Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Guardian: Not-so-Happy Traveler



It seems I am not the only one who doesn't like to book with AirBnB.  I just found this familiar story at the Guardian, about a lady who wanted to pay for a room during the completely booked out conference time in Bremen, Germany:

"For the uninitiated (until recently, me) Airbnb works like this. “Hosts” advertise their spare rooms (or house) and “guests” contact them through the site to arrange to stay and to pay. But, since February, the site has required some users to “verify their identity”. And there’s the rub:

Airbnb wanted a picture of me. I uploaded one. Up on my screen popped a dialogue saying they needed to verify my “offline” identity. Could I scan in a driver’s licence or passport? With a sinking heart and a nasty sensation of violated privacy, I complied. Now for my “online” identity, persisted the dialogue box: Facebook, LinkedIn or Google account? My Google account is a work one (not that, then); Airbnb rejected LinkedIn (well, ok, I’m not planning to leave my present job, so I seldom update that). As a last resort, I offered up Facebook. The pop-up dialogue greedily demanded access to all my friends.

Still it was not enough ... Three days, three lost bookings, a spate of emails, and two calls to Casey and her colleague in Colorado later, my problem was resolved. I was “escalated” to one of Airbnb’s “verification specialists”, who allowed me to upload my (very grumpy) video directly to him, explaining who I was. Twenty-four hours after that I got my green light. Off I went, and had a wonderful weekend courtesy of my excellent host “Felix”.

My privacy already feels violated by Airbnb – and I want to speak up for those who may feel the same. Dear Airbnb, I may not have a fully developed “online identity” – but that doesn’t mean I’m not real."

And I would like to add: "Dear AirBnB, your competition is growing, watch out how you treat your customers, there are other offers out there, for example from RoomoRama... 
Read the whole story here:


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