My Disappointing Experience With Airbnb (Be-Housing) In Antwerp

Note from Editors: In view of the current situation, please avoid all unnecessary travel and try to stay home. Don’t worry, like all things, it will end at some point and you’ll be able to travel again. In the meantime, check out what you can do while staying at home.

Airbnb“Belong Anywhere”

I have heard of Airbnb many times, but I never managed to book anything online with them. Great reviews and opinions from my friends, colleagues and fellow travel bloggers made me want to book an apartment for my New Year’s trip to Antwerp, Belgium.

Airbnb

For those who are not familiar with Airbnb, it is a website for people to rent out lodging. Founded in August 2008, it has over 800,000 listings in 33,000 cities and 192 countries. How does it work? It is very simple. Users of the site must register and create a personal online profile before using the site. Every property is associated with a host whose profile includes recommendations by other users, reviews by previous guests, as well as a response rating and private messaging system. You can easily log in using your Facebook account as I did.

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My Airbnb Experience

Although it was my first time with Airbnb, I was not lucky at all. 2 of my requests have been cancelled/rejected for various reasons within 24 hours after I made a reservation. One host rented out his apartment to someone else, one was not in Antwerp during my stay. I received the payments back to my account immediately so I cannot complain about that. Finally, me and my boyfriend found a lovely place with Be-Housing – a company  specializing in offering tailor-made temporary housing facilities to their customers. We booked it immediately and then the problems started…

Hidden costs and unfriendly staff

Our stay with Be-Housing was not as pleasant as expected. First of all, after booking our accommodation, we received an e-mail where Be-Housing has decided to change the price from 108+12 (citytax) euro to nearly 200 Euro.

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After declining this unexpected alter, we were allowed to stay in Antwerp for the price primarily agreed on (130 Euro). A day after, we received another e-mail where we were asked to pay additional tax fee of 12 Euro, which was already paid in full. Upon asking clarification about this additional 12 Euro we already paid, we received more or less the same email as the first one telling us to pay. Because we didn’t feel like making a big deal about 12 Euro we decided to pay it anyway.

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One think that struck us as odd was the long list of extras you had to pay for. Things like parking aren’t that weird but having to pay extra to check in earlier than 4pm(!) o’clock and having to pay to use more than 400 mb/day of their incredibly slow wifi.

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The receptionist treated us with a slight constant passive aggressiveness, as if he wasn’t happy to be there. For instance when asking him whether the store would be open on 1st of January he replied with: “No it’s a holiday so ever things closed… just like in Holland.”(Not true by the way).

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All in all the apartment was nice so was its location, but the facilities and customer service left much to be desired. We loved our time in Antwerpen and will surely come back, but when we do we’ll avoid Be-Housing and so should you.

What was your experience with Airbnb/Be-Housing?

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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76 thoughts on “My Disappointing Experience With Airbnb (Be-Housing) In Antwerp”

  1. Jessica C. (A Wanderlust For Life)

    I am SO sorry this happened to you! I think as Airbnb grows, it’s growing out of what it’s supposed to be. We also had a weird and not-so-great experience in December, but everything up until that point was amazing. I think we’ve used them almost 20 times, so that’s really saying something. I hope you do try them again and that it goes better for you!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      I know that, guys. I’ve heard your story. I absolutely agree that Airbnb has grown out of what it is supposed to be :( and that’s so disappointing, but I believe next time is gonna be much better!!

  2. I don’t have a house or apartment to “trade” with someone for a while, but it is good to know that some websites aren’t what they say they are. I’ll definitely keep this in mind if someone asks me about this. If you ever try it again, maybe next time it’ll be better????? It’s too bad you had this experience.

  3. Airbnb used to be amazing, but I agree – I’ve been having similar “not so great” experiences lately. Things like renting an apartment and finding that the kitchen only has one pot. What’s the point in having a kitchen?!

    Unfortunately I think that companies have started to catch on to the popularity of it and it’s becoming just another hotel booking site. It used to be filled with real people with spare rooms or people who were going away for a while and wanted to rent out the space.

    Pity, it really was a different option until recently. You can still get a good deal if you read the reviews well, but no better than other booking websites.

  4. Constance - Foreign Sanctuary

    I am so sorry to hear that happened to you. I have never used Airbnb but I have heard some great things about it. However, at least you had a good time in Antwerpen which I guess kind of made up the attitude of the host and the extra charges.

  5. We almost always use Airbnb to book our accommodations for our trips and we have only been disappointed once so far. So I guess this is bad luck. :-/

    I generally avoid the places rented by companies though and prefer to stay in a private house. This is also what I like with Airbnb: meeting local people. And I always read the comments as well.

