First time posting here, so I hope this is the right place to ask these questions. 🙂
I have been having issues lately with guests brining daytime visitors without letting me know. My house rules are fairly clear and state: "No visitors are allowed without prior confirmation for insurance and safety reasons". For extra guests that stay past 11pm, I even state that there will be an extra charge of CA$150/person/night.
I would always allow guests to bring visitors as long as it is in line with current covid restrictions and reasonable. In the case of Ontario, no cross-household gatherings are allowed at this time, so guests are in violation of the current law.
Question now is how I can more effectively prevent this from happening? I host a waterfront home so people are tempted to bring more family along. Would it be possible to state in the house rules that visitors that were not approved by the host are subject to CA$50/person/day? Is this something that I could claim against the security deposit or is such deposit only for physical damage to the property? Do you see a chances of claiming this after the stay without the deposit?
I already have cameras in place that cover the access to the property but people seem to believe that doorbell cameras only record when the bell is rang.
Any advice would be appreciated!
I did all of that and reminded them specifically of that particular rule a week before their arrival. It did not help. I feel that unless there is a monetary penalty attached to it, people just might say what the host wants to hear.
@Jan9567 No, you didn't do that, according to your post. You allow visitors with prior approval. I'm saying to have a hard and fast rule that no visitors are allowed at any time. And that ignoring this may lead to the rest of the booking being cancelled and everyone being evicted.
Sure, you could have a charge for visitors, but how are you going to ensure that they pay up?
Oh I see. You are right there is currently no hard rule in the house rules and it says that it requires prior approval, but I reminded them via message that because of the current Covid restrictions NO visitors are allowed and would be in violation with Ontario's covid laws.
If I were to add a charge for day visitors to the rules to which the guests have to agree on booking and I have evidence that there were additional visitors, would AirBnB not rule in my favor if I were to open a resolution case?
@Jan9567 Unfortunately, you can't rely on Airbnb to back you up. They might, but it's a crap shoot. If the guests refuse to pay, then you are in for a lengthy process with Airbnb.
The problem with allowing visitors is that guests will take advantage. You give permission for them to have another couple over for lunch, then it's " Oh, they decided to stay for dinner", then " Oh, well, we had a bit too much to drink, so it seemed best for them to spend the night."
And what if an unregistered visitor gets hurt on your property?
@Jan9567 BTW, your listing is lovely, and I can see why guests would want to have visitors over and you would think it a nice thing to offer with permission. But as I said, guests will tend to take a mile if you offer an inch. And these last guests you had obviously didn't care at all about your rules, Covid restrictions, or anything else but themselves.
Your photos are good, but close the toilet lid when you take bathroom photos- guys never seem to get that 🙂
@Jan9567 I second everything Sarah has told you. Unless you strictly forbid 'visitors' in no uncertain terms, guests will take advantage, and this issue will become a constant thorn in your side.
I've dealt with this, and my solution is explicit language in my house rules. Feel free to have a look at them. It's no longer an issue for me. Be aware that the majority of guests don't read your unique house rules, so you need to make sure they actually are.
Thanks Colleen! As I wrote, I mentioned in the messages explicitly that no visitors are allowed at this time as it is against the current covid restriction and it still did not matter, so either way house rules I violated (no approval and explicitly mentioned no visitors allowed).
I just feel like I have no recourse against someone violating house rules. Let's say I evict guests violating the rules as mentioned in the house rules, I'll probably end up with a retaliatory review and guests that ignore house rules probably know that hosts are afraid of this.
So going forward, how would I be able to take action against someone violating house rules without screwing my reviews?
@Jan9567 If you are going to run your hosting business in a manner that rests on the fear of a bad review, you will have no end of trouble.
It is Airbnb's intention that hosts are scared of bad reviews and therefore let guests get away with all kinds of outrageous behavior- it is a behavior modification tactic.
Forgetting about the reviews is very freeing and will empower you. I know of hosts who don't even read their reviews.
You can always leave a response to a bad review, and one bad review among a bunch of good ones is obviously an outlier to anyone reading it. Guests aren't all naive fools who believe everything they read.
Sometimes you have to weigh whether to take a guest to task for some minor breach, as it's not worth risking a bad review, but for major violations, you should act on them. A bad review is far preferable to having guests throw a party and trash the house, causing expensive damages.
@Jan9567 I think if you refine and simplify your language in your rules and listing to be clear no visitors period, (and consequences for defiance of that rule) rather than sending mixed messages re charging for visitors, you'll see a difference. As it is now, you send a subtle message to guests that they can possibly mess around with you. Send a stronger message that you won't be trifled with.
We just cannot be held hostage by fear of a retaliatory review. Set those thoughts aside and move forward, doing what you need to do. We have the option to respond to all reviews and call out bad guest behavior for what it is, and future guests can tell when one 'bad' review is clearly an outlier. There are also certain circumstances where a retaliatory review can be removed anyway, when house rules are broken. Show proof. See the reviews policy.
Thanks, really appreciate all the feedback!
I think a lot that is written is easier if you already have dozens of reviews. For someone with 10 reviews, a single 1 star review takes your rating from a 5.0 to a 4.6, which results in losing/not receiving Superhost status, so of course it is a consideration. The first thing that potential guests see in the search result is the rating. Many do not even read previous reviews or only once they seriously consider booking. This surely gets easier though the more reviews are gathered.
Violation of house rules alone is not grounds for review removal, only if it violates the events/party policy or does not meet their content standards.
What I will definitely do though is to rework my house rules and just flat out deny any visitors with no exceptions.
@Jan9567 Actually guests rarely pay attention to ratings, and do read reviews. The Superhost 'status' and associated ratings is only important to hosts, and Airbnb is very skilled at using all that hoohah to keep hosts in a state of fear over it all, as a manipulation tactic. It works to their great advantage.
It is easier to absorb a bad review when you have 50+ reviews, yes. But you still shouldn't live in fear. If a guest breaks your house rules and you call them on it, you may receive a retaliatory review, but more oftent than not, they will slip up and violate the review policy in the process. That opens the door for you to press to have the review removed.
On Airbnb, prevention is the name of the game. Rework your listing/rules a bit. That's a great place to start.
@Jan9567 For sure, it's logical that one bad review among 10 would lower your rating, but it's not necessarily true that hosts with lots of reviews are at an advantage in this respect. They get more guests, so there is more potential for both good and bad reviews. If they get 10 low ratings out of 100 guests, that's the same percentage as your 1 out of 10.
The thing is, you started hosting at a time when hosts are experiencing the worst guests they have had in years. Peruse a few pages if threads here and you'll see what I mean. At the same time, Airbnb's host support has become a dismal affair.
It seems the pandemic has bred a contingent of new guests who are entitled and demanding and breaking rules. Whereas a couple years ago, hosts might get 1 bad guest in 75, now they are getting far more, and having to decline lots of inappropriate booking requests.
Superhost is just part of Airbnb's behavior modification tactics. Don't get hung up about it. Hosts who have been Superhosts, lost that status, regained it later, lost it again, say it didn't make any difference to their bookings.
Keep in mind your main reasons for deciding to host. I'll bet it wasn't to get 5* reviews to bolster your self esteem. For most of us it was to earn either some extra income, or to be a major source of income, because we are suited to that sort of occupation, to get good guests who will appreciate what we provide. It's about getting bookings and providing good hospitality. Reviews and ratings are just an unavoidable side effect of this business, like having to wash blood stains out of sheets and pull guests' hair out of the shower drains, not that important in the grand scheme of things.