After careful consideration we decided not to include use of the kitchen for our listing, this is reflected in our listing price. Our listing also does not include the kitchen in the ammenities and states that the guests have access to the bedroom and bathroom. I am generally a flexible and easy going person. The problem is that out of my last 7 guests 4 have asked to use the kitchen or fridge. It is clearly becoming a very consistent issue and soon it will be 5 out of 9 guests. My last guest didn't ask to use the kitchen, they just used it, and whatever they ate had a very strong and lingering odor. I had one guest simply ask for ice for their lunchbox, which was completely fine. The problem is that people tend to assume that I am going to be ok with them using the kitchen once they arrive and I believe that when I say no it is hurting my feedback. I have a 4 star rating top to bottom from a guest when I initially started hosting, I was upset but you can't make everybody happy. All my other feedback has been 5 stars with the exception of one that rated me 5 stars on everything and 4 stars for overall experience(... how does that make sense?). My only reasoning is that this is due to the kitchen issue. Today I have added the following notation to my listing under guest access:
"Guest bedroom and bathroom. Please be mindful that we don't offer the use of the kitchen as a part of our listing. We do supply some water bottles in the room for your convenience."
Do you think it's worded delicately enough? Should I add it to my house rules as well? I feel like maybe my listing isn't clear enough, or people just don't take the time to read the listing. Should I just increase the price of my listing and include use of the kitchen? What are your suggestions and experiences? I have one more guest checking-in who assumed that the use of the kitchen was included and, unfortunately, I somehow missed responding quickly and decided to make a one time exception.
I apologize for the long winded post. Here are the reasons we originally decided not to include access to the kitchen. Are we being unreasonable?:
1. We work from home and our kitchen, work area, and livingroom is open concept. We thought that having guests coming in and out of our work area to access the kitchen would be disruptive and possibly uncomfortable for all parties.
2. We used to have roommates that did not clean up after themselves, lost our kitchen utensils (Idk how they managed that) and damaged our pots, pans, and appliances. My listing is competatively priced without access to the kitchen. If I were to allow guests to use the kitchen I feel I would have to raise the price for the extra work I would do cleaning and to budget for possible damage to my appliances.
3. We have a small kitchen and we use it multiple times daily.
4. We felt like it like it would be a little invasive to have strangers helping themselves to our kitchen. We also read about some guests helping themselves to the host's food, which seemed odd, and we just didn't want to potentially deal with that.
5. There are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops nearby, within a one mile radius.
6. All the furniture and bedding is relatively new, purchased not more than 6 months ago. I would prefer if guests didn't eat or drink in the bedroom to prevent potential stains, damage to the furniture, and criters. We do think allowing access to the kitchen would probably increase the likelyhood of guests eating in their room. We thought a no food in the bedroom rule was being too strict and "nit picky" so I actually allow for them to eat in their room, I just prefer that they don't. I also provide bottles of water because they don't have kitchen access and we all need to stay hydrated. I ultimately want my guests to feel comfortable.
7. Our guests tend to be short term guests and feel that for that reason access to the kitchen was not necessary. Our listing limits stays to 2 weeks because we do not want to have a situation were a guest ends up over staying and then obtains renter's rights. It also allows us to host our friends and family, who mostly live out of state and visit often. While we have been extremely lucky and have only hosted overall wonderful guests so far, we also thought it would reduce the time period we would potentially have to deal with any negative guest/host experience.
8. We always keep the house tidy and clean. I have a 5 star cleanliness rating. The guest's bedroom and bathroom are always spotless. Our kitchen is our personal space and because we use it so often it would be difficult to keep it spotless all the time. I would feel obligated to clean it to a higher standard then currently suits me. (Ex. I don't mind keeping a dirty cup in the sink for a few hours until I clean up after dinner but never allow dishes to pile up. I also like to let my dishes air dry on a drying mat or allow a dirty dish to soak for 30 minutes to an hour, when necessary. I would not do any that if a guest were permitted to use the kitchen because I think it would be rude on my part and when I had roommates they took that as an invitation for me to constantly clean up after them.)
