Having hosted for a few years now, I have noticed some trends of "informational holes" in guest perspectives. These are some things I wish guests knew. Maybe I will write an article! Curious to hear from others.
-ABB is NOT a regular old vacation rental. There is such a vast diversity of spaces-- from the professionally managed caravan in a beach town to the spare bedroom in an urban apartment shared with the owner. Guests need to really understand the rules of the spaces they rent. They may fall in love with a listing but be unpleasantly surprised that they cannot treat it like a hotel or commercially available vacation rental chain. Hosts set boundaries based on what they are comfortable allowing in their own homes. Because these ARE people's HOMES in many cases. Rules in each space will be different and may differ still from that hotel you stayed in or beach cottage you rented from Craigslist.
-Extra guests are not cool. Again, these spaces are not a free for all. There are guest limits in place. When booking, guests should be very clear on the max capacity of each home. Hosts typically do not allow exceptions nor should a guest assume they will be okay if they are within one or two people of the max. Kids are included in these counts.
-Visitors may or may not be cool. There are liability issues in place. Guests might love to have family over for dinner but again, they need to be 1000% sure the is okay with the host. Guests should never assume that the space can be opened to anyone who is not on the reservation.
- Leaving the place a big mess is never okay. Airbnb is not a hotel. Yes, you pay a cleaning fee, but that doesn't give guests the okay to leave lots of trash, spills, odors, pet waste, etc. Wipe up that soda that you knocked over. Take the trash out. Don't cook fish and leave the container inside.
-Ratings are serious. Hosts depend on good ratings for income and to stay on the site. If you have a problem try to resolve it with the host instead of airing your grievance in the rating. Understand that ABB sees anything less than a 5 as a host's failure whereas guests can have very poor ratings and still continue to book.
- Some hosts are selective. Your booking request may be rejected if it is clear that you don't understand or seem to respect the terms in the listing. Do not automatically assume because you have sent a request it will be accepted. Your communication is very important. If the host asks for certain information, include that in your message. Put yourself in a host's shoes-- would you welcome someone into your home who didn't even have the time to read what will make them a great guest?
- Pets are not welcome unless the host says it explicitly. Do not assume that your tiny dog, cat, goldfish or bird will go unnoticed. Pet-friendly listings will STATE that. You can filter for places that allow pets. Don't try to convince a host that your pet is special if they don't take pets. Move on to another listing. Understand that even if a listing is pet friendly, there may be limits on the number of pets or sizes/breeds etc. You may also incur pet fees. You will always be expected to clean up after your pets and monitor their behavior.
- Parties are not welcome unless the listing is "suitable for events." The vast majority of ABB spaces reject parties vehemently. You can absolutely expect a poor review if you use an ABB as a party and it is not allowed. You should also be prepared for charges for damages and extra cleaning.
-Anyone who is not staying in the space can't book on your behalf. Even if you are a mom trying to surprise her daughter by gifting a honeymoon stay, you can't book if you are not staying. This is called third-party booking. In addition to having implications for insurance, hosts do not want to give access information to anyone who is not paying to be in the space. ABB can make a great getaway gift IF you are also going on the getaway. If not, you should not be booking.
What else would you add?
@Laura2592 It's true. The bot has blocked the calendar of many hosts advertising as such.
This is a great post! I think you've got it covered.
- Hosts who don't offer self-check-in will have to arrange their schedules around your arrival. It's especially important to be forthcoming with your ETA and respect the check-in time window. Instead of asking for an early appointment to drop off bags, research where temporary bag storage options are in your destination.
- Cancellation policies exist for a reason. Read it before you book - if you feel that a host would be treating you unfairly by honoring it, don't book that listing. And if you can't afford to take a loss when plans change or emergencies occur, get yourself some travel insurance.
- Same goes for rules. Don't challenge a host's House Rules. If you don't agree with them, book elsewhere.
