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?
MUST LOVE DOGS
DOGS LIVE HERE
YOU ARE THE GUEST
THEY ARE THE CO-HOSTS
YOU CAN'T AVOID THEM
DON'T BOOK HERE IF YOU
I LOVE IT! That is definitely more blunt than I've been for sure. I like referring to them as co-hosts so I'm going to steal that. It gives the correct impression that you will be interacting with them.
I figure no matter what i do there are always those few who are going to be difficult, but I can handle 1 in 10 or 12, not every 3rd group. Ugh.
Hi Heidi, Savannah and everyone else,
I have lived in Asia for over 23 years and can maybe help explain why Asian guests might often be afraid of dogs.
The simple reason is that in many cases, they have never owned a dog or been around people who have. Unlike back home, where if you didn't own a dog, then you had a number of friends who did, it's just not that way here. We have a beautiful Chocolate Lab, the loveliest girl from what is just about the most easygoing dog breed name you can name, and people sometimes jump back when we're walking her like there is a tiger on the leash. When we lived in Seoul, South Korea (where it is even worse than here in Hong Kong, where we live now), I once saw a guy start climbing up a tree to get away from our dog when I rounded the corner with her--and she was on her leash!
Houses are often small in big Asian cities, and until recently, families used to be big--and most of the economies here have only started to grow within the last 20-40 years. So, the idea of people having a dog in the home is pretty new for most Asian families, and the majority simply don't understand our dog culture. Plus, they don't know which breeds are friendly and which have the potential to be vicious. You wouldn't believe how many times I've had people here ask me if our Lab was a Rottweiler or a Pit Bull.
So, I didn't take what you said to be racist; it was an observation. But now maybe you can understand the reasons behind it--and if your potential guests are Asians coming from Asian destinations, then you might need to emphasise in your replies to them, VERY STRONGLY, that you have dogs living with you in your home. We've already covered here the point that people often don't read the listings thoroughly, and so you can't assume that they will. Press the point on them firmly (and repeatedly if necessary), and you should reduce or eliminate the potential for misunderstandings.
Hi Rich! I've lived in S. Korea for 6 years. One of my dogs is actually a Korean rescue dog. I'm not worried about being racist, I'm worried about Airbnb flagging me as racist. They have been pushing equality, and I really support that. I don't want my account flagged in any way because people who book my place are afraid of dogs.
Here is an example. I had 3 groups in a row stay at the house, all three were difficult because of the dogs and their reviews reflected that. The next Asian group that booked on Instant Book required my approval. He should have passed thru no problem but the system asked me to manually accept him. This is done if you haven't updated your calendar or you've not been online in awhile. Neither of those applied to me.
On the flip side I don't remember airbnb asking me my race, and it's not on my drivers license, so I could just be paranoid. I need my foil hat!
Haha. Yeah, the foil hat might be a good idea, lol.
Anyway, I would just hit your guests over the hit with the fact that you have dogs. Drive the message home however you have to do so. The suggestions above about putting dog pics on your listing might help as well. If you have the five main photos like we do showing when they open the link, then at least one dog pic should be there, in case they don't go through the rest of your photos.
We're completely new to hosting, but I've been reading through community posts for months and have seen hosts repeatedly remarking about how the guests who had given them a bad review or written to Airbnb to complain had not read through their listing. So it seems to be a pretty persistent problem, and I'm guessing that has happened with you in at least a couple of cases. Don't forget as well the language barrier; they may open it up in English, not use the translation tool and just read the things they want to see, such as pricing and availability. So they may never actually read on enough to see your message about dogs.
@Heidi-And-Savannah0 My dog is actually a Korean Jindo. How she appeared at my place in the boonies of Mexico as a 5 month old puppy is a mystery.
Maybe instead of posting photos of the dogs looking happy and friendly, you should post photos of a snarling, teeth-bared one :-)
If i owned 3 dogs and did not have a separate entrance for guests, I would not list my home on airbnb to be honest. I try to be as clear as possible with my listings but you will always have people who don't read the description fully, always!
In this case, it will affect your reviews ( I know it's not fair since you mention the dogs in the description but it is what it is)
In terms of the shift to whole house rentals, this is true. I currently host 9 units, 3 of them have a basement and upstairs unit which we rent separately and the other 6 are whole house rentals however all 9 units have their own private entrance and with this, we rarely have any issues with guest discomfort of privacy or anything of that sort.
If there is a way to have a private entrance, that is always the way to go. I would personally never rent out a shared accommodation, too much hassle and stress. Newbies on airbnb tend to misunderstand listings and you don't want a bad review because they don't have good comprehension skills or just as bad, them asking to leave because they are not happy with shared accommodations.
@Sean433 I've been listing my shared accommodation for 3 years and I've not experienced any hassle or stress with my guests, who have all been lovely. And I also have a large dog who not one guest has been afraid of.
@Sean433 : we're happily cruising at about 4.93 for shared accomodations, and I'm pretty sure in our market that it's far more profitable -- as well as the only arrangement that fits out business model. Equally the vast majority of listings in our market, which I monitor daily, are shared.
Newbies can be educated, if you have the proper attitude and approach to consistent messaging and materials.
"To be honest", you should not be commenting about shared listings. As other hosts have pointed out, we are many, and we are very, very profitable. And a bonus? We don't have the numerous issues that off-site hosts encounter on a regular basis because We. Are. Onsite.
Another bonus? Guests LOVE us! We offer a unique experience that can't be duplicated.
You do you. And we'll do us.
@Sean433 Anyone can comment here on anything they please. It's commenting on something of which you have no experience, as if you are some kind of expert on that, that riled some home-share hosts, me included.
By contrast, a host started a thread here a few weeks ago where he listed all the points he felt were essential for getting satisfied guests and 5* reviews. Many hosts responded, pointing out that many of his points might very well apply to a listing like his, a luxury villa, but not to others' listings. He took no offense to anyone's comments, in fact he humbly said he'd learned a lot from everyone's responses and that he now realized that his suggestions didn't necessarily apply across the board.
I think what riled you up was more the comment on the dog as I know how some can he sensitive about their pets. But my comment was not about whether you should or should not have pets. My comment was about how I can’t imagine dealing with guests especially the newbies who don’t understand home sharing coming on site and then being upset about seeing three dogs. That’s all. Take a break, relax and don’t make it into something bigger then it is.
second, you assumed I know nothing about home sharing which you are wrong about. Prior to starting 3 years ago, I had two friends who were solely doing the home sharing model. Even without pets, they had several difficulties. Ones was so bad , she stopped it all together after she had a squatter who was verbally abusive. She had to deal with him for 2 months and wouldn’t believe how miserable she was to go back to her own home. She also had some other rather risky encounters . The other ones experience is generally ok, some bad moments but ok. I learned a lot from them and I learned the home sharing model is a risk I would never take if I am living in a home especially if I had 3 dogs and especially since many guests don’t have good comprehension skills especially the newbies who assume
they are getting their own private unit or even the entire house.
I noticed there are new guests with new accounts on a daily basis messaging me. And even though I rent whole units out and clearly state it’s not the entire house, I still have people ask me on a 1 bedroom basement apartment which is $70/night “do we get the entire house”? Some think for $70 they get an entire 3 level 5,000 square foot in a busy city. I deal with lots of guests who don’t read my descriptions as clear as they are so again Sarah, my comment with the person about the 3 dogs was made with the notion of how inevitably she will always face these misunderstandings with newby guests no matter what she does and that is not a pleasant experience.
So relax, don’t assume what I know and don’t know unless you ask me. Life is too short to get riled up about an honest opinion that was not written to draw offense