Air BnB has taken over Ballycastle, and indeed the whole tourism industry, and it’s causing problems.
Whilst it makes discovering properties quick and easy, what Air BnB don’t tell you is the problems that they cause, and we’ve seen this happen through Ballycastle.
Initially when we listed with Air BnB the process was simple. Guests would only pay a small extra charge, and their refund policy was watertight and helped both us and the accomodation guests. It worked.
Then came the problems. After they listed on the stock market, and following their terrible handling of covid 19 cancellations, they tightened up their refund policy to work against the guests. The ramped up their prices in what seems to be a bid to solely increase their profits. For every night spent at Forestside House, guests booking through Air BnB are paying an extra £50!!!! per night! For what? For a company that doesn’t honour its agreements. It’s easy not to notice this as they hide their charges and make you think that each property is more expensive than it is. As we’re all about value, it pains us to know that our guests are paying more than they should. We work hard to keep our prices low.
We’ve seen more and more homes placed on Air BnB throughout the island of Ireland that aren’t being run professionally or with the right protections for guests, thanks to the ease at which the platform allows you to list your home. In fact, owners don’t open a self-catering house in Ballycastle anymore, they open an “Air BnB”.
Don’t get us wrong, we support other businesses, and a seaside town like Ballycastle does well out of Air BnB and such platforms. But when one owner doesn’t do things properly and cuts corners it makes the rest of us look bad. And when something goes wrong, those owners and guests are the ones stuck between a rock and a hard place, without the correct policies or assurances to help them. This isn’t the booking platform’s fault – it’s just a product of online travel agents being the middle man.
Rest assured, we pride ourselves on our professionalism. We’re a small team and we’re always at the end of the phone. We like to leave you to enjoy your holiday, but if there’s anything you need, we can help. We’re fair too. During the Covid 19 Pandemic we refunded all of our guests their full amounts. We suffered financially to maintain our reputation as one of Ireland’s leading holiday accomodation providers.
There’s even whole campaigns dedicated to asking potential guests to #bookdirect.
We didn’t open our house to guests to make a quick pound or two. We saw a unique opportunity to allow people to experience an amazing location with their loved ones. Even after all these years, we still love hearing about what a great time that people have had together.
So the next time you’re booking somewhere, take a quick scoot around Google and see if you can find that accomodation direct. It’s not always easy, as Air BnB not only hide the true prices of accomodation, but also block any ways of finding out the owners direct details until payment is made. If they’re as professional as us, you’ll be able to find them and see that their reputation is transparent and their policies are fair.
We hope to see you soon!