I know I am a slow learner, but in reality I never seem to learn my lesson!
I have always said I pick guests pretty well, and on a surface level I do seem to have a good relationship with my guests.
But when I look back on it, a substantial percentage either break something, waste it, or take it with them when they go!
1/.....About 6 weeks ago a guest came to the door looking for a band-aid strip, she had cut her finger. I told her there was a variety of strips in the medicine cabinet. She said she looked there and it was empty, nothing in it! I checked and sure enough, everything had gone, even the scissors and needle and thread. I don't know who was responsible because, they all smiled sweetly and thanked me so much for a lovely stay when they left.
2/..... I have a reasonably good bed, it is electric, and one guest tried to put the head end of the bed up with the massage function going.....burnt out the motor. Guest said it was unfair they were not warned they could not perform multiple functions at the same time. I learned a lesson there!
3/.....I have a quite nice Norwegian tea set! Doing the dusting I noticed one of the cups turned around and when I went to re-adjust it, there was no handle on it. Once again I could not pin it to a specific guest. I could narrow it down to one of three, but you can't just follow up on something like that.....obviously if I queried it, it would not be one of those three....... it would have been 'the hand of God'!
4/.....Recently a guest came up to me and told me my crockery had come to life and attacked her from the cupboard. My fault, my crockery and problem! Unfortunately it was two plates that were broken, not the one claimed, so it made the 4 place set unusable as a whole so I had to replace the whole set!
5/..... My restock cupboard is frequently raided.....soap, juices, even toilet paper until I got around to putting a lock on it.
But, I trust people, they are all nice people! I inadvertently forgot to lock the restock cupboard recently and as luck would have it, amongst the other consumables, I had 24 blocks of chocolate in there....... I put a block out for each new arrival. On the next service my 24 blocks had become 15!!!
I do want to give my guests the best experience I can, and none of these 'events' are worth making a 'song and dance' about to Airbnb or the guest.....it wouldn't get me anywhere and all it would do is make myself look a brittle host.
As much as I claim to have a magic formula to handle situations, the reality is, you guys are right, and I am just making excuses for some sketchy individuals!
Guests or scavengers .....I don't know....but I will still keep accepting them, the good outweighs the bad!
That's why I say Airbnb have no skin in the game, little mementos that you have accumulated over year get broken and the damage hidden by guest who don't give a hoot.
I had four Mormon's staying with me and they broke a plate, they went to the trouble of going to Ikea and buy a new plate and apologise profusely for damaging the original one, and on departure they left me a small gift, these type of guest a few and far between.
Most of the small damage that was done to my apartments was hidden in the back of presses, only to come to the surface, when the guest could not be seen for dust.
Most Hosts I suspect have not factored this into the price they charge and that why i say minimalist is the way to go.
I enjoyed your article so much @Robin4 . Sadly there are many scroungers around. I used to leave spare tooth brush and disposable razors in the room for the odd guest who may forget these at home, eventually I had to stop because they were disappearing far too regularly. I have had books, creams, adapters etc taken, and like you I am always surprised because somehow when I meet each guest I never think that they would be capable of that. But it comes with the job unfortunately. I like you don’t want to change how I host because others don’t know how to behave.
And on a side note, I love the look of your guest room, and I think your mum looked lovely, pity she didn’t realise that.
It wasn't that mum thought she was unattractive....she just thought that she never took a good photo.
This was cutting the cake after their marriage....and this is what she did to it!
People do get the weirdest ideas.....but then again, as Airbnb hosts, we know all about that, don't we!
One of my recent guests burnt every single saucepan in my studio space and then hid them in the cupboard. Fortunately the guest who found them is a frequent return who knows I was not responsible but it could have been tricky if she was a newbie.
Pretty sure it was the guest who gave me a 4 for value and suggested I replace the in-garage, completely undercover clothes line with a dryer (in the city with the most expensive electricity in the world).....some people want it all for nothing and refuse to accept responsibility for their errors/breakages.
Geri I probably agree with you in so much as, if a guest has given me less than a 5 star, I have had reason to regret their stay.....not to the point of making a public issue of it, but they seem to want to justify their own short-coming by saying.....it is someone else's fault!
If someone steals something from here they will invariable give me a 4 star for value! As though their theft makes up for the fact that I should have been cheaper!
