After weeks of back n forth with "Support" on an open Resolution Center ticket about someone smoking cigars in our condo, where we had to replace the air filter on the A/C, buy those anti-smoke air fresheners, clean all the sheets twice (because they smoked in bed of course), we were denied an extra cleaning fee with this reason:
"I noticed that you are requesting compensation over a smoking fee, please note that we can only compensate for physical damages, as a third-party not present during the reservation, we can't charge the guest for non-physical damages, because there is no evidence that the event has caused lasting damage."
So your house rules about no smoking that people must agree to?
Worthless. Smoke up Johnny! AirBnB don't care.
And your "Security Deposit"?
Yeah, that doesn't exist because a "third party" is deciding what's damage.
But the IPO is coming up, so that's nice.
Have the words "No smoking" in your title. Example:
Windsor Hills Resort near Disney World, non-smoking
I successfully claimed for dry cleaning fees following a guest smoking in my listing. It was some time ago, but the balance towards hosts was a little different then.
When I first heard of STRenting in 2014 it first struck me from the outset as a very 'risky model' to make money (allowing total strangers into one's personal space), if one didn't have their own human controls in place.
Then I became aware of one company that brought one more customers than anyone else (Airbnb) by far; I surmised because they are very pro guest, requiring very little of them. There had to be a trick, there always is for anyone to zoom pass the competition so quickly.
I accepted the risk and the rest is history.
Nothing has changed in 6 years; certainly not Airbnb nor human nature.
I have been successful in collecting my smoking deposit more than once. I have it in my house rules and in the welcome message as well as signs throughout the house. I take pictures of the butts and whatever other evidence of smoking I can find and get a receipt for the extra cleaning, filters and dry cleaning from the cleaning company
@Inna22 - here's the thing, we did all of what you suggested, and more for this case. We too have gotten extra cleaning fees for smoking in the past. However, this time, for whatever reason, we've been passed from one Case Manager to another - each never reading what the other did and none doing anything but passing us to another CM who then want us to start over. It's beyond dumb. I think we're on our 5th Case Manager.
The only thing to make of it is that they want us to just give up and go away. At this point it's now become a white whale.
@Amy-and-Brian0 sorry you are learning this the hard way. But yes, security deposits are about as secure as leaving an open bag of cash in an airport bathroom.
We had a guest who smoke a lot of pot in our space recently. Thank goodness it was right before we had blocked off our own stay as it took the entire 3 days of open windows and fans/air filters to get the smell to dissipate. I didn't even bother filing a claim, I just left an appropriate review. I would advise the same in your case to warn other hosts. And low stars with "would not host again."
Let's just remind ourselves of what Airbnb promised us in the wake of the Orinda tragedies last Halloween about "establishing and enforcing stronger guest standards" and "protecting hosts from bad guests". Almost a full year on, and the only changes we've seen have been very much for the worse. And they wonder why we don't trust a word they trot out.
Strengthening our commitment to community standards..
And Catherine Powell's predecessor Laura Chambers, excitedly telling us about how all these awesome initiatives Airbnb were rolling out to 'have hosts' backs' were going to be "foundational and transformational in the way hosts feel supported when things go wrong"
Guest Standards | Host Q&A |
@Fred13 has the exact right approach here...don't expect anything and you won't be disappointed.
This business of host guarantees and having a hosts back covered is simply marketing....it is designed to do one thing only, and that is increase the platform user base.
Unfortunately hosts take what Airbnb say literally and consider they do not need to set up a business working model.
I was like that, all starry eyed, didn't have to bother about expensive insurance, Airbnb were only too willing to help me out if something went wrong....lost count of the number of times in 2015 they told me they had my back covered!! But spending time here on the CC made me realise that the covering Airbnb had on my back was verbal tissue paper.....not something to be relied on for strength.
