As hosts we may not realize this, but the biggest problem on the platform, for the general public, seems to be last-minute cancellations by the HOST.
This news story goes into this problem.
So what's the cause of all these cancellations, I'd like to know? I'm curious because as a host who's had over 500 guests and been doing Airbnb rentals for over 6 years, I have actually never cancelled a guest's reservation. There was one instance when I double booked a room, but in that case I didn't cancel myself, I called Airbnb and got them to cancel, and I did it immediately after the guest did the double booking. I would feel awful cancelling someone last minute, or even several days after the guest booked, and would only do that if there were a real emergency -- something like a plumbing emergency that made it impossible to host someone.
In the news story, a couple of people speaking about the problem suggest that Airbnb should prevent hosts from cancelling. But I dont' think you can actually prohibit someone from cancelling a reservation, who is hosting in their own home. This is what becomes tricky. Not everyone is hosting in their own home, to be sure, but many are, and when it comes to someone's home -- well, things can come up. I think travelers need to understand this risk.