Guest reserved for a month at a %50 discount, now only wants 14 nights. Do they get any refund? Per night cost is actually higher than monthly discounted rate! They have already been there for 8 nights and want to leave and get a refund. They claim it's due to allergies, but have been there for over a week already.
Originally rented for a month while they look for housing in the area. I think they found a place to live and now want $ back.
@Scott1358 If they rented for a month, then the Long Term cancellation policy was in effect, correct? So no, they are not entitled to any refund.
I 'm sure you are correct- they either found another place or they had no intention to stay for a month in the first place, they just thought they could scam the monthly discount price and then make up lies about why they need to leave and are entitled to a refund.
Obviously if something in the rental was causing them distress in the form of allergies, they wouldn't be wanting to stay for another 6 days and would have let you know before this if they were indeed suffering.
I would suggest you do not offer long term stays, and that a 50% monthly discount is far too generous.
Airbnb’s suggested 50% discount for long term stays is BS and is bound to lead to precisely this kind of problem.
I had someone do this to me when I was naive enough to follow the suggested price guidelines.
They booked for 38 days, stayed for 17, then wanted a refund at the base rate for 17 days for - you guessed it - a wasp sting allergy.
That would have given them an entirely free stay. I’m sure they planned it that way and have done it again, because they seemed to be itinerant (homeless) Airbnb travelers.
Unfortunately I gave them a positive review and a partial refund before I figured out what they had done, although I did specify “would not host again.”
There are people shopping for that 50% discount and obviously some of them have devious intentions.
Now we don’t accept bookings for more than 28 days and offer only a 10% discount for stays longer than a week.
You cannot prove that they planned this but I hope you note in your review that they were refused a refund on their heavily discounted long term stay because of Airbnb’s policy.
No need for lengthy explanations. You’re sorry for their misfortune but that’s what they agreed to when they booked.
@Scott1358 To add to what’s been said already, have the guest cancel, and advise them that they will be refunded according to the long term cancellation policy they agreed to at booking.(which will be nothing). Their reason for cancelling does not entitle them to a refund under the EC Policy. You can let them know that you will be happy to refund them for any nights that you are able to rebook (if you choose to do so).
As discussed, this is a common ploy to get a lower rate for a shorter stay. One way around it is to remove discounts, but put in your listing description that a discount may be offered for longer stays, in the form of a rebate, post stay.
Excellent idea, @Colleen253 .
I wish I had thought of it.
That way if they leave a mess, steal things, or are just annoying in general you can forget about the discount.
This is, in fact, a way to obtain a “real” security deposit.
This might be a violation of Airbnb’s policy, but I’m wondering if you could remit the discount only after 14 days have passed and you have had time to thoroughly examine the premises.
And their review, if any…. 😉
If you refuse to remit the discount you could expect some outraged squawking but it would be meaningless.
I’m composing a possible note to add to my listing. Please comment.
For our very special guests we MAY, on a case-by-case basis, express our gratitude by remitting UP TO a 10% discount for stays in excess of 7 nights, and UP TO 20% for stays of 28 nights.
The remittance, if any is deemed appropriate, will be sent via the Airbnb platform 14 days after the reservation has ended.
(I’m not too sure how to word that last sentence. I don’t want to say “14 days after checkout” because if they check out early the reservation will still be active.)
@Brian2036 If you do this, I would make it generic and not tie it to expressing gratitude, or to ‘special guests.’
It was @Robin4 who first mentioned doing discounts this way. Perhaps he might have a minute to pop in and relate his experience with doing it that way. You can also check out his listing for an example of how it reads.
I see your points. While I would expect to give the discount about 99% of the time, there’s no point in provoking argument if I choose to withhold it.
Possibly I should not call it a “discount” but rather a “rebate.”
Here is @Robin4 ‘s version:
”With regard to my pricing, I do offer a discount of 10% for stays of 7 nights or more, but this discount will be in the form of a refund at the conclusion of the stay. I have had to take this action to cover long term stays being reduced to less than 7 night stays which have been paid at the discount rate. The discount will still be there, but at the end of the stay, not the start.”
I would like to withhold the rebate in cases where the guest misbehaved in significant ways, but maybe that’s too petty.
We have a situation at the moment where an middle-aged ADULT guest repeatedly urinated in a bed and artfully covered it up so that we didn’t find it until after I posted a positive review.
Obviously I posted the review too soon, but we were not in a hurry to prepare for the next guest and everything looked good in our post-checkout inspection.
On the other hand I really wouldn’t have wanted to mention this in a review anyway. I trust that this person is aware that this is not acceptable behavior., nothing I say is going to make a difference, and I have no desire to embarrass her.
No doubt she is incontinent but she should be aware of that and do whatever is necessary to avoid ruining other people’s bedding.
