I'm a pretty new host, so I may be a bit strict on house rules. I had a guest who was trying to have a party with 10 guests over in a 1 bedroom condo. When I saw this, I messaged her on Airbnb app to ask her guests to leave since her phone was blocked. She also had extra guests staying over than the 2 she booked. After the stay, I requested additional money for the vomit in the bathroom, extra guests, and breaking house rules. She gave me a 1 star review. How do you all deal with guests like this? How do you prevent this from happening in the future?
She has no reviews and said that she was visiting friends and family in the area.
I started 1 month ago and have all 5 star reviews except for this one. Now Airbnb is sending emails about my listing being at risk. What should I do?
Thanks so much!
@Yiwei3 There is nothing you can do to prevent a 1-star review. If the text of the review violates Airbnb's content policy, you can request that it be removed, but they have no provisions for objecting to a review on the basis of the star rating alone. Your recourse is to write a public response, and a reciprocal review, which it appears that you've done - and quite well.
My suggestion to Airbnb has long been that they allow text reviews for all stays, but disable the star ratings under circumstances involving disputes such as rule violations and damage claims. If you search the word "retaliatory" in these forums you'll see hundreds of threads from hosts with similar issues, and such a policy might have made a difference in most of those cases. Unfortunately, given that Airbnb is currently overwhelmed by the Covid-19 crisis, they won't be dealing with stuff like this anytime soon.
Looking ahead to whenever tourism resumes in your area, the best way you can avoid these situations in the future is to take proactive measures to prevent parties and extra guests from happening in the first place, such as external cams, and disclose them clearly in the listing to deter party-planners. Leaving off Instant Book, and screening booking requests can also be an effective filter. The minute you've lost control over the property, your options are all bad ones.
@Lola41 Then you are one of the few hosts who have managed to have a review like this removed. Hosts normally get told that the review stands as long as it doesn't break any of their review policies. Lying and retaliation reviews apparently are allowed and don't contravene policy.
@Andrew0 thanks for your response and advice! I agree with you that taking out star review for disputes would be good. What do you recommend I do to prevent this in the future? I already have a Ring doorbell, which is how I caught this one because the guests kept pressing the doorbell. Do I list consequences if they don't follow house rules? How do I enforce my house rules and would Airbnb back me up?
@Yiwei3 I agree with Sarah's suggestions below - you can eliminate the overwhelming majority of parties just by having a 3 night minimum stay.
As far as consequences go, there's not much you can do about rule violations after the booking is over. Airbnb will not back you up if you try to impose penalties or fines, and there's no guarantee that they will back you up on retroactively adding extra guest fees if thw guest denies them. So you need to be able to deal with this stuff without Airbnb's help. The one recourse you always have is to terminate the booking and remove the unruly guests from your property.
@Andrew0 If I terminate the reservation, I may still get a bad review? I should have terminated the last one, but I was trying to be nice and let just her stay. Next time, I will make sure to end it and put it in my house rules.
@Yiwei3 Yes, a booking becomes eligible for review as soon as the check-in date begins - even if the guest cancels or doesn't show up on the arrival date. They're only prevented from reviewing you if they cancel prior to that date.
But please, don't let yourself be controlled by fear of a bad review. It's your home, you're the boss, and if one listing service isn't giving you the results you hoped for you are free to take your business to another. I do think it's still possible, though, for Airbnb to work well for you. The most important test is the correspondence prior to accepting a booking. It's easy enough to lie about plans and party size, but convincingly feigning grace and decency is a skill very few of the a-holes out there possess.
@Yiwei3 There's nothing "too strict" about expecting a guest to be honest about their intentions or enforcing guest count- there's nothing you've done wrong on that front. Other suggestions building on what Andrew said, is to not take one night bookings, as those are the most likely to be the "party" bookings. You can also adjust your setting to require up to 3 days advance notice for bookings, so you don't get any last-minute "Hey, I know, let's book an Airbnb for a party tomorrow night" guests.
If you don't already, make it very clear in your listing info that any guests not accounted for on the reservation will not be allowed on the premises, and if more people are found to be there, it will lead to the entire reservation being cancelled then and there. Repeat this in a message to guests when they book.
You might also consider not having self-check-in, if your schedule would permit you to meet and greet on arrival. You can get a sense of whether they are likely to need some watchful vigilance on your part, or it's just some quiet middle-aged couple on holiday.
Be aware that these scammers who lie about hosting a party tend to look for new listings, assuming, usually rightly, that the host is inexperienced and they'll be able to bamboozle them. As you build up more reviews, up your price a bit, and get established, you'll be less targeted for this type of activity.
And ask a friend or family member who looks like someone not to be messed with, if they would be on call to attend the house with you if ever have to confront this kind of scene again, so you're not on your own. I have a friend people call on like that- he looks like some bada** straight out of The Godfather, even though he's really sweet and non-violent. But you wouldn't know that to look at him.
@Yiwei3 Yes, there's apparently all kinds of blogs and such where people tell each other how to scam a free Airbnb stay, what sort of nonsense to tell a host to hide the fact that you're intending to throw a rager party, etc. Makes things hard for hosts. And if guests get bad reviews, I hear they often just delete their profile and set up a fresh new one. Not sure how they do that if they have to submit govt. ID, but I know it happens.
One reason I suggested setting a 3 day advance notice is that it buys you time to dialogue with guests to try to get a sense of what what they are telling you is true- if you get some spidey sense that they're not being honest, you then have time to contact Airbnb to cancel the reservation based on feeling some red flags and being uncomfortable, or impressing on the guests that you keep a close eye on things and won't tolerate extra guests, etc. But even experienced hosts have been caught out by clever guests lying about their intentions.
Advance notice and not accepting one-nighters doesn't work for a lot of hosts whose bread and butter is last minute bookings because they live near an airport or something (delayed or postponed flights, etc), but if you don't think it would hurt your business, it's a good idea. Better to have a few less bookings and no issues than a full calendar and a bunch of headaches, IMO.
@Sarah977 I have 1 day in advance right now with requests for same day because I have had gotten some really valid last minute bookings before. I think now, the quality of the guests are not the same. For this listing, I removed it and did more nights minimum now. Would I get penalized for asking Airbnb to cancel based on being uncomfortable etc? I need I need to used to declining more.
@Yiwei3 Well, if the reservations are IB bookings, then I know you have 3 penalty-free "I'm uncomfortable" cancellations- after that, you'd have to convince Airbnb that you have a valid reason for cancelling. If they are Booking Requests, always try to have a message exchange with guests before clicking on "accept" or "decline". Since we have 24 hours before we have to do that, use that time to check their profile, look at their reviews, ask them any questions you might have. If what they are asking for isn't suitable to your listing, or you don't like their tone, or anything else like that, messaging something like " Hi XX- I'm sorry, but I don't think my place is a good fit for your needs. Please kindly withdraw your request, so you can look for a more suitable listing." If they don't withdraw it, then yes, you'd have to click decline before the clock runs out. But declining should be your last resort, if possible, because it affects your acceptance rate, and Airbnb will start sending you warning messages if you decline too much.