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?
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
@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".