Imagine. You have been a host for over two years. Hundreds of guests have walked through your door. You’re a featured speaker at Airbnb conferences. You’ve been awarded by Airbnb for your abilities as a host. At every opportunity, you speak to the press about your amazing life. Made possible by Airbnb, which has allowed you to start new business opportunities. You are the ideal Superhost.
Then suddenly…Airbnb terminates your account.
You wake up to a call from a random customer support representative who gives you next to no information. He only tells you that more information will follow via email. You try to get answers but they are barely communicating. Your account is gone. Reservations cancelled. Future income evaporated. Within 24 hours, your life will be upside down.
On August 19th, Airbnb Superhost Kelly Kampen wrote about Airbnb terminating his account. As of today, Kelly hasn’t updated the article revealing any new information.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of them closing of hosts’ accounts. In 2012, when the New York Attorney General was requesting data from NY hosts. Unannounced, Airbnb closed accounts of any hosts who had multiple listings.
No warning. No severance package. YOU’RE FIRED. Right or wrong…the life you knew is no longer there.
In the article, Kelly insinuates that his account might have been hacked. He doesn’t know for sure. But his login information and his account showed activity in parts of the world he had not been to. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself.
To see your login information:
- Click on your Dashboard
- Click on Account
- Click Security
- You will see Change Your Password
- Then Login Notifications
- Bottom of page Login History
- Turn On your Login Notifications
Confirm your login history. If you see login information from a place you didn’t visit, IMMEDIATELY:
- Change your password (on the top of the same page)
- Contact Airbnb.
PROTECT YOUR ACCOUNT
One way to protect your account from hackers is set up a notification for every time your account is logged in from a non-trusted browser or there are any changes to your account or listing. Your computer, phone, and tablet will be in your trusted browsers, as long as you have used them to access your account. If you log into your account from a computer or device the system doesn’t recognize, you will be asked if “this a trusted server” and you will be notified of the login via email.
To set up your notifications: On the account page click notifications.
For my own safety and peace of mind I prefer getting notifications for everything, so I select all the options.
PAST GUEST INFORMATION:
Airbnb used to provide us with the guests email information but since they no longer do that. Upon booking, I ask my guests for their personal emails. Not everyone shares it, but it is still worth asking. Some guests ignore the messages that come to them through Airbnb, and I prefer to remain in touch as much as possible. In addition, it gives me more dependable means of communication should my account suddenly vanish.
I have written before that I have accounts with other platforms. Right now I use FlipKey, another short-term vacation rental website, and I have had a few bookings. FlipKey isn’t my favorite but I don’t want to depend on Airbnb. Do your research to see what other platforms might appeal to you as a secondary space for your rentals.
YOUR OWN WEBSITE:
I also have my own personal website and Facebook page for my house. I route inquiries and reservations to Airbnb, but I have an online presence beyond the vacation rental companies.
Maybe right now, for you, Airbnb is a part time gig and a bit of extra pocket money. I make a living as an Airbnb host. I can’t even imagine what I would do if I were to lose this income. Protect yourself from hackers and keep your eggs in different baskets.
Do you have your own website? How would you manage if Airbnb suddenly closed your account tomorrow? Sign up to my newsletter to get insights, webinar announcements, and get the ultimate room-to-room checklist – a must for any new or experienced host.
Until next time.