Hey guys! As I’ve predicted in an earlier post, the Airbnb host from Woodlands, Singapore has shamed me for leaving a factual and not-too-positive review. Do you want to know what he said? I can only say that I am disgusted and somewhat amused because he did exactly what I was warning travelers about in the review. That is, his tendency to shame guests who didn’t sing praises on his apartment.
It’s just incredible! Prior to this incident, I’d not encountered or seen any Airbnb hosts who shame their guests. Have you? It is truly peculiar and entertaining (unfortunately, at my expense). Ok, let’s get to the story.
I Took Days to edit the Airbnb Review because I was afraid
If you can tell from the emotional tone of my earlier post (Worst Airbnb Stay), you would know how upset and emotionally affected I was. I mean, I couldn’t even fall asleep on a luxurious mattress, that should be quite bad, right?
Who likes to be scolded for making an innocent and non-demanding request? Furthermore, the host made it obvious that he’d thought of me as a prostitute when he lectured me.
Did I Leave an Equally Emotionally-Charged Review on Airbnb?
Um, no. I didn’t. I’ll be honest with you – I was so afraid that the host would shame me that I took days to craft a factual review, pulling out any emotions I could detect from my writing. I edited it so many times until I ran out of time (when Airbnb closed the editing window). I even changed my profile name and photos to hide my identity – what a coward! LOL!
Here’s part of my factual review:
It’s a long 500-word review. Here’s another part of it. I was trying to warn people without sounding too negative. It was hard!
After multiple edits, I couldn’t help leaving a not-too-positive closing para. I do want to play a part in warning the Airbnb community. I mean, that’s the main reason why I even bothered writing a review there.
You can read the full review here.
How did my review sound as compared to what I’ve written on my blog? Too factual, right? Too emotionless. Too boring!
I know. I didn’t even mention the part about his rude call to me and how he’d interrogated me over the phone. Neither did I reveal to Airbnb users that I’d felt like I was viewed as a prostitute.
Why did I leave out such details? Well, I told you – I was afraid! I only dared to put up things that were factual and indisputable. Whether he viewed me as a prostitute or not, this is hard to verify. For all you know, I could be over-sensitive. Therefore, the review I put up was a watered-down version of how I truly feel about this Airbnb experience.
You’ll be Surprised at how the Airbnb Host Shamed Me
Before I reveal how the Airbnb host shamed me, I want you to know that I am emotionally calm right now. I think you can tell from the way I write. Apparently, being shamed isn’t really that scary.
Other than feeling disgusted at the person’s behavior and character, I didn’t have any extra emotions. Not upset. Not embarrassed. Not having insomnia. Somewhat amused. :) On hindsight, I should have left a harsher review if I’d known being shamed isn’t all that terrifying. Ha Ha!
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Okay, without any further ado, let’s see what the Airbnb host said about me.
Shaming #1 – The Airbnb Host Shamed Me by Revealing my First Name and Last Name
My profile name was changed to mBC before publishing the factual review. You guys know what mBC stands for right? :)
Okay. Anyway. The host revealed my real name, including my real last name. According to what he wrote, he took some time to figure out who mBC was.
Hmm, what a vengeful and resourceful host! Got to give it to him. :)
Shaming #2 – He openly revealed private information about his guests
The Singapore Woodlands Airbnb host told everyone about my request for an additional guest when this wasn’t mentioned at all in my 500-word review.
I’m okay with that because that’s the truth (and I regretted not sharing more about that part of the story). But it goes to show how much stuff the host is ready to reveal about his guests when things doesn’t go well for him. In case you didn’t read my earlier post, he’d revealed how guests slammed door or was demanding, when the truth was a service lapse on his part.
This is not the first time I’d left a factual review on Airbnb, but it is the first time I have been shamed. And based on a quick scan, I haven’t seen any Airbnb hosts going around shaming guests who left them a negative review.
How they would normally respond is to apologize for the guests’ unpleasant experience, explain/defend or justify if necessary, and close with a positive statement on how they would continually improve. Shaming guests is a “No No” in the hospitality line.
Shaming #3 – The Airbnb Host hinted to everyone that I was a Prostitute
Before we continue, I want you guys to know that I am a fair, objective and logical person (I think lah). You can tell from the way I review things here since 2014. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s bad, it’s bad. I state all pros and cons.
Therefore, I knew and agree that my request for an additional guest after checking in, was a peculiar one. I didn’t and still don’t blame the host for having doubts. In fact, I told him repeatedly over the phone that I understood his concerns.
Since I couldn’t reveal that I was there to conduct an unbiased review (and later decided to back out because I felt conned), I cooked up a believable domestic explanation to assure him that I wasn’t there for illegal activities. I even volunteered to show him our Identity Cards (but was rudely declined).
So why was I so upset? Why did I leave a negative review?
Although he was right to have his concerns, he should have been subtle about it. He need not be rude. Neither should he lecture his paying guests. There are many ways to deal with such “peculiar” requests – hotels and Airbnbs deal with them all the time. I don’t think these guests all walked away feeling shamed and upset.
