When you book an Airbnb stay six months ahead and pay in full you don’t expect any problems when the time comes do you? That’s exactly what we thought when we booked our stay in Auckland and it didn’t quite work out that way.
Planning and Booking well in advance
We’re not last minute merchants and like to get all of our accommodation and transport booked well in advance or our trip. So all of our Airbnb bookings for this JWalking trip of New Zealand were made back in July 2017. The best thing about booking early is that you get to pick from virtually all available accommodation and can try to get something that fits the budget too.
So we booked a 9 day stay in Auckland and enjoyed a friendly email conversation with the host Sheldon. And paid in full. Sorted. No worries then.
Confirming our Stay
A few days before we are due to arrive at a new Airbnb we always email the host to let them know where we are and to check any arrival details such as times, where to find keys, etc. Always works well and my email to Sheldon 3 days before we were due in Auckland was no different. He was ‘looking forward to meeting us’ and told me how to access his house. Great news. So we headed for the beach in Christchurch for a day out safe in the knowledge that all was ok.
A Bolt from the Blue
Arriving back in our lovely Christchurch house that evening, 2 days before Auckland, we found an email waiting for us from Airbnb saying that our stay had been cancelled! What? Nothing from Sheldon, or as I’ll now refer to him Snivelling Sheldon, just a business-like cancellation. A few minutes later another one arrived, this one was from Joey.
Unfortunately it wasn’t Joey from Friends as that would have been brilliant, this was Joey from the Airbnb Support Team who was ‘reaching out’ to us and even started his email with ‘Good Day‘ (how nice). He explained that Snivelling Sheldon‘s ‘health condition is not letting him go further‘. We assumed that meant he was ill. Also that ‘sending out a personal message was not permitting him‘. At this point we guessed that Joey may not be the Airbnb Support Guys real name.
Now no-one can help being ill and we totally understand that these things happen but not even a quick note to say sorry for letting you down? I emailed Snivelling Sheldon immediately asking what was happening whilst continuing to deal with Joey Tribbiani over at Airbnb Support. He sent through a list of available properties in Auckland for our dates which were all several hundred pounds more expensive or were unacceptable (like sharing a 2 bed flat with 3 guys).
Our Airbnb Booking Disaster
At this point we had to start getting busy and whilst I engaged with Joey Tribbiani, Jo got going searching for alternative places to stay. Obviously most of the good ones had gone and what was left was prohibitively expensive. My email exchange with Joey was deteriorating and when he explained that ‘I really don’t know what to say as I am also in shocked‘ I truly feared the worst. He offered us £50 to assist in the rebooking and said ‘I will be on standby for you’ and that was the last thing we ever heard from Joey! Brilliant.
So with the support gone Jo really kicked up a gear and found a nice looking place that we could afford. She emailed the host, Carol, and we retired to bed hopeful that the situation was resolved.
Was it all a Dream?
Our hosts in Christchurch, Pam and David, were so supportive and just let us sit at their table working all morning. There was no sign of Joey Tribbiani but there was a message from Snivelling Sheldon. Perhaps it had been a great big mistake? Unfortunately not. He sort of apologised but bizarrely said we could stay for a few days if we wanted to! Huh? It was at this stage that a new character appeared on the scene, Emily from LA. We had a new dedicated Airbnb Customer Support case manager and she was also ‘reaching out to us’. Lovely.
Now Emily from LA seemed a little more switched on than poor Joey and had a bucketful of sincere supportive words. She really wanted ‘to take some of the stress away from us‘ and also ‘do some of the legwork‘. Neither was going to happen obviously. While I was jousting with Emily from LA, Jo logged in to check if Carol had accepted our booking from the previous evening. Unbelievably Crafty Carol no longer existed and had removed her property from the website. Was it something we said? Back to square one.
Are two bookings better than one?
Well it seems not as Joey Tribbiani had informed us that our £50 voucher would only apply to a single booking so if we booked 2 separate places for exactly the same time in the same city we were not entitled to anything. Unbelievable. This took my email exchange with Emily from LA to a different level and as we fought to the death over the question of recompense Jo quietly and efficiently found two apartments that would suit our needs in Auckland. The first was accepted immediately by the more than helpful Glenn in Mount Eden and the second came through soon after with the lovely Jilly in Mission Bay. We had somewhere to stay now.
However, the fierce financial face-off was still going on and as Emily from LA informed me that she was going off-shift she made the final offer to cover the complete difference between all the bookings so we wouldn’t be out of pocket. About time and something that should have happened immediately our original booking with Snivelling Sheldon was cancelled.
So completely shattered and a little stressed we headed back to Sumner Beach for a few hours safe in the knowledge that we wouldn’t be sleeping on the streets of Auckland.
Our Airbnb Booking Disaster in Auckland
Between you and me we actually ended up a few pounds better off but that’s not really the point. Sheldon couldn’t help being sick but Airbnb should have made the process much easier and stress-free from the start. We had as much worry and hassle dealing with them as we had finding new accommodation. Shouldn’t be like that. Anyway, it all ended up okay and both places in Auckland proved to be fabulous. In fact they turned out to be so much better.
25/01 – 26/01/2018