That Last Guest was NOT a Good Fit. How to review and respond to their complaint to AirBnB Support?

Terri38
Level 10
Auckland, New Zealand

That Last Guest was NOT a Good Fit. How to review and respond to their complaint to AirBnB Support?

I need some advice on how to deal with this situation and ideas on how to review these guests and a response to what is not going to be a favourable review of their stay.
Thanks in advance.

The guests booked 7-16 of this month.  As soon as they arrived, I had a feeling that it was going to be a L...O...N...G... 10 days but I put it down to jetlag as often things are better after a decent night's sleep.

 

Nope.  They had issues with the house rules (keeping the house locked, quiet hours).

Yes, they did look through my house manual.  I saw them do so.


I have public transport cards for my guests to use, on condition that they top them up before they leave.  These guests did not (but at least they returned them - they cost $10 each to replace.  Not the biggest of expenses, but...)

When I got home on 9th January, there was a message from the guests saying they would not be back that night and would explain later.  The house key was left in my letter box.  Check out instructions clearly state (in red) "Leave your key in [location of box]. Please DO NOT leave your key in my letter box."   I check with the guests the night before their scheduled departure to make sure they know what to do at check out, but for obvious reasons, it was not possible in this case.


The next day (10 January), they returned, letting me know they had to move out.  I asked if there was anything I could have done to make their stay better "No it wasn't you" but "We can't explain why."  The booking was not cancelled.

Today (13 January) I have an AIr BnB support messsage:

Your guest contacted us and shared about several issues she experienced during her stay, which led them to leave and transfer listings.

We are currently doing an investigation and would like to get your side of the story since XXX is asking for a refund of the unspent nights.

 

I asked for more information and was sent 6 photos [supposedly] showing cleanliness issues.
I am unsure how any of these photos are a reflection on cleanliness.

 

Photo 1 (Hallway) shows some charging electronics (this is where the charging station is for the house)
Photo 2 (Lounge) a crooked mat and the TV remote was on the floor
Photo 3 (Closet) shows blankets on the shelf and coat hangers on the rail
Photos 4 and 5 (Bathroom) shows the residual glue from a hook on the door
Photo 6 (Lounge) shows a curtain covering the book case

 

I am OK with a partial refund of any nights I can re-book, less the cost of the public transport they used.
Considering she took 4 days to lodge a complaint and the booking was [and is] still active, I do not think it is fair for her to get a full refund for all the nights she did not stay (9-16 Jan).


3 Replies 3
Terri38
Level 10
Auckland, New Zealand

Hmmm... that was surprisingly quick.  All done and dusted in 2 1/5 hours.

 

According to your cancellation policy, your payout has been updated to $258.52 NZD. Your guest was refunded €2.54.

 

Now to deal with the reviews.  And of course, the star ratings...

Robin4
Level 10
Mount Barker, Australia

@Terri38 

Terri this is probably going to sound a bit critical, and I really don't mean it that way. You are a great host almost 340 reviews and your guests just love you. Time and again they say how lovely and helpful you were.

But every guest teaches us something! Now I know how hard it is to make an older house pristine, I have cracks to contend with, tile grouting that I constantly have to keep on, spiders.....my God, I even had a possum nibbling away at the fruit bowl on the kitchen bench one night! Startled the hell out of the guests.....at least they were Kiwis and could see the funny side of it but Terri, I felt like Basil Fawlty!

 

Some guests you are never going to satisfy, they will expect a standard that is unattainable in an older property. Some will even  mark you down when there was nothing to complain about....they just did because nothing is perfect.

 

I have taken a look at your listings and there are some things that you can't do anything about. I noticed in one of your listings enough guests have down voted you for you to end up with an overall  4.6 for 'Location'! Now that's unfair, they booked it and you can't move it, so lets forget about that.

One of your listings has an overall 4.65 rating and the other has a 4.56, and the thing that is driving those ratings down appears to be, 'Cleanliness'! You rate a 4.6 on both listings, whereas the other categories are 4.8!

 

It is always best to try and head these problems off before they occur rather than have to confront them after! Try to find out from your guests, personally, how they felt you could improve their perception......because in lots of instances Terri, it is just that...... perception! It's not that it is not clean, to them it looks unclean, bed not folded down nicely, towels a bit poorly stacked in the cupboard, clutter on the kitchen bench. Try to make things as streamlined and efficient as possible. That way you may find these 4.6ers will lift. 

 

As to your review, don't make it look like a 'sour grapes' review! That will reflect more on you than it will on him Terri! If it were me, this is what I would write!

 

"I look forward to all my guests, but at odd times a guest may not be a good fit for my style of hosting, and I am afraid that may have happened with xxxxxxxxxx. He felt, I fell short in some areas, just as I did with him, particularly with my house security and quiet hours. In the end we agreed to part before the scheduled end of the stay and he was refunded for the unstayed nights. I will learn...... all my guests feedback is important to me and helps to make me a bit better at being a host. I hope he will also take something out of the reservation, and in future, treat the experience with a little more respect!" 

 

Terri, by saying something like that you have remained dignified, you have given an honest appraisal of how you feel, other hosts will see that he was a problem, and you have given no ammunition to have him get your review removed.

 

So again, I don't want to appear critical Terri, I am a new  kid at this compared to you, but I am just looking at this from a guests perspective and trying to be constructive.

All the best.

 

Cheers......Rob

 

Terri38
Level 10
Auckland, New Zealand

@Robin4 
Thanks for that reply.  Most helpful as always Rob.


Yes, you are correct about the cleanliness star rating and the reasons why.  The house is slowly being tweaked back into submission as time and budget allows!  It has been rewired, re-plumbed, repainted, re-carpeted etc. 

 

I do ask guests to let me know if they feel I have missed something so that I can sort it while they are staying.  Stating the obvious (and no I don't say that to a guest - although sometimes I think I should have!), finding out about it in a public review does not give me the chance to do anything about it.  Sometimes a guest does give constructive advice about something I really did miss or can change and that's actually helpful.  The others..?  Either no reply, "Blah blah, all good, blah blah" but ding you in the review.

Thanks again for the tips and encouragement.
Hope you are not threatened by the rampaging bushfires.
And YIKES! about that possum!!