking to linger somewhere a bit longer, here are six alternative sites to consider before you book an Airbnb.

Although VRBO flies under the radar, the platform predates Airbnb. Susan Wheaton has been using VRBO to list her Martha’s Vineyard home since 2004. It’s also her go-to platform for booking short-term stays when she is on the go. “I’ve rarely had an issue with the services VRBO provides,” she says. “As a traveler, I have a tendency to use VRBO when searching both week-long and short-term rentals in the U.S.”

Many hosts list on Airbnb and VRBO to ensure their calendar stays full, so it’s wise to check both platforms to see which one offers the better price or makes you feel more comfortable. “I went to Maine for four nights with my family and found the rental I liked on both platforms, finally renting through VRBO,” says Wheaton, although she has found Airbnb more convenient for booking accommodations abroad.

When it comes to saving money, looking at the listings on Homestay can be kind to your wallet. If there is a Homestay listing in your destination, it’s a great way to find cheap housing while building on an interesting concept: staying in someone’s home, hence the name. “A lot of locals will offer a spare room in their home for travelers, meaning you get a truly local experience and live with someone who knows the area quite well,” says Kami Shoemaker, an avid traveler. In her understanding, Homestay’s fees are much lower than those of other platforms.

However, Shoemaker suggests that the booking site may not be your best bet when traveling to an obscure area. “It’s pretty simple to use, but the only downside is that it’s not as popular as other platforms,” she advises. “So unless you’re visiting a very well-known or popular location, you might have trouble finding spots.”

If you need to stay somewhere long term — say, if you’re moving to a new area and need to find a home or are working remotely for a few months — Furnished Finder can help you discover a longer-term rental. Designed for traveling professionals staying for a minimum of 30 days, this platform is a matching service between renters and landlords. Once you find a suitable stay, you contact the owner and work everything out through them. Each host updates their calendar and handles payments directly through the renter. Furnished Finder is a bit different than other platforms, because it puts you in contact with the owner, so you can ask questions and possibly even work out a better deal before booking. 

One of the downsides of some platforms is that hosts can list their properties without external quality control. Sometimes photos and descriptions aren’t what they seem. Plum Guide is a great option for anyone who has been holding off booking a short-term rental because of the lack of vetting — this site has an intensive quality approval process. This assurance does come at a higher cost, though. If you’re looking for a bargain, don’t tempt yourself by looking at Plum Guide’s gorgeous listings.

Aside from Airbnb, Sylvie Coleman, a travel expert at a family website, often books via Plum Guide for vacations and business trips. As a host, getting listed on this platform is difficult, but the quality control gives travelers peace of mind. “The website has very strict criteria during applications, from listing shower pressure to the linen used in the bedsheets,” says Coleman. “It’s a great thing as you’ll always be assured to have a good quality stay.”

In hotel-meets-short-term-rental style, Sonder blends the service of a hotel concierge with the ease of booking unique accommodations. Although Sonder is currently only available in more metropolitan areas like Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, the platform is growing due to impeccable customer service. “They have beautiful spaces in local neighborhoods and a very useful app, where you can control everything from WiFi to room service with 24/7 customer service,” advises Louise Walker, who travels regularly. In addition, Sonder’s app allows guests to do everything from ordering fresh towels to finding the area’s best restaurants.

Although a bit unconventional, if you want the comfort of home and possibly the company of someone else’s pet, Trusted Housesitters allows guests to stay for free in exchange for house or pet sitting. Before you raise an eyebrow, yes, both hosts and sitters are vetted, and signing up as a housesitter doesn’t automatically guarantee you’ll score a free stay.
“Overall, it’s pretty easy to use, since you just sign up, fill in as much detailed information as possible about yourself, and apply to any open spots you see,” advises Shoemaker. If you have a flexible schedule, one perk of using Trusted Housesitters regularly (and successfully, of course) means that word will spread, and homeowners will start to seek you out. “Once you gain enough reputation on the website, there will be times when owners themselves reach out to you,” she adds. Plus, making a vacant home appear lived in while feeding, walking, and taking care of pets is a great way to provide a service while exploring a new area.

Etsy and Airbnb’s New Collab Will Make Any Home More Inviting

Etsy and Airbnb’s New Collab Will Make Any Home More Inviting

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If there’s any brand that has its pulse on what it takes to be a good host, it’s Airbnb. The peer-hosted travel accommodation site currently boasts an ever-growing 5.6 million listings worldwide, in countries ranging from the U.S. and Europe to Cuba and China.

It makes sense, then, that the folks at Arbnb would be very concerned with what makes a home comfortable — and a host or hostess successful. You know the feeling: You open the door to an Airbnb (or a friend’s house) and are immediately enveloped by a warm, welcoming feeling. It’s the scent; the amenities; the care and consideration; the perks — they all combine to create a one-of-a-kind experience you won’t soon forget.

Luckily for all of us with hosting aspirations, Airbnb recently partnered with Etsy on a marketplace collection full of products that will turn your home into the most welcoming place ever — whether you’re actually hosting strangers or just your in-laws. All the picks are sourced from the expert makers on Etsy, so you know you’re still supporting small businesses around the country (and world). Ready to up your hosting game? Check out some of our favorite picks from the Airbnb x Etsy marketplace collection, below.

