Skift Take

This system malfunction will hardly be a footnote in Airbnb's history, but the timing sucked for the IPO hopeful.

Airbnb hosts from Australia to France and Costa Rica were among those complaining Thursday that the short-term rental company deleted their accounts, leading to guest cancellations and irate emails.

Airbnb told Skift that it a system error Wednesday led to the mistaken deletion of a small number of host accounts during a maintenance procedure.

“On Wednesday afternoon, during routine maintenance of our platform, a system issue caused a very small subset of user accounts to be deactivated,” Airbnb stated. “We apologise to those users impacted by this incident and have restored their accounts, in addition to providing rebooking support for impacted reservations. We will conduct a thorough investigation and take appropriate actions to ensure this does not happen again.”

The system issue occurred at an awkward moment for the Silicon Valley-based tech company, which is poised to publish its still-confidential initial public offering registration statement next week, according to a published report. Cash-strapped hosts that were rocked by Covid-related lockdowns weren’t happy about the lost income.

The incident lasted for about two hours on Wednesday afternoon local time in San Francisco — although the impact in terms of guests whose reservations were cancelled was longer. The company believes it wasn’t a hack, and that no confidential information was exposed.

Airbnb was trying to rebook guests impacted by the system problem with the highest priority being for guests whose stays were upcoming shortly.

Hosts with listings in Australia, France and Costa Rica were among those discussing the issue on an Airbnb host forum Thursday, with one saying he found out about the incident when informed by a guest whose reservation had been cancelled.

Hosts that had their Airbnb accounts resorted discussed angry emails from guests.

The BBC reported about the incident Thursday.

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Tags: airbnb, cancellations, guests, hosts, ipo, technology

Photo Credit: Pictured is a file photo of Airbnb hosts in Chicago. The company apparently accidentally deleted some host accounts. Airbnb