So, I cancelled a booking yesterday, and it was because I felt uneasy about the host due to a lack of communication, in my opinion. What really made me feel uneasy was that when I sent the booking request, the host only responded by accepting the booking, no other communication and no answer to what I inquired about in my message to him. I sent him another message a day or so later asking him for clarification on surveillance on the property which he eventually responded to and only answered with something like "there are cameras covering the outside areas" or something to that effect. Anyway, to me, it doesn't seem very warm, welcoming, inviting, or trustworthy. So my wife and I decided to cancel.
Fast forward... I booked another listing for that night and the same thing happened. The host only accepted the booking request. No message.
I know I'm new to Airbnb and have only had one real experience with the way things work but the other host we booked with for the other dates in town responded with a message. The host I booked with for our honeymoon responded with a message. My question for you is this... Is it common for hosts to only respond to booking requests with an acceptance and no message to the guest. It just seems odd to me. You can't be too careful these days.
@Kyle448I'd say in and of itself, it's not a danger sign. I've stayed with hosts who send thanks for booking messages and those who don't, and I've never had a bad experience. That being said, I do send them myself, because I think it's just common courtesy.
I would look more at the host's overall track record. Do they have good reviews? Do they have many reviews? If the answer is yes, I would worry less. If this is a newer host, I might be getting concerned.
If you've asked specific questions and they're still not getting back to you, I would see that as more of a red flag also, but not everyone hosts all the time or always has access to the internet. Maybe they're travelling. I was on vacation a few weeks ago, and due to some personal stuff that happened, I wasn't as responsive as usual. Also, if your reservation isn't imminent, the host may not see your question as being pressing or in need of an immediate response.
If they seem to be good hosts and they're not responding and you need a response, I would consider reaching out for help from Airbnb before cancelling. Cancelling costs you money and you may be missing out on staying somewhere great.
@Kyle448 I agree with you! Tho' as a host I have the same problem with guests just booking, no message or just ' staying 2 nights' or 'see you Thurs'. Then I think 'Can I trust them?'
Personally, as a host, I always answer all questions, & write a cordial welcome. I think that's the polite thing to do! I host in my own home...... Maybe hosts who rent out separate units where they do not live themselves are more impersonal??? Or might they be more business orientated, so know it's professional to communicate?
I've hosted so many with bad communication lately... But today I got 2 bookings from old school Airbnbers with good, informative cordial messaging; a lady with 35 reviews, and an older couple, - only 1 review, but old fashioned manners! What a relief!
- I think as Airbnb has gone so mainstream, become like any other booking platform, & moved away from it's original form, then there has arisen a new breed of both hosts and guests who don't see the need to communicate...... or perhaps it's just the new way of the world?
I agree with you. I’m finding more guests who don’t respond to questions. And it’s important to me as I leave breakfast items and I like to know their arrival time so I can greet them. I find better behaviour from guests and better reviews if I’ve met them personally. It’s very frustrating and I wish AIRBNB would force guests to have email or text notifications. Some say, oh I didn’t know there was a message or they message me back when they are finally close to arriving and looking for directions. Well, I’m not going out now to get your breakfast request!!
I agree with you as well. It is not warm or welcoming but unfortunately, a lot of hosts operate this way. I have stayed with a few. It is not a red flag for a bad stay, these hosts just aren't true Superhosts in my opinion.
@Kyle448 Is there a difference in the type of listings you are getting poor communication from and the one you got a nice message from? Many listings are now "hosted" by property managers with scores, if not hundreds of listings. They may tend to send "saved " messages which they just send out to all, not bothering to answer specific questions. Small-time hosts, with only one or a few listings, will tend to be much more personable, answer messages quickly, and attend to whatever questions or clarification you may need answered. Also, if you look at the reviews, and then click on the guest's profile photo who gave the review, that will take you to the guest's profile page, where you can see (I think- I'm not sure if guests can do this) if the host left a review for the guest. If you see that the host leaves reviews for their guests which consistently say bland things like "Nice guest", rather than something a bit more personal, chances are the host is a property management company which may never even meet the guests and from whom you may not receive much personal interaction.
@Kyle448 I am a host but also just stayed as a guest this past weekend. My host barely registered that I was there. We often travel with our dog who has to be given meds twice a day. It is very difficult to find a reliable sitter and the kennels we have tried stress him to the point of not being worth doing. I have read MANY hosts on here who are very adamant that they do NOT NOT NOT ever want any pets of any kind so I always double-check even if the listing states its pet-friendly. This host took several days to get back to me to confirm that it was okay. They did not respond when I sent my "hey we are checked in and the place is great!" message, nor did they send me any kind of check-in instructions or welcome message other than an automated reply when booking telling me where to find the keys. My husband calls this "ghost host syndrome." I have a reservation for July that is with a newer host that also seems to suffer from this.
But on some level I totally get it. If you are busy and have guests contacting you all the time it can be overwhelming and exhausting. There is a term in psych called "emotional labor" which basically amounts to what anyone does when giving good customer service-- smiling, being polite and friendly, pretending not to notice when someone is unreasonable or demanding, keeping your cool with people who are crazily entitled. Some hosts just don't put in the "emotional labor" because they just want a turn-key operation that makes money. We don't get paid MORE if we get five stars. So in some ways it makes very pragmatic sense to do as little interacting as possible.
But yeah, like you, I expect a little more jolly from my hosts. And as a host, I give quite a bit.
@Kyle448 I'm with you. You might not know this, but hosts have the option to save certain messages so they don't have to write out the same information over and over again. It's pretty lame that they're unable to click on "saved messages," choose one, and send it. It takes less than a minute. And the guest had to spend a lot more time than that combing through listings, choosing one, and handing over some money.
I wouldn't immediately say it is a red flag, but I do feel the same about it. As a (co-)host we have automated messages for multiple things (booking confirmation/check-in instructions, etc.), just to make it easier on ourselves (with over 20 listings and people making bookings 24/7, it'd be hard to get back to everyone on time without them. (Although, more and more lately people seem really upset by this!)
I recently made my first booking through Airbnb and the host wasn't very responsive either. A week out of my booking he sends me a message that he doesn't want to host through Airbnb anymore and if I can please cancel and there will be no financial loss.. He clearly had not noticed I'm a host as well and clearly know there is most definitely a "financial loss" (Airbnb fees) when I cancel. He cancelled on me in the end.
I guess not all hosts will be sending you a message every other day, but if clear questions go unanswered, I'd think twice about staying there.
I'm always trying to send short messages to guests. Confirming the reservation, short welcome message and 5-7 days before the booking-the check-in instructions.
It's hard to say whether it's a deal breaker. Look for other clues, like whether they manage multiple places or just one and whether they live there. As a host I get frustrated with guests who seem to want a "ghost host" they want to stay in your house without ever having to trouble themselves with actually interacting with you or demonstrate their social skills. So, I'm glad to hear there are guests out there who understand communication is important that hearing from the host is appreciated.
@Susan10 yes I think its especially important if you stay with someone in their home to at least be pleasant and chit chat a bit unless that person said "I sleep all day and don't want to notice you are there." I am an introvert by nature so I feel particularly awkward in a home hosting situation unless I have a good rapport built from the get-go. Both hosts and guests get rated on communication, so I struggle with what to say, if anything about "ghost hosts." As a fellow host you already have the reputation of being "difficult" and leaving low ratings so I don't want to feed into that perception. But communication in these situations are really lacking.