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Glitch Cancels Thousands Of Airbnb Accounts And Reservations

Thousands of hosts and guests on Airbnb are looking for answers after a glitch led to the deactivation of thousands of accounts and confirmed bookings. I share their concerns because I’m one of them.

Notifications began popping up on my phone Wednesday afternoon from a dozen or so concerned guests puzzled by their now canceled reservations. β€œWe’re very sad to see you’ve canceled our reservation. We were really looking forward to our stay. Can you explain why?” one guest questioned.

Their confusion was shared but when I tried to login I found that I was locked out of my Airbnb account. My listings, profiles, reservations, and reviews had been purged. I had no means of communicating with my no-longer-upcoming guests, or the current guests. The latter thankfully called me in a panic wondering why I had canceled their reservation in the middle of a stay.

Through the wisdom of Twitter and a laborious customer service call, I discovered the issue was global. There were several hosts complaining about the same thing happening to them. The glitch likely cost me over $9k in confirmed bookings. And Airbnb has been slow to resolve to the matter, writing this underwhelming acknowledgment of the error.

The laissez-faire tone will also do little to calm hosts relying on Airbnb bookings to make ends meet during a COVID-19 economy. Airbnb has a track record of getting it right, and will likely appease guests and hosts impacted by the problem. But the brand will have a security and reliability problem going forward. It’s one thing if a host cancels a reservation for because of an emergency; it’s another if booking platform does by accident.

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