A better way to stay – Aparthotels, Villas & Serviced Apartments – Totalstay A better way to stay – Aparthotels, Villas & Serviced Apartments – Totalstay A better way to stay – Aparthotels, Villas & Serviced Apartments – Totalstay A better way to stay – Aparthotels, Villas & Serviced Apartments – Totalstay A better way to stay – Aparthotels, Villas & Serviced Apartments – Totalstay

Airbnb Horror Stories (And How to Prevent Them)

  • 2017-12-06

Airbnb horror stories are slowly but surely adding a dent in the world’s biggest online booking platform’s reputation. Over the last year alone, there have been a number of cases in the news that show just how unregulated Airbnb has become. Horror stories in recent months have ranged from a couple finding hidden cameras in their rental bedroom, to booking scams and various other incidents.

Airbnb Horror Stories (And How to Prevent Them)

Travel blogger Asher Fergusson recently published a damning report breaking down some of the worst complaints made by Airbnb guests. In his Airbnb horror story report, Asher lists a number of real-life encounters that have affected travellers all over the world. These Airbnb horror stories act as an important lesson to short term rental owners, showing just how quickly you could make the news for all the wrong reasons.

Avoid Becoming One of These Airbnb Horror Stories

The biggest challenge that Airbnb and other similar platforms pose is that they provide only a listing platform, without management. This means that anyone can list a property. It also means that properties are not managed in any way. Some of the worst Airbnb horror stories, complaints and other issues from Asher’s report include the following:

  • Last minute cancellations. The biggest issue for guests is last minute cancellations by hosts, with 20.5% of guests surveyed in the report citing host cancellation 24 hours before stay. In some cases, hosts failed to show up at all, leaving guests stranded in a foreign city with nowhere to stay. In many cases, Airbnb does not take responsibility, which further adds to the frustration. Although this could be linked to scams, it may also be a case of hosts not taking bookings seriously or leaving guests in the lurch without warning.
  • Scams. We have spoken about short term rental scams before, a few times. In Asher’s reports, scams make up 15.4% of complaints. Common scams include hosts asking for extra money, listing price scams, falsified damages reported by hosts, and fake emails or websites.
  • Unsafe conditions. Making up 13.4% of complaints, unsafe conditions include a range of safety issues, from extreme bug infections to broken facilities, a hostile or intimidating host, and hidden cameras in the bedroom. If you remember the story about a guest who died after using a swing placed onto a dead tree, you will know just how important it is to guarantee holiday rental safety. How safe is your short term let?
  • Property not as described. Following closely behind at 12.2%, another major reason for frustration is properties not being as described in listings. Photographs either do not match the reality, the location is different to the map shown on the listing, amenities included in the listing are missing, or the accommodation is a mess. This is why it is essential to work with a dedicated short term rental manager who is not able to assist with listings, but also with day to day management, photography, bookings, guest concierge and even maintenance. That way, your guests can always be sure that they get exactly what they expect, if not a little more.
  • Fake listings and reviews. Next up, we have fake listings and/or reviews. These come in at 3.8% of the total complaints percentage. Duplicate or fake listings, modified or censored reviews, blackmailing attempts to ensure good reviews, and fake listing photographs and addresses.
  • Discrimination. Finally, at 1.1%, discrimination is also faced by some guests. This includes racial discrimination, LBGTQ discrimination, disability discrimination, and any other form of discrimination. If you are unsure whether or not you have the right to refuse guests, read our guidelines on turning down villa bookings.


Investing in a dedicated short term rental management solution is the best way to protect your guests from stories such as these. To find out more about Totalstay helps you avoid becoming just another one of these sort of Airbnb horror stories, get in touch with our team today.