Hello Everyone, I have been hosting since 2017 and have been fortunate to be a Superhost during my entire time with Airbnb, in fact all my ratings are all 5s except for a 4.9 for location, which I know a lot of hosts take issue with. Anyhow, I am looking for some advice, here is the story.... I list all my amenities and give lots of details in my listing, you can check it out. Starting 3 weeks ago a potential guest sent me an inquiry asking if stove cooking was permitted, to which I politely responded no, advised them to read over my listing details and advised that there is a microwave and fridge available in the guest space and they were welcome to use the kitchen for snacks and to sit and the kitchen or patio table to enjoy meals, plus I told them about all of the local restaurants that are within walking distance and/or offer delivery service. After seeing my response, the person withdrew their request. A week later the same guest sent an inquiry for a 1 night booking asking if they had to bring their own laundry detergent, even though right in the beginning of my listing it says laundry is only available for guests staying 2 or more nights. I politely responded and advised of this policy and pointed out that if they need laundry, there is a laundromat within walking distance or if they wanted a longer stay, laundry would be available. Again the guest withdrew their request. Now this past weekend I had a last minute cancellation for Saturday night and to my surprise, the SAME guest instant booked my place. I responded thanking for the reservation and advised to please be sure they read through the listing details so they had appropriate expectations. After responding to the booking, I called Airbnb to proactively advise them I had concerns about this guest. Sure enough when the guests arrived, they walked in with laundry in a big bag, and seemed surprised that I was home (even though I clearly stated I would be). The next morning the guest made a point to say loudly to her companion "oh well since he won't let us cook here, we have to find someplace to eat". Suffice to say I was uncomfortable with their stay overall. In the end they left the room 'acceptable' but did use lots of supplies (bottled water, snacks) and stain a towel - which honestly is usually never an issue with me because I understand this goes with the 'territory' of being a host. Anyhow now my question.... how do I politely rate this guest, if it were not for the background story I would rate them 4-5 stars and agree to host them again, but I fear they are going to unfairly post a negative review. I'm sure all hosts can understand how frustrating it is to work so hard for your ratings and earnings and then have 1 unreasonable guest knock you down. Perhaps I am being overly paranoid, but I would like to write a short, polite review and just be done with the guests. Thanks to all who read through this long posting, I appreciate it! Domenick
@Domenick0 I hope by a short, polite review, you don't mean you will portray these guests as desirable, because they aren't, and that would be unfair to other hosts reading the review. (Are you aware that hosts who don't use IB can't see guest star ratings?)
The strategy hosts use if they think a guest will leave a bad review is to wait until the review period of 14 days is almost over to submit your review, if the guest hasn't left a review yet. That way they may no longer have time to leave a review when they get notice that you have.
These sound like the type of guests who leave bad reviews no matter what, and there's nothing you can do about that if they have already submitted a review.
If it were me, I'd have reported these guests the second time they tried to book and I would have cancelled the booking, rather than simply expressed concern to Airbnb. They certainly wouldn't be 4 or 5* guests to me- more like 3*s.
As far as you responding to a review where the guest rated 4 for location, that was a bad move. Future guests have no idea what other guests rated, the individual ratings don't affect your overall rating, and there is zero need for a public response. You could have simply sent that guest private feedback if you wanted to educate them about the location rating, but I would never call out a guest for leaving 4*s for anything. It would be different if they left 2 or 3*s.
Hello Sarah, Thank you for your reply and the suggestion to wait until the end of the 14 day review period to leave a review, I never thought of this and think it's a great idea! One note, I have never responded to any guest review and have never been negative in any of my reviews, even for the 1 guest (out of 158 guest reviews)who rated me a "4" for location which is why with the exception of my location rating of a 4.9, all of my other categories are 5s. I read through my posting here and think you may have misunderstood what I said ( so I did not make a bad move, lol). Thank you again for your feedback and suggestions, I appreciate your time. Domenick
@Domenick0 Yes, I did misunderstand, and didn't take the time to look at your review page, sorry 🙂
There actually are hosts who leave long, ranting responses to a guest who left them less than 5 star ratings.
@Domenick0 so the upshot is, the guest asked two questions that were answered in your listing, seemed surprised to find you at home, said something that made you think they were unhappy with your house rules, used more of the supplies you made available than you expected, and stained a towel. While this sounds like a somewhat unpleasant and careless person, to me the stay doesn't sound like a disaster. I understand your fear about their review, but nothing you say in your review will have any effect on that outcome. I would just rate them briefly and honestly, and respond briefly and professionally if they do leave an unfair review. (I would also not accept last-minute bookings, for a number of reasons including that in my previous experience people who book last-minute are often disorganized and difficult in other ways.)
Lisa, Thank you for your reply and information. I agree with your observation, that last minute bookings are often the more difficult guests and I will consider extending my booking window. My experience with last minute bookings is that guests are not reading the listing details and just booking whatever is available so they tend to have unrealistic expectations or be 'surprised' about certain things. I am thankful that after 4 years on Airbnb nearly all of my experiences have been positive, but I do take issue with how easily Airbnb will lower a Host's ratings and/or lower them in the search hierarchy for clearly one-off, troublesome guests, especially those who have been consistently negative to other hosts. Thanks again for your time and thoughtful response. Domenick
@Domenick0 One thing I sometimes do if I have doubts about a guest is to cross reference reviews to see what sort of reviews they've left for past hosts, because not all hosts write honest reviews. So looking at how the guest has reviewed their past stays can be informative. Sometimes a host will leave a fairly nice or non-commital review because the guest wasn't great, but they weren't super objectionable. But then you see the review the guest left for the host, full of complaints, and the host's response, which indicates that all tnis guest's complaints arose because they failed to read the listing information, or the host's check in instructions, etc.
No one wants guests who are serial complainers.
Sarah, Thanks again for the information. As I have instant book turned on, I am unable to see most guests reviews before their reservation is confirmed. However, I appreciate your suggestion and whenever I have concerns with a guest I will be sure to look through their previous reviews and consider them along with my own experience when writing their review. So far in 4 years I have been very fortunate, but I do feel Airbnb's policies favor the guest (which I am sometimes a guest myself) at the expense of the host and wish they would more carefully consider host's concerns and provide support especially to Superhosts who have hosted hundreds of guests and thus provided significant revenue to Airbnb. Domenick