Many of you may have already seen the extensive article written by a guy describing how he and others appear to have been scammed by one or more AirBNB operators in large cities. The author describes in great deal about what happened to him, as well as to other renters.
However, a larger part of this problem is how little is being and will be done in response.
One of the most important tips I provide to my real estate marketing clients based on 30 years of experience is that there are times when a reaction is necessary to maintaining business. Not just an option.
If I were a betting man, I would bet that at least 95% of AirBNB (or its competitors) owners will totally ignore this story. They will either chalk it up to "I'm not that kind of person/owner and people already know that", or "It's the company's (AirBNB) problem and not mine".
As the article explains, AirBNB appears to not be getting heavily involved in this, although they certainly should be.
Reading the story, which I saw posted on several different social media sites, gives AirBNB, and consequently its operators, a bad rap. If even one person gets scared off of booking via this company, it means that its business is negatively impacted by this story and incident.
Chances are that way more than one person is scared away because of this story detailing how this scam took place in multiple cities and locations.
As a landlord, the next course of action should be to enhance your current and upcoming marketing. Let potential tenants know that you have a guarantee. Show them a current video, offer to do a Face Time or Skype if a high end unit. Do everything you can to leave zero doubt in their minds about exactly what they are renting.
Look at this from the potential renter's point of view. If you are willing to go to that extent to verify the quality of their rental, while other landlords are not, you are going to get their business.
This is not to say that AirBNB is the only company that intentionally makes it difficult to publish bad reviews or follow up on complaints while relate to its service. Doing so makes it more challenging for the "good guys" to do business under this platform, and that is the problem.
No matter what role you have within the real estate industry, you need to always monitor for problems and be prepared to react. It might be to gain a competitive edge. Or, it could be a situation like this where standing still could negatively impact your bottom line even though you had no part in the problem.
Be one of those few that does not ignore this story, and that is whether you have anything to do with AirBNB or not. Don't let anyone associate you with a scam.