A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level 2
431 Views

Minutes after Joining as a host, I got a very short notice booking from a local guy (Newbie on air bnb?) for his parents to visit to see him, his Uni and City. He asked how to access the apartment, I corrected him and stated it was a private room in my home and I would be on-site to give him the keys. (Stuck at home with my foot in plaster) He collected the keys, dropped off their luggage and said he would bring them round later after they had a look around. 

When they arrived there, were 4 or 5 adults! They went upstairs, 5 minutes later he came back down and said his parents didn't want the room, the bed wasn't big enough? (It's a standard double in a medium sized room) so off they went.

At around 5:45am, the next morning, a young couple knocked at my door asking for the laptop left behind. Once I woke up, I explained that anything left in the room is the property of the guest, so could only give it to them with text confirmation from the non-present guest. when I got confirmation of their ID etc., gave the laptop to them. I also reminded the guest to return my keys at end of the booking.

 

What happens now? I am a little worried.

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Re: A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Lyndall5  Sorry if it came across as condescending, it wasn't intended that way. I'm not a sugar-coater, and sometimes I write things not so much directed at the poster, although it's your thread, but as general comments all new hosts should be aware of. Like saying it's not easy money (you'd be surprised how many people put up new listings thinking it will be) It's a big learning curve for all of us, me included. 

 

I'm actually an excellent speller, believe it or not :-), sometimes make typos, but catch them too late, and the problem here is that after about half an hour, you can't edit your posts anymore. 

 

And I do appreciate irony and sarcasm. Good luck with hosting, I mean that. I'm sure it'll be great for you once you work out the kinks. I'm a home-share host, too, and I've met such cool people from all over the world doing this.

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13 Replies

Re: A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Lyndall5 OMG...if a group of random people is out there with the keys to your house, where you live, the very first thing you need to do right now is change your locks. You have every reason to be worried - these people are obviously not who they claimed to be.

 

The next thing I hope that you do is "Snooze" your listing. That doesn't delete it, it just temporarily blocks your calendar and removes you from the Search results. This is necessary, because there are several changes you need to make and some studying you should do before it would make any sense to accept bookings. In its current state, your listing will only attract people who pose an immediate threat to your safety and well-being, and more disasters are guaranteed.

 

The most important thing you can do right now read through the Help Center and give yourself a thorough education in how Airbnb works. Right away, you'll learn that you can turn off Instant Book and require guests to send Requests so that you can vet them before getting stuck with a booking. And also that third-party bookings aren't allowed - they must be made with the account of one of the people actually staying. Looking through these forums can prepare you for a lot of issues that might come up, from the minor ones (stains, late checkouts) to the major ones that endanger your safety. You want to be able to prevent as many as you can and be forearmed with a plan for how to deal with the rest. 

 

If after learning the ropes, you still feel that you want to be an Airbnb host, take a look at some of your successful competitors and note how they photograph and describe their homes. Examples:

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/25415480

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/39671338

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/23600871

 

These are some of the other choices one of your target guests will have when searching for a room in your area and price range. Now, pull up your listing on a computer (not a phone):  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/52764570/

 

What's the first thing you notice? Is it that the lead photo (the one that appears in Search results) is nothing but a blank white wall and the edge of a bed? Or that the description doesn't say anything about the home - including important details like who else lives there and what areas other than the bedroom are accessible to guests? I recommend going through the listing editor and following all the prompts to get as much useful information into your listing as possible. And perhaps enlisting the help of a friend with a camera to shoot photos where the subject is actually in the frame and in focus.

 

As you build your listing, don't forget to preview it and see it from the guest's perspective. The end result should be a listing that you as a guest would choose to book even if one of those other three options were available.

Re: A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level 2

Hello Andrew, Thanks so much for the help and support. I didn't realise no 3rd party bookings. My home is now secure again, I was worried that if they have booked/paid, they can still use the room should they wish to. Also didn't know if I can demand my keys back while their booking is still 'LIVE' They were not threatening, in fact very polite god-fearing folks. I just think they trusted their teenage son with the task of finding them accommodation? 

I will look at my settings, listing etc. But am lucky, my mum is a superhost, so can make panic calls to her until I 'find my feet' I have one more booking at the end of the week, which I want to honour. But will let this play out before I take anymore bookings.

