1st bad experience: 6th booking and last

The short: vomit on the beds and floors.

The long: I decided I would help my parents out by listing their lakehouse on Airbnb. The first few bookings went smoothly, albeit it was a lot more work and cleaning than I had anticipated! The worst part really was the drive too and from for cleanings and check-ins since I lived an hours drive from the property.
However, our past guests were the stuff of hoster’s nightmares. Our house sleeps comfortably at max 3 couples (6 people) maybe one more on the futon on the basement, But I maxed out bookings at six guests. This was a young girl who booked the house for two nights for six guests. When I tried to coordinate checkin with her due to the drive she said 5 pm, I try to be flexible but I can’t be out there all night waiting. They messaged after five stating they won’t be there til 9pm. I leave with instructions that the door is open and keys and house rules are on the counter.
They message me on the day of checkout saying they have left but left the trash and some pizza boxes there and the door open.
Obviously they did not read the house rules or they would have taken the rubbish to dumpster a mile up the road on the way out of the area and locked up and put the key in the stated location.
When my mother got up there to clean up this time because I was working late. She called me very upset saying the lights were left on in the front and the back of the house and many pieces of furniture including the beds had all been moved around.
She later called me to tell me all the bedding was messed up but only some of the bedding had been balled up and thrown in trash bags.
She went on to clean sending me pictures of dirt on the stove and kitchen floor, and an inch of liquid floating around in a drawer in the fridge. She sent me photos of the 6 bags of trash, and two huge pizza boxes that were the size of the kitchen table. They dishwasher was left full, which is ok but it was over packed and looked like they had run it without using he provided dish detergent. So my mom went on to clean and she was there for over 6 hours working on the house to get it back to some semblance of normal.
The next morning, my mom goes to start the laundry process of the bedding and towels and when she opens the bad she proceeds to find everything is covered in vomit.

Note: our house rules include no parties. Which is obviously what happened here.

My mom so was distraught we have actually pulled the house listing and had Airbnb cancel the remaining bookings.

I can’t say I didn’t expect this to happen at some point. The confusing part is, it’s that this girl has two for two good reviews and all my other guests who were great had no reviews before I left them one.

Sorry to fuss. Just needed some outlet!

“Into every hosts’ life a little vomit must fall.” Or something like that…

I had my first vomit queen this spring. I feel like this is one of the initiation rights we go through to really call ourselves hosts. (Along with mystery sex stains