Friday night a guest messaged to say that she would not arrive for her 4pm check in and said she would arrive after 7pm. I told her it was fine as we have automated check in. Just before midnight she messaged “hey I’m not going to make it tonight but will tomorrow morning. Is there a way to rearrange so that I’m not charged for missing tonight.” I was asleep when she messaged but woke up to it and responded at 5 am that I had never had it happen before- stated the 24 cancellation policy and indicated that I might be willing to add an extra day in exchange since she mentioned she was interested in staying an extra night and because she said the word rearrange in her refund request. She didn’t directly answer about wanting to exchange the night but instead responded saying she was at a gas station with a flat tire..... this seemed kinda fishy- she told me at midnight she couldn’t make it and now at 5am she’s stuck at a gas station with a flat tire when she lives 3 hours away.....
Anyway I honestly didn’t want to offer the additional night free BUT we are pretty new hosts and are really trying to become super hosts! We have hosted 9 guests and have only received 5 stars. We only rent the Airbnb on the weekends and are able to book every single weekend with no issues. We could have likely gotten another guest booking a 2 or 3 night stay but now have a guest who missed a night is asking for a refund and I feel the need to offer another night for free in order to get a good review or at least not a bad one. For some reason I feel like she might leave a bad review no matter what if I don’t refund her and I’m not even sure she wants to stay another night. Does Airbnb help at all in these situations? Can anything be done or am I held hostage by the potential for a review? Help!
@Aurielle-and-Dave0 "For some reason I feel like she might leave a bad review no matter what"
Your instincts are strong, and correct. The type of guest who does this it exactly the type who will leave a bad review no matter what. Stick to your guns on this one. There is no point in taking the short end of the stick here. You don't owe the guest a refund or an extra night. A scrupulous guest would have just accepted that they were on the hook for the missed night, and not even mentioned a refund.
You become a 'superhost' by offering the most accurate, clean, comfortable, and amazing stay you can. By being attentive to normal guest needs, not by giving in to every whim and notion of a sketchy guest.
Going forward, focus on honing your guest vetting skills, and learn to sniff out the sketchy ones, so you can decline them and wait for a better guest to come along. I am certain that there were very likely some red flags that this booking threw up before you accepted it.
@Aurielle-and-Dave0 The advice from @Colleen253 is right on the mark. Your "hostage" status is of your own making. In every host's experience there will be revenge reviews and being focussed on the Super Host button is not a good long term strategy in this business. On another note, when you are stuck with a difficult guest, you can channel your inner Martha Stuart and be the most charming host this person has ever met, without giving an inch about refunds.
@Linda108 "....when you are stuck with a difficult guest, you can channel your inner Martha Stuart and be the most charming host this person has ever met, without giving an inch about refunds."
That does work! I call it 'snake charming', and have ended up with great reviews from difficult guests I was sure were going to lose me Superhost/slam me in the review somehow.
You just have to cut to the chase:
1. they're going to leave a bad review. You can't change that. You may be pleasantly surprised, but don't count on it.
2. Given item 1 above, why lose money? Just be professional and, stand your ground. At least you don't add injury to insult 😉
...and also related to "pleasantly surprised", sometimes being professional and standing your ground actually makes them respect you.
@Elaine701 Hear hear to all of that but especially notable is “and also related to "pleasantly surprised", sometimes being professional and standing your ground actually makes them respect you.”
That’s a golden nugget of wisdom all hosts should keep in mind then dealing with these situations.
Those types are so used to intimidating others to get their own way, that they tend to take a step back and respect those who stand up for themselves and make it clear they aren't cowed by the demands.
Whereas they have no respect for those who they can intimidate and no appreciation for someone bending their rules or trying to accommodate them.
@Aurielle-and-Dave0 "Can anything be done or am I held hostage by the potential for a review?"
Being held hostage over the potential for a bad review isn't an objective situation- it's purely subjective- your own attitude.
Hosts who run their business with this attitude end up feeling like doormats, running around trying to please entitled, demanding guests, or losing money by refunding guests in contravention of their own cancellation policy. And it doesn't work- those kinds of guests tend to leave bad reviews anyway.
Just keep a polite, but firm and professional stance with those kinds of guests and try not to concern yourself with the review. There's really nothing you can do to stop a guest from leaving a bad review if that's what they are determined to do just because their every demand wasn't catered to.
There are hosts who fret about every review until they see it published, are super upset if it's not a glowing 5* review, and hosts who don't put any energy into worrying about reviews. If they get an unfair one, they just leave a response that makes any misrepresentations or lies clear to future guests and move on. Guess which ones find hosting less stressful?
so, your guest wrote “hey I’m not going to make it tonight but will tomorrow morning. Is there a way to rearrange so that I’m not charged for missing tonight.”
I don't see anything threatening or entitled in her question. She asks - you just say "no, I am sorry you couldn't make it on time, but the room was prepared and is waiting for you. Our check-in time is from X:00 PM so if you check in tomorrow morning it is still counted as tonight. "
I agree @Branka-and-Silvia0
Generally speaking, I think these things seem like big deals because we hosts make them big deals. What if someone got up halfway through their dinner at a restaurant and said, "I don't have time to finish this, are you going to charge me for it?" The manager would say politely, "yes of course but I will grab you a take-out box right away." It is what it is.