New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Dallas, TX
Level 2
1,858 Views

We are new. 

We are dog friendly, but ask that guests let us know upon booking as a courtesy and because pets are an additional fee. This is stated in our house rules.

 

Our first guests (checking out tomorrow) brought a dog and didn't give us a heads up. We know they are aware because they have avoided the security camera since first entering the front door. They take the dog out via the garage instead.

We don't have an issue with having the dog, but they clearly didn't follow the house rules and requirement about letting us know. 

 

Our wonderings: 

1. Do we message them before they leave and request the pet fee via the resolution center (which we aren't even sure if we can do this.)?

2. Do we message them, let them know we are aware of the dog, give them a "slap on the hand" and let it go?

3. Do we ignore it completely and pray there is no damage?

 

Thanks in advance!

Suzanne

31 Replies

Re: New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

@Jerry422Do you rely on guests to read your unique house rules, or do you ask if they are bringing a pet and let them know about the fee? I ask because even though guests are supposed to read the house rules before booking, many don’t know they even exist, due to the way Airbnb hide them. The rules banner reads “this host doesn’t allow parties or smoking, click for details”.  Most people won’t bother clicking for details, because why would they need details? Most have no clue there is completely new info behind the link. At checkout, the house rules are, again,  hidden behind a tiny fine print link. So, did this guest possibly just see that you are pet friendly and not give it another thought? Or are they being deceptive.

Re: New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Dallas, TX
Level 2

@Colleen253 Great points.  When they inquire we let them know about pets and our pet fee; however, there is no way to do that with Instant Booking (which is how this guest booked.) I don't see a way to make it obvious within the general listing. Do you have any suggestions? I wonder if instant booking isn't the best route since we have pet fees. 

Re: New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Jerry422  You can make anything obvious within the general description, just write it in there. For some hosts, it might be stressing that it's a private room in the host's home ( even though it's categorized as private room, some hosts have had guests show up thinking they are getting an entire house, because, as Colleen says, they gloss over the info), or it might be stressing that it's a remote property that requires 4WD to access, or there is no Wifi.

 

Hosts are always fine-tuning their listing wording, adding things, etc. depending on what they find guests tend to miss or ignore.

 

And while hosts in an area with a lot of competition may find that turning off Instant Book puts their listing way down in the search rankings, as a new host, it might be something to consider doing until you get proficient with vetting guests, knowing what questions to ask them, what to reiterate that they may not have bothered to read, and so on.

 

 

Re: New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

@Jerry422 You could add a line to your IB prebooking message “please let us know if you are bringing a pet”. Then if they are, you can follow up with asking for the pet fee.

Re: New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Orono, ME
Level 10

@Jerry422 This is what guests see when they book:

 

Screen Shot 2021-03-13 at 9.43.43 AM.png

 

Instead of asking "Do you have any questions about the house rules?" Reiterate which house rules are most important. State here (again) that pets are an additional fee and to let you know if they will be bringing one.

Re: New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Denver, CO
Level 2

Where do i update to have this? 

Re: New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Mamaroneck, NY
Level 10

When a guest instant books it sends them a message you specify in the system.  I tell them right away about important policy issues in this e-mail they get at the time of booking.  Since my unit requires a pre-registration for all guests that includes the vehicle they are bringing (make/model/plate) and contact information this is provided in this message.  It would be just as simple for you to reiterate that if they are bringing fido, there is a fee and they need to let you know.

 

You should check out the "scheduled message" feature, this is very helpful in communicating with your guests without you having to do anything.  I remind them to read the guidebook and house rules and give helpful tips and attractions in the area.  Engagement makes for happy guests.

Re: New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Cape Town, South Africa
Level 2

So then why hide the pet? That in itself explains that they know and have read the rules but they don't want to pay. 

Re: New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Jerry422  Since you are new to hosting, I hope you've looked carefully at the Host Guarantee. It explicitly states that Airbnb does not cover damage caused by pets. This is one of the many reasons why some multi-platform hosts allow pets on other listing sites but not through Airbnb. Another thing that is unlikely to protect you from damage is prayer - if God were an insurance plan, he'd have a 1 star rating on Trustpilot. You'll want to make sure your STR insurance covers this.

 

To answer your questions:

1.  If you're going to send a resolution request, do it as soon as you've noticed the pet. There's no reason to wait until the end of the stay, as they no longer have any incentive to accept the charge rather than dispute it.

 

2.  No absolutely don't do that. As long as the stay is in progress, the guests are your customers, and a "slap on the wrist" is not appropriate for that relationship. You're entitled to the fee, but it's best to approach it professionally rather than feign a wink and a nudge.

 

3. Ignoring it is a great way to advertise that you're a doormat who's easily manipulated by guests. Unfortunately, with a brand-new listing you're a magnet for the kind of people who are eager to exploit that. It might now be too late in the stay to be worth bringing up, but at the very least, be sure to state in your review that the guests brought a pet without informing you. No responsible pet owner would behave this way, and these are not desirable guests for future hosts.

 

 

Re: New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Swannanoa, NC
Level 10

@Jerry422   I am also pet friendly and charge a fee.  I state in my listing description, in the house rules, in my thank you for booking message, in fact everywhere I can think of that pets are welcome and the Pet Fee is X dollars.  Most of my guests appear to know how to read. I still have guests that won't admit to bringing Fifi or Fido, but they are far fewer than the excellent dog owners that tell me more about their pets than their children.

 

Send the Pet Fee request via the Resolution Center immediately.  Good luck!

Re: New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Munnsville, NY
Level 10

@Jerry422 , I would go to the details tag and request the pet fee through the "Send or request money" tab.  Explain in the popup window that they must have forgotten to tell you they were bringing one with them but as the listing states, there is a fee to bring a pet and this is it.   

 

Then reread @Andrew0 's post that gives a great reason you should rethink allowing pets, Airbnb will never pay claims based on pet damage.   If thats not a concern, than no problem, Stay well JR

Re: New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Hampton, VA
Level 3

Some advice I read in another forum suggested that if you can fit it in, every single thing that is critical to you should be in your description. The four things that caused me the most headaches (meaning, misunderstandings because the potential guest didn't read) were that I charged a pet fee, I am not close to VA Beach, I am owner occupied, and a rental agreement is required. I fit that into my description fearing that it my bookings would plummet. Nope. I stay fully booked through the season and the mistaken bookings have been reduced to zero. It also did away with teen beach partiers. We're near a beach, but they don't want an owner on the property. Go figure. 

Re: New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Linda513   One regular contributor here as a really cool Easter egg in her House Rules:  something like "be sure to say the word MACARONI in your request to confirm that you've read this description."  What guests get out of that is, you'll have a lot of fun at my house but I'm dead serious about the rules.

Re: New host: pet stay without notice...advice

in
Cedar Bluff, AL
Level 1

@Linda513

 Can you give me a little more information about the rental agreement you reference above?  Is this something outside the typical Airbnb process?  Thank you.  

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