Did do see “Airbnb Dream or Nightmare” program on Channel 4 last night?

 I’m sure there are many successful experiences for hosts and guests but this program focussed on the “nightmare” much more than the dream.

 A nightmare for host and for guest!

Because Airbnb positions itself as a socially minded community, with a sharing economy ethos where guests and hosts provide a service to each other, this program highlighted the fact that hosts use now using AirBnB commercially to make money.

Eh? Yeh!

As a result there were stories of illegal subletting and communities being ruined by the reduced availability of social housing. And unhappy guests and hosts a plenty!

There was a story of a Banksy print being stolen. Dreadful for the host and although I strongly believe in leaving quality items for guests to use in your holiday rental, an £8000 print is going too far!

But the program focussed on the fact that Airbnb didn’t co-operate and help the host and police with guest details until the story broke in the media.

So whatever the theft the message is the same, that Airbnb took no responsibility. It’s a reminder that as an owner if you’d have taken that booking directly, you would have been in control and could have gone straight to the police.

There were the inevitable stories of hosts mis-representing their property online with misleading photographs and how for guests staying in an Airbnb property was a leap of faith.

Again, booking directly from an owner’s website, although this problem can still happen, is much easier to spot. As a guest you’d expect to see more than one photo of each room. And with a video tour on the website it really shows that the owner has nothing to hide.  So more fool the guest!

Renting a room, rather than a unit and living with the host raises all sorts of safety issues. These of course don’t apply to those of us offering full units for rent.  The program did highlight some positive aspects of this such as the hosts sharing their local knowledge and their lifestyle with their guest.  As holiday rental owners we wouldn’t be taking our guests to the local bar. But we can still share our local knowledge and share hidden gems, enriching our guests’ holiday experience.

Ok this was a tv program and it highlighted extreme examples. I empathised with both guest and host. Yet throughout I was smugly thinking “this wouldn’t have happened if the booking had been directly with the owner”.

What more can I say!

Catch up with the conversation on Twitter using #dreamornightmare

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