  6. My experience with AirBnB Agness has been excellent. 45 months straight and we’ve picked all winners, and that means some 100 places we’ve stayed over the years. As for the passive aggressive staff I have been there too lol. Some folks are not happy and do their best to project their unhappiness on you. Sorry you had that experience and hey, here’s to a positive AirBnB experience. I know you’ll have it ;)

    Ryan

  7. Sorry to hear about your bad experience. I have tried AirBNB a couple of times before and they were so far so good. There bound to be good ones and bad ones being listed out there. At least this alert others to be careful with their selections and hopefully BeHouse will improve its way of handling customers service. Hope you have a better experience the next time. :)

  8. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear about that. When I first started using Airbnb, I had a similar experience where they would email me back with a price higher than what was displayed on the website. I immediately discarded those ones and kept looking. We’ve had great experiences using Airbnb in Asia and will keep using it in Costa Rica. If you keep using it, I hope your next experiences will be great. Sounds like Be Housing is just shady :/

  9. Anna @AnnaEverywhere

    Wow, that’s really unlucky… But after i heard about the squading AirBnB story in the US I avoid them :/

  10. Michela of Rocky Travel Blog

    Sorry to hear about your negative experience! Finding the right host with Airbnb may take a bit of your time, you really need to check carefully the host profile, exchange mails with them, ask questions, make sure you are happy with the room features and especially the terms of stay. I’ve always had great experiences when booking my private stay with Airbnb!

  11. My only experience with Airbnb has been negative and it’s still going on. It has nothing to do with the host and everything to do with the company itself. We had paid in full for travel that was meant to happen in November but unfortunately had to cancel it in October. The cancellation terms meant we were supposed to get half of our money back. We are yet to see any of that money! My fiancé has sent many messages back and forth and has even threatened legal action and each time they reply they promise they will absolutely follow it up but still nothing. It’s no small amount either (it’s 4 figures) and as the past few months have been really hard financially (the whole reason we cancelled our trip in the first place!) that money is really needed!

    I’ve considered jumping in and letting them know I’m a travel blogger but I was trying not to burn any bridges or be unprofessional. On the other hand, by not doing that I have gotten a really clear idea of what kind of experience the average person might have with them. I just cannot recommend this company to any of my readers and my fiancé is furious and has declared that we are never using them again (which is a shame due to all the travelling we have planned for the future). Fortunately there are other websites that offer a similar service or we might just stick to house sitting instead.

  12. Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    Oh no, what a pain Agness – seems really unprofessional to keep changing prices like that! I keep reading really mixed reviews about Air BnB, some great and some terrible so that’s what has put me off using it thus far..

  13. I’ve still not actually used Air BnB but because so many travel bloggers have been singing its praises I always search wherever we are to see if there is a good place. There are usually some nice places but the prices are always sky high compared to other accommodation options in Central America.

    Interesting to hear a not so great story about it – and being mucked around with additional costs is 100% not cool! At least you made the most of it and can say that you tried it out!

  14. I’m so sorry to hear that. I haven’t used Airbnb itself before. I found my current accommodation on Craigslist and when I was in Amsterdam two years ago, I used CityMundo which was an amazing apartment by the way, so if someone visits you there and you look for an apartment let me know ;)
    I cross my fingers that your next airbnb experience will be better!

  15. I am sorry you had a bad experience, please give it another chance! I use airbnb when traveling and also rent out part of my apartment in Valencia. So if you want to give Airbnb a seccond chance visiting Valencia (good cheap flights from holland) I will asure you I will receive you with a BIG smile ;)
    Saludos from a Dutchie in Spain

  16. Hi Agness,

    One technique I used with Airbnb is look for apts. run by young single women. We had excellent results in the old Jewish quarters of Budapest and Kraków. The apts. were well appointed with attention to detail. The owners were also good communicators. I felt these women cared about getting it right for their tenants.

    Enjoy your travels!

    Don

  17. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    We used AirBnB a few times while we were in Europe because we often found it was much cheaper to rent a room rather than a hotel or a even beds in a hostel in certain popular European cities, but I can’t say we had excellent results using them either. I’ve often found that rooms/apartments are misrepresented on the site, either being much smaller or much dirtier than promoted, and some places didn’t have the basic amenities that they promised or that you would expect in an apartment. I can’t complain about the price since we always saved money compared to what we could have spent, but the experience wasn’t often super positive either.

  18. The moral of this story if Be-Housing is seeing this is: be fair and kind to all guests as you never know who writes a well-read travel blog. Also- everyone vents on the Internet these days. I hope you let airbnb know as well.

  19. Anna @ shenANNAgans

    Booooo, what a hassle Agness, and pretty unprofessional too. I don’t know I would have paid the 12 Euro, especially after all the stuffing about you had gone through. Fingers crossed you get to experience some positive things with them.

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