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?
@Suzanne302 Yes. The dog comments didn't rile me at all (Oh wait, I've been informed that they did, so they must have), it was the pronouncements laying out how stressful and hassle-filled home sharing is, based, we are now informed, on the experiences of two of his friends, one of whom, it sounds like, was under the impression that she had to suck up bad behavior from a guest for 2 months, rather than booting him out. And I don't feel agitated in the least and need to relax, simply because I disagreed with his statements.
A guest posted a topic yesterday complaining about the customer service he received, and it read to me as if he thought he was directly contacting Airbnb, as so often happens here. So I just told him it was a community forum and if he had an issue to resolve, he'd have to contact Airbnb directly. He shot me back a message accusing me of being passive-aggressive and then telling me to "kindly shut up". As if that's not a passive-aggressive statement.
Curious how many people accuse others of the exact behavior they are displaying themselves, and can't see it.
I'm a dog owning host and I find the majority of guests (who express a preference) say they like having a dog around because, for example, they have a dog at home or grew up with dogs.
I heavily feature Sydney throughout my listing. My profile pic is of me with a puppy, and that I used to be a dog fosterer for a rescue charity. There's also a big pic of my dog sitting on his own in the photos and I mention him several times in the written blurb. He looks scary and sounds scary when people knock at the front door - this is clearly stated in the listing - so he probably deters all but genuine animal lovers or those who are desperate for somewhere to stay and will put up with a dog even though they don't like them. The first 'rule' I explain to guests on check-in is to keep their bedroom door shut otherwise Sydney will come and join them!
I wonder if it's because my listing is a room in our home with shared facilities rather than separate accommodation that prospective guests check more thoroughly who'll they be sharing with? Because, more often than not, he's been seen as a plus point by guests rather than a negative.
@Sarah1718 My dog is also a plus point with guests. Not only is she a super watchdog, so they can rest assured their stuff is safe here, she's sucky-friendly and once she recognizes that the guest belongs here (she'll bark ferociously when they first arrive) then if they are friendly to her, she starts whining as soon as they walk in the gate. She also has a very odd idiosyncrasy in that if she is happy to see someone, she always bends down and picks up a leaf- she greets you with a leaf in her mouth, whining. She won't give it to you, it's not a gift, it's more like something to contain her excitement or to show you what a good hunter she is (Look what I caught while you were out 🙂 That gesture wins over most people and when my guests leave, many say they'll really miss the dog.
Yes, @Sarah1718 , my Ben Collie is often seen as a plus point, and he has some lovely reviews! He enjoys sitting with the guests at breakfast, either under the table between the two sets of feet, or shamelessly sitting up & begging from each in turn! I usually remember to volunteer to remove him, but everyone says to leave him be, & some say they enjoy his company! He also gives guests a very noisy welcome on arrival! - Usually followed by a request for a tummy tickle, or a ball game!
- I think you may be right that in a home share, mucking in with shared facilities, people check who they're sharing with... (Or perhaps the British & Europeans are less 'entitled'?) With me, the folk who are startled are usually Asian, probably for reasons of culture/upbringing, as the other @Sarah977 said..... Tho' most Chinese & Korean guests have fallen for him, & a past regular lady Indian guest loved him.... blowing my own hypothesis here....
It’s not racial profiling. I’ve hosted people of all races and many counties of origin.
In my experience most people in general don’t read the whole listing narrative, or even look at all the photos, and they definitely don’t deserve a discount for proving they did. It should be a given. You look before you buy/book.
If you went to a foreign country where you weren’t fluent, you’d find a way to translate.
You’ve offered the information. You’re adding photos. That’s enough.
I'm facing the same issue, listing states dog on property, guests need to approve they are fine with the dog there. Unfortunately, as the rest of you I have negative feedback from guests.
How are you all dealing with the lower star reviews as a result of guests experience being affected by dogs?
I haven't had a low review based on the dogs yet, knock on wood. I go out of my way to great guests in the driveway, no one meets the dogs until all their stuff is hauled downstairs and I've had a chance to talk about how old they all are haha. I also have all the bad stuff my dogs do right at the beginning of my listing. I think, and again I'm hypothesizing, that I would reply to their review with something like "we discussed my dogs on x number of occasions. I'm sorry you didn't realize they were real and not statues".
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.
I'm a little late to this conversation but my listing has the word doggo in the title! (Cute inner city pad featuring doggo), and the recent bookings I've had guests have spoken about how excited they are to meet my dog!