I’ve got an Airbnb horror story that made me lose all faith in their system.
A few years ago, the GF and I booked a “secluded cabin in the woods” listed by a superhost with good reviews. On the first night, we both got a creepy vibe from the place but just thought we were being paranoid.
On the second night, we came home to an otherwise normal empty house, but when we got to the bedroom, we found the sliding glass door wide open to the pitch black woods, curtains flapping in the breeze.
I knew for a fact we closed and locked that sliding glass door, so I thought there must have been a break in. I checked the rest of the house, and lo and behold, in the basement (which had been closed until that point) I opened the door to find a unibomber looking old man sitting on a grungy couch… with no pants on.
I’m ready to book it out of there as fast as I can when he quickly throws on some pants on and introduces himself. He’s the host of the property.
Apparently, he’d been staying in the basement our entire stay, despite listing the place as private place under the “entire home” category. What he was doing walking through our room while we were gone, I’m not sure I ever want to know.
I didn’t leave a review, because the guy was so serial-killer like that I feared the repercussions of calling him out in public. Like your post said, the hosts have access to the guest’s full names and addresses.
I did send two emails to Airbnb about the disturbing encounter, both of which were ignored.
Long story short - you can’t fully trust the reviews on Airbnb, and Airbnb is obviously cool with sweeping dangerously bad encounters under the rug.
Because of this, I don’t personally host, and I don’t book Airbnbs if I can avoid it. Lots of people love it though; I sure did until my bad experience. I guess like anything, it’s a calculated risk.