- Airbnb doesn't verify that a listing is accurate or legal before it goes live. If you're the first person to book an unreviewed home, you're also the de facto inspector, so you better have a backup plan.
- If you see auto-text about Cleaning and Safety protocol on a listing, it only means that the host was forced to click a button. Don't rely on the presumption that it's genuinely being followed.
- If there's a problem the host can't fix and you believe you deserve a refund, you must be prepared to vacate the property. You don't get to stay at an Airbnb for free just because you couldn't find somewhere else to go.
- While Airbnb offers a wide range of listing types, they are all intended solely for overnight accommodation. If you have other purposes in mind such as events, parties, or film shoots, don't waste hosts' time or lie about your intentions - instead, use one of the specialized platforms that caters to your type of occasion such as Peerspace.
@Laura2592 Here's a couple more:
Guests need to understand that a host's cancellation policy is a contract they are agreeing to when they book. It's crucial to read and be clear on the terms of the cancellation policy before you book- up to when you can cancel and get a refund, what percentage of refund you would get, or whether you would be due any refund at all.
Any refund due is based on the total cost of the booking, not how much you paid up front. If you are due a 50% refund, but you only paid 50% up front, you won't get any money back.
Just because a guest cancelled "only" 6 hours after they booked doesn't necessarily mean they get a refund. It's a business contract. Read it.
Guests need to thoroughly read everything the host has written in the listing description, clicking through on all "Read more" and "Get details". It isn't the host's fault if you arrived with a 20 pound turkey to roast only to find out there isn't an oven. If the host didn't list "Oven" in their amenities, you can't expect there to be one.
If you need clarification about anything in the listing info, or have special needs, like an allergy to pets, or scented products, send the host an Inquiry message with your questions before committing to a booking to make sure the listing will be suitable for you. Don't make assumptions.
"Even if you are a mom trying to surprise her daughter by gifting a honeymoon stay, you can't book if you are not staying. This is called third-party booking"
...lol. wonder where you got that example... 😉
@Laura2592OMG - You read my mind. My room is in my apartment, so it is important for me to know a bit more about the person especially during these times. My primary focus was international students and travelers for 10 plus years, So I am not a novice. People use to introduce themselves with humble respect and tell you their reason, what they were doing, and just general "this is who I am" information.
Now I get these "hey is your place available". No information given and then when I ask, they say I've found another listing or I have to text 2 or more time to get information. If a person cannot tell me about themselves and their visiting objectives, then I have no choice but to decline for my own since of security. Especially in the face of the pandemic, and this new dubious tone amongst users.
I understand the landscape has changed so, maybe it's time for an Airbnb Code of Conduct guide to be given to new members and when trying to book a room. Also we as hosts should be given more information on visitors. Maybe they have a preset profile that they can send as an introduction and with a reason for their travels. This is what I've done when using Airbnb.
You all have listed the same points that I would like for a guest to know about Airbnb. The one thing that I would add is:
- Airbnb is holding your money, and hosts don't receive payment until after the guest arrives.
- It's not okay for you or your surrogate to come and see the place before booking, or allow your family members or friends to enter to take a look at the space after you've checked in.
- You are committing theft (a crime) from someone's home when you take something off premises without permission, don't return it or reimburse the owner for the loss.
- It's generally not okay to move things from where you found them, but at least put them back before you checkout.
- It's really not cool to use appliances or amenities in a manner that you wouldn't do at home (e.g., using eight sets of towels for a two night stay, leaving the balcony door open while running the AC, using excessive amounts of paper towels and toilet paper, etc.).
Good guest advice, everyone! I have one more.
Please turn on your notification settings, so that you will be notified via email and/or device messaging if I respond to a question, send you a message, or provide any updates relevant to your booking. So many times I try to respond to your question or message you with info, only to get radio silence. Then, 2 days later, I get “Sorry! I just now saw that I had a message while browsing the site”. Airbnb does not send a lot of spurious messages (when the software is working correctly!) so please make sure your notification settings are enabled.