This is gonna be controversial, however I am gonna say something I've seen a lot of in the month or two I've been reading these forums. Hosts SOMETIMES don't understand what they're getting into... and thus SOMETIMES encourage the issues they try to avoid.
From "I don't know how to get paid" to "What do I do when a guest takes something" to "should I let a guest bring more people?" To "What happens when a guest damages something?"
These things are all covered in all the FAQ's. Sometimes I feel so tired answering questions from hosts that should've known to read, read, read BEFORE they rent. Hosts must know what they're getting into before they try to become a host.
I have been getting a studio available to rent and read all I could from the forums, help site, and google - in general. I am BY NO MEANS perfect, but I *do* know that before I open my home to guests I want to know what I am getting in to. So, I read and read and read. I answered questions so fast (and I hope so well) that I went from a Level 1 here to a Level 10 in a couple weeks...all without being flamed for answering OBVIOUSLY wrongly.
I think in the rush to make money - certain hosts skip the basics, and thus let guests act badly...thus causing more trouble for the other hosts here.
WITHOUT FLAMING ME...please, do others even SEMI-agree? MAYBE AirBnB should have a online training program that hosts are required to take ...with tests... to ensure we know what to do to uphold standards we all try to achieve.
Don't get me wrong... I know hosting is scary. I know there are situations we all need help with - that's why the forums are here. BUT THERE IS A SEARCH. There is a way to find out what you need without making an ALL CAPS post "THEY STOLE MY MING VASE: What do i do?"
Is it just me or is this happening a lot more lately? If not, fine. But I sense a trend.
I would like to add @Jann0 that the one thing that I noticed about many hosts in these types of forums is the constant suggestion to call Airbnb about everything, ranging from the pertinent (i.e. not getting paid) to the silly (i.e. claims for 'small' things). Many act like they are paying for a full-support service (including for not bothering to read), all because of a 'whopping' 3% hosting fee charge; one that will increase quickly if too many hosts are calling Airbnb unnecessarily. Like anything else in life, the more costly one becomes, the higher the price to play will become.
Just like I am sure most of us abhorr high-maintenance guests, I am sure Airbnb doesn't relish inordinate high-maintenance hosts. In 3 years of hosting I have called Airbnb a total of ZERO times (and I pay 5%; Super Strict 60), since I have found most issues can be either prevented by preparation or by finding the best ways to handle guest situations by reading in these most helpful forums, like this one. Calling Airbnb should always be the last resort, not the first.
Not agree at all. 3% OF MILLIONS IS TOO MUCH MONEY. So you want the money, not the work. Oh, wonderful!!!!
But I hope you do not pay anymore as you think paying is for nothing. Why do you pay then?
You are really telling what AirBnB should, as if you worked for them. Of course, you don´t. FREE-LANCE? 🙂
I agree - especially when I see questions about things covered fairly well in the FAQs.
When I started hosting, even though I thought I was well prepared and did my homework (I spent a lot of time reading the FAQs and help section), there were still some surprises. I admit I also got a lot of great advice from other more experienced hosts, and for that I am grateful 🙂
At the same time, I always couldn't help but think.....why didn't Airbnb provide this kind of advice or information? Why do hosts have to rely on other hosts for this kind of support??
I think there is a need for Airbnb to MAKE IT MANDATORY for new hosts to view a tutorial video of sorts covering the basics of hosting. Starting out as a host SHOULDN'T be easy. There are many things to think about, to prepare, to know before we start hosting. Hosts asking.... "How do I get paid?!?!?" is just wrong!!! I also think the way Airbnb is promoting hosting is wrong. They make it sound like easy money - and hosting is NOT EASY.
(My flame thrower is turned off BTW)
It's true that hosts jump head first into the Airbnb ocean without checking the waters first. They heard it's great to earn extra money, were maybe brought on board by somebody else, or saw their neighbors doing it.
Kind of like getting into a car with no practice and thinking they're ready for that road trip.....
.... whaaaa... is there a brake on this, and how come I'm out of gas when I tanked a couple hundred miles ago???
And like @Jessica-and-Henry0 say, it's HARD work hosting! But then of course, everything you earn money with is usually a business, and has to be taken seriously and handled like a pro.
Yes, I was a newbie once but had read as much as I could find on the website. And I checked out the Airbnb host forums of the time soon after I started.
To be honest, Airbnb often doesn't disclose everything or makes it just cryptic enough to be missed while pushing the fuzzy warm Koolaid in a much louder way. For ex. it is said that every IB host has certain free cancellations, and unless things have changed since last fall when I tried it, it's not as clearcut. I was advised to ALWAYS do it together with the helpdesk. They don't mention that in their description for hosts.
For that reason and depending on the post, I now usually give the contact info to the poster in the hope that Airbnb lays things out clearer. In the past I didn't, and the poster I'd replied to would reply back asking how to contact... thus taking more of my own (free) time.
I think part of the panicked BAD GUEST STOLE MY MING VASE posts are
a) less tech-savvy hosts unfamiliar to community centers
b) the way the Contact area refers to the CC as if it's Airbnb
c) yes, the clueless or too trusting people who probably lend their car to perfect strangers without asking for ID
And no, I wouldn't regard this a trend. I was on the CC from the start when the old forums transitioned over, and it was the same.
The main changes I've seen are how slick spammers, thieves (stolen cc for same day bookings for one night and gone with the wind when it bounced) and one-nighter bookings to party and trash have become, as well as the misleading babies for free.
