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Cities Travel

Airbnb’s China Challenge: Difficult Guests

Some Airbnb hosts in Shanghai were recently grousing about a shocking customer request on a competing Chinese vacation-rental site that resonated with their own frustration. A finicky guest demanded a host be on call every day during a monthlong stay to piggyback a wheelchair-bound father up and down to the apartment. Fed up with the demands, the host suggested they’d be better off at a luxury hotel that could carry both of them up and down the stairs, according to smartphone screenshots of the conversation seen by The Information.

Local Airbnb host Fei Fi, who saw the screenshots, said she could relate to the situation. She and her fellow Airbnb hosts in Shanghai have had their own experiences with troublesome guests. “People still don’t understand that this is not a hotel,” Ms. Fei said.

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A WeChat group circulates a blacklist of guests who have repeatedly caused trouble, such as a woman who travels with a violin and seeks compensation by claiming that her precious instrument was damaged during her stay.