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?
Just an update:
I got another booking, this time an instant book. When I messaged him he responded 17 hours later with "We love dog but one of us has animal allergy. Sorry about that". So I called Airbnb. They told me unless it is explicitly listed in my listing and rules that if they have allergies or are afraid of dogs their reservation will be canceled, there was nothing I could do.
So the airbnb manager (yes, I got escalated to a manager) said I need to say, "If you are afraid or have allergies to dogs, your reservation will be canceled immediately" and I have 24 hours to cancel their reservation.
Now I'm hoping that the strong wording will discourage additional "allergies" or people who are afraid, so I don't have to cancel, but I wanted to update everyone if they are also having the same issue.
I've been a host since 2016 and I have a cat. The first line any of my future guests read on my listing are "Before you read any further, I have a cat. DO NOT book this room if you are allergic or do not like animals.". The first photo they see is of my cat lying on the guest bed olus I have a few other choice photos of him on the listing.
Despite this I've still had one guest (German) who walked in and said "oh, you have a cat" (as she was holding a newborn baby she had failed to tell me about), another (Indian) who screamed, yes, screamed when she saw the cat and demanded that I get it away from her, another (Japanese) who asked me to keep the cat away from her during her stay (I explained that would be impossible) and letting me know that she wouldn't touch him (?) and yet another guest (British) who actively avoided the cat at all costs and my cat did the same to her in return. I've also had a guest (Dutch) who was a professed cat lover and alleged cat owner "play" with my cat by putting his hands around his throat and held him down. I was seconds away from doing something silly when the guest saw the look on my face, immediately let go and backed away from the cat. He didn't apologise, just said that was how he "played" with his own cats.
Thankfully, the majority of my guests book my guest room for the cat and the few guests that he stays away from I do too - I trust his judgement.
I'm at a stage on Airbnb where bad reviews RE: the cat wouldn't make a difference in how many bookings I get. I'd be booked 365 days out of the year if I didn't block off some days to have a break so I make it VERY clear that this is my home, my rules, my cat - and if people don't like that they can stay somewhere else. Be firm. When the Indian woman had the reaction she did I whipped out my phone and said I could call Airbnb and find her somewhere else to stay since she hadn't read my listing properly - she of course declined.
P.S. I only mentioned where the guests were from to highlight that people from all around the world can be peculiar when it comes to reading a listing properly and how they feel about animals.