You don't owe anyone an explanation as to why you don't allow access to the kitchen. A simple, "kitchen is off limits" would suffice. And perhaps a reminder that they do not have access to the kitchen before they check in...
You may be able to offset any potential dissapointment though. Just a few suggestions... Would you consider a small microwave in the room? Perhaps a small mini fridge? I know that for myself, the biggest conern would be hot/ cold drinks. I either like ice cold water, soda or tea.. or hot coffee. Is there a small coffee maker or Keurig in the room? Perhaps you could leave, napkins, paper towels, plastic cutlery and paper plates in the room so that they could enjoy take out..
@Rayana-and-Matt0, I have a similar situation. I work from home, and the downstairs area is open space.
I state very clearly in my Space description that the kitchen is NOT for use by guests EXCEPT if they wish to prepare a packed lunch in the morning to take with them on an excursion or whatever. And the kitchen must be left clean afterwards. I do have a shelf in the fridge and another in a cupboard where I keep for-guest-only items (e.g. milk, orange juice, coffee milk, yoghurt, etc.).
This is for guests who might want to be away very early in the morning (i.e. before the usual breakfast time of 8-9am), and they can organise their own breakfast (its Continental style, meaning no cooked items). However, since I'm always downstairs by 7am (or much earlier), I'm invariably present to prepare the breakfast table.
I state firmly in my House Rules (which are in a folder in the guest room as well as sent to guests in the first Welcome message) that NO food is to be eaten in the room (this is to avoid attracting unwelcome pests as well as to prevent staining the bed linen, quilt, or carpet). If guests wish to bring home a take-away type of meal in the evening, they're welcome to eat it at the dining table, and of course to use a plate and cutlery, etc. But absolutely no cooking allowed, and the kitchen must be completely clean after guests have eaten.
Thus far, after 7 sets of guests, there has been no problem. Of course, the fact that I'm always at home in the mornings and in the evenings when guests return to the house probably has a monitoring effect. :) Though in one recent instance, I was out for the evening, and had told guests they were welcome to use the kitchen to prepare their salad (they'd bought home the ingredients) and to make themselves a cup of tea or coffee. The kitchen was spotless when I returned home.
I think one does need to be very firm in the House Rules, as it determines boundaries so that guests know what's expected of them, even before they arrive. And of course, one can always use one's own common sense if a guest has an occasional reasonable request for a minor deviation from a Rule. It's easier to bend a little than to try imposing a rule that wasn't clearly stated in the first place. :)
In your House Rules, you could state something simple like:
“Please note that guests do NOT have access to the kitchen.”
In your Space description (or elsewhere) you could mention the local availability of cafes/restaurants, perhaps even including a photo or two, and describe them in photo captions. Make the notion of eating-breakfast-out sound appealing. :)
I don't think it's necessary to mention that you provide bottled water. Keep that as a nice surprise for when guests enter the room for the first time.
I also provide tea- and coffee-making facilities in the bedroom. Is this a possibility for you?
Regarding eating in the room: Of course, I know that guests will occasionally slip a packet of cookies and that sort of thing into the room to nibble on in the evening. :) I don't worry about that, though. I mainly want to prevent things like take-away meals being consumed there, for the reasons I mentioned above.
I'm coming in a little late, but if perhaps, if this has become a real issue, you could specifically ask in your message to the guest that they understand that there is no kitchen? We are booked to go to Rome next week, and the host wouldn't finalise the booking until I said that I understood there is no air conditioning. It sounds like he's had problems in the past!
Im so glad I found this. Ive wanted to discuss this with other hosts for some time now. I stopped all use of my kitchen for this season. (We are a winter ski resort town) It seemed that even though my description is extremly clear aboutlimited access asking for dinner hour to be just that, one hour of of lite cooking access available and then clean up) that included times the kitchen had to be clean and closed down (8pm) it never seemed to stop some of my guests from helping themselves to everything and at all hours of the night.
