A New Zealand traveler and budding travel blogger found herself shocked by the state of her AirBnB booking in Bali this week. Bree Robertson from Nelson shared her surprise with her followers on TikTok and her video report quickly went viral.
She had booked an Airbnb as a romantic getaway for her and her partner to celebrate their first month of living in Bali. The couple moved to the Island of the Gods to get themselves set up to live out her dream of life on the road long-term and share her experiences on her new live blog.
Roberston warned other travelers of her mishap and quickly realized where her error may have been made. The Airbnb was a live listing and the property had positive reviews on the platform, only the last reviews were from 2019. Robertson told Traveller Magazine that she thought the lull in reviews was due to the pandemic, lack of tourism, and borders being closed.
When Roberston and her boyfriend arrived at the accommodation after a 2-hour moped drive in the pouring rain, they couldn’t find anyone around. As they walked through the property it became clearer that no one had been taking care of the place for some time. The garden was overgrown and the place utterly deserted.
She took a quick video tour of the abandoned grounds before taking shelter from the rain at the covered outside dining area. When asked about whether she had any contact with the AirBnB hosted before they arrived Robertson said ‘It was super misleading – that was one of the things I was banking on that gave me a lot of reassurance, I was like, ‘they’ve been replying to other people, maybe they’re just busy’.
Roberston described the accommodation as ‘very much abandoned’. She has informed AirBnB’s customer service team of the situation and the listing was removed on Tuesday afternoon. The couple, although disappointed, was able to get affordable accommodation for the night in Ubud, although they had to drive another hour in the rain to get there.
Airbnb has told reporters that they were disappointed to hear about Roberston’s case and have confirmed that they will issue her a full refund. A spokesperson for the company said ‘We hold Hosts up to high standards and the listing is no longer on the platform…In the rare event, that something isn’t as expected on arrival for a stay, our Community Support team is on hand 24/7 to help’.
According to the Airbnb AirCover policy if a guest check-in into a property that has not been described or listed accurately or falls shoer of the company’s quality guidelines the platform will help rebook the guest into a new property that is either of equal or greater value. Alternatively, they will give the guest 100% of their money back.
Robertson’s TikTok has now been viewed over 3.4 million times, a great boost for her budding blogging career despite the unfortunate circumstances. The video garnered support from fellow travelers who have also had rough experiences with the booking platform. She told reporters ‘So many people came forward saying ‘this happened to me…It kind of opened my eyes’.
Despite the saga, Robertson seems unfazed moving forward. She says she’s not going to stop using the platform but that in the future she would ensure that she could communicate directly with the host before arriving to make sure everything is above board.
There has been a slowly growing travel trend in Bali focusing on abandoned buildings. The Old Bali Festival grounds have recently become the new tourist destination of choice for visitors looking to explore some haunted history in Bali.
The area is also popular with mural artists who are working with the local community to bring some life and color back into the space. Travelers are posting about heading to the abandoned Bedugul Taman Rekreasi Hotel & Resort which has become a popular spot for influencers on the hunt for a good story.
Perhaps the abandoned AirBnB will accidentally become Bali’s next most sought-after influencer hangout after Robertson’s viral story.