I had an awful guest experience and tried to settle it with the guest personally. She stayed at a reduced rate and then needed to extend her stay. We gave her an even bigger rate discount. When she left, she left the place a mess. Dirty, greasy dishes, pots and pans. All the furniture was in dissaray, both sets of blankets/quilts had spots and stains on them, there were crumbs in all the beds on the mattress pads (which had to be hand picked off), and she ruined a set of sheets.
I took 3 days to cool off before I texted her because we really went out of our way to help this guest and she took advantage of us. I told her I was unhappy about the state of the place and asked her to pay $50 to replace the sheets. Prior to this text, she had nothing but glowing reviews and thanks for me in all her texts. She did not understand why she should have to pay for her sheets because I was a woman and the damaged sheets were a result of a "woman thing" and thus I should understand. I said I shouldn't have to pay for her "woman thing".
After much internal debate, I decided to warn other hosts and gave her an appropriate but still not brutal review, even leaving out the refusal to pay for damages and passing on her lame excuse for the mess. She then gave me a bad review, lying about my place and me. Prior to this review, I had 5 star reviews. Now people think my place is noisy and I am rude. My bookings have almost stoped dead in their tracks after her review. Plus, my 3 month pre-book for Jan-March canceled right after the review. I have contacted Airbnb twice about this to no avail. I had responded to her bad review, but not in much detail because I assumed that if I could prove it was a retaliatory review, it would be removed. THIS IS NOT THE CASE! Not only will they not remove it, they won't even let me expound on my explanation to her bad review.
So frustrated! I am knee deep in the process of spending a lot of money to make my other 2 rentals Airbnb rentals and now I can't even get bookings in prime season. Airbnb penalizes us for trying to warn other hosts about bad guests.
I also had a lady leave a stain, on a brand new $200 duvet cover. She made is seem like no big deal, and told me it was “woman troubles”, as if this somehow exonerated her from all accountability. What really makes me mad is that she promised to leave a good review, because I was out of running water, and told her I needed to cancel, but she insisted on wanting to stay anyways. So she agreed she wouldn’t give me a bad rating because of the water. She was one of the most annoying demanding guests I’ve ever had, all over the place. I offered to bring her water, she said “no thanks” then said in her review she wasn’t offer any water, and ignored her messages. She kept messaging me asking to light a fire in the fireplace that didn’t have proper draw or ventilation, and had filled the entire suite with black smoke the last time a guest tried it. I told her I was sorry, but no. Then she gave me a bad review, and in the private message wrote, “well, as you can see, I held up my part of the bargain. I didn’t leave you a bad review.” I was like, “yes you did, after explicitly promising not to as a condition of your staying. You used all the beds, dirtied all the linens, and stained a brand new duvet, and I dont have the water to wash it! I have to take this all the the laundromat. You didn’t even try to be the least bit sensitive to that. And I asked you if I could bring you water and u refused, and instead obsessed over having a fire.” I was just completely flabbergasted.