If he’d received basic training in service, he could either ask the guest diplomatically on the reason for the change in the “number of guests” or decline the request politely, quoting Airbnb regulations etc. It really isn’t all that hard, that is, if he was a nice person to begin with.
There isn’t a need to show everyone what you think of them, especially if it’s not a positive thought. If you just met someone for the first time and think she has body odor, do you go ahead and ask her, “Hey, when was the last time you took a shower? Maybe you could use some perfume!”
It’s common sense and basic manners. A gracious and well-brought up person would know what he can or cannot say under varying social circumstances. Therefore, although he’s right to feel the way he felt, he is wrong to behave the way he did.
I wasn’t rude or insistent in my request
I do not understand why a polite and non-insistent request deserves such hurtful interrogation, lecturing and shaming. You can see how my request was made in Part 1 of this sequel. It was, as it is, a mere polite request. If I’d been rude, demanding or insistent, I’m sure the host would have brought that out to shame me further.
As someone who is comfortable in solo-travelling, I can take a polite “no” as an answer.
How did the Airbnb Host Hint to Everyone that I was a Prostitute?
The Airbnb Host from Woodlands, Singapore implied that I was a prostitute by first saying that “she…decided she would get a male companion to come stay with her”.
Hmm, why did he use the word “male companion”? I’d explicitly told him over the phone that my significant other would be joining me.
As if that wasn’t clear enough to readers what he was hinting at, he wrote the following two words in quotes “staycation” and “boyfriend”.
Why did he quote the words in such a context? According to wiki, quotation marks also indicate irony, which signifies the opposite of what the writer meant.
Was he trying to hint to others that “staycation” means a prostitute session? And “boyfriend” refers to a sex-paying customer? Even my partner got implicated. LOL!
He also associated single woman with “questionable activities”.
Don’t get Fooled by the Airbnb Host’s Public Response
Before booking the unit, I’d actually read through his responses to all the bad reviews. He was convincing and was able to make the other party (his guests) sound like the problematic ones. Don’t be fooled, please! I’ve learnt it the hard way.
Fiction vs Fact #1
For instance, he’d lectured me rudely and interrogatively, but responded in public that “We sought out and spoke to her as a precaution.”
Um….no. He didn’t seek. He called and lectured me. Even the messaging wasn’t very polite. So you can probably imagine his tone when he called me.
Fiction vs Fact #2
Another example – The Airbnb host questioned if I I was bringing in an illegal immigrant. So, I offered to show him both our IDs. He declined impolitely and said how sighting the IDs would get him intro trouble, that is, if we were indeed illegal people.
What did he say in public? “We also decided not to further inconvenient [sic] her and so did not get any ID nor proof…”
Fiction vs Fact #3
This is what the host wrote about check and balance, “We asked that, if ever in the future to please book for two guests so there is a proper record through Airbnb’s own system of check and balance.”
Then, why did he whatsapp me a day before check-in to reveal the real “0.3km-from-cemetery” address? Why did he take the trouble to message me again through Airbnb to make sure that I got his whatsapp message? Why couldn’t he reveal his exact address through Airbnb? Is it because he doesn’t want Airbnb to know that the address indicated to public was a fake location?
In any case, if he’d been honest about the “OMG-so-close-to-cemetery” location, I would have booked for two guests instead of staying alone. Oh wait! I think I wouldn’t even have booked the unit. Darn! I was conned!
Warning! Think Twice Before Booking This Airbnb Unit in Woodlands, Singapore
So guys, don’t get fooled by the overwhelming positive reviews and responses that was made to put himself in a good light (and his guests in bad). I was fooled because those social proofs were really quite convincing. And I thought I wouldn’t be so unlucky to form the outlier. But I did “kena” (“afflicted” in Malay).
For info, this Airbnb host has three rooms for rent, i.e, three different Airbnb listings. Take note!
In any case, can we logically associate someone who shames guests as a hospitable person with a warm personality?
Okay, I’ve done my part in warning the community. Please pass it on and warn your family and friends.
What’s your thought on this? Do you think shaming guest is a common behavior among hotel operators or Airbnb hosts? Let me know your thoughts. And don’t forget to subscribe for more honest reviews. See ya!SUBSCRIBE
P.S: Why is honest blogging difficult? To produce an unbiased review, we pay out of our own pocket to receive “normal service” that any other guests would receive. Unlike a pre-arranged media invitation, sometimes, the “real” service can be like Sh*t! Oops, sorry! ;)
In this instance, I spent money and suffered from a sleepless night and got emotionally hurt by the rude behavior of the host. Okay lah, let this “atas prostitute” write him two dedicated “Ang Moh” reviews. :)
(This post was first published in Nov 2018)
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- Worst Airbnb Stay (Pt 1) – My First Airbnb Stay In Singapore, Woodlands Turned Out To Be A Horrible Mistake
- Worst Airbnb Stay (Pt 2) – How I Was Shamed By Airbnb Host For Leaving A Factual & Negative Review