If someone gives me a 4 or a 3 star for cleanliness it will be that guest that poured a glass of wine on the bed linens or managed to tip over a bottle of nail polish removed on the quilt cover....there is a mess there when they left that was somehow the previous guests fault and I, as the host, should have picked it up prior to their arrival.
Guests who do the wrong thing try to justify their actions....relieve their own conscience by blaming the host or someone else.
I have a pretty speccy bed in the listing cottage. It has 6 electric motors in it! The head goes up and down as does the foot....it has two electric motors that do massage....one for each side of the bed. Just recently a guest burnt out one of the motors. She tried to put the head of the bed up while the massage function was running and burnt out the massage motor. She indignantly told me it was most unfair that I did not point out that multiple functions could not be done at the same time.....in other words that the car could not be put in reverse when it was travelling forwards at 60 Kms per hour....drrrrrr!
Geri, guests never accept responsibility for their stupidity, they will always own up to a genuine accident, but they will never own up to carelessness or stupidity.
Just something we have to accept possum!
@Robin4 Your mom would have been happier to have her photo taken if she were alive today, where we can look, delete and retake. Photos were quite an expense before, and we couldn’t be guaranteed the best results.
Just to continue on the ratings story, I did post this on another thread so excuse me for repeating myself, I had a guest rate me 3* for location, when they booked they said they needed to be close to a certain place for an opera, we are less than 2kms away. In their review they said we were a bit far from the old town (6kms) Go figure. I try my very best everyday to give my guests a great stay, but I also try very hard not to be dismayed by people’s lack of manners, respect and expectations.
Dealing with the public is bound to have its complications.
Hi Claire, a 3 for location is not going to do anything other than tell others what an idiot the guest is!
He booked it...... and you can't move it!
Where it hurts is if the guest then translates that location rating and gives you a 3 or a 4 overall because it was where he wanted it....... but it also wasn't!
You are right though, dealing with the public does have its complications.
I think my mum would have been thrilled to have had her photo taken today Claire.....she would be 102....and once they get to that age they don't give a sh*t what they look like, they are just thankful to still be here!
My mum died when she was 89 and did have her marbles right to the end though Claire which I was thankful for. The very last words mum ever said to me, I asked her 'does it hurt' and she said...."Only when I cough"!
And they were the last words she ever spoke!
After reading some of these posts I feel extremely fortunate that I have only just experienced my first theft and like the author of this thread, I cannot firmly pinpoint which guest walked off with the comforter. I have had a couple of things broken, but the guest has always reached out immediately to let me know and in both instances, offered to pay- which we did not require accidents, after all, do happen. I will admit that sometimes I am surprised by what is left behind- toys, left-overs, toiletries, we've even inherited a nice blanket. I am very thankful that we have not had any of the occurrences that many of you had.
Wherever I can, I try to bring humour into situations to diffuse them and that generally pays off in the review process....but one has to know who to be humorous with.....which means you have to know who the culprit was!
To stop the arms of the sofa-bed/lounge wearing I had 2 'antimacassars' (Google it) made from one of the small matching throw cushions so they were in the same fabric as the lounge.
Back in 2017 I had guests stay from the other side of the country and after they left I could not find one of these antimacassars no matter how much I searched. Obviously it is not something a person would set out to steal so, I just sent her a message that simply said...."Who is the antimacassar thief ;-))?" Quick as a flash she sent back..."Guilty....I just unpacked my case and it was in there, sorry, I will post it back to you" and she did.
If it wasn't so specific and matched the lounge I would not have bothered but all worked out well....lounge and antimacassar were re-united and still are to this day.....and I got a 5 star review!
So, humour does work!
Most guests are great and really try to do the right thing, it's just that one in twenty that will let me down and really, there is no way to pick them coming!
It's nice to offer nice things, but we definitely wouldn't put "treasured" things into our airbnb. It's not that people are bad, but that people are easily tempted, and also accidents happen. One way we evaluate our setup is to imaging if a curious monkey came through and touched everything carelessly, would it cause any significant damage? Often this means putting nice things away and locking doors and cabinets not meant for guests.
We helped to write sections of a new ebook that was recently published called "Kids Out Cash In". Please check it out if it's relevant to you, and let us know what you think :)