One couple brought so many boxes and bags of groceries, they were stored on my kitchen floor in boxes as I literally had no fridge space left. One couple brought 2 extra coolers with them and brought them to their bedroom. For 2 nights? I had so much garbage when they left it was beyond disgusting. There was cholote on my duvet, in the sheets, food on the floor and dozens of wrappers and togo containers..........2 ppl, 2 nights only. It was shameful the mess they left me with.
Another woman Stayed here for 5 nights and spent at least 2 hours for each meal frying everything, eggs, bacon for breakfast then fried something for lunch and again more friend food for dinner. My house smelled like fried food for 7 days. She never left the house although she was here to ski
Two people with 20 bags of groceries checked in for a 2 night stay. I didnt know what to say, it felt as though they were moving in. The first night they cooked for 3 hours broke a wine glass and left my good chefs knives tip down in the sink:( The husband ate while sitting on my couch although I asked all guests to eat at either of the 2 dining tables in my home.............So that was not a pleaseant situation. Because of that I have stopped offering my kitchen. It almost made me stop airbnb altogether.
So those are some unfortunate examples and its taken me a lot of clean up, broken dishes and glasses, countless hours of my house smelling like fried food to now say NO.
My kitchen and living area are all on one floor with an open plan. That is MY part of the home. Guests have private self contained bedrooms on another floor upstairs and a cozy private loft to watch tv read, listen to music so they have lots of great space to enjoy in the house. I also list and give brochures for every place in town that offers any kind of food. I book weekend stays, Fri Sat, they ski all day, come back and shower then head out for food and drinks and repeat, then go home................pretty easy concept and cheap when you compare skiing to Whistler BC and the fact theres a free shuttle right out my front door and the rates are more than 75% cheaper than other resorts.........
However, 90% of my guests did whatever they wanted to while I was not in my home. 10% percent of guests were honest and did not bend or break rules. Did I do something wrong? Was I not tough enough? Why did this continue to happen? As a host you want to be friendly, accomodating, make ppl feel welcome and at home............i wonder if I should have kept it as a business arrangement and NOT be as friendly?? But I started doing this because I love meeting new people, I travel alone and love the concept of staying in homes with hosts etc etc. Ive been in hospitality for over 25 years.......so what did I miss?
This year I have tweaked my listing. Its very straight forward and my house rules are strict.
I thought my listing was too rigid, my house rules too rigid but I guess I just cant imagine staying in someones home and taking over their kitchen ,leaving dirty dishes breaking things and or intruding on their private evening time.
I have helped a few locals set up their airbnb sites and they have all decided to NOT included use and I dont blaim them. But they all felt they HAD to offer their kitchen.
I think more and more hosts are stopping the use of their kitchens. I honestly dont feel it even needs to be an option anyway especially for a holiday weekend.
So now my policy is zero use of the kitchen. I make coffee and tea for guests, No eating in bedrooms, no cooking, no gorceries, Guests can bring beer wine pop juice and can be kept in the coat room (cold room) but they cannt use my kitchen at all.
I'm not friendly with people who are pushing boundaries. Guests have to prove themselves to me now. If they follow the rules I'm nice to them. If not, the business hat stays on.
at the moment I have one lovely guest and an annoying law unto himself. I am friendly with the nice one, who observes my rules, and aloof with the other, except to indicate what he's doing wrong I don't speak to him.
I hear you. Currently, me and my partner are hosting two people who are not happy with no cooking rule. Even though we had sent them a private message informing them of that particular rule few days before their arrival, they still checked in with some grocery and questioned my partner why they couldn't. Mind you, this rule is also in the House Rule section of our lisiting and we just sent a PM to ensure they understood. Seems that they didn't bother to read the listing or read the PM. The next morning, they asked me if they could use stove to boil some eggs. I politely suggested them to use microwave instead.
There will occasionally be pushy people...Your rules are your rules. Its kinda "scary" because you don't want to end up with a bad review but, I have found, with the rare bad review, that the bad review gets buried under good reviews and does not seem to hurt my ability to book. Yeah, it brings down my "grade point average" but that's life. I've been hosting for about 2 l/2 years and only have received two bad reviews. They were UGLY!! - so I was worried but it didn't hurt, really. If people read one bad review, they will just think that the guest was "the problem." I think hosts should be allowed to "drop" maybe a review or two, each year, because "difficult" guests DO happen. Good luck. Stick to your rules!
