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Airbnb shares fall after probe into unpleasant customer experiences

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Shares of Airbnb Inc (ABNB.O) fell as much as 6 per cent on Thursday after an online independent publication released a report that probed unpleasant experiences that customers had during stays booked through the short-term rental platform.

According to The Bear Cave report, horror incidents of guests staying at individually managed Airbnbs abound on the internet, including surprise cleaning requirements and last-minute cancellations as well as numerous examples of guests finding hidden cameras in bedrooms and bathrooms.

Airbnb did not respond to requests for comment.

The company’s shares were last down 5 per cent in afternoon trading.

Airbnb’s revenue in 2022 was up 40 per cent year over year and it was the company’s most profitable year on record. The San-Fransico-based company reported a 16 per cent increase in active listings in the fourth quarter of 2022 over the same period in 2021. Nights and experiences booked rose 20 per cent from a year earlier but missed analysts’ estimates.

Earlier this year, travel companies said they had not yet seen a decrease in demand despite concerns of a slowing economy.

Last month, a fire broke out in a building in Montreal being used by long-term residents and short-term guests who booked lodgings through Airbnb. City officials said the units in the residential building were not supposed to be rented those purposes.

Some of the company’s top professional hosts have cut out Airbnb and built their own booking platforms and are offering cheaper deals.

The increase in professionally managed properties will directly compete against the company and may further threaten its revenues, according to the report. But some analysts are more optimistic about Airbnb’s prospects.

“Airbnb.. sits in a much more favorable supply market, and looks much more like Amazon: everything on Amazon is pretty much purchasable another way, but that does not make it a less valuable platform,” Bernstein analyst Richard Clarke said in a note.

Airbnb laid off in March some recruiting staff to reduce costs and protect margins.

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