And it gets really tiring when a (usually fairly new) host addresses a problem, then is unwilling to take advice "because the guest was so nice and I don't want to punish her", thus setting a basis for which said guest will boldly try the same trick and then open-eyed say to that host "But it's never been a problem before with other hosts".
So many of these problems seem to occur due to all the people suddenly becoming little businesses without realizing it, hanging out their shingle, and then the big wave crashes onto the shore and takes them by surprise.
I know, I'm lucky, I started out fairly green too, but I don't leave my Ming vases or Tiffany eggs out on my counter for the picking.
I rent a room in my home, don't share most spaces, so that is a fair amount of surveillance. And besides that I'm not usually gone for longer periods during the day since I work from home.
I also don't get those hosts who don't put in a security deposit because it might keep guests from booking. Which is true - if I plan on adding the Ming vase to my booking I'll make sure there's no security deposit duhhh.
Or hosts not asking for verified ID and not even bothering to ID check.
Or the shy or too intravert host who would rather not have to talk to their guests and keep convo digital.
Do they not see the dark looming clouds of trouble and disaster and missing Ming vases on the horizon??
Oh, and don't you just HATE those occasional OPs WHO POST THIEIR LONG LAMENT IN ALL CAPS??!!
And those OPs who have a problem, and then when they are given advice or friendly critique suddenly turn around and scream 'hurtful, you are disrespectful, snarky, hurting my feelings, no need to be so rude'. Sigh...
Sorry, I had to vent - think you hit a nerve there ;D
Sorry, but I do not agree. Are you telling people is stupid, shy or something like that and for that reason they deserve to have problems? It really sounds crazy.
Thanks for your post, @Jann3 - it needed to be said! I can't speak about "trends" since I am still new to AirBnB, but since starting out a couple months ago, I have been really ambivalent about the CC: I have learned some important things and have appreciated some of the sage advice provided by many of the more seasoned hosts, but I am sometimes discouraged by negativity and other-blaming that seems to permeate many of the threads. While there are clearly some bad guests and scammers out there, the incidents hosts complain about do sometimes seem to originate from their own failure to have any kind of business plan, or even much forward thinking:
Of COURSE guests are going to break things from time to time: your own family breaks things from time to time, right, so by what magic do you think guests won't? So, plan for breakages. Have a maintenance and contingency fund ready to cover minor breakages and the inevitable replacements of linens and dishes. People get the Flu, bleed, have smelly bodies, eat wierd food, etc. so PLAN for the full range of humanity! If you don't want partiers in your space, take the section out of your listing which boasts about how handy your space is to the local nightlife; if you don't want sand on your wood floors, either install an outdoor shower or take the pictures of the beach off your listing!! If you only want guests who are careful, planful, cuatious, and reflective, you probably want to avoid sameday reservations (since it is reasonable to expect last-minute bookings to include a higher percentage of spontaneous, carefree, devil-may-care, dont-sweat-the-samall-stuff kind of guests) ....
Having said all that, I do think that AirBnB is becoming a victim of its own success: there are so many people, in so many different circumstances, both hosting and guesting, and the platform is trying to attract and manage all of them. It may be time for AirBnB to look at subdividing target markets and streaming them through different platforms or portals.
I do really like the suggestion of a mandatory on-line orientation / training program for hosts - and not just NEW hosts! Although I have only been a hosts for about 4 months now, I have already experienced a number of changes to the platform, to the policies, and to procedures, so hosts should really have to re-certify at least once a year. Maybe this should become one of the requirements for SuperHost status!!
Thanks again for starting the conversation...
I agree with @Andrea9 that it is not a new trend, @Jann3. The same questions have been asked and asked for years. By its very nature, a help centre is going to be where people turn when things go sideways, even (especially?) when it is thanks to them not learning about the platform or thinking it would be easy or wanting hand-holding. You are right that the fallout is not only their own problem but problems for the future hosts of their guests. And there are always the wolves prowling, the scammers searching for an easy mark, and, oh look! A naïve host!
Good for you for doing the research before you open for business, and all the best when you do start hosting and become a true expert 🙂
I was a guest before hosting, and I found that very helpful. I recommend it, and wish it were possible for everyone.
@Jann3 - I know some contributing hosts find it horribly impersonal of me to post links to the Help Center articles without actually answering the person's question, but I do it for exactly the reasons you are outlining - as hosts we need to learn to read, absorb, and put into practice the information as it's presented. Like going through all these tutorials to prepare you as a host for actual hosting: https://www.airbnb-toolkits.com/my_toolkits
(see there ARE tutorials already to assist a host in getting started, but alas, they aren't mandatory).
Not sure if ABB wil let me get away with this answer, but I call it "Dumbassing me" (dumb a$$ing) (yes, I verbed an adjective)
That is what they are doing when they ask you to tell them things that are easily found by someone that really wants to know.
They problem is they really just want you to solve their immediate problem with your energy rather than use their own.
They are Pakleds, you Trekkies out there know what I mean!
I have to agree. First there is a basic misunderstanding that AirBnB is a quasi-police force and will clamp down on everything from sexual advances to stolen property to unknown transactions on a crediit card.
Second: people seem to push responsiblity for bad guest behaviour (often trivial - they didn't fold the t-towels, to serious) - it's your home, your property, defend it but don;t expect someone on the end of a phone in another country to take on your battles in most cases.
Havinig said that, I got questionnaire recently regarding hostiing - we love it and enjoy meetinig new people - all of whom have been lovely in their own way. The final question was: Do you trust AirBnB to be there to support you when you need them: Out of 10, my score was zero.
This is not an opinion, this is an argument against the hosts.
Do not tell me what to do, please, be an example (complaining about complains????).