I took out and insurance policy with a reputable insurer to cover STR damage and liability but, I set a deductable/excess of $3,500 and this brought the premium down to 3/4 of 9/10th off bugger all....it costs me $2.71 per guest night! The insurer (Commercial Union) has been effectively removed from anything but a catastrophic claim. I then took an amount gamble and set up a damage fund, and $4 from every hosting night went into that damage fund. This fund was not for general maintenance, it was to cover breakages and minor damage the guest might do. In my first full year of hosting that $4 per night for my 115 hosting nights amounted to $600. It never actually got to that, things did get broken, but I had my own back covered and when damage occurred I just pulled some money out of that fund, fixed it up and got on with hosting. I have never lodged a damage claim with Airbnb and I never will.
Amy & Brian, try to head off some of these issue from happening in the first place! Get onto Amazon and buy one of these........
Point out to the guest that all hell will break lose if anyone smokes in there and you will be notified on your phone if it goes off. It's a public place like a hospital or a restaurant, smoking is off limits and physically policed!
You can then rest assured that you won't have to deal with that issue again....$48 US is a small price to pay to kiss a major hosting problem goodbye.
PVC clear counter-top protectors are also a good investment. It comes in 3 mt rolls and stops knife damage and makes a careless guest realise, that hot frypan or pot is doing damage before it actually does! At $70 pr roll it is far cheaper and less stressful than hassling about at $4,000 benchtop replacement with the guest and Airbnb!
Without bench protector in place.........
with bench protector......
It is double sided, as soon as one side gets scored, turn it over.....I find one piece lasts for 8 months or more and my timber countertops stay in pristine condition!
Try to take the guesswork out of hosting, it will save your pocket, and your sanity in trying to deal with the Airbnb resolution centre!
@Robin4 Good tips, as always.
FYI, when answering North America hosts, what you call a bench is called a counter or countertop- I recall being totally confused by one of your posts long ago, because I couldn't figure out what you were talking about (there were no photos). A bench, to a Canadian or American (not sure about other English-speaking countries) is something you sit on, not prepare food on. 😜
@Fred13 has the exact right approach here...don't expect anything and you won't be disappointed.
I would have to respectfully disagree with you Robin. It is the right of a host to maintain their expectations.
It is that lethargic attitude which has allowed Airbnb to take advantage of hosts. The word "No" needs to be practiced and the Terms of Service including Hosts House Rules need to be upheld to the letter. It's all very simple, it is all written down before the contract is entered into. That needs to be adhered to.
The fact that nothing changed for Fred in the last 6 years and for hosts in general can be put down to that passive laissez faire attitude which allowed Airbnb to exploit hosts in the way that they did, do and are. I believe both yourself and Fred were part of a "Host Advisory Council" (I know Fred was, just not sure whether you were), just what advice was given to them? Was anything advised that resulted in any benefit to any host? Were they told "No"?
So here we are, discussing the same abuse which could have been eradicated years ago and in exactly the same position as then. @Super47 has it right there... Airbnb need to be held to account against all the promises they make and it needs to be continually reminded that they fail to deliver on every promise of improvement they plan to make.
Lip Service is just not good enough.
@Amy-and-Brian0 are not talking about a $4 incidental damage fund - they are talking about a deliberate breach of contract and failure of Airbnb to uphold Hosts' House Rules and the booking contract.
"This business of host guarantees and having a hosts back covered is simply marketing....it is designed to do one thing only, and that is increase the platform user base"
There is a recognised Code of Ethics and Standards in marrketing and advertising communications that all businesses internationally are expected to adhere to.
All marketing communications should be legal, decent, honest and truthful and should not mislead the consumer.
All marketing communications should be prepared with a sense of responsibility both to the consumer and to society.
All marketing communications should conform to the principles of fair competition as generally
accepted in business.
Airbnb's Host Guarantee is unquestionably and intentionally dishonest, deceptive and misleading, and is rooted in deliberate falsehoods. There are no valid or acceptable excuses for the company's continuance in using it as a marketing tool. Such an illusory scheme should have no place in any fair, honest or ethical business, and needs to be dismantled, forthwith.
