How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
Brookline, MA
Level 3
1,756 Views

Hi all 

First time posting.  I'm a super host and have been hosting for over 12 years - long before Airbnb - I typically host 1-3 month stays.

For various & necessary  reasons, my listing is pretty strict and I have  a lot of rules. These are all posted clearly on my listing and I do not utilize instabook (We are not for everybody- but have a great rapport with the  vast majority of our guests who choose our home after reading the listing carefully). 

I recently had a guest start to be beligerent and unaware of the particulars  of my listing - after he reserved a 21 day reservation- ( I do believe it is the guests' responsibility to read the listing).  I told him I thought it may be best for both of us if he made other reservations - at which point he called me from oversees and proved himself even more beligerent and entitled. I hung up and called Airbnb - it was still days away from his arrival date - I said I would  like to cancel the  reservation -   Airbnb stated I would be penalized if  I canceled - I had to wait until  his arrival  and if he broke the rules (that he was clearly not hearing or agreeing to), then I could ask him to leave without penalty.  Not a very comfortable situation and I was disappointed with Airbnb's response.

I won't go into the drama, but he has broken quite a few  of the rules - starting with trying to arrive hours before check in time and  his room being ready,  having additional guests in our home, and  trespassing on neighbors' property, which  I review carefully with each guest multiple times - he just does not  "agree" with it.  I have communicated with him via Airbnb platform to create  a "paper trail" of some of these issues. He is so awful my other guest - who had an open ended reservation - (not through Airbnb) decided to leave.  He has another  week  left in his reservation.  He is already questioning his check out time & procedure and looking   for all kinds of exceptions (which is his MO). I believe he has already broken enough rules to warrent canceling his reservation ( I have not listed all of his  transgressions here ).

 

I did not ask him to leave  last week as

#1  -  it is really uncomfortable and I have never had to do this in 12 years - I spoke with him a few times and tried to give him multiple  chances - I strive to make it work with all my guests. 

#2   - my  partner  happened to be out of town and I was not sure it was wise to inititiate without more back up - 

#3  - once I tell him he needs to leave - I feel it needs to happen right away  - as he is ikely to be quite mad - he does not respond to requests, explanations or communication - he seems quite "off".

#4  - I am also concerned that if he makes a big fuss and either he or I call the police - it will be problematic going forward as my town   is already trying to ban AIrbnb - there are a lot of social media conversations already (that don't include me). If it makes it in to the police blotter - it could have long term repercussions for my ongoing business ......

 

I am so annoyed that this one person could dismantle everything I have worked for over a 12 year period......  including the Airbnb "penalties" and review that may also be a consequence...

 

On the day he is due to check out - I have to go out of town - he is continually asking for exceptions and stating he has other needs. I clearly gave him 2 options for checking out by 10 AM - both offers include our assisiting him (which we often do) but they have clear boundaries. His response is  "I will see" ,  " I have to think about it"  - he refuses to understand there are no other options. He must check out by 10 AM on the  day his reservation ends. I can't go out of town with this guy refusing to leave - and I can't  be delayed by his actions that morning. It is the final straw for me. I want him to leave this weekend.

 

This situation has never come up for me.....   

I could use some advice....    I feel once I tell him he has to leave,. he should leave very soon, as he  may become more problematic. 

But it also seems harsh not to give him some time to find a place to go - have any of you expeienced   this before ?

I was thinking perhaps this weekend - as it would interfere less with his work schedule (all my guests come here for work, not leisure).

What help  can  I expect to receive from Airbnb ?

Any general advice for moving forward ? 

I want to do the least amount of harm for all involved - but I have to get in front of this before  he creates even more problems....

 

Thank so much for reading - I look forward to hearing any experiences and/or suggestions. 

Best,

Maureen 

 

 

 

25 Replies

Re: How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Level 10

@Maureen176 

I think things must be very strict from now on:

Tell the guest he has to respect all houserules and leave on time on the day of check-out, without any exception, otherwise he has to leave in the weekend   If the guest does not want to cooperate on this, call Airbnb and ask for relocation of the guest before the weekend (or cancellation of the reservation).

BTW inststead of cancellation you can also change (shorten) the reservation and amend the price for a refund of unused nights (as you have strict cancellation policy). If the guest accepts, there are no cancellation penalties for you.

Best regards,

Emiel

Re: How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
Brookline, MA
Level 3

@Emiel1  Thank you so much for your response -very helpful !

I have already tried the first solution - he is proving uncooperative - Even tried my partner - as maybe a communication style - my partner found the same issue .

We have spoken about departure 3 times - and he has yet to agree - very strange.

But love the idea of asking AIrbnb to "relocate" him and also to change/shorten his reservation rather than cancel - exactly the kind of suggestion I needed !

