27 September 2018
Recently, one of our assessors took a two night family trip to Porthleven and rented a two bedroomed property really near a popular coastal path. In the most part the trip was great and the property was generally very good; it was shabby chic (owned by an artist) with an upstairs living room and a wood burner which will be great for warming up in the winter. With the exception of a little wear and tear such as ring marks which arguably adds to the shabby chic image and worn grouting, which doesn’t matter gives the impression of not being clean, the experience was quite good.
Our assessor booked the trip via Airbnb, and noted that on the description page that there were no carbon monoxide detectors and the owner had ticked a box for “no”, so essentially Airbnb are making an effort to call out and give transparency to consumers. However the question is do the owners know this is the law and do they have insurance if it all goes wrong? What about a typical consumer, who would not know to look for these guarantees and surely would normally just expect accommodation to be safe?
On being “accepted”, (our assessor had to ask for permission to take two family dogs as the description only specified one) and received a quote of£125 per night for the accommodation. They also had to add on £46 for commission to Airbnb & the £70 for cleaning, then £30 per dog, so £426. As far as transparency is concerned, like most consumers, our assessor was really busy and thought the initial sum included the dogs and felt misled.
As a quality assessment provider, we’re concerned about these kind of situations, ultimately misleading consumers into seeing one fee, to then be hit with added extras.
We can see how the property owners benefit, as well as the reasons as to why hotels and B&Bs will want to distribute via this platform,- imagine the difference to their P&L based on not paying OTA commissions?
But how fair is it to consumers? Are accommodation providers building a rod for our own backs again? Like the analogue days where properties would showcase their best pictures and exaggerate their facilities, you remember only show the best photographs, wax lyrical about comfort and facilties….until consumers didn’t trust operators anymore, they only trusted each other – which resulted in the digital feedback phenomenon i.e. Tripadvisor!