I don't disagree with a thing either of you say.....attitudes like mine breed entitled guests and encourage companies like Airbnb to dodge their responsibilities.
I have been here long enough to know my voice means nothing where the company are concerned. It doesn't matter how much I might protest against some issue or other, (and there are plenty to protest about) it is not going to change. When faced with a threat of contempt in a court of law Airbnb's legal team will hide behind TOS clauses that are so nebulous as to be meaningless to justify their stance. Trying to rationale with Airbnb is like whacking a ghost.
The day of reckoning will come, they will overstep a boundary, set a legal precedent and their sins will come back to bite them in the bum.....it is just a matter of time. But what do I do, shut up shop until that time comes?
My job is not to be a moral arbiter or savior to the hosting cause.......my job is to be a short term rental host and to make that run as smoothly as possible.
I am not saying it is right but, I have through a considerable amount of experience found ways to make my job run smoothly! I don't experience most of the problems that we see here on the CC day after day because I have a work around strategy to make sure these problems don't arise. If I can pass some of that on to help other new hosts then that is what I will do.
I can piss into the wind and quote what Airbnb should be doing but all that will achieve is, it would get me censored from the CC, so, what sort of help is that.
Pen, what you say about the Host Protection Scheme being fraudulent, deceptive and illusory would be utterly true if Airbnb rejected every compensation claim out of hand. But that is not the case, they do honour enough claims to give their HPS some air of respectability. If they were ever legally challenged about the scheme they could put forth a high percentage of claims which were successfully administered! They know just how far to keep their toe in the water without getting their foot burnt!
I agree, they should make the claims process much easier and more transparent, but logically, why would they! All that would do is make them part with more money for no return. Airbnb have shown their colours over the past 5 years, we all know what their agenda is, there is not going to be a Jesus moment here, Airbnb will do just enough to keep the ship upright!
Ian, Anne Marie, Penelope each day I fight the battles I can win, not try to change the direction of the war! I respect your opinions though and I don't disagree!
This is the way I really see the Airbnb model; as to what is "fair, legal, decent, honest and truthful, with or without a sense of responsibility, cunning or just plain ruthless", some of the terms used above, is up to each one of you to decide for yourselves.
How you capture a market like Airbnb did via the Internet?
1. You first create a GUI (Graphical User Interface) as to make your product easy to use.
2. You offer a better deal to the suppliers (aka hosts) then anyone else (host fee of only 3%).
3. You offer the consumer (guests) 'money back guarantees' or 'your money back, no questions asked', etc. which instills customer confidence; but the cost of those 'benevolent' policies will always come at the expense of the suppliers, not out of the coffer of the middle man (aka the match-maker - Airbnb).
So, the 3% gets everyone to list with you which creates a huge 'free' inventory for the consumer to pick from. You increase your consumer base by treating them golden, and needless to say the supplier at times will take an absolute beating with 'returns' and 'refunds', because 'satisfaction is guaranteed'. Sounds familiar?
Host Guarantee. Of course is a bit of a ploy. IF it was truly a real guarantee, hosts will not be paying only 3% hosts fee.
Deposit system. It gets customers nervous and yes it could turn off the precious golden goose - the consumer (aka guests).
That is how I viewed and took the Airbnb model to be back in 2014, it is not that different than what I seen before many, many times. I have no clue if Airbnb figured all this back in 2008, but that I believe is its intended model and its continual mentality.
I am comfortable with their model because to me is strictly a business symbiosis, regardless of the romance copy; if we both get what we want we will be 'partners', the day we don't we will go our separate ways. Its a choice, it never was a life commitment.
Well, there are plenty of online businesses who employ a different business model and seem to have done quite well for themselves. I've never been an Amazon customer (yeah, I know, I'm a dinosaur), but people who do use it a lot have told me that their customer service is excellent, that your call gets answered almost right away, that instead of arrogantly thinking they know it all, they ask their customers what they want and listen and act on the suggestions.
Maybe I missed it, but I haven't heard that Jeff Bezos has needed to take out high-interest loans to keep his business afloat.