Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Experience with Airbnb (Debugging Airbnb)

First heard about Airbnb about a year ago from my brother who was looking for vacation rental. He needed one because conventional hotel won't work for his family of three kids. Beside renting an apartment with kitchen gives extra value to his family. They could make simple breakfast and eat in instead of hunting for breakfast in the morning.

This year while planning for our trip to Asia I plan on giving it a try. So I browsed around and finally found a place that we would like to book. After sending the booking request I was surprised to find out that I needed to be verified. So even though they allowed me to input my credit card number didn't necessary mean they trusted me yet. I was allowed to compose a message to the host but if I didn't get verified then the message would never be sent and my credit card would never be charged.

I understand the reasoning behind it. Unlike hotel where you get identified when you check in by asking for you passport/ID card. The host would never check your ID (I think so) that's why it's Airbnb who would do the identification. I didn't quite like the idea but comply with it anyway. Even that it's not enough because that was only my offline ID. Airbnb also wanted to verify my online ID either my Facebook, LinkedIn or Google Plus account. Having to choose either one of those I let them linked my Google Plus account. But it didn't work out because I was told that I didn't have enough activities. I didn't like it but sort of agreed.

I then reluctantly linked my Facebook account. Guess what. Again I was told that I didn't have enough activities. The option left was to send them a 30 second video describing myself and what I like to do. Instead of sending the video I sent an inquiry. I suspected there was a glitch in the system and hoped that they looked into it when I inquired.

But the reply was only to ask me to submit the video. I hate it but decided to move on and looked for other alternative. A few days later an email came from Airbnb asking for my opinion on recent communication with them. I decided to go all out and let them know how I felt.

After I sent in my rant. I figured out if I can't use the service, I don't want them to have link to my social media accounts. So I unlinked both my Google Plus and Facebook account. On a second thought, I tried to trick the system. So I linked both accounts again. And this time it worked. It allowed me to send in my reservation and request to the host I wanted.

I really think there is a glitch in the system. I was disappointed that Airbnb didn't look into my inquiry when I sent them one. If you ever encountered same situation, try what I did and hope it works for you too.