The number of times we're walking into units with horrible cigarette or marijuana smoke odor has skyrocketed the past few months. It's incredibly stressful and costly and we're having trouble proving it to Airbnb for resolution center claims. We write it in the listings very explicitly, state there's a $1000 fee, specifically remind the guest before checking in, etc. but it's just being ignored. Most guests have longer stays these days as well, so sometimes they're smoking inside for a week or more and it just gets in everything. It's getting crazy expensive to get the smell out--we have to professionally clean the carpets, upholstery, take down the curtains and dry clean them, often buy new linens, rent an industrial air scrubber, and even with all this it can take up to 5 days with windows open to get the smell out. We had to refund a guest for a month stay (around $15k) because there was still a little lingering smoke odor when he checked in, despite all these steps. Now it happened again, cost us about $700 and had to block the listing for 4 days ($400-$500/night listing) to get the smell out. I understand Airbnb needs proof, but how are we supposed to be definitely proving it? The amount of time and energy to fix this is getting out of control and desperate for suggestions.
Hi Sara, you will find Airbnb unresponsive to a complaint like this, they will probably claim you didn't catch the guest in the act with date stamped photo evidence and actually admitting it so...bad luck I am afraid.
Sara, I would be a bit more proactive. I have one of these installed in the ceiling of my listing.....
I point it out to guests on arrival and tell them they are welcome to smoke outside the cottage building. but if they do smoke inside it will squawk quite loudly, and an alert will sound on my mobile phone app!
That last bit about the alert is not correct Sara but, they don't know that and, nobody has ever put it to the test.
At around $48 US it is a cheap investment and will save you a lot in professional cleaning costs, and save your sanity in trying to deal with Airbnb for compensation!
Thanks, good suggestion. I had looked into a sensor that will actually alert me of smoking and provide a report, but would require around $300-$500/month in leasing costs with a year minimum lease term. I manage quite a few properties and could potentially pay for itself easily as we put in the listing we charge $500-$1000 for smoking inside, however I'm nervous to make that commitment and then find out Airbnb won't allow it as proof.
This is not a monitored system it just like any other fire smoke detector you can purchase at any hardware store for $10....except that it targets cigarette smoke.
Sara, I don't know if Marijuana triggers it, it says it detects cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke, but whether it does or doesn't is not the point.....it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if it doesn't work at all.....it's there in the ceiling, the specs are posted on the ' No smoking' sign on the wall of the cottage.
As I said nobody has ever put it to the test. I would regularly walk in and detect traces of cigarette smoke as the air filter I have installed was trying to get rid of them but, not once since I have installed that which is almost 2 years now have I smelt smoke in the cottage.
It is worth it for the bluff factor.
Another thing I might mention although not practical for your number of properties but maybe for hosts who list just one property. My cottage has a full filtration system . I have installed a Whirlpool "Whispure 1,000" Hepa air filtration unit which does a great job at filtering allergens from the air and it does (in a reasonable amount of time) get rid of cigarette smoke.
This is basically a portable unit which I have built into the Airbnb conditioning system. The cost is reasonable at less than $200 and it might be something you can have on hand to take to an affected property and scrub the air in a few hours!
Give it a bit of thought Sara. All the best!
The fact whether it works or not is secondary - when people see those things, they think a loud fire alarm will go off and thus not smoke indoors; there is its real value. We have them in the 4 bedrooms in the island, stopped indoor smoking stone cold..
Absolutely Fred, it's the deterrent effect.
Look if someone is determined enough to break the rules there is not much you can do to stop them.
I have had guests arriving smelling of cigarette smoke and you can see by the ginge mustache they are a 60+ a day smoker. I just know that words alone are not going to be enough here so, if you look at that Amazon shot I included, there is a test button, and sometimes just to illustrate what will happen I get a garden bamboo stake and press the test button.....all hell breaks loose! At the same time, while they looking up at this thing I press the alert tone on my phone. The two are not connected but, I just hold my phone up and the guest goes, wow, how about that, is that WiFi or Bluetooth?
I know it's cheating Fred but, I am just trying to keep them honest....sometimes it takes a lie to uphold the truth!
From that point I am absolutely confident the cottage will remain smoke free!
The reason I only set it off if I feel there is a strong possibility the 'no smoking' sign won't be enough, it's a noise that would wake the dead! Women in particular immediately put their hands over their ears and show annoyance at having it thrust at them!
Not a good way to get a stay off to a good start, so I don't do it routinely, I point it out but I would never set it off to non smokers!
What is funny, all my guests make note of it; the non-smokers are glad those that do don't inside our place, and with smokers it certainly gets their attention.
@Sara952, first off I dont think you will ever get BnB to agree to a $1000 fee to remove smoke smell, especially now because of the smoke from the fires. I would think LA is a lot worse than Reno and we havent been able to see the mountains for weeks from all the smoke and every time you open a door you can see the smoke being sucked into the house. Everything inside of the house smells like smoke, and you can spend all this money to get the smell out but its going to smell like smoke again within minutes. If your airing out the house in between guest the house will get filled with smoke and once you turn on the air and get it all out it still smells of smoke. So until they start putting these fires out which dont appear to be anytime soon all this shouldnt be an issue because everything is going to smell like smoke, thats a gimme so how can you say that your house smells like smoke because someone was smoking inside when there is so much smoke outside you cant even see the sun . And I definitely wouldnt have refunded anybody because the house smelled like smoke because its going to, there is nothing you can do about it..
That said after the fires are put out and the smoke isnt an issue anymore I dont think there is any way to prove someone was smoking in the house and unless you can prove that BnB wont up any money. So what you need to do is make it not a hassle to go outside and smoke. Offer them plenty of places outside for smoking, put ashtrays out by every door going outside. Other than that maybe asking for a deposit for that reason will keep them from risking it.
I’m talking about marijuana, the smell is pretty distinct. There’s no smell from the fires in our places so it’s not relevant but even so cigarette smoke still smells different anyway. And this has been going on from way before the current fires as well.
Have professional carpet cleaners come out. Ask them to verify whether or not they smell smoke and have them write that down in the work order. Have them provide as much details as possible.
The problem is that there are very few smoking allowed stays on Airbnb. So smokers don't care. They intend to book a non-smoking stay anyway. So you have to go the extra mile to stop them from booking.
Have the words "no smoking" in your listing title as well as mentioned 2 more times in your descriptions. Also have no smoking signs in the room. Have your WIFI password be "no smoking".