Home Hotel service When short-term rentals make you desperate for a hotel

When short-term rentals make you desperate for a hotel


Skift take

Staying in professionally managed short term rentals does not guarantee an optimal customer experience. When your host’s profile photo turns out to be a free photo, you can guess how it ended.

Dennis schaal

Travel online this week

A vacation trip over the past two weeks to California has shown me how staying in short-term rentals continues to be a crapshoot despite the alleged increased professionalization of the industry.

While I booked a mix of short term rentals and hotels during the trip, one stay booked through Booking.com and a second reservation I made on Airbnb, both in Los Angeles, sometimes made me want the relative reliability of a hotel where I had a sense of what I was actually getting.

The aparthotel that I got on Booking. com in downtown Los Angeles was a nightmare for guests during the check-in process, although the stay itself was fine.

A meeting place, not a property address

The host did not give me the name or address of the property which turned out to be Level Center-Ville Sud Oliveeven on the day of stay until he meets me after a long process and hands me a key card. Prior to that, the host had sent me a 15 paragraph email informing me that I had to provide an arrival time and that the address was a “meeting place”. Granted, I didn’t read the email because I was driving six hours to the property and didn’t check the emails. So it was partly my fault, but shouldn’t you be able to reserve a property, get the address, and register? Duh.

Prior to checking in, the host did not give me any specific property name or address, but simply provided a Google Maps link with directions for an intersection in Los Angeles that turned out to be 10 miles from the property . When I got to the intersection in the middle of the evening on the night of the stay and couldn’t find an aparthotel, I called the host, who told me she was at the church and she wouldn’t be leaving right away, so I had to wait an hour to check in. Hadn’t I read all his emails? No, I was traveling, that is, crossing the state to get there.

It all happened around 9pm after a long day of driving. The host met me an hour later at the property and I checked in, although she repeatedly warned me not to notify Level staff or to address reception saying that I had booked the stay on Booking. com because then “they won’t help you.” The rooms ended up being okay and the location was okay, but there was nothing luxurious about the amenities of this supposed luxury furnished apartment.

Downtown LA, not West Hollywood

After two nights there, my Airbnb booking a supposedly stylish luxury apartment in West Hollywood for the next two nights with pool and gym turned out to be worse. First, the property was actually in downtown Los Angeles and not in West Hollywood so the host could bypass “local Airbnb restrictions” and I had to navigate a homeless camp of two. blocks from a parking lot to the apartment.

Again, as with the Booking.com booking, I had to make a commitment before the host accepted the booking that I would not tell anyone in the building that the place was booked through Airbnb.

This “luxury” apartment didn’t have a single drink or cup, and the pool access turned out to be a myth as the host later told Airbnb after I complained that I should ask the residents of the building to let me into the pool because the entrance to the pool was still locked. I informed Airbnb the next morning, after staying there the first of two nights, that I would be packing and checking out, and wanted a full refund as the host had not provided the promised amenities, including glasses and cups, as well as access to the swimming pool.

At first, Airbnb customer service told me that I would not get a full refund because I had slept one night at the property, but after I sent customer service reps a video of the pool doors locked, Airbnb fully refunded both. nights “given that certain amenities were lacking”.

The Elusive ‘Vivian’ Used Stock Photo for Profile

It is not known if my Airbnb host “Vivian” really exists. Her profile photo turned out to be a free stock photo. I never spoke with her on the phone despite calling her twice. The phone number on the list went to someone who was clearly annoyed because it had nothing to do with the property, and I left a message and received no response when I called a second phone number provided. Initially, Airbnb couldn’t reach “Vivian” either, but a few hours later received a text from a property manager – apparently Luxury Rentals LA / Yoffa Management – who was allegedly on his way to deliver cups and glasses.

“Vivian” sent me what were clearly automated messages throughout the stay, none of which addressed the issues I had texted her about.

All this made me think that I should have booked a hotel, especially a hotel with parking. For the Airbnb stay, I had to lug a bunch of bags from a parking lot two blocks through the homeless camp to and from the Airbnb. All of this for a property that was listed as being in West Hollywood.

The issues here didn’t even revolve around the pros and cons of individual hosts versus professional hosts, as the two problematic bookings appeared to be for professionally managed properties and in theory should have met higher standards.

This small sample of two below-average short-term rental experiences obviously cannot claim to represent an entire industry. But they do offer random fodder showing how far the industry needs to go to ensure a reliable customer experience. Or maybe the nature of the odd-job economy will never lend itself to this.

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