As peer-to-peer homestay networks, such as Airbnb, have grown in popularity, some attendees at conferences have begun to book accommodations through these networks rather than through the hotels the conference (such as BCMC) has negotiated room blocks with. BCMC encourages attendees contemplating accommodations through these networks to consider the many risks that may be encountered, such as the following:
- Peer-to-peer homestays are not subject to the same safety regulations as hotels and even rooming and boarding houses, and so are not required to have safety features like working smoke alarms, multiple exits from bedrooms, or fire retardant walls. Airbnb does not require its hosts to have working smoke or carbon monoxide detectors in their properties.
- Hosts can allege damages to their property and get the homestay network to charge guests hundreds of dollars.
- Some hosts rent out properties in violation of their lease or homeowner’s association/condo board rules. Airbnb does not ensure that hosts’ listings are legal.
- Problems with the accommodation must be documented and provided to the homestay network in a refund request after the fact, where in a reputable hotel the front desk will move you to a different room or otherwise attempt to accommodate you.
- Hosts are typically not hospitality professionals and may not provide the kind of service and/or cleaning that guests expect from a hotel stay. Individual personalities, temperaments, and expectations of hosts can vary widely, with no managers or corporate office to escalate customer service problems to.
- Hosts can cancel your stay at the last minute, and while refunds are available, guests can be left scrambling to find affordable accommodation in an unfamiliar city.
BCMC has secured sleeping rooms at hotels for our convention (room blocks) with the goal of accommodating attendees safely and comfortably at a reasonable price. BCMC cannot be held responsible for attendees choosing to book accommodations through homestay services or at hotels outside of our room blocks.