Graduation day is right around the corner for many Mississippians. Local hotels are known to fill up well in advance of the respective commencement ceremonies at Universities as parents and loved ones converge on the cities in massive numbers.
In recent years, local Oxford and Starkville homeowners have substantially expanded lodging capacity for the cities through home sharing, allowing parents to affordably travel even once hotels reach full occupancy. Airbnb is a popular weekend house rental app and they have confirmed that Commencement weekend will represent the largest surge of guests to Oxford in the history of Airbnb’s platform, while the Mississippi State Commencement will represent the fourth largest amount of Airbnb guests to Starkville.
With these factors at play, many families may be turning to home sharing accommodations for the first time this coming week during their Commencement reservations. Airbnb is prioritizing safety guidance to these guests, including avoiding third-party scams outside of the Airbnb platform.
As a result, Airbnb is offering the following guest safety guidance to all guests with reservations to Oxford and Starkville over the next few days.
Always Communicate & Pay on Airbnb:
- During these types of major events, bad actors often attempt to try to take advantage of people searching for bargain deals by exploiting the brands of trusted platforms like Airbnb. For example, Airbnb has recently seen a rise in these bad actors who attempt to entice guests to book on third-party websites that are not a part of Airbnb and claim that the rental is managed by Airbnb or mock-up what appears to be an Airbnb page in order to lend credibility.
- College parents can keep themselves, their payments, and personal information protected by staying on our secure platform throughout the entire process — from communication to booking and payment.
- Guests should never be asked to wire money, provide credit card information or otherwise pay a host directly.
Search and Book with Confidence:
- Guests can get exactly what they’re looking for by taking advantage of our many search filters, like price, home type, and amenities. They should be sure to read the host’s profile and listing or experience description thoroughly—paying special attention to the amenities, house rules or trip requirements, and the cancellation policy.
Read the Ratings and Reviews:
- Guests can look through the feedback from past guests to help find the right fit for them. They’ll see ratings on several quality dimensions, like cleanliness and accuracy, and detailed reviews with authentic feedback about the experience. Guests can only leave a review after they’ve stayed with that specific host, so they know the feedback they’re seeing is based on actual experiences. As Commencement is an annual event, college parents may want to hone in on reviews from May 2018 for a sense of how the potential listing suits families during graduation week.
Get Questions Answered:
- Our secure messaging tool is a safe and easy way to coordinate check-in and stay in touch with hosts throughout the trip — something that will be particularly important in Oxford and Starkville as families and alumni descend on the cities for Commencement. For example, the host can provide guidance on the right public transportation or routes to get to the relevant ceremony locations. Additionally, with Commencement events taking place at various times throughout the day, guests should be sure to let hosts know if they’re going to be leaving on the early side or arriving back at the listing on the later side.
Do a Safety Check:
- Once guests arrive at the home, they should make sure to know where all relevant emergency equipment and safety information is located. If it’s not clear where something like the first aid kit or fire extinguisher is, guests should not hesitate to ask their host. It’s always better to be prepared.
If Anything Isn’t Right, Reach Out:
- If you arrive at a home and something’s not quite right, reach out to us. We’re standing by 24/7 in 11 languages to help with things like rebooking assistance and refunds or reimbursements. Our team is aware of the big stretch Oxford and Starkville have come and is prepared to support.