Well put Marilyn. I also advise responding to bad reviews, calmly and professionally, but pointing out where the guest went wrong or was mistaken, etc. This tactic may also discourage new guests from leaving bad reviews.
I really appreciate this posting and its replies.
I want to follow in your footsteps and reduce the usage of the kitchen.
Question: How much lower do you think your revenue is if you limit the kitchen?
$5/night? $10? $20?
I am a scaredy cat about dropping in bookings, but through airbnb's marketing I'm starting to feel confident that I can limit my kitchen privleges yet still find available guests.
I have recently booked my ffirst airbnb and as my trip is approaching I messaged my host to find out what kitchen appliances there are for use in her kitchen.
I have made sure I booked a room with access to a kitchen, and yes, I am one of those guests... ,...I thought I would be able to cook there - as I always do on holidays.
From what my host has politely replied, she is not very keen of use of her kitchen.., that made me make a search for forum discussion like this one. I am actually feel appalled from what I read here , from how you criticise your guest and all those comments.
There is a feel like you really dislike having guests in your house and the actual job as well. So why are you doing it??
Yes, when there is a kitchen advertised, I will have the impression I can cook there. That is the reason I book that room! I always cook ! I don't like eating in restaurants, I avoid it at all costs!
So it is not only about saving money for me, but also to feel well and healthy ! Cooking natural, good quality food. And yes, of course I want to save money too! - the same way you want to pocket some more for advertising the Kitchen!!! but then gossip about guests wanting to use it! Making nasty comments!
This is especially to Paul who wrote:
From Paul - "They want their problem (not wanting to cough up money for a more appropriate apartment ) to some how be your problem"
"Oops my bad.
I justreread, One dog and two kids.
That's even worse than 2 dogs!"
But then in another thread he is asking:
"Question: How much lower do you think your revenue is if you limit the kitchen?
$5/night? $10? $20?"
So Do you Paul actually want us to cough up a few extra bucks for you??!! You want our money but not providing the service??!! You are very arrogant , disrespectful and you shouldn't be in this business!
I too have a newly renovated nice house with a guests room - it's own bathroom. Making some extra money would not hurt me , however I wouldn't be a host , at least not for the moment, as I don't want to share my space and value my privacy at present.
So if you don't want to share a kitchen, then don't advertise it! Or at least make it crystal clear to Guest what they are and are not allowed to do!
Or get out of this business all together!
Sent from my iPad
To each his own! And you, Madam, are pretty nasty yourself. You are not a host so don't tell others how to host. Find a listing that allows you to cook your bossy ass off and mind your own business, Julia Child...
Guests, GET A GRIP,
We are not there to provide all of our food for you.
Then you cry like a bunch of babies.
If you stayed in a hotel , would you go back in their kitchen
and help yourselves to all their good? NO
Stay out of our stuff
I know this is a very late response but I would say we charge about $10 less per night. Since my original posting we have made the following adjustments:
1. We added a Keurig pod coffee maker to the room.
2. We purchased a mini fridge we initially wanted to put in the room so guests could have cold water bottles and a place to store some snacks or leftovers. The mini fridge ended up being too noisy so we put in the hallway at the top of the stairs.
3. We have now included the no kitchen access info. in multiple places on our listing, including the house manual. When the guests get their itininerary the house manual reinforces that there in no kitchen access.
Our guest feedback is currently just under 5 stars and we are usually pretty booked. We still rarely have guests ask to use the microwave, but not the fridge. I usually just allow for them to use the microwave in the kitchen, especially if they are staying multiple nights. I think what was hurting my ratings was the traffic during commute hours on the way to my home. I found this out from guest feedback and I have since added info. about the traffic to my listing. I find that the REAL problem, especially with guests who are new to Airbnb, is that they do NOT read the listing prior to booking. The reason I say guests do not fully read the listing is because I am repeatedly asked questions that are answered in the listing info. I have yet to find out the best way to address the issue of people not reading the listing prior to booking. :)