 I am happy to refund him the unused nights - he has to pay to stay somewhere  - I'm not looking to make anything off of him (even though it is lost revenue for me) .  I told AIrbnb I would refund his money when I tried to cancel before his arrival  - to no avail - at this point, I am  just trying to mitigate damage.

Thanks Again.

Re: How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
Brookline, MA
Level 3

When 'I say "we have talked about  departure 3 times" in the comment above - 

I mean  he keeps bringhig up his chekout date - not that we discuss me asking him   to leave earlier  than scheduled.  

Re: How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
Princeton, NJ
Level 10

Do you have a paper trail in the Airbnb messages of him “not agreeing” with your rules? If so, I don’t understand why you were not able to cancel without penalty, especially if you were willing to refund him.

 

If I were you I’d stop trying to talk to him on the phone or in person and keep everything on the app. Keep bugging Air, and if the first person you talk to doesn’t seem to have clue, ask to speak with someone from second tier support or a manager.

Re: How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
Brookline, MA
Level 3

@Julie143  Thanks for your response - very helpful . Yes, the conversation before he arrived is on the Airbnb platform - and I asked to speak with a supervisor - spoke wth 2 people  before he arrived - to no avail.  It was disappointing, as I felt  I had to choose between my Superhost status and feeling secure about a certain guest in my home. I was very surprised Airbnb was not more responsive  to the situation.......This guest often initiates conversations with me in person  (he always has special needs/requests)- he is in my primary residence - separate quarters - but  hard to avoid  all in person  convos -  (I usually  consider  in person convos a  good thing with my guests ). But just now, I sent him a message on Airbnb "recapping" our conversation - as I have done a few times- so yes - there is a paper trail - he gets very annoyed by that - and is rude in his messages back to me.  But I am not 100% confident Airbnb is going to be responsive - I'm begining to  think their  bar is pretty low regarding what constitutes a good guest.....  

Re: How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
NY, NY
Level 10

@Maureen176 I just want to say that I'm so angry at this rude, arrogant, entitled, narcissistic, toxic person on your behalf I could just - well, I don't want to say what I could just do.  I just want to say you have a lot of sympathy from me and I'm sure from others.

 

In your first bullet point and in the first line of @Emiel1's answer lie the problem and the solution.  I think you can do this and I know you'll feel better once you get this blood-sucker out of your life.

Re: How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
Brookline, MA
Level 3

@Ann72  Thank you - you nailed it - 

I am usually good at sniffing  these  types out - I say no to plenty of inquries - but this one slipped through - 

 

Re: How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
NY, NY
Level 10

@Maureen176 Thank you - good luck and let us know how it goes.

Re: How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
Germany
Level 10

.

Hi @Maureen176 ,

 

I'm afraid You've srewed it up.

 

You're on booking inquiry, not on IB. So a guest sends in an inquiry and You accept.

 

After You've accepted You find out, that Your guest starts to be“ beligerent and unaware of the particulars of my listing“. How did that happen? Did You make him aware of the importace of Your houserules after You've confirmed his booking and not before?

 

After this, Your guest calls You from overseas, You ran into an argument with him and You hung up on him.

 

Days before check in You call airbnb, ask them to cancel the reservation but they refuse.

 

Now You were in this uncomfortable situation:

 

  1. To cancel the booking from Your side and loose Superhost, the advantage being though, this guest cannot leave a review

  2. Execute the reservation hoping everything will turn out ok and the guest will write a nice review and leave You a 5* rating.

 

What made You believe that this guest will be nicer on site than he was on the telephone?

 

What You now have is, this guest will leave You a terrible review, Your most recent review wasn't very good already, and he will rate You 1*. And as a consequence of this You may also loose Your Superhost as You might not make it over the 4,8* requirement anymore.

 

Plus You have a horrible time getting this person check out in time, on a day You are big time occupied.

 

I am sorry, but You did not handle this well.

 

Re: How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
New York, NY
Level 10

@Maureen176  @Ute42  Generally agree, not well handled...

But i'm not sure if you can be penalized if you / Airbnb needs to cancel after check in,

because of violation of house rules.

Also you can cancel an inquiry before arrival IF they are plan to break the house rules

(and you can prove it)

(dump) Example:
You accepted an inquiry (no smoking listing)

And than later on, they would tell you that there would be no way they would NOT SMOKE inside.

 

If a guest is in violation of house rules, you can cancel.

In any case you should be able to prove your case, CALL CS

and let the casemanager cancel your guest.

Re: How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
Brookline, MA
Level 3

@Giedre-and-Andre0  thanks for your input.  

Re: How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
Brookline, MA
Level 3

@Ute42 - Well, thanks for your frankness..... 

I think you have quite a few misunderstandings  of  the situation.....

