We are new hosts. We recently took a booking for our entire house (red flag 1) for one night (red flag 2) from what turned out to be a local guest (red flag 3) with a new profile (red flag 4). These concerned me.
I couldn't see much about this guest at the point of the request to book. I didn't want to create an issue with our property in searches, so I naïvely accepted their stay. I called Airbnb to discuss this.
The lady who booked asked for an early check-in (red flag 5?). She did not reply to either of my messages. I called Airbnb again. They contacted the guest on my behalf and said the guest said they were happy to proceed with an early booking. I was concerned of cancelling and was persuaded to continue.
She was not at check-in as agreed. Two people claiming to be their parents did appear.
During her stay she did not respond to my messages.
I returned to the house for checking-in at the agreed time. No one was there. To my horror the keys were left outside, next to the front door mat, the windows were open. The lights and other electrical appliances were left on. We have a no smoking policy. There were cigarette buts thrown on the drive, the terraces, in the pond and in plant pots. The house smelt of smoke. Our neighbours told us that they had been making noise outside after the 10pm time we had requested and that they could smell drugs. The bins were full of empty beer bottles, cans and spirit bottles. I am guessing around 50 to 60 bottles and cans. 8 wine glasses were also used. Too many for the 6 booked guests. so I think it is safe to say they has a party - which we do not allow. There were also three beach towels missing. It could have been much worse.
I messaged and called Airbnb on three occasions asking for some help. The first time the support officer was not particularly interested or supportive. The second was, but I was cut off and did not receive a call back. The third time I messaged, I received a link which did not work and the staff member stopped the conversation. I was told that I had to go back to an old thread, which I did. I responded and again nothing.
There are several questions here...
Airbnb are aware of problem guests outlined in their video message in October 2020 and said that they were acting on the four flagged red flags, (I think I have found a fifth) by November 2020 to prevent these bookings coming through to hosts.
Were we missed? Has anyone got any experience of Airbnb actually acting on these 'Red Flags? Hosts do not appear to be privy to the guest information that Airbnb holds at the time of booking. I was not supported by Airbnb at the time the booking, when the guest requested to book, nor afterwards. How many time do I need to ask for some help?
Why aren't we told as new host, if you are worried don't accept the booking, we will stand by you? Perhaps most importantly somewhere along the way I was told a senior member of staff would call me back...I am still waiting days later.
I don't know what more I can do. I feel unsupported, let down and concerned. On my own initiative I am no longer taking one-night bookings, I have raised my prices and I am no longer accepting bookings unless I am convinced they are genuine and have put in a minimum stay of two nights, but I have done this myself. Surely we should be getting more support.
I would appreciate any advice from fellow hosts whilst I wait to see if do decide Airbnb to engage. In particular, I would be interested to hear if you have had similar issues and how you changed your booking policies or approach to protect yourself and your property.
@Colber0 "On my own initiative I am no longer taking one-night bookings, I have raised my prices and I am no longer accepting bookings unless I am convinced they are genuine and have put in a minimum stay of two nights, but I have done this myself."
That's the ticket! You've figured it out. Never rely on Airbnb for anything. Take control of it all, by yourself, every time. Try to approach every single booking as if Airbnb does not even exist. All Airbnb cares about is the service fee from a booking. Any booking. And CS is useless. Outsourced, and not familiar with Airbnb or policy. And have you installed security cameras to monitor comings and goings yet? Vital, to have eyes on your property. And have a plan set in place to deal with things, should a sketchy guest slip through your net. Preventing a party is #1, squashing it the minute it's developing is #2.
@Colleen253 Thanks. I do find it strange that Airbnb are clearly not interested in actively supporting us with problem guests despite the video messages posted by their leadership team. I am reassured by knowing we are not on our own with this.
It's disappointing, but at least we know.
I did think about cameras. I will be installing a best door bell and I will look to add cameras. In the meantime.
@Colber0 “I do find it strange that Airbnb are clearly not interested in actively supporting us with problem guests despite the video messages posted by their leadership team.”
If there was one thing I would want all new hosts to know, it’s that they had best not believe in the fairytale Airbnb is selling them about how it’s all a lovely happy partnership. That’s an illusion. It’s painful, frustrating and sad to see the constant posts from new hosts who are just discovering the truth, while telling their sad story of dealing with a troublesome guest and Airbnb.
@Mike-And-Jane0 Thank you so much, I assume we are in the same rules but I will ask my account to check.
I have only for as far as identifying that we get £7,500 in tax free income and that we can offset costs that are specifically related to the Airbnb.
I am told that does not include renovations that specifically benefit he value if the house, which is a shame as we have just completed a considerable remodelling, refurbishment and refurbishment. I will probably go back and explain that we had to complete the work for the Airbnb rentals. It would seem fair to try and claim something back, even if it's just the furniture for rentals.
@Colber0 You'll find a lot of company on the raise-your-rates plan. I've always kept mine higher than everyone around me, which has gotten them to raise their rates over time. With super high demand over the last year, my rates have gone up 35-75%, and my occupancy is double that of similar listings in my area.
No one smart ever pays attention to Airbnb's "suggested minimum."