Hi, first time poster long time lurker. I have been a host since 2014, and I rent out the basement of my house. I love airbnb and generally don't have any problems, but lately I've noticed a significant number of people who book my place that have issues with dogs. I have 3 dogs, and they live in my house with me (standard in the midwest). When its nice they go outside, and they aren't allowed downstairs. Because we share an entrance, my guests have to go thru my dogs to get to the basement. I have it mentioned in a few places that I have dogs, and every single guest that books gets asked if they are all ok with dogs. Everyone says yes, but about 1 in 3 groups are not actually ok with dogs. In fact they will have allergies, or are afraid. It's gotten so bad that I've asked multiple times, "Are you sure? My dogs live indoors and have the run of the house so you will meet them". Each time I am assured that everyone in their party is ok with dogs. My dogs are trained to quickly smell a guest and then run to the fridge for green beans (their treat of choice). They don't jump on guests, but since 2 are blind, they bark until they smell the guests. I don't like having people in my home that are afraid of dogs because it means the dogs have to be limited to either outside or locked in a room or garage. Its their home, the other people are visitors.
So my question is this, I am going to update a few things in my airbnb, and one of the things is to include a picture of the dogs inside the house, as well as include the dogs in our hosting picture. I am also going to include a code word (something like watermelon spritzer) that if a guest includes it in their first message it means they've read to the part where they are asked if they are ok with dogs, and they really are, and will receive a discount. What else do you suggest?
Tonights guests were asked twice if everyone in their party is ok with dogs, and the guy booking said yes both times. They are absolutely afraid of dogs, and the girl cries, the grandmother yells at them and runs downstairs, and it makes the dogs stressed. They are elderly and aren't fans of that behavior.
People with allergies will see the dogs, tell me I need to put them outside because they are allergic. I am pretty blunt and say "I did ask, and you said it was ok" and they will say something to the effect that they didn't understand the question.
In my reviews I mention that they will tell you they are ok with dogs but in fact are not, and I generally don't recommend them to hosts with indoor pets. I will say I am a little afraid of being pegged a racial profiler because the majority of the people who do this are from Asia or India.
So what should I do to make it obvious to even the non-readers that I have pets and love them more than a paying guest?
Hi @Heidi-And-Savannah0 , I sympathise. I also have a dog, but am lucky that only the occasional guest reacts negatively the way you describe. And I agree this is more a thing with Asian guests - not racist, just my observation.
Stick to your guns re it being the dogs' house & guests are just guests & have to work around your dogs...... We are Airbnbs in private homes, not commercial hotels! All we can do is be crystal clear in our written & photo descriptions.... then it's the guest's responsibility to check that everything meets their needs.
@Heidi-And-Savannah0 I wonder if the shift in emphasis with Airbnb from private home share to whole place rentals has shifted guest expectations...? Plus the fact that guests don't read...
Maybe Airbnb should do more to explain to guests that home shares are take as you find?
CAVEAT EMPTOR! - Buyer beware!
@Helen350 : you appear to be claiming there is a "shift in emphasis with Airbnb from private home share to whole place rentals." I don't know what you're talking about; I don't see such a shift; I haven't seen anything on this forum discussing such an alleged shift.
I have noticed a change. I have seen the commercials, the push to airbnb luxe where private apartments or homes are featured. I have had people tell me that they had no idea that I was going to be in the house. They weren't even aware that home sharing was an option. I would say 1 group in 20 thought they were getting the whole thing, including last night's guest.
@Kenneth12 Yes, I meant that Airbnb started ONLY as a platform to rent a (modest) space in private homes. But now that the basic model has changed, & so many professionals have jumped on the bandwagon, newbie guests may have unrealistic expectations of a hotel like environment, cos they don't realise how Airbnb differs from other booking platforms.
