What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10
2,201 Views

I am a "new" host to Airbnb having just started in January of this year, but have done event planning at our space prior to using this platform. I am still learning from my mistakes daily 🙂 What advice would you give to new hosts about mistakes you have made  and things to watch out for? Any best practices to share?

 

For my own part I DEFINITELY recommend having a doorbell camera. It has been incredibly helpful for us and saved us a few times. I would love to hear what others share from their own cache of hosting wisdom. 

21 Replies

Re: What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

in
Sofia, Bulgaria
Level 10

The biggest mistake is to get addicted:
- to open the site every 30 min to check for new bookings,
- to watch the phone app like a zombie,
- to jump from the bed at night, receiving new reservation in your dream,
- to calculate your earnings 2 months ahead,
- to watch your booking rate with bloodshot eyes and
- to shake like a leaf before every guest review, slowly transforming your mind in to a victim of your own fears.`

Re: What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

in
Barcelona, Spain
Level 10

 I'm crying, man XD

Re: What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

in
Boise, ID
Level 10

@Laura2592   Biggest mistake I made as a new host was to allow myself to be bullied by a guest.  We had two chicks book our guesthouse who brought two toddlers with them(despite our no-children policy).  I should have canceled their reservation the minute they showed up with the little ones in tow--big mistake.  They ended up "beautifying" our couches with a sharpie, one of them fell into the unsecured in-ground pool--not to mention the mess that was left behind. 

 

I have learned since to speak up when a guest violates our house rules, and I am not afraid to give a guest the boot if need be.  😉

Re: What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

in
Seattle, WA
Level 10

The biggest problem starting was desperation. 

I did not yet have confidence that Airbnb would fill my calendar.

 

I didn't say "No" to discounts.

I didn't cancel reservation with extra guests.

I didn't say "No" to off-Airbnb reservations.

I didn't say "No" to guests with many questions.

 

Fortunately, I gained confidence in Airbnb and now do most reservations following standard Airbnb policy.

Re: What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

in
Bucharest, Romania
Level 2

I took the Airbnb recommendation to not use other channels of communication with potential guests as serving the Airbnb interests more, than serving mine. Anyway, just recently, two separate individuals, on the same morning, tried to channel me into getting into a deal with them outside the Airbnb, via messaging to me prior any booking being made.

This meant no prior check of ID and bank account for them.

Also, they suggested paying in cash, on arrival.

I stuck to my guns, meaning that I said NO.

NO deal outside Airbnb platform.

But in retrospect, I come to think that had they not converged, both of them, during the same morning, with the same type of request, I would have folded. I read and re-read afterwards the threads of their respective messages. They are lessons into how one may grab another by another's decent human being make-up, and turn that into one's own tool for abuse.

Re: What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

Level 10

my (our) biggest regret so far is that we didn't buy a bigger house.  We sold a big house,  with three spare rooms and two bathrooms because it was "too big now the kids have left home" cleared our mortgage and bough a derelict small place for cash and did it up to retire in in a couple of years.

We thought Airbnb might maybe make a bit of extra from a spare room to  help make ends meet, as we are staring down both barrels of retirement age and the UK pension is legendary for it's poverty qualities..... and we've been staggered by the high season bookings we've had.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it.....

 

 

 

Re: What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

I would learn more quickly to recognise that a guest's (self inflicted) problem doesn't have to be my problem.

For example "I forgot to book a taxi and now none are available".

Re: What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

in
Sykesville, MD
Level 2

Doing too much!  We’ve been hosts for 15 months and we’re still learning!  When we think back on our first month, we laugh!  Our second guests were a group of friends coming in for a wedding.  We got a message from them en route that one of their group had neglected to launder his ‘wedding clothes’.  (There is no washer/dryer in the apartment.).  Rather than tell them that the young man could get up early in the morning and go to the local laundromat,  I got up at 6 am after instructing them to place the clothing that was to be laundered in a basket outside of the Emergency Exit, and washed and dried the items....even hung the pants and shirt on hangers!  We looked at each other and said , “if this is what it’s like, we’re out!”  Obviously, it isn’t.  So, stick to what you’re description is of your space!

Re: What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

in
Canary Islands, Spain
Level 10

I have learned not to say sorry for having a cloudy day during the winter period

 

I always felt responsible.

 

very silly!!!

Re: What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

in
Orono, ME
Level 10

@Kira32, this isn't just a hosting mistake! Too many people (mostly women) feel they need apologize for just about anything and everything. 

Re: What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

in
Orono, ME
Level 10

The mistake I've made was giving guests good reviews when they really didn't deserve them.

Re: What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

in
Lawrence, KS
Level 2

Bless you all for sharing for those of us just getting started! I have learned so much already, so that here in the middle of my second guests, second weekend on the calendar EVER, I've already rejected a couple of inquiries and feel I've saved myself from my pathological need to serve and please!!! I read enough prior to opening up to know that potential guests who request not once, but TWICE to lower the rate and then ask for extras prior to booking are a poor bet. I also knew that I didn't have to cave in just because someone asked to bring their dog. I love dogs, but I'm not interested in chasing the fur around for the next several bookings!!

 

Thanks ever so much, hosts. Your sharing has meant I didn't have to learn from my own experiences. 

 

Now...what else?? Tell me more!!

Re: What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

in
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level 10

Dear @Renee323 🙂

A very important thing is that when you get inquiries you just need to answer the message (as fast as possible). Don't ever press the "decline button" because you don't have to in order to keep a great acceptance rate. It's only when you get an actual "booking request" you need to press the accept or decline button. If you can't accept ask the guest to withdraw the request as if you decline it will drag your acceptance rate down. Airbnb expect us to have an acceptance rate on 88% or more. You can see the requirements for basic hosting and also superhost requirements if you like on your progress page (press the boxes).

All the best Sandra 

Re: What are the biggest mistakes you made as a new host?

in
Calgary, Canada
Level 10

Hi Renee,

I had a similar incident that a potential guest asked me to lower the rate or sent a special offer to fit their budget. I nearly caved in but my instincts told me not to. So I posted my question here and received very sound advices from experienced hosts.

 

I also learnt that some guests did not really read all the information (air bnb polices, check in and check out time, house rules, etc.).  And they expect that you should accommodate their requests or needs.

From now on, before accepting their requests,  I will ask them nicely if they have read the information, do they have any questions, and kindly mention the check in and check out time to prevent "misunderstandings" and negative experiences on both sides.

 

Cheers

Join the conversation