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Airbnb blunder leads to vanishing accounts and deleted bookings

A number of Airbnb users had their accounts temporarily deactivated on Wednesday, November 11, after the company suffered a mishap while carrying out routine maintenance on its computer systems.

Affected accounts have now been restored, but some customers have since discovered that their bookings have disappeared. Worse still, when they went to rebook, some found that another traveler had already jumped in and reserved their previously booked accommodation.

Disgruntled users took to Twitter to complain to the company about the blunder.

One wrote: “The Airbnb system deleted my account and canceled my existing reservations without my permission. Now, I have account access again but am in the hole hundreds of dollars and stuck in Mexico without a place to stay.”

Another said: “Airbnb glitch caused my account and holiday home rental to be deleted. Account has been restored but someone else has booked the rental during my original reservation. Now I’m scrambling to find a place.”

Another customer complained: What’s happening today AirbnbHelp? All our bookings got cancelled overnight and the account suspended, and we know it happened to other people as well. Such a mess for our holidays plans.”

Others with similar issues also posted their gripes online, with Airbnb in most cases asking the user to continue the conversation via direct messaging.

A number of Airbnb hosts, too, also pointed to lost bookings as a result of the technical troubles, with some losing out after the person who made the reservation failed to rebook.

In a statement to Digital Trends, Airbnb confirmed that its systems had not been hacked, describing the problem as a “system issue” that occurred internally, adding that it affected “a very small subset of user accounts.”

The San Francisco-based company told Digital Trends: “We apologize to those users impacted by this incident and have restored their accounts, in addition to providing rebooking support for impacted reservations.”

It said it is now investigating the incident and will take appropriate action to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

As part of the travel business, Airbnb has taken a hit during the coronavirus pandemic, with revenue this year expected to be less than half of what it generated in 2019. Earlier this year, the online accommodation company announced it was laying off 1,900 people, equal to about 25% of its workforce. The ongoing pandemic has reportedly led to more Airbnb customers opting for rural rentals as people seek quieter spaces and a change of scenery during these challenging times.

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