No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

in
San Antonio, TX
Level 10
991 Views

Or, I could have titled this, **bleep**** if you do and **bleep**** if you don't!  Airbnb has an option when setting my nightly price to offer a 10% discount to people booking with the understanding that there are no refunds.  As I use a form of "smart pricing", (Beyond Pricing), I never know exactly what my house has booked out at until I see the Instant Booking or someone sends a message asking to book.  Point being, I don't know who has taken advantage of the 10% discount as all I see on my end is the end price.

 

At the beginning of the month, I had a guest book my home for one person, (for 5 days), however, mentioned that his family of 6 would be coming.  Although my house rules state no children under 12,--there were three.  Even though I wasn't very happy that he had booked my house for 1 instead of 6, and there were 3 children under the age of 12, I told him I would adjust the number of people and send him a change request.  At that time he complained bitterly about the difference in cost and asked if I would give a discount for military.  I immediately gave him a discount of $100 and waived the fee for 1 guest as well.  AFTER doing this, he started asking questions about children, suggesting that he thought children were free as per Airbnb.  His exact words, "..we were told, and under the impression that, children under 18 did not count as 'paid guests'."  I told him I had never heard of such a thing.  His response was to let me know that actually, there were 8 or 9 people coming.  At that time, my house was only setup for 6 guests; 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.  It was also about this time that I realized he had booked my house using the 10% discount and therefore was not eligible for any refund if he cancelled.  

 

I was very frustrated,--the guest had booked at a 10% discount, I had already discounted another $100, plus an additional  $95.  I don't know why I did this,--but I offered to open up another room and bathroom in my house,--giving them 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and,--oh, by the way, I only charged him for 6 people,--so three people stayed for free. Exactly what he wanted.  I was exhausted after working hard to finish up the additional bedroom/bathroom.  

 

He kept asking for more and pushing me to cancel, however, I told him I thought I had been more than fair.  He finally agreed.  After going out of my way to accommodate him, giving the 10% discount, $100 price reduction and allowing 3 people to stay for free,--guess who left me my FIRST EVER 3 star review for value?!??  You guessed it!!!  I couldn't believe it!  And, although I have NEVER had any guest(s) do this,--ALL travel sized toiletries that I provide for my guests were taken as well as every single snack including the display boxes!  Go figure!

 

Anyway,--today I just had another guest instant book my home for 1 person, (4 days), even though 8 are coming.  I told her no problem, I would send her a change adjustment request.  When I did, she said it was just too expensive and she would be cancelling.  I said, okay,--except, she couldn't cancel as she too had booked my home with the no cancellation, 10% discount.  She then complained to me that she would not be getting all of her money back.  (Keep in mind she only booked for 1 person instead of 8 for four days).  She refused my change request and any attempts to work anything out.  Guess who called me and asked me to cancel the reservation so that a full refund can be given to the guest?  Yes, you guessed it,--an Airbnb CS person.  I have explicitly stated in my listing,--please if you are a first time Airbnb'r READ my booking requirements.  Can someone please help me understand WHY Airbnb encourages me to offer a 10%, no cancellation discount,--but then turns around and asks me to refund every penny?  I don't get it!    

 

I am afraid NOT to do it, as the one time I had to ask 9 guests to leave my home, (https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Help/Bad-Guests-Too-Bad-For-Hosts/m-p/1041282#), I did not get any bookings for the following SIX weeks.  Although Airbnb insisted they weren't penalizing me,--I have never gone 6 weeks with no bookings unless my listing was paused.  

 

If I don't agree to cancelling and refunding my guest and my guest does not cancel,--then what?  If they showed up, I can let 8 people stay for the price of one, or ask the additional 7 people to leave as per my house rules.  Either way, I imagine I won't be getting a 5-star review!  

 

So,--once again,--the host loses out.  I feel worn out after wasting hours texting via the Airbnb app and talking to Airbnb CS.  I have finally changed my instant booking settings to only accept guests with positive reviews from other hosts.  I'm hopeful if they have successfully used Airbnb before, they will be able to enter the correct number of guests, read house rules, etc.  However, I know that's not foolproof either.  

 

I know I've said it before but I'll say it again,--it's no wonder Airbnb is offering me $350 if I can convince someone else to become an Airbnb host. I'm guessing the attrition rate must be fairly high.  If only Airbnb would treat their hosts as well as they do their guests..........

Julieanna
10 Replies

Re: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

in
Chicago, IL
Level 10

So sorry to hear about this-- it sounds to me like you bent over backwards to try to accomodate this unreasonable guest,   and were duly punished and will continue to have back pain for some time.

