SF, CA Level 1
Hi fellow Hosts. I am a fairly new Host. We started in June of this year and have had a dozen or so groups stay at our 2 bedroom Airbnb suite. I must first say that we have had excellent guests to date. Great experiences and reviews had by all. That was until last Thursday. We live 2 ferries aware from the mainland of Vancouver so it takes people most of the day to travel here. I always contact guests ahead of time and ask them more about their group, what they want from their holiday, what they take in their coffee etc. I recommend they contact me before coming to get better directions too because it is tricky to find. This particular guest was the first time there was NO response from my messages. It is clear on my site that we live above the suite in a house on a private property on the ocean and that we will be around. It's ok to bring A dog if you tell me about it and it is going to get along with my 2 friendly dogs.
@Nancy1588 Great advice by all. So far I haven't experienced anything like this. I've also let a guest stay who had extra family, as they were in a bind, and they were perfect and left the place in perfect condition. One thing to clarify, though, is that reviews are made public once both host and guest leave a review or if only one leaves a review it will be published 14 days after the booking. So since guest already left a review you would need to write them one within 14 days, or once its published you can't leave one. I would think you could also report them for abusive behavior that you described. This is why I'm more inclined to not cancel reservation and just use review in a situation like this, and just cover the cost of damages. Even had you turned them away on day of booking they can still leave a review, unfortunately.
Hi John. I did report them right away to Airbnb. It took a bit but I found a phone number and was able to talk to someone which was reassuring. The cancelled and and handled refunds and credits etc. I was disappointed that they were not able to remove his review and erase that experience from my online history but I guess that is the nature of the crowd supported platform and the importance of the honest reviews by all. I'll wait until closer to the 2 week deadline and will craft a professional response to rate him and respond to his review. I've got a couple bookings in the meantime so I'll ask them to give reviews to start to bury his. Joy! 🙂 Thanks for participating in the conversation.
@Nancy1588 That's a good strategy. You are right, if you wait closer to the 2 week deadline it will show up below any more recent reviews. This will most likely be a rare bad guest experience. CS will remove review if it violates the review guidelines, so would brush up on that before contacting CS again to try and have it removed. But yes as its part of a crowd supported platform so reviews are subjective, and its left up to host how to navigate the inherent risk. I also just do the best I can. I'm hoping to host several years for an apartment at end of my house but not looking to add more listings as its so much risk for host and one bad guest can shut you down.
Writing an honest but not provocative review is the key in this situation. What that entails is neutral, professional report with few details but a clear message. For example: "Poor inaccurate communication, lack of adherence to house rules resulted in early termination of reservation. Do not recommend guest for this platform." A review is NOT the time to vent your anger and frustration. It is a clear warning to other hosts of the unacceptability of this guest.
No matter what happens with the review posted by the guest, you can respond to it, again in a neutral, professional way as the audience for your response are potential guests and a defensive, vindictive response is a turn off. I am glad you turned off IB. Should you turn it back on, be sure to require no negative reviews.
As to your part in this terrible situation, do not allow guests to check in that have already shown either they did not read your listing or have no intention of following your rules. If you do not feel safe to enforce that by yourself, only allow check in when both you and your husband are available. Good luck and I hope you will have many good guests in the future. Linda
Great wording Linda. Thanks for the advice I will use it. When you say be sure to require no negative reviews if IB is on what do you mean by that? How is that accomplished? I appreciate you taking the time to weigh in.
Definately use the wording that @Linda108 recommended. You do not want to go into a long winded explanation of why you did not like this guest.
"Poor communication, booking count of people and animals was misrepresented. Lack of adherence to house rules and guest aggression resulted in early termination of reservation. Do not recommend guest for this platform."
Hi @Nancy1588 Under IB requirements, select:
@Nancy1588 you have to leave an honest review. That is the only way other hosts will not be subject to this guest. I would wait until the last day of the review period. Other newer guests with better reviews will rise to the top of your page and this review will have less impact. It also gives you time to work with your wording. Both reviews are not published until 14 days or guest and host have left theirs-- whichever comes first. No need to rush.
I would say something like: "So and so arrived with X number of additional people and dogs on a reservation for 2. They left our place requiring a great deal of extra clean up after only one night. We had tried to work out an arrangement where we could accommodate this large group with an additional fee but the guest became very confrontational when we stated this. We had to end this reservation early due to noise, mess and pets that were aggressive to ours. This guest did not respond to any messages prior to the stay and did not communicate their intent to bring additional people and pets. House rules were not followed with regard to smoking, capacity, noise or clean up. We do not recommend these guests to other hosts and would not welcome them back."
Then leave 1 star across the board (they deserve it) and push the "would not host again." That will prevent them from doing instant book. They won't know that you did this as they can't see the star rating. But other hosts will definitely thank you for your honest assessment.
Also I would tweak your listing a bit. Less pics of the atmosphere and more of the space front and center. Remove the extra chairs at any dining tables-- if you allow 4, you shouldn't give the impression that more can sit anywhere. Be very clear on your rules about what happens if more than 4 arrive-- are they charged extra per person? Asked to leave? I might also take off the pet friendly if your own pets are on site. I know its hard-- we are pet friendly too and believe in offering that-- but you don't want to put your pets in harms way and you have no way to know that the arriving pets will get along with yours.
Thank you Laura great advice. I like the way you word it as well. I also like the idea of waiting to close to the 14 day expiry. It also gives more time for him to diffuse. The professional tone is the high road to take for sure. Thank you again for your advice.
This is what we did too - wait until the 14-day period was up so better reviews would come in before and push those farther down.
@Misty66 you have great responses to some difficult feedback. Good for you. I think a lot of hosts would do well to check out how you did this. It really reflects positively on your professionalism and patience.
It felt so violating that someone would have the gall to do such a thing. I felt sorry for the 2 women and children. I'm sure it was his idea but he really was putting them all at risk of not having shelter. They could have been sleeping in their cars that night if I turned them away at 5:30pm. It is too isolated a place to travel to without a proper plan in my opinion. I hated being put in that position but you know that I learned A LOT from the experience. Thanks again for your support. It helps me have more confidence for my next moves.
@Nancy1588 I would try calling Airbnb and explain that as the guest had a party hen their review should be removed. As this is unlikely to work then your response to their review is key. There are people on here (I don't include me) who can give advice on this if you post their review.
Thank you Mike & Jane. I tried with Airbnb. I was surprised they did not want to remove it because they were dealing with it as a security situation because of his aggressive behaviour. It makes me wonder if someone wanted to come back on a Host and vandalize or worse after the fact. I know we have been more diligent about locking doors etc. I'm glad there are 2 ferries between us. I would or course call the police right away if he showed up but my point is that I don't want to provoke him any more. Thanks for weighing in.
A horrible experience - you are correct the guests shouldn't have been allowed to check in.
If the numbers booked exceeded the numbers on the booking , particularly as there were also pets not disclosed on the booking you could have confirmed on those on the booking could check in.
Please leave an honest review of your experience with these guests to warn hosts considering bookings from these guests.
Thanks Helen. I have learned a lot about hosting with this experience. You are right I should not have let them stay in the first place. It was just getting late and they had a baby with them. Ugh. I appreciate your feedback. It is really nice to have the Host forum to share stories and get advice. Cheers.