It’s the people that ask for nothing that give good ratings, because they have integrity. Its the ones who seem to be gifted with getting host to agree to or allow one stupid request or exception after another that are going to complain no matter what. If they try to nickel and dime you left and right, or make some lame case for deserving a discount(“We’re arriving so late, and leaving so early, we’re practically not even staying!), they are the ones who will leave trash everywhere and stain your carpets and sheets, thank you over and over all bubbly and happy, and then leave a bad rating. Then there’s the ones who take everything that’s not nailed down. If it’s a perishable item, like little bags of chips, sugar packets, stirrers, shower cap; they’re taking it. And they always check even the most out of reach cupboards, just to see what’s in there. In my case, having my laundry machine be accessible from their suite, they will themselves to linens. They will literally grab a load of laundry with my undies to get what they want, sometimes even partially folding my undies. These ones will leave 4 out of 5 stars, just to screw you out of superhost status. And then write you a message about how they would like to stay on a weekly basis for the next few months. Then there’s the loud ass people in their 20s, who try to sneak like 4 extra guests, and ask you for beer or to bake their pizza in your oven for them. You don’t see any plates and napkins,
so you feel oddly pressure to provide them. For some reason, there’s nothing more demeaning to me than delivering a fresh baked frozen pizza to a bunch a 20 year olds, like you’re a soccer mom or something. And when you bring it to them, they don’t offer to take it, they’re on their phone and like “Thanks brah!”, so you awkwardly scan the room looking for somewhere to set it while several girls who didn’t pay to be there stare at you in silence. They will leave 4 out of 5 stars, and dock points for something vague like “Description” and then write “I don’t know, like, it just wasn’t what I thought”. Then there’s the passive aggressive couple guests who won’t tell you their ETA, or respond to your messages, until you basically stop cause you figure they just want to be left alone. They always manage to stealthily check themselves in, and then when you ask if everything’s ok, they reply “we’re fine, thanks. 🙂 Just heading to bed, have to leave early. Is it cool if we light the bonfire in the backyard?” You try to explain that it would take hours of supervision and there’s actually a drought and you’re not even sure of its legally allowed to have a fire, and you don’t have enough water to put it out should it get out of hand. They’ll argue with you until relentlessly, until you give in, and agree to light the bonfire you’d been slowly building and perfecting for months, saving it for a special event. And you’re lighting it for one guy who’s getting ready to go to bed. You write to him that you’re all ready, armed with a stem lighter and starter fluid and have the hose out and primed. Then they respond “Thanks, we’re actually pretty tired, we’re going to bed. Does your water heater always make this much noise or?” And you’ve never had a single noise complaint before or since. These types will leave the longest most passive-aggressive review ever, as if they’d been there for a week, and not 8 hours. It will seem nice, but is basically saying they were disappointed over and over again but they’re such chill guests, and we’re able to take it all in stride. It will be a 3 out of 5 star rating if your lucky, and look something like this: “Great place! Awesome quiet spot nestled in the woods! Would have been nicer to be closer to the city. Matthew was very accommodating! I would recommend this place to anyone who doesn’t mind a lot of noise at night, but nothing earplugs won’t solve! Would have been nice to have a pool table or jacuzzi or anything really! There’s an awesome bonfire out back, we didn’t know about it until it was too late, so just be sure to ask Matthew in advance and he’ll light it for you! Would be awesome to have s’mores offered to guests too. Matthew was also very communicative, except for a few times when we actually really needed something. One of the stepping stones is loose too, my wife almost fell and seriously reinjured her back, she recently recovered after 30 years of severe pain, but it’s fine if you like a little danger and adventure!” And then their private message is, “Thanks Matthew! We had to leave at 7am cause of the noise, we went and slept in the car and then got lost, so we’re going to miss our flight! But awesome place, thanks for having us! I left a few suggestions for you in my review! We’ll definitely be back!”
