Airbnb, an online marketplace that connects people who want to rent out their property with people who are looking for accommodation, has responded to the unfortunate incident in which Starlet Wahu was found murdered.
The company distanced itself from the events that transpired on January 3, after the company was featured in many headlines reporting the story.
A spokesperson for Airbnb told this writer that the house in question was not booked via Airbnb and the suspect, John Matara, does not have an account on the platform.
The company explained that the term Airbnb is often used as a catch-all term to describe the entire booking industry even when the property is listed on other platforms.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of this shocking event, but it is important to make clear that this is not connected to Airbnb in any way.
“The property in question did not have a reservation booked on Airbnb for the dates reported, and we do not have an account registered to the name of the accused. Our thoughts are with the victim’s loved ones during this unimaginably difficult time,” the company said.
While the online accommodation booking has revolutionized the travel and hospitality industry, providing travellers with diverse accommodation options across Kenya, there are important considerations that individuals should keep in mind before opting for a short or long term stay.
There are red flags that travellers should consider before making a booking.
These include varied standards, limited on-site assistance, varied house rules, last-minute cancellations, potential risks, additional charges, limited guest safety monitoring, limited public transit and parking, emergency exits and procedures, and neighbourhood safety.
Many listings, which range from rooms in regular houses to unique and exotic properties, lack standardized rating systems, which can lead to discrepancies in expectations.
Additionally, while online accommodation booking apps excel in providing a sense of independence and privacy, the downside is the potential lack of on-site assistance.
Many listings are private properties, and if issues arise, guests may have to coordinate with off-site hosts.
Each property comes with its own set of house rules, varying in strictness and content, and travellers should thoroughly review these rules to ensure a suitable match with their preferences.
Some properties may lack standardized emergency exits and procedures found in other commercial accommodations, and the absence of a consistently safe neighbourhood can impact the overall security of the stay.