These Were Airbnb’s Most Popular Rentals in 2021

These Were Airbnb’s Most Popular Rentals in 2021

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Travel may have been on the back burner for many people in 2021 as we were still spending a lot more time at home, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t fuel our wanderlust with stunning photos shared on social media. Airbnb’s popular social media accounts served as a source of inspiration for those who were keen to get back out there and explore the world, and the vacation rental giants have announced the ten most liked snaps on their Instagram account of the last year. From picturesque treehouse rentals in North Carolina to a charming 18th-century country house in France, check out the eye-catching homes below.

Marietta, Georgia, United States

Home to two former Georgia governors, the guesthouse is filled with plenty of natural light and is surrounded by lush greenery.

Mineral del Chico, Hidalgo, Mexico

Ten minutes from the mountain villages of Mineral del Chico and Mineral del Monte, this chic cabin is nestled among natural beauty.

This 18th-century cottage retains its natural charm but has also had modern updates like a heated outdoor swimming pool. Guests have frequently reported visits from deer.

This houseboat is a calming base that allows for some of the most stunning sunset views.

This modern villa features a neutral color palette, rustic textures, and an abundance of greenery to make it a tranquil oasis for those who are seeking a relaxing vacation.

Sandy, Oregon, United States

Surrounded by towering pine trees, this rustic cabin sits on five acres of an old-growth private forest.

Burke, Vermont, United States

Built in 1968, this eye-catching A-frame features cozy interiors that are filled with rich textures and warm colors.

Monte Rio, California, United States

With a spacious outdoor deck, hot tub, and dramatic views of Monte Rio’s natural landscapes, this cabin is a celebration of the great outdoors.

Fletcher, North Carolina, United States

Head to North Carolina for off-grid living. To enter this whimsical treehouse, you’ll first have to climb a winding staircase.

Hildale, Utah, United States

Taking the number one spot as Airbnb’s most-liked home is this eco-cabin. With breathtaking views of the Zion Mountains, it’s easy to see why it’s a winner among Airbnb fans.

6 Rentals in the Ozarks That Are Perfect for Vacationing and Binge-Watching “Ozark”

6 Rentals in the Ozarks That Are Perfect for Vacationing and Binge-Watching “Ozark”

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The last season of “Ozark” is finally here, and what better way to enjoy the last bunch of episodes of the series than actually being around the Lake of the Ozarks? Vacation rental site Vrbo has seen a 60 percent increase in rentals near the Lake of the Ozarks since 2019 due to the popularity of the show, so you’re in good company if this idea catches your interest.

Below is a roundup of top rentals around the Lakes of the Ozarks in Missouri, complete with lake views, cozy living rooms, and (of course) WiFi to binge-watch the new season of “Ozark.”

Lake Shore Lodge in Gravois Mills

This spacious lakefront house with 25-foot ceilings has everything you need in a retreat: a private dock with a swim deck, a patio with a grill and fire pit, and plenty of large windows for taking in lake views. A wood-burning fireplace and classic lodge decor complete the look.

This listing has 4 bedrooms and can accommodate 16 guests. Rates start at $129/night. 

The Octagon House in Roach

The unique shape of this house and its remote location offer 180-degree views of the lake. It has a large private dock with a slip and wet bar, jacuzzi, and patio with a fire pit. When it’s time to watch “Ozark,” you’ll be sitting in a living room surrounded by windows boasting lake views. It doesn’t get any more immersive than this.

This listing has 4 bedrooms and can accommodate 10 guests. Rates start at $375/night. 

Majestic Lakefront Condominium in Branson

This fourth floor condo has an electric fireplace, a covered balcony, and a flat screen TV for binge-watching. The lake views are, of course, the main attraction, but the spacious kitchen and modern feel are major pros. Local restaurants and cafes are just a short drive away.

This listing has 4 bedrooms and can accommodate 10 guests. Rates start at $114/night. 

Waterfront Lodge in Gravois Mills

If you’re bringing a crew, this massive lake lodge nestled in the trees is for you. It’s a modern, rustic retreat with high-end furnishings, multiple suites, an upper level deck, fire pits, and even a bunk room for the kids. Here, you can enjoy everything the Ozarks has to offer, with opportunities for swimming, fishing, boating, or just floating around.

This listing has 5 bedrooms and can accommodate 15 guests. Rates start at $595/night. 

Vacation Station in Margaritaville in Osage Beach

A relatively new listing on Airbnb, this private home has a screened-in deck for enjoying lake views. Margaritaville amenities — like two community pools — are available to renters, and five percent of annual proceeds for this property are donated to Brett’s First Responders, a charity that supports first responders.

This listing has 3 bedrooms and can accommodate 10 guests. Rates start at $100/night. 

Lakefront Home with Double Decks in Lake Ozark

Enjoy picturesque patio dining at this bi-level rental right on Lake Ozark. The upstairs bedrooms share an upper deck and boast main channel views. Bars, restaurants, and boat rentals are conveniently located to help you make the most of your getaway.

This listing has 3 bedrooms and can accommodate 8 guests. Rates start at $175/night.

Abigail Abesamis Demarest

Contributor

Abigail Abesamis Demarest is a freelance contributor for Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn. When she’s not writing she’s reading up on the latest wellness trends, teaching Zumba classes, or reading a book on the beach.

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