I never leave a bad rating either, because they’re paying you. It’s not normal for a business to rate their customer, it’s completely counter-intuitive and obviously not an effective strategy for flagging “problem guests”. All we can do is discretely say “no, we would not welcome this guest again knowing what we know now.” And even then, I don’t even know what that does, or how that could possibly affect their perfect guest score. Cause let’s fave it, they're all “Perfect” guests!!! I’ve never seen anyone with a less than perfect rating. The customer is always right, everyone knows that. If I was honest about half of my guests, they would have been far from perfect. But it’s a business, everyone smiles and plays nice, a service is rendered, a payment is given, and everyone is supposed to be happy and go on their way. Instead guests have the power to turn their stay into a soap opera worthy dramatization of endless peril. And then the jokes on us, we don’t get to see that they’re raking us across the coals until after we’ve gritted our teeth, and painfully lied a about how great they were. What, we’re not going to be honest. That’s bad for business. I just don’t understand, I can’t even begin to fathom the audacity of some of these people...never ceases to amaze me how some guests will take advantage of a situation, literally ask you for every little extra thing imaginable, thanking you through thier lying teeth, and then have the hull to degrade and defame someone’s home in a playful manner, like “just being honest!” The one thing I’ve found that helps to guarantee you get a great rating is to make sure and make a personal connection with the person when they arrive. Most people, (and I do mean most, cause there will always be miserable people who can’t be pleased), after having some small connection with you, have a good enough mora compass that they’re not going to give you a low rating over something stupid, or they’ll feel familiar enough with you to just tell you or ask to fix the problem instead. Which is what all guests should be doing!! These people who don’t say a word and then complain after the fact; how many times must I beg and plead with them to PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF THEY HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS WHAT SO EVER!? But no, they’re going to leave a bad rating and write “couldn’t figure out how to work tv”. So frustrating! What really gets me is that I’m charging people 1/2 of what they’ll pay at any nearby hotel, my beds, linens, towels, furnishings are all nicer quality, they’re getting 5 times the space, they’re being welcomed and greeted and treated with hospitality, like they’re truly my guests and not just a customer. They won’t say anything is wrong, but usually they just seem a little off, like just slightly peculiar in the way they talk to you. Then they leave you a 3 star rating for flimsy, unsubstantiated reasons like the location could have been better, or wish there was a jacuzzi or something dumb. And just like that, you can kiss your superhost status you fought so hard to achieve goodbye. I have to the 4.8 rating required to maintain superhost status. That doesn’t allow room for a few flooks. If someone leaves 3/5 stars, it takes 10 5 star ratings to get it back to the passing 4.8. AirBnB needs to lower the qualifying rating, in my opinion, because people who take rating their experience seriously will never rate their stay as perfect. Do they not realize that for some of us, this is our livelihood, and we’re inviting them into our home because we’re assuming they’re friendly people who like meeting new people and staying in a more homey environment. When did it become about being hyper critical vigilantes, revealing every imaginable flaw they could find during their stay. Its obviously about them, not you the host. They should stick to the ratings about cleanliness, communication, etc., and then average that for the overall. That way you can make a case for yourself because they’re rating something specific that you can contest. You can’t make a case against someone’s vague, blase reason for the poor overall rating. Every bad overall rating I’ve ever gotten came after a perfect five star rating for all the other categories. Its like saying, everything was perfect, but we just didn’t have fun because we’re miserable and feel like taking it out on you.
I am considering selling and getting out of this. 5 years ago on the other "VR" site I was happy and got sophisticated travelers who understood the value. Now I get 3 stars if a baking pan has a burn stain from ever being used. I am about to pull all the luxury kitchen items out of my condo and people can buy disposabel alumunimum pans at the nearby walmart when they get their food. Anything that can (AND IS NORMALLY STAINED IN A REALLY USED HOME KITCHEN) is coming out. They can but their own disposable bakeware. I will leave one set of the cheapest pots, and remove the Calphalon high quality that may have a use stain, just like in your home. These airbnb guests expect to rent your $3000 a monthe to run lake condo with a country club membership for cheap . OK --- I am reducing to perfectly new and replaced bakeware from walmart... no CALPHALON.
I think the market has changed in the 6 years of doing it. It is now a commodity and people complain if 2000 sq ft luxury waterfront beautifully decorated and stocked like a high end home should cost less or the same as a 150 sq ft hotel room on the highway. I always had 5 stars but lately I cant please these people. i am about to cash out of this deal
@Terry297 I'm sorry you've had such a time of it Terry. I own/operate a couple of high end but affordable places. And I do provide the high end cookware like you do and even matching dishes from Williams Sonoma. I say in my listing that I am looking for guests that choose to live as well away from home as they do at home. And 95% of the time that's what I get. I get a few low lifes that sneak in and I just make sure I block them from ever booking again. I've had a few small items stolen/broke but for the most part it's gone well the last few years.
