Georgia scout troops arrive to empty lots, not Airbnb rentals in Florida Keys

MIAMI — Two Boy Scout troops from Georgia had to rely on their resourcefulness when they booked a trip to an Airbnb in the Florida Keys that did not exist.

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Scott Mulkey with troops 5506 and 506 from northeast Georgia, planned to take scouts snorkeling, fishing and camping in the Florida Keys, WSVN reported.

“It’s more of a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing that most of the scouts do,” Mulkey said. “It’s just a good time to for us to make some memories with our scouts while we can.”

They booked two Airbnb listings on Big Pine Key. The rentals were large enough to accommodate the group of 24.

Before heading to Florida, they became skeptical because both rentals used the same photos, although they had different hosts. Mulkey checked and Airbnb said the listings were legitimate.

However, when they arrived this week, all they found was an empty lot filled with mangroves and marshland.

“There’s no mailbox. There’s not anything there at all,” Mulkey said.

The scouts banded together and got rooms at a hotel.

Airbnb apologized, reimbursed the troops and offered them credit on a future booking.

“This type of situation is extremely rare, but when it happens, we take action to protect the integrity of our platform,” Ben Breit, Airbnb spokesperson, told WSVN. “To that end, these listings have been removed, and all associated hosts have been suspended pending further investigation.”

The scouts were not going to let the setback ruin their stay.

“(We’re going to) hit the waters and try to leave all of this behind us, at least for now,” said Mulkey.