We are relatively new hosts (as of April 2019), and had our first unpleasant experience last week. I have found this forum to be immensely helpful, so wanted to pose this scenario/question to you as we move forward in hosting.
A woman booked a month-long stay with us for July, saying she is a med student, and was doing a rotation this summer at one of our local hospitals. When she initially contacted us, she asked if she could bring her cat with her (no), and asked in three different ways whether she would be held to the non-refundable cancellation policy. Being a little too "green," I assumed she meant the pre-paid non-refundable policy, NOT the long-term stay policy. We have a discounted rate for any stay 28+ days, and she pointed out that she couldn't arrive and check-in until day 27, but that a shorter stay would add $300 to her overall total. Again, not thinking about the LT stay policy, we realized that the additional charge for one less day was a bit ridiculous, and sent her a special offer for a 27-day stay at the (reduced) 28-day price. Her multiple questions about refunds raised a red flag, so I (in a roundabout way) asked her if she was planning on canceling, since her comments kept pointing to that being a distinct possibility. Of course, she said no. Lo and behold, she canceled last week, and received a full refund because she was outside our 5-day cancellation policy and also managed to skirt the LT stay policy. When I brought this to Airbnb's attention (particularly her angling to avoid the 28 day stay), their response was basically, "tough loss, guys." We have now lost a month's revenue, and have had to deeply discount to pick up any reservations.
My question to you (since the venting portion of my post is over...) is: What do other hosts do to protect themselves in these situations? Obviously we will never again allow a 27-day stay, but sheesh! Seems like there's not much else that can be done. We'd love any and all feedback! TIA
The best protection from making costly mistakes is to read about policies and experiences, @Erin_Kevin0 . You were duped into the situation you experienced probably because the guest was more informed. Costly lesson learned, but almost ALL hosts have "paid" for their hosting savvy by making mistakes.
I was fortunate to have found this discussion forum early in my hosting experience and early on made a commitment to read and at time respond to postings. There are some great discussions in the forum about long term hosting and tips for new hosts. Do the work of using the search function to find relevant to your learning curve.
I also took advantage of all the hosting videos and Help articles. You ask how to protect and in this case you were not informed but you also did not listen to your own concerns. Even new hosts can have good instincts about how another person is communicating. Trust that. Good luck and keep learning 😄
In such case let her book the 28 days, if she wants to take advantage of the monthly discount (also the Airbnb servicecosts precentage is significant lower for long term stays, so even more advantage). When she wants to leave on the 27th day, so be it !