Hi! I had my first guests a few days ago. I need some advice! My listing is No Smoking. A group booked through Instant Book, which they are supposed to have to agree to the house rules, and meet your qualifications before booking. I reached out to them a week prior, asked them to review the house rules, and made sure they knew I was available at any time if they had questions or concerns. No response. They arrive and then politely say well we smoke, but we want to be respectful and will of course only smoke outside. I was irked because they were not honest, and they were banking on getting away with it. They had plenty of time to clarify my non smoking policy. I also thought that No Smoking meant No Smokers! Anyway, after a discussion about this confusion they were actually good guests and left my place is excellent condition. How many stars should I give them and how do I write a review that is fair but not negative? Also is this common that people try to get away with smoking as long as it's outside? What verbiage should I use to make it crystal clear I don't allow smoking anywhere on my property? Thanks for your help!
@Luann32 If you don’t want smokers to book your house, you may want to explicitly put that in your house rule. No smoking means do not smoke in the area where it is prohibited.
Therefore, based on what you wrote, you should give them five stars because they did follow your no smoking rule and had kept your place very clean. What else can you expect from a guest?
If they had been responsive except for the first time you asked them to review the house rules. They probably still deserve a five star in communication.
@Luann32I agree, you can't score them down for smoking outside. We need to make it clear to guests so my house rule now states ' Non-smoker, please confirm you are a non-smoker'
I changed it from just 'No Smoking' because I had a guest who I could hear going outside several times throughout the night for a cigarette. Also he had a strong smell of tobacco on his clothes which was just as bad as smoking in the house.
@Luann32 "No Smoking" does NOT mean "no smokers." Your house rules only apply to the guests' conduct on your property; whatever they do elsewhere is outside of your jurisdiction.
Your guests observed your rules respecfully and left your place in excellent condition; why on earth would you give them any less than 5 stars? Surely you wouldn't be happy if they marked you down in their ratings for failing to provide things you hadn't offered in the first place.
@Moira21 I'm a non-smoker, but I occasionally find myself in the company of other smokers, and it's not uncommon that the smell stays in my clothes. If I were your guest, what would you expect me to do when I got back to your property? Strip naked at the front door before entering?
@Moira21 There might be a difference in degree between the smell of a passive smoker and and active smoker, but that distinction doesn't really carry over to its impact on your property. The main reason most hosts don't allow smoking in their homes is not that they dislike the odor, but rather that smoking indoors leaves residual odor in curtains, carpets, and hard surfaces, and increases the risk of damage and fire. In contrast, a person who merely carries the smell of smoke on their bodies is unlikely to leave a residual odor on anything other than the linens - which surely you wash between guests anyway. (Adding 200 ml of distilled vinegar to the laundry neutralizes these odors very handily - as well as body odor or perfume stench - and if you find a lingering smell in the air you can briskly wave a tea towel soaked in 50/50 vinegar solution around the room for a minute to neutralize it).
@Luann32 Please do not mark this guest down for not following House Rules- that would be terribly unfair. The guest was completely respectful of your no smoking rule and went elsewhere to smoke. You can't fault a guest for booking just because he's a smoker, if you weren't explicit in your ad that you do not accept smokers at all, even if they smoke outside the property. I'm sure you've updated your listing now, and I'd suggest that you reiterate this rule to guests at the time that they book, giving them time to cancel penalty free if they somehow missed it or don't agree.
And Andrew has a valid point- suppose the guest went to party or out with friends who smoked, even if they were a non-smoker themselves- what are you going to do, boot them out or give them a bad review because their shirt may have left the smell of smoke?
I had a same day guest smoking pot on my NON-smoking suite. Even though there's no shared space with my guests, I could smell it billowing through the vents into my area. To make matters worse, this guest apparently sprayed cologne all over the room to cover up the smell of smoke. I had to steam clean the carpets and wait 2 days for that to dry out.
After that I decided that having mention of no smoking in my rules was not enough. Since then I have stuck a NO SMOKING on the refrigerator and under the glass desktop. Additionally I mention "non-smoking" twice in my listing description, including in the very first paragraph of my summary at the top. Non-smoking stays are hard to find, so you really emphasize the point with the inevitable guests who don't care about rule.
@Pete69 This is a rather different issue from the one made in the original post, since your guest was very unequivocally violating your rules. Unfortunately, it's one that hosts bring up almost every day in this very forum. One host had the creative idea of changing the WiFi password to "NOSMOKING"
Hi @Luann32 Your listing is stunning! I, too, have a no smoking or smokers rule, but it is not unusual for guests to require some reminders about the rules. If no smoking is very important to you, it might be best for you to automatically highlight that rule in you communication to guest in the welcome message.
As to the review, I wouldn't make a big deal about the intent of the guests to smoke since apparently they did not smoke and they were great guests. If you think other hosts might need to be warned about their intent, you could refer to the need to remind them of the listed rules.
I'm in agreement with most of the other posters, @Luann32 . My house rules clearly state no smoking, e-cigarettes, or vaping (as well as drugs) on my property. In fact, it is noted in the house manual that if a guest has a need to smoke, to go to the sidewalk or back alley (it is an urban property). There are also no smoking signs posted by all exits so it is a constant reminder!
I have had both short term and, surprisingly, long term guests, who are smokers, but all read the rules and respected them. In fact, a few have visited during our cold, windy winter and still went outside multiple times day and night to satisfy their fix. Another guest collected their butts and threw them away so as not to litter the area.
@Andrew1406 makes a valid point as well about there being multiple sources of smoke (and other odors). As hosts, we need to be prepared to deal with all kinds of issues. Most times these are easily rectified.
My smoking guests have been respectful and surprised me with trying to honor the policy. Since these visitors have followed the rules, I have never docked them for cleanliness or any other stars. Surprisingly enough, some of them have indicated that they want to return.
Just be consistent about your no smoking expectations with guests and I think you'll be fine.
P.S. Be careful about prohibiting or declining smokers outright. This might be viewed as a discrimination issue by Airbnb.
@Gregory88 I agree about the statement that it could be considered discrimination to state "no smokers" as opposed to "no smoking". It would be akin to stating "no pet owners", even if the guest had no intention of bringing their pet, just because there might be some dog hairs among their belongings that could get left in the listing. As long as a guest follows the house rules, I don't think we can dictate what they do when they are not on our property, in fear that that will somehow impact our listing.
@Gregory88 On Airbnb It's currently okay to decline guests who smoke as long as it's not prohibited by law. So it's not discrimination, it's a personal preference as to who you rent your room, house etc to. So to state non-smokers in the listing is not breaking any rules.
@Andrew1406 Thanks for your odour tip. A good dose of fresh air also helps. It's one less smell from guests I'll have to deal with in my guest room.
@Moira21 You probably aren't breaking a specific Airbnb policy, but "no smokers" is not an enforceable rule. If a guest confirms that they don't self-identify as a smoker, but decide to smoke outside of your home during their visit, what do you think you can do about it?
@Andrew1406 Until I see its officially not enforceable (in black & white) its a rule in my house. If someone wants to smoke, there's hundreds of apartments, hotels and guest houses in the town that have smoking rooms, quite a few charging less than I do per night. We can only trust Airbnb guests to be up front if asked whether or not they're smokers.