Hi Airbnb Community!
In the two years that I've hosted with Airbnb, I've had my share of nightmare guests. When I started hosting, I had zero experience, and quickly learned that Airbnb has no real way of pre-verifying if a guest is going to be good or bad. Airbnb provides a Name, maybe Photo, maybe Verification, and maybe some reviews, but it's really not enough.
Now that I've had a little more than 80 reservations with +100 guests, I learned that there was a common thread linking all my bad guest experiences. These "red flags" had been present the whole or presented themselves quite early in the process. Some of these are obvious, but some are less so, but each one of them is a strict 100% dealbreaker, do not pass go do not collect $200. I'll decline and refer them to a local hotel or bed and breakfast. Because often enough, what they really want is a hotel but at airbnb prices.
Obvious Deal Breakers:
1. No Reviews
2. No Picture
3. No Verification
4. Bad Review(s)
Additional Deal Breakers:
5. Asks for a discount
6. Asks to for an early check in and/or late check out/hold luggage, etc
7. Asks to bring more than the maximum guests
8. It becomes clear they have not read the house rules
How have you guys selected guests in the past? Has it changed? Do you guys have any deal breakers that have really helped?
I am new to air b n b hosting and am going to have my first guests after Christmas. I have comfirmed their booking but am at a loss as to what I do next. When/how do I contact them again.? When do I give them my address and key box number? I would love help from someone.
Here's another one I got stung by several times when I was a new host - asking for a discount! Particularly if this request is their very first communication, which I find very rude.
I got fed up of falling for stories about how guests were students/newly-weds travelling on a really tight budget, and then watching them come back to my house laden with shopping bags from designer stores.
My rates are already a fraction of what local hotels charge, even budget chains, and I think what I offer is extremely good value. If someone can afford an air fare and to shop in expensive places while they're here, then they can certainly pay my regular rates.
Once I started saying 'no, sorry I don't offer discounts expect for long-term stays', I discovered that most guests just accept it and pay the full rate anyway. It seems some people just want something for nothing in all situations and simply have no shame in asking!
I've hosted hundreds of guests and have never had a "nightmare guest". I allow instant booking and I also accept all "first timers" who have no reviews (because we all have to start somewhere). I accomodate all early check-ins and late check-outs (if the room is not ready upon arrival I allow them to put their luggage in the living room, and if their flight leaves after check-out time I allow them to do the same thing). I've only gotten requests for a discount twice, and while I don't like the requests I did give a small discount in both cases and the guests were fine. I've never, ever had a problem with a first time Airbhb guest with no reviews. I wonder if the problem is your unaccommodating attitude?
Your filter is set at $100/night/room. That helps. Otherwise you're being a jerk to fellow hosts seeking advice-- does the word gentrification mean anything to a white guy in the Mission today?
Most guests won't read the whole listing. When we realized this, we started sending a message either at the inquiry or request that suggests that guests review the listing, check out time, house rules and location to make sure it's a good fit for their needs. This won't get everyone to read the listing either, but it's a good prompt, allows you to re enforce your check out/check in times, and then if people complain you can remind them that they told you they read it all:)
We find usually that people who ask a ton of strange questions....about parking, about the configuration of the house, the beds, etc. or if they make special requests...will usually be high maintenance guests who either won't leave a review or will leave a bad review. Our most recent example was a group that ask for separate twin top sheets and separate twin comforters to be put on the queen bed??? We accommodated them, and then of course, they claimed the bed sagged, which it doesn't, and gave us 4 stars, LOL. I was going to deny the reservation but because airbnb gets you both ways, for too many rejections and for low stars, we approved their reservation and of course, came to wish we had taken the hit on denying the request.
We are flexible on check in and check out times when the schedule permits, but some people will try to take advantage..checking in at 9am and then want to check out at 6pm...but we say no to those types.
@Jo Like @Michael, I have had no nightmare guests in the 2 1/2 years I have been hosting. I accept people without reviews. I accept people without a profile picture. I do require verification including a Government ID. I could care less if they ask for early check ins or late check outs, since I only have to say yes if it is possible.
As to the rest of your list: clearly a bad review could be troublesome, depending on the content of that review, but none of my guests have had one; sometimes I accomodate one extra person if it makes sense to me; and finally, I have no idea if they have read the house rules, ever, so mine are very simple and to the point. I have yet to have anyone break a house rule, so maybe they are reading them?
I also get questions about the room configurations, distances to this or that, and I am happy to respond to any and all questions. In fact, my last guest asked about the beds and wanted to know how many people I host at the same time 5 days before their arrival. Turns out, their good friend had just stayed at an AirBNB that was really a flop house with tons of strangers coming and going.
Though I understand your list is to help others, it doesn't synch with my experiences with hosting. They are not 100% dealbreakers for me.
As with Michael, you list rooms for close to $100/night in a gentrified former neighborhood of mine; this alone is a quite a bit of a filter, as is the crowd that will want to visit the area near Somerville, which make your experience likely quite different than many other hosts'.
Unfortunately for Jo, the target audience seeing rooms in Manhattan is far, far wider.
I truly don't understand this response or the conclusions that you have drawn.
Parts of Somerville have been gentrified certainly, but are you saying that the Columbus Park area of NYCity hasn't been? Jo charges $80 for an 8x10 room, while I charge about $100 for a 700 square foot set of three rooms.
The Boston area welcomes:
These are 2017 numbers. Many of my guests are here to visit Boston and choose to stay in Somerville since it is a bit less expensive. The rest are here because of the universities; the major ones are very close to my house.
The quality of response on this forum, and lack thereof, continues to amaze me.
$80/night for a room in NYC represents a low-price offering likely to attract problems; it's the bottom of the market.
$100/night in Somerville is a pricier offering.
Your "statistics" have no logical connection to the issue at hand, and are a waste of my (expert) time.
Well, I don't sell rooms at $100/night, and I agree with Susan - these factors do NOT add up to nightmare guests for me.
Your comments about gentrifying neighborhoods are very interesting, but not for the reasons you intended.
I suspect that renting a room or rooms is going to attract a different type of guest than those who want to rent an entire unit to themselves. It is much easier to keep an eye on people, to set the right tone and to teach by example on cleaning, etc. if you are right there in the unit.
We also rent to first time users with no reviews and have even on occasion rented to people with a negative review and have had good results. However, you two must be on the far end of the spectrum to have been hosting all this time and never once had any poor guests. Most of our guests are great to good, but we have definitely had bad guests who showed little to no respect for the house, who damaged items and did not tell us and who left the apartment extremely dirty or were extremely high maintenance but showed no gratitude for that 'extra mile.'