@Heidi-And-Savannah0I also have 2 (soon to be 3) guests living in my home, and I have also had the same experience. My guests don't need to interact with my dogs because the guest unit is a separate space with separate entrance, but they do see my guests in the yard or when they're leaving the house. We had a guest last year whose mother was absolutely terrified of dogs - like was rigid with fear if she saw them out a window. The guest explained this after booking, and I just thought, why the heck would you book a listing with two large dogs onsite, then? Just doesn't seem fair on either side. As @Helen350 said, people also just don't read.
I think your idea to include pictures of the dogs is good. I think more people look at the pictures than read the description. As for the written description, I'm not sure what else you can do when you're mentioning it in several places and also following up with a message.
A couple of other suggestions for you: would it be possible for you to keep the dogs out of shared areas, like the front hall? Could you put up baby gates or something, or would that restrict their movement too much? I totally agree that it's their house too and you are making it very clear they're there, but it might help avoid some of the issues.
Also, would it be feasible for you to allow people to bring their dogs? We do allow people to bring dogs, and I find that eliminates the problem. A high percentage of our guests are travelling with their dog.
Thank you everyone. I am glad I'm not alone in having this issue and it is so darn frustrating. I agree that it's a shift in how airbnb has been marketing. I used to get people who knew about Airbnb through friends, and word of mouth. I'm getting huge TV commercial groups now, and the difference is stunning.
I've been super lucky not to get a negative review so far from the dog haters, I just find it so frustrating that they would mar an otherwise lovely vacation by staying somewhere that scares them. If I was going to the Grand Canyon I wouldn't stay at the loose spider and snake emporium!
The stairs to the basement are unfortunately right between my living room and kitchen in the middle of the house. I do restrict the dogs when I realize the guests are afraid, but the problem has become it's so darn often! And like last night's guests, they just kept coming upstairs all night so the dogs never got to have a chill time. I had one mom who was so terrified of dogs that she let her 2 year old son run rampant upstairs in my living area because she couldn't get him. Ugh.
I do currently have pics of the dogs, but they are outside. That's why I'm going to emphasis their indoor aspects haha. I'm going to line them up sm,med,lrg at the top of the staircase and say "your welcome party EVERY SINGLE MORNING".
I am fortunate that I've been able to weed out some people who hate dogs, but the instant book crowd are an interesting group. I had one guy who asked if I would put my dogs in a shelter while his family was there. I declined his request and he continued to negotiate, as I was "The only property my family can stay at and I need this place". Ugh.
I lived in S. Korea for 6 years, so I know how they react for the most part with dogs, but it's just so often anymore.
My partner thinks I'm just tired and need a break, and that's a possibility too.
I forgot to mention, no I wouldn't be able to let guests bring dogs just yet. My oldest dog is 17, deaf, blind, no teeth and compromised spine. She's also very territorial and it wouldn't be good to have strangers with dogs. Also the downstairs doesn't have a way outside for bathrooms so they'd be all up in my space with their dogs lol.
This next year I am actually selling this house and I'm looking at one with seperate entrances but still attached. I really like my guests knowing I'm right here, which keeps a lot of mischief at bay, but I'm tired of them being in my space at all. I think my personal bubble needs some doors.
@Heidi-And-Savannah0I totally get the burnout: having strangers in your space all the time can be exhausting. Having them in a separate space definitely helps. I totally understand why you wouldn't want other people's dogs mixing with yours. We limit our interactions between dogs: just like people, they don't always get along!
You write about Your dogs and now You have pictures of Your dogs amongst the listing pictures. You can't do more that that.
Your guests book a place with dogs, they get a place with dogs. Don't be apologetic. Don't put Your dogs outside. Your guests get exactely what they've ordered.
Leave every guest who complains about Your dogs a real bad review, stating:
"The guest didn't read the listing description at all".
@Heidi-And-Savannah0, I totally agree with @Ute42. your house, your dogs, if they don't read the listing, their problem. I have also had this issue multiple times (mainly with Asian guests), but it seems to have helped since I put a photo of my dog up. In the past, I tried to keep (my ridiculously friendly and affectionate) from interacting with them, but I refuse to do this now because it just creates stress for me and my dog. If they can't be bothered reading the listing, it's simply not my problem.