I feel guilty for not warning other hosts, but this woman was a friend of the woman who booked the house, they didn’t sleep in the same bed, and she might not even be aware that it happened.
@Brian2036 You have two weeks to review, as you know, so there is never any need to hurry. Especially if you're busy with a turnover, wait until you're finished, so issues can reveal themselves, and then only when you have a minute to sit down.
In a case such as you mention, all you need to say is 'more cleanup than typical was required'. Any mention of bodily fluids would get the review removed.
@Brian2036 @Colleen253 I recognize you both personally as straightforward and trustworthy people from all your brilliant commentary on these forums, but if I were looking to book somewhere as a guest, I wouldn't have a good feeling about a host who claimed to offer selective rebates as a pricing promotion. To me, that sounds like a trap: I know I have no recourse if I do everything I'm asked and the host still doesn't issue the rebate. The kind of guest who would fall for a scheme like this from a total stranger might be too naive to be trusted with keys to your house. Steer clear of making any offers that you'd feel unwise to accept yourself.
@Scott1358 Lesson learned, Airbnb is not a good platform for long-term stays, and you're better off setting no deep discounts to incentivize them. You can stand your ground about the Long Term cancellation policy and be technically correct, but when a stay has gone so wrong that the guest doesn't want to be there anymore, you have nothing to gain by trying to keep it. At the first indication that the guest isn't happy in your home for reasons you can't fix, you really want to be urging them to advance their checkout date and refunding their unused nights. Hosting is not supposed to be a hostage situation.
Getting real here, you're in a predicament: with 18 reviews under your belt, your listing's average rating is 3.89*. That could just be bad luck, but any savvy guest would consider it astonishingly low for a place that seems nice and in good shape like your cottage. It's going to be hard to recover from this, especially after the hit you take from one more disgruntled guest and his inevitable 1 star review. If you're lucky enough, and demand in your area is high enough, that people can see past the rating and focus on the positives, they're still going to be looking for some encouragement. They want some confidence that you actually know what you're doing, that you've fixed the problems that have caused previous guests to rate you like a late-90s Adam Sandler movie, and that you're not getting all goofy with your pricing.
Handle this problematic booking in the most professional way you can; it may well be your last shot before the only people who consider booking with you are the ones you least want to host.
@Andrew0 Fair point. I don't offer this myself. I don't offer discounts, period. I loathe the word in association with my listing. Nor do I accept bookings longer than 14 nights. Airbnb is not the platform for long stays. But other hosts do have this setup, and as such, I mentioned it as something to consider. I was hoping Robin might stop in to update on how it's worked for him. I'm curious to know.
What I am considering is reducing the pretend Airbnb security deposit to Zero as well as our insignificant $25 cleaning fee.
Instead I might offer a rebate on a sliding scale related to length of stay.
I won’t be increasing my base rate immediately, (which is really already too low for a house appraised at $300,000, ) I am merely offering people a bonus if they behave like responsible adults.
They risk nothing. They can pay the normal daily rate, pee in the beds, let their dogs chew the furniture and call me six times a night for stupid crap, or they can be moderately considerate and get a little bonus after they check out.
If they stay for four weeks this could be as much as $600.
Obviously, if I want them to come back, which I usually do, they will get all of it. The discount handicappers, pigs and fools will hopefully go elsewhere.
There is a significant savings in time, effort and expense to be realized with stays of 2-4 weeks if only we can prevent the wrong people from taking advantage of the discounts, living like hogs, and destroying the property.
Airbnb isn’t offering any solutions and this sounds like the best alternative I have heard of so far.
@Brian2036 If I were considering a listing with only 5 reviews, I'd already be looking at the listing text with extra caution. If it contained language like this, I'd run for the hills. It immediately sets the tone that you have low expectations for your guests and makes you seem burned out on hosting. At the end of the stay, when people want to feel refreshed from a relaxing vacation, instead they're going to be stressed about how they've fared in the host's judgment and whether they're actually going to get their rebate. Why put that image in people's heads before they've even booked?
If the goal is to motivate people to behave responsibly, money is not your best tool - nobody would ever say it's what brings out the best in people. On the other hand, if you take the time at the beginning of the stay to establish a good rapport with the guests, show your care for the home and hospitality during the stay, and schedule an in-person walkthrough at checkout, you signal high expectations without pandering to the lowest common denominator.
@Scott1358 You didn't ask for advice on your listing itself, but since Andrew brought it up, I took a look. I think you could bring your ratings up a lot by doing a few simple things.
The same issues come up again and again in the reviews guests leave. Inconsistent and poor Wifi, confusion about the 3rd bedroom being in another building, and that the rooms are smaller than was expected.
I would suggest you work on both your listing wording and your photo gallery.
While you do say the 3rd bedroom is in a separate outbuilding, it's unclear how far it is from the main building, and some of your guests didn't get it at all. I would address this situation much more clearly, and say someting like "The main house has 2 bedrooms, and there is a third bedroom in a separate small building xx ft. from the house. So this is an attractive situation for a family where maybe grandma and grandpa would like to retire to their own quiet space and go to sleep early, or the teenager might like some privacy where they can stay up late without disturbing others. Or for 2 couples travelling together so they each have a more private space. (Please note: if you are a family with younger children, this arrangement might not work for you, as if you need 3 bedrooms, someone would be sleeping in a different building.)
I would also be really clear about the Wifi situation. Most people just take high speed, constant, unlimited Wifi for granted these days, so you have to let them know that's not the case. And don't post the speed.
"While we do have Wifi, this is a remote property and the Wifi is neither reliable nor particularly fast. Nothing you can depend on. So if you absolutely need to work online while on your trip, this is probably not the right listing for you. On the other hand, if you like to be outdoors a lot, read, and relax, this is the right spot for that."
Not all listings have great Wifi, mine sure doesn't, but you need to make that known to guests in your listing.
Mentioning the possible cons of booking your listing, along with the positives, will dissuade guests who would complain about those things and leave poor reviews and ratings. You don't want to attract any and all guests, you want to attract those who are a good fit for what you offer.
And finally, your photos. I would redo all of them. The way you have taken them distorts the space, which is why you are getting so many mentions about the small rooms. I know it's hard to get a good photo of a small room, so don't try to fit it all in by taking the type of photos you have. Take a couple photos of each room from different angles, so the guests can get an accurate dea of the size and layout. Same for all your photos, really. And maybe try to get a shot of both the main house and the outbuilding, and use arrows and writing on the photo to make it clear how far it is from the main house, or include a site plan.
If you make these changes, I think you'll see your ratings go up. It isn't that you are doing anything wrong as a host, it's that you aren't describing things fully and clearly, so guest expectations aren't jiving with what they experience when they arrive.
And I'm not sure why you ask guests to wash the sheets for the next guests, but that's pretty odd. As a host, you need to be inspecting the linen and towels for stains or tears after guests leave, pre-treat stains, and make sure they are really clean for the next guests. That's not something to rely on your guests to do. And you've already had a legitimate comment about that- that she brought her own sheets because she wouldn't trust the previous guests to have washed them well. Which I wouldn't, either.
You've already received a lot of great advice.
On the topic of long-term stays in general, I used to host a lot of long-term guests, and this was my target guest group. Therefore I priced myself so that I am one of the more expensive places to stay short-term (making myself unattractive for short-term stays, in addition to the fact I have a 5 night minimum), but competitive as a place to stay long-term for more than a month with the long-term discount applied. I played around with the numbers a bit and decided with a 20% long-term discount and 7% weekly discount applied to the nightly rate I had at the time would work out for me, and I would occasionally tweak the nightly rates as needed to reflect different costs depending on the season. Summer and winters were priced higher due to AC and heating costs and I don't have weekend prices.
It took my a while to find my sweet spot and there were things I considered when determining how much is appropriate for a long-term stay. What is typical monthly rent incl. cost of utilities and internet. What are things provided in an Airbnb that are not included in a typical rental - furniture, sheets, towels, amenities. And I made sure that AFTER the monthly discount is applied, I am being paid sufficiently to compensate for everything I provide, which is significantly more than what someone would pay to rent the same listing under a 1-yr rental contract.
If you prefer short-term stays than long-term, simply limit the length of stay OR don't provide a monthly discount. For hosts that allow long-term bookings, many hosts choose to build in the cost of weekly/biweekly 2hr cleanings into the monthly rates (by not offering a long-term discount) as a way to keep an eye on the listing (make sure guests are respecting rules and the home) and prevent significant damage to the home in case a minor issue occurs that the guest does not inform you of. Also, even with regular cleaning, I've found that a *deep-clean* is always needed after a long-term stay, so personally I always block at least 3 days or up to 1 week after longterm stays so I can take my time to examine the guest spaces and make minor repairs/changes as needed. It's the host's responsibility to make sure the listing is clean and ready to welcome the next guests coming. You can ask people to take out the trash or wash dirty dishes before leaving, but you or your cleaner should check to make sure the trash bins are empty and everything is clean for the next guest to use.
IMO, in any situation 50% discount for long-term stays is ridiculous - even if your guests are nice and there were no problems. As a guest user, if I saw a place with a 50% discount for long-term stays I would think that either the host is extremely overcharging for short-term stays OR the host will be losing money on long-term stays but doesn't even realize it.