My Month and a Bit “Doing Airbnb”.

The Good — Free Money and Quick Resolutions!

Before we start, I just want to point out that Airbnb aren’t the bad guys in this story, I’m not railing against the platform (further down I mention the review system), it’s the guests and whether it was worth ‘doing Airbnb’.

So let’s get the good stuff out of the way. First, an issue with two bookings where without asking, but having had the issues raised with Airbnb, Airbnb gave me half the value of the bookings from guests who thankfully, didn’t stay with me.

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Airbnbers Don't Know How Good They've Got It.

DISCLAIMER - I write this not as a slight against the service which at the moment seems very fashionable.

I also write this having already given up on the frustrating experience I encountered while on It didn't matter how many I hosted, my profile never seemed good enough to just be able to find myself a host for myself when I needed the service.

The system after all was based on goodwill, I thought I had plenty of it in the bank.

The odd thing is, because rejection is so high, travellers would send multiple emails to would be hosts to maximise their chances of being accepted. On the flip-side, hosts would get upset on one level or another at not enjoying a personalised handcrafted digital mail. Hosts would deliberately leave breadcrumbs in their profiles to make sure travellers read their profiles and if you made a single mistake you can be rejected again.

I know, I also did this, people just do not read profiles, and they head for the most obvious button to click that grants them access to your house with minimum of pain.

I grew sick of the rejections from hosts when I wanted to travel and ran out of patience with the constant ignorant requests from travellers. I quit this year after being on the site since 2007. By the way, I can't 'delete' my account, I can only 'deactivate' it.

Along comes Airbnb and I thought, 'Ah, money is involved, things will be different". I signed up in July 2016, I'm quitting the service as a host in August 1016.

After the third request from Airbnbers to provide a discount I thought, 'fuck this'.

Things on were certainly different compared to

I just don't understand where Airbnbers come from because: 

  • Hotels are always more expensive, so you're saving money compared to using them, even though the quality of service is so much more (article regarding Airbnb in HK - Hong Kong hoteliers may become vocal opponents of Airbnb).
  • There are smaller (safer and with established services) hotels that are equal to some random Airbnb host.
  • There are also other Airbnbs that are cheaper than mine, but aren't private (in many cases).
  • I offered a discount at the weekly (10%) and monthly (15%) levels (this was after the first request for a discount) thinking I had done something wrong and now I entered this game/lie of raising the price in order to provide a discount therefore a perception that people were getting a good deal now if they booked with me).

These things apparently aren't enough, the price needed to be even lower and whatever attributes that attracted people to my apartment were, aren't really a selling point, it's actually a starting point to enquire and claim a discount for it. Cheapskates will be cheapskates.

The thing is, I didn't do Airbnb for a profit, I did it to make the rent and because I'm open minded, I am not one of the professional renters in Hong Kong that are creating a business on top of the Airbnb platform. I was just someone open minded enough to share my modest and well located apartment in order for people to help me make rent.

I'm British, I don't haggle, it's not in my DNA, I just move on and find something else if all I'm going to do is work on price.

In Hong Kong, you build up a relationship with those you perform transactions with before even considering the discount, this notion will not work on Airbnb. It's also alien to me to ask if nothing has been established, you know something like trust, or a long term relationship.

Just asking for a discount upfront means nothing. Whats the point of setting a price in the first place only for it to be ignored? The worst part would be then allowing the cheapskates into my house that they don't value for whatever their stay would be. 

I remember, my dad dealing with suppliers to his hotel, his hotel always paid cash on the day, with that itself there's nothing special, but compared to other hotels in the same town who would pay with credit or at the end of the month. Since they paid on delivery, they gave his hotel a discount. I could understand giving a discount for repeat travellers, but the chances of that are slim, especially when everybody is operating on price alone.

So for me, instead of the overhead of dealing with multiple requests and discussing prices while travellers were completely ignoring the prices I had already set, I've decided on getting a stable long term room mate again for simplicities sake. Forgive for taking all this personally, but I thought that was part of the appeal. Forget being a host on Airbnb, it literally isn't worth it.