May I offer a few suggestions in dealing with the changing market? I have adjusted by keeping my price higher than most others and doing a minimum of a 3 day booking. My clientele has stayed higher end with those two changes. One more thing I haven't implemented yet but will do soon is the following; I stayed at an AIRbnb in Albuquerque, NM recently. The owner/host of the Old Town Casita did the most interesting thing. Right before my stay she sent me an automatic message. It was kind of long but had all the pertinent information I needed for my stay. And it was used to head off any complaints a guest could have. I thought it was a superb way to reduce issues. She happened to talk about parking, cooking, sites to see, stay off the neighbor's lawn, how to get into the property, etc.
I'm wondering if a feature like this would help you with your guests. In this format you could address some issues that have been a problem for guests in the past. With my VR that's 3 hours from where I live I make sure and text my guests the day after they arrive to check on them. And I tell them to please text me immediately if there is something that needs to be taken care of. So far that is also working well for me.
Of course, you're right that people are more self entitled and persnikety now. When I occasionally get guests like this I do report them to ABB and simply say I don't want them back. I had one guest a few months ago rate my cleanliness at 4 stars because apparently one counter was not wiped down in a bathroom and a ceiling light bulb was out. It was the first complaint I had on cleanliness in 1.5 years. The home is truly spotless. I have the best cleaning women ever so I am taking what the guest said with a grain of salt. So my M.O. is to report them (as in they can't book with me again) and move on because at this point in time having vacation rentals as a source of income is serving my life plan. When it stops doing that, then, yes I will sell the properties and move on to something else.
I hope there was something in my post that proves to be helpful and I hope I have the pleasure of staying in your property one day.
I also believe AirBnB is trying to punish hosts if they leave bad reviews. The only was we can combat this is to find another rental service. I am in the process of leaving a bad review because I believe that hosts need to know. The guest that did over $4000 in damage to my home had great reviews. How could it be the same person? Because every time he was a poor guest the host did not want to leave a bad review. Host make AirBnB possible. No host, no AirBnB.
I’m concerned as I have had a guest from hell, my friend looks after my apartment in turkey and we had this guest and her family come to stay. They tried to say when they arrived my apartment was dirty, I have a lot of repeat guest not on air BnB and not once have o had a problem. The living room/kitchen had just been rebdecirated and new corner sofa bought. When they left they left the house dirty and not cleaned. I have messaged her and now she is saying her holiday was ruined and that she is going to write a review about my house. I have the pictures of when she left it and I am wondering what can be done.
Has anyone ever had a guest with a negative review try to book? I have never seen anything but positive reviews. It makes me wonder if Airbnb only posts positive reviews of guests. Otherwise, Hosts would not accept the booking and Airbnb would not make any money.
@Edward366 I've definitely read bad guest reviews. I've never had any guests request to book my place that had bad reviews, but they certainly exist. Problem is, if a guest gets a bunch of bad reviews, they just delete their profile and start a new one, which Airbnb seems to think is perfectly okay.
I understand that the bad review the guest gave you affected your future bookings, but how did the bad review you gave the guest cause that? The guest can’t see the review you gave her until after she has left you a review or after the deadline for her to leave a review has passed.
What if we could post a kind of secret warning for other hosts?
A code or a sentence that is only known here on the forum?
A general warning or a specific?
It was nice weather. (text not to stand out)
50 (number indicating that something has been stolen)
A number catches the eye of host immediately, because you rarely or never come across that.
I'm very grateful for hosts who care enough about the rest of us to be honest. I've had very few bad experiences - maybe three - but I was honest without being nasty. I've definitely refused guests who had bad reviews. In fact, one that I refused went to a friend's Airbnb and was as horrible as the other reviews said. I felt terrible for my friend. PLEASE look out for the rest of us! I'll look out for you.
I think hosts should always leave reviews, whether they are good, bad or ugly, as this lets the rest of the community know whether they should host the guests.