I was delighted to see the modifications Airbnb made to the pre booking questions & greeting. Allowing more scope for personalised questions seemed like a great idea.
I actually logged in using a friends account to see exactly what prospective guests see, since my account advises guests MUST acknowledge reading this little package. The questions and greeting appear as a speech bubble, and the guest must indeed send some sort of message to the host before they can continue with the booking. This is a great step but seems to do little to get guests to read or follow the questions.
I ask my guests what time they plan to arrive and if they have read the listing description and House Rules. Simple stuff that doesn't take long and helps make sure we are all on the same page in terms of what's expected and what to expect. Since the modifications came in I have had a total of ZERO guests that have done what's asked of them.
I reposted the questions for one guest because they said they were never shown them. The guest then sent the questions back to me as a message and still didn't bother answering them. I declined the booking request.
I also find it disappointing that so many people are happy to so quickly lie and say they have read the information when I know they have not. (I include a suggestion in all my listings and advise guests if they ask me about this suggestion they will be rewarded with FREE chocolate biscuits) Needles to say no one asks about the suggestions because no one has bothered reading the listing they just told me they read.
I can already hear people asking why I care either way? Well after 5 years hosting, I have found that when my guests understand what's expected and what the House Rules are, I have very few problems and the property is left in a clean and tidy condition. The guests that say "yes, yes, yes" to reading the information they ignored are generally the ones that leave rubbish, check out late, smoke inside etc, and are also the ones most offended when they are asked to pay for extra clean or deodorising. One of these guests actually sent the message: "no body told me I had to read the House Rules!! How was I supposed to know they applied to me!"
I want to hear how other hosts get guests to read the information, particularly those hosts offering a private room in their home.
@Brett3 I put everything in the House Manual. They're going to read that with great attention because it tells them where the coffee things are, how to work the TV, and all the other things that DO "apply to them." So while they're reading along, they're also reading, "No smoking except out on the terrace" and "No pets in the bed - you will forfeit your entire security deposit if you allow this" and the like. I have very few problems with rules being broken and I can only attribute it to this.
Hey @Ann72 ,
good tip and cheers for the feedback. I have a printed copy of the House Rules that I give to my guests for them to also ignore when they arrive. I guess I am really looking for a way to educate them BEFORE they arrive at my door.
@Brett3 I send the house manual, the driving directions, and a link to the guidebook to every guest about 10
days before check-in. Can they find these things in the listing once they have a confirmed booking? Probably, but I never count on it. So I always send them.
I never send the house rules, though. I’m not a big fan of rules myself, and since everyone coming to my places is on vacation, a list of rules is a definite buzz kill. But that’s why I put the things that might be considered “rules” in the house manual. They actually read them. And in reading them, they encounter the rules and seem to pay attention to them. One review even mentioned how “the notes the owner sent about the house were thorough while also making the space hospitable and welcoming.” And that’s the aim, isn’t it?
@Brett3 Who did he think they applied to, Santa Claus? Honestly, you couldn't make up some of the things guests come up with, and only other hosts would believe it.
I rememeber a host posting about a guest who stated aggressively that he shouldn't have to read ANY of the listing information.
Hey @Sarah977 ,
I like that Airbnb are sort of not really but almost interested in helping the hosts, but though I might get more input from other hosts. Maybe this is problem is not as common as i thought.
I do the same as you with the "passphrase" in the house rules. So I know who has read them.
About half don't read and lie through their teeth saying they did. I still accept them. I get it. I click yes on software agreements without reading them all the time, too.
But then I DO make a point of meeting them on arrival and point out my (simple) house rules. Mine are super easy, common sense. If I hosted a situation where my property or animals were more at risk, like a farm stay, I'd probably reject anyone who didn't give me the "passphrase".
Airbnb knows how important it is to most of us home-sharing hosts that our house rules be read. They heard this, they know this, and now they have made it even easier for guests not to read them.
Kind of reminds me of the Reviews fiasco last year. Hundreds of us asked Airbnb to change the review process. Many of us offered great suggestions. Airbnb changed the review process - ignoring our suggestions, and making it much, much worse.
Anyone else seeing a pattern here?
110% and with the push to go force instant book (new listing creation defaults to IB) and the upcoming public offering, continual update of ToS/T&C it will only get worse. When CS redirects me to feedback forms, I literally interrupt them politely and say I have to go.
@Brett3. Totally agree with you. Very few guests read the house rules.
I would even say that many do not read anything other than the first photos, a couple of reviews and the price. This is obvious from the questions they ask (and that are already explained in the listing) and when you require them to comply with the Rules and they don't know what you're talking about.
Hey @Hana12 ,
have you found any little tricks or methods that you have found that at least part way help? I actually followed another hosts suggestion of including a laminated copy of the House Rules in each listing. For my private room this does seem to help with the more experienced guests. I have found first timers are usually the most difficult to educate and don't want to read anything.
In my opinion it doesn't make much sense to leave the Rules written at home. For two reasons. 1. They don't read them and 2. Once inside the guests it doesn't make much sense. In my case I have a person dedicated to take care of the apartments and attend to the guests but even so (and especially in low season) there are guests who try to circumvent the Rules.
For me the main problem is the lack of defense of the hosts because Airbnb most of the time defends the guests against the complaints of the hosts.
@Brett3 I think it's important, if you don't already do this in your laminated copy of the House Rules, to make the page visually attractive, not just a page of text. People are very visually oriented these days, thay are accustomed to screen images that change quickly, and tend not to read long lines of text. Use different colors, different fonts, and small icons or graphics along with simple text. If you want them to take their shoes off at the door, put a picture of shoes next to that instruction. The picture will stick in their minds, whereas the written instruction might not.
Hey @Sarah977 ,
just wanted to add an update since posting. Out of the last 20 or so bookings with the new and improved pre-booking questions Airbnb set up, a total of 1 guest has read them. The worst have been other hosts that just flat out lied and completely ignored the rules. Tonight a guest actually told me it was not their fault they didn't read anything because they have memory retention issues. WTF!!! Does my listing say I have low mental capability so you should try one on??