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airbnb "experience" at Meyer House

Posted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:31 pm
by victoriad
I am delighted that the Meyer house in Galesburg is available not only for overnight stays, but for one-hour tours (an airbnb "experience.") The very gracious owner was kind enough to arrange a tour during our upcoming Michigan sojourn in the Palmer House.

However, I'm afraid we won't be able to attend the tour after all, due to airbnb's onerous security protocols. They require access to my computer to take a photo of myself (or download their app and take a photo through that). Uploading a date-stamped photo is not an option.

I overcame misgivings about giving them photos of my driver's license, but giving them access to my devices stopped me cold.

These protocols put MY security at risk. At least, it seems that way to me. And there doesn't seem to be anyone at airbnb to discuss this with. No customer support--just messaging, which was responded to by a "superhost" from Fortaleza.

It's wonderful that more and more Wright homes are entering the overnight-stay marketplace, giving ordinary folk the opportunity to live Usonian for a few days, but there must be a less invasive vetting process?

Doug (owner) and Tony (docent), if by any chance you are reading this... we would be thrilled to see the Meyer house on the appointed day and time... but sadly, airbnb has canceled the reservation. We are so sorry--and so appreciative of your efforts to open this beautiful house for others to enjoy.

If anyone can suggest a way around this roadblock, we would be very grateful :)

Thank you,

Victoria Duffy
Zimmerman House docent--celebrating 16 years of tours!

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:16 am
by SDR
Victoria, I feel your pain.

George Orwell had it about right; he simply failed to anticipate the operative detail of "disruptive technology." But why should we be surprised to see yet another
instance of some bright young thing converting an ordinary experience into a marketable commodity---taking our life and selling it back to us, with new strings attached ?

Amateur rock and roll; amateur cab drivers; amateur hoteliers. "You can have it all !"®
Just sign here ... and ... and be sure to read the Terms of Service.


Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:53 am
by victoriad
I appreciate your sympathy, Stephen. Strings attached, indeed.

I wrote this post in the vague hope that someone knows someone who can help me communicate directly with the owner of the Meyer House. We had a discussion over the Airbnb platform, but I don't have an email address. His privacy is well-protected!

There might be contractual obligations with airbnb that preclude any kind off-the-platform meet up, but Wright homeowners are largely a gracious and hospitable group who seem to enjoy sharing their home with appreciative guests. So I had to take a shot at making this happen the old-fashioned way :D

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:38 am
by SDR
I hope you will receive assistance; perhaps a reader will contact you privately, though it would be useful for any of us to know what goes on, in this instance.

Best wishes, in any event.


Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:36 pm
by SREcklund
I'm guessing the purpose of the picture is to provide the tour hosts with something they can use to verify the person who arrives at their door is in fact who they say they are. If so, this is not unlike uber and many other services that provide a picture of the driver or service representative to the user. Not an unreasonable request if that's the case, but I also understand your concerns. There ought to be some sort of equitable compromise available.

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:49 pm
by jay
Victoria--- I was able to contact Doug using my own Airbnb account, and told him about your issue. (I wasn't able to link this page through the Airbnb message service, but I did copy and paste a little of it.) I suggested he contact you through the Zimmerman house.... He didn't say one way or the other if he'd try to do that, but he did thank me for relaying the info. So, hopefully he'll be able to contact you.

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:15 pm
by victoriad
Thank you, Jay. Very kind of you to do that. Actually, I utilized the resources of this board to contact the architect, who reached out to Doug. And now we are all set!!

I do understand the need for security, but that goes both ways. As Stan suggested, a compromise was in order here. But airbnb has no customer support numbers listed on their site.

Anyway, all's well that ends well. We are very grateful for the help... and for the opportunity to tour this remarkable home. The beauty shots are breathtaking! Can't wait to see it.

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:19 pm
by SREcklund
So now that we have that straightened out, inquiring minds want to know - what do they charge for the tour?

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:24 pm
by victoriad
$35 per person, minimum 2.

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:03 pm
by Matt2
What we really need is an Airbnb type site just for Wrght fans. So any fan could message any homeowner about dropping in for a tour.

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:27 pm
by Reidy
Just drop in. They love it. To be safe, bring extra pillows.

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:12 am
by Roderick Grant
Reidy, remember that FOHH member (can't recall his name) who visited Freeman unannounced? He noticed that the entry door was open, so he walked in. Sam had died, and Harriett was in a wheelchair. She heard some rummaging around, and yelled, "Who's there?!" He responded, "Oh never mind, I'm just looking around." He was incensed when she told him to get out.

It was so easy to gain access to Freeman, just by contacting either Sam or Harriett ahead of time. They were very accommodating. But barging in without notice is inconsiderate, not to mention illegal.

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:02 pm
by Matt2
I can't blame the guy, especially if he thought the Freeman house was empty. I visited the Honeycomb house 8-10 years ago and it was closed on the day I was passing through, but I still walked around the exterior. If I'd found an open door I'd have gone inside.

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:15 am
by Roderick Grant
Matt, you walk into a private residence without an invitation?
I'm glad I keep my door locked.

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:27 am
by Matt2
Honeycomb is no longer a private house. It's a tourist and conference center. I'd never walk into a private home. Now if a home were abandoned, as Freeman has clearly become, I'd probably walk around the exterior.