Thanks again

Lyndall

 

Re: A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 10

However good your mum might be please don't rely on her @Lyndall5 

 

However do get her to look at your house rules and ask her on the best measures to take /questions to ask when vetting your guests. 

 

Do as @Andrew0  suggested and familiarise yourself with how Airbnb works and take off IB until you can confidently vet your guests to ensure there's a good fit. 

have you looked at Airbnb Help yet. 

 

Re: A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Arkansas, United States
Level 10

@Lyndall5 

 

I would suggest that you make it clear that ONLY registered guests will be allowed into your home.

 

NO “guests of guests,” no visitors, no substitutions.

 

If someone shows up with a crowd again you should politely but firmly deny them entry. Otherwise you may find a whole lot of people making themselves at home in your living room for as long as they feel like staying.

Re: A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Lyndall5  As a private room home-share host, and a new host to boot, you should definitely not be using Instant Book - you want to have a chance to check out a guest's reviews, communicate with them, make sure they have read the listing description and understand that they are booking a private room in a home-share, and ask any necessary questions before deciding whether to accept their booking request or not.

 

And go through all your settings and change them to what will work for you. For instance, I'd advise that you set Advance Notice to 2 days, so you don't get last minute bookings, which can be the most problematic.

 

Hosting isn't "easy money", as many new hosts are wont to think. It's a job, and you really need to inform yourself off how it all works before jumping into it.

 

Damage control after the fact (i.e. calling your mom when there's a problem) isn't what you are aiming for- the goal is to prevent issues in the first place.

 

You need to ditch all of your photos-they are terrible and don't show the space at all. Don't take bed photos of a bed with covers wrinkled up and pillows askew. 

 

Your amenities list says kitchen- if you share the kitchen with your guests, you need to state that. If the bathroom is shared, you need to state that. If the guests can use the living room,  you bed to state that. 

 

And you need clear photos of every space the guest has access to- bathroom, kitchen, outdoor space, etc.

 

 

 

Re: A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level 2

Thanks Sarah, just sorting it now. 

Re: A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Lyndall5  It would also be a good idea to retitle your listing, working "Private Room" into it. Guests are notorious for not reading through everything, so you kind of need to make things as clear as possible up front. Otherwise you'll get guests showing up thinking they rented the entire house.

Re: A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level 2

Thank you  @Sarah977 For your constructive criticism, even if a little condescending, considering your profile picture won't be winning an IPA and your spell/grammar check seem to be disabled?

I managed to help my mother become a superhost and though not intending that route, will be sorting my listing out as soon as I finish my full-time job, part time job and fall out from a very expensive divorce from cheating ex. Best Regards, Lyndall 

P.s. I have an MA in Irony, sarcasm and several other real World skills!

Re: A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Lyndall5  Sorry if it came across as condescending, it wasn't intended that way. I'm not a sugar-coater, and sometimes I write things not so much directed at the poster, although it's your thread, but as general comments all new hosts should be aware of. Like saying it's not easy money (you'd be surprised how many people put up new listings thinking it will be) It's a big learning curve for all of us, me included. 

 

I'm actually an excellent speller, believe it or not :-), sometimes make typos, but catch them too late, and the problem here is that after about half an hour, you can't edit your posts anymore. 

 

And I do appreciate irony and sarcasm. Good luck with hosting, I mean that. I'm sure it'll be great for you once you work out the kinks. I'm a home-share host, too, and I've met such cool people from all over the world doing this.

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Re: A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level 2

Thanks Sarah and noted.. Onwards and upwards! 🙂

Re: A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

@Lyndall5 “…even if a little condescending, considering your profile picture won't be winning an IPA and your spell/grammar check seem to be disabled?”


Your post in ‘Help’ described a ‘disastrous’ first hosting. Indeed. Several seasoned and successful hosts answered your call for help, offering a boatload of valuable, free advice. Uncalled for to go on the defensive and make disparaging personal remarks about one of those helpful hosts. 

 

Re: A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 10

Wow I certainly won't be offering any further help after reading your tirade - if this is how you choose to react when offered free help and advice from seasoned hosts in similar situations to you.  @Lyndall5 

We all have life commitments and often work  to deal with alongside running our STR business. 

Re: A disastrous 1st Hosting?

in
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Level 2

Thanks for all your help folks, sorry if the irony and sarcasm were lost on some of you? @Sarah977 And I have seen both good and bad, my experience started early... Onwards and upwards. 🙂

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