Next time,  call CS and cancel as soon as the guest informs you they are far outside your rules / what you promised.  That was saying they were bringing more guests than book,  then more than allowed,  and then the feign of saying under 18 was free.

You had 3 red flags.  At one,  call and exercise a free cancel.  

Re: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

in
Somerville, MA
Level 10

@Julieanna0 Why did you let it get this this point? I would have canceled around the introduction of children and/or the request for an additional discount. In the future, I suspect you will be better able to say "no." Nicely of course, since you seem like a very generous and nice person.

Re: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

in
Canary Islands, Spain
Level 10

Hi @Julieanna0 

 

Once airbnb called me for a similar reason and said that they will also refund the airbnb agency fee to the guest.

 

Guest had no reason to cancel....

 

Guess what I was the one who refunded the guest and airbnb did not refund their fee. 

 

I felt soooooo.......#=$$///$/^&$/€^$%€£((*^^$=%^$×÷_€^^

 

Happy hosting! 

 

Kira♡

 

 

Re: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

in
Concord, CA
Level 10

@Julieanna0  You are being too nice. When a nice person meets a bad person, it is very easy to get hurt.

 

If you still have instant booking on, you can add requirements of previous good reviews and government Id verifications. Adding those will not affect your listing search ranking. 

 

If if you want your listings to be ranked high, updating your listing daily with a small change and sometimes using the price tip will help.

Re: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@Julieanna0   You already know that people who haggle for discounts and extras are going to be bad guests and give a poor review, I'm sure.  This also is evidence that my guess on airbnb's 10% discount no cancellation was really a 10% discount, and that cancellations would be given, I would suggest if you already haven't done it, to turn off this discount feature.

Re: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

in
Somerville, MA
Level 10

@Mark116 wrote:

@Julieanna0   This also is evidence that my guess on airbnb's 10% discount no cancellation was really a 10% discount, and that cancellations would be given, I would suggest if you already haven't done it, to turn off this discount feature.


Good point. I still don't see the benefit to a host to offer this discount since AirBNB cancels/refunds at will.

Re: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

in
Biscayne Park, FL
Level 2

Where is it and how do I turn it off...Please advise...thanks  keylargocondo1

I'm on the g...

 

Re: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

in
Biscayne Park, FL
Level 2

I just got hit with a nightly adjustment which looks like this 10% deal you mentioned...where is this and why are owners not shown this up front if there is a request for a booking...this should not come as a surprise later when we are penalized if we cancel a booking.?!

Re: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

in
Zagreb, Croatia
Level 10

@Carol6081 

 

on the hosting dashboard go to listing / Policies and rules /  cancelation policy. For every option (flexible, moderate, firm, strict) you also have " .... or non-refundable" option

 

 

Re: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Julieanna0I had a recent situation like this that might help you going forward.

 

Guest booked for 2 people. 15 reviews, 5 star rating overall. Mentions she is going to see her daughter at college nearby. All fine.

 

The day before the reservation begins we are chatting about snacks that I leave as I always ask about allergies and food restrictions. She rattles off 4 people's dietary requirements. I ask if plans have changed as reservation is for 1. She says that its her and her daughter staying and her other daughter (maybe) and daughter's boyfriend. I ask her to update the reservation. We charge an additional $20 per guest over 2 per night to offset our very low cleaning fee (and she would have seen that if she tried to enter the right number of people at booking-- I suspect she did and avoided it). Says she doesn't know how to update the reservation. I send a request for 1 additional guest as she wasn't sure of the other daughter and I was trying to be nice.

 

The bitter complaining begins and I realize this guest will never be happy. In the course of the back and forth I dig deeper into her reviews and see several that mentioned "her group" in a 1 bedroom listing meant for 2 people. She has obviously done this before. She starts to bully me when I explain why we charge more over 2 guests. She becomes rude and combative. She THEN mentions her husband(!) won't be able to come because of my "high fees" so the plan was to bring 5 people to my cottage that sleeps four and pay for 1.

 

I called customer service and cited the conversation where she clearly states she won't pay and is bringing more people than I allow. After much back and forth they cancel without penalty. I had not canceled any stays this year (nor had they done one for me) and this was an instant book so it was eligible. The guest proceeds to call me over and over irate that her stay was canceled. I block her number. Then her husband starts calling. I block his.

 

The moral of the story is:

 

1. Bargain hunters and those who sneak others in are bad guests period.

2. If you find this out ahead of time, cancel rather than dealing with them, even if it means giving all their money back and losing a booking. Its just not worth it.

3. People who are unhappy before they get to your space won't magically become happy once they arrive. Don't do them favors.

4. People who resent paying your listed price will never give a good review.

5. Get rid of the 10% no cancellation thing. It seems to be forcing these bad guests into coming anyway.

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