 

* I do not allow  instabook because I filter my guests, I only let professionals coming   for work stay with me. I do not ever accept vacationers ... that invites a whole set of issues that are not a good fit for my property or neighborhood  ( I do like vacation, however).  I also specialize in longer stays - 1-3 months - so I cannot   allow for 3 day stints. I live in Boston  - I would get a  ton of   bad matches if I allowed  instabook. I basicaly rent to MDs & PHDs as I am close to a major medical area...... 

 

* Yes I approved him after a too brief conversation due to late night/ time differences - and my lapse - However, it is still the guest's responsibility to read the listing and by making the reservation - they are agreeing to  the content of the listing and the stated house rules. 

 

* I never said I argued with him and I did NOT hang up ON  him. I can see my language could be misunderstod the way I wrote  it - I meant upon hanging up I called AIrbnb straight away - I would not hang  up on  someone -  and  if the situation were so bad to neccessitate that - I would have canceled right away - this was more subtle. 

 

* All of this hapened in quick succession - his request, my approval  his call, my call to Airbnb - all happened in somethig like 24 hours or less.  I did not wait around and then decide to cancel a  few days before his arrival.....you are putting  your own spin on this...... 

 

* What made me believe he MAY be different  in person than he was in writing  or on the phone is

- he is a research PHD - sometimes they are socially awkward

-  English  is his second language sometimes that causes misunderstandings at first 

- He is from a very different part  of the word - cultural differences exist - sometimes there is a learning curve for people  coming  to the States for the first time. 

- His problematic behavior  was  at first subtle,  not blatant - I could not be sure  of his intentions -  Typically,  if people  have read my  listing carefully,  they arrive -   we talk in person - we come to  a good understanding.  

Even if there are cultural differences,  when each of us has good  intentions  we make it work  on both ends.  I have a very high success rate with this kind of guest.  

Unfortunately, his behavior did become more blatant upon arrival .....  but not so outrageous as to send him packing the moment  he arrived - AIrbnb advised he had to actually break the rules before I  could   cancel - and he could not break the rules until  he moved in - then - unfortunately, my  husband was out of town - for most of the first 2 weeks - and I was really unsure about the possibility  of this guy getting  hostile when no one else was around. ...

 

* Now, I am prompted to cancel or shorten his stay as he has made clear he is not going to cooperate wth my checkout policy - causing further problems......  he has broken a lot of rules - and yes, I do not   think he should be allowed to leave a review - 

 

* Yes,  you are correct my last guest was also not great - I think my worst review ever - I broke with my usual rules and allowed a different kind of guest - she was working - but in a different  industry - she was a SMOKER despite my very  clear rule that not only can you not smoke here- you can't   be a smoker - there is no place any where near my property that is appropriate for smoking. She broke a fundmental  rule - so each night -  very late  - she was creeping down the stairs of our very quiet house in our very quiet neighborhood to go have a smoke and  not get noticed  (ha) - in addition to getting late night food dleiveries every night - we are a very high end, residential, quiet neighborhood - she said  in her review she felt like she was sneaking around because  she WAS sneaking around - she was only staying a week - so I let it pass - and I did not OUT her as a smoker and rule breaker in my review of her - I wasn't  sure  what to do there - but I try not to be a jerk - I just  privately   told  her she should respect people's house rules and you can't hide smoking.......... 

- Why did I break with my usual formula and let this women stay with me for a week ? Because Airbnb has flooded the market with a gazillion listings (many not appropriate  - with no real person on site - or even in state)  and supply is WAY UP - thanks AIrbnb - but that is a different conversation - 

- Lesson learned - I am not lowering my standards any more 

 

I guess I am feeilng pretty cranky with my current guest, the last short one, and Aribnb's lack of support   thus far - we will see how it goes tomorrow  when I call them. 

It may be my current crankiness but your response did not seem to be along the lines of productive advice on how to proceed - starting with "You screwed up" and ending with "You did not handle this well".   Thanks for all that wisdom UTE,  you are  a real peach 🙂 .

Re: How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
Brookline, MA
Level 3

@Ute0 you have 5 reviews as a host - but you have created nearly 2.400, conversations in the community.  

Re: How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

in
Germany
Level 10

.

@Maureen176

 

That's right. I have 5 reviews and created 2400 posts.

 

I've been hosting for more than 15 years through all kinds of distibution channels: HomeAway, some local german rental sites, google adwords - You name it. I have the best performing vacation rental out of 700 in my area, guests hosted so far: 4000 (my house sleeps 10). A year ago I decided to start doing business through airbnb, but soon I reevaluated this idea.

 

Why?

 

Well, read the stories here on these forums and read Your own story. Here on airbnb I have to call up a 22 year old Customer Service Rep to beg her or him to cancel a booking. That's not the way I do business. I decide if a booking gets cancelled and I don't need anybodies advise on that.

 

 

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