Skift Take

Staying in professionally managed short-term rentals is no guarantee of an optimum guest experience. When your host's profile picture turns out to be a free stock photo, you can guess how this ended up.

Series: Dennis' Online Travel Briefing

Dennis' Online Travel Briefing

Editor’s Note:¬†Every Wednesday, Executive Editor and online travel rockstar Dennis Schaal will bring readers exclusive reporting and insight into the business of online travel and digital booking, and how this sector has an impact across the travel industry.

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Online Travel This Week

A vacation trip over the last two weeks to California highlighted to me what a crapshoot staying in short-term rentals continues to be despite the supposed heightened professionalization of the industry.

While I booked a mix of short-term rentals and hotels during the trip, a stay booked through and a second reservation I made on Airbnb, both in Los Angeles, made me longing at times for the relative reliability of a hotel where I'd have some sense of what I'd actually be getting.

The apartment hotel I secured on in downtown Los Angeles was a guest experience nightmare during the process leading up to checking in although the stay itself turned out well enough.

A Meetup Location, Not a Property Address

The host didn't give me the name or address of the property, which turned out to be Level Downtown South Olive, even on the day of the stay until actually meeting me there after a protracted process and handing me a key card. Leading up to that the host had sent me a 15-paragraph email informing me I should provide an arrival time, and that the address was a "meet-up location." I admittedly didn't read the email because I was driving six hours to the property and not checking emails. So it was partially my fault, but shouldn't you be able to book a property, get the address, and check in? Duh.

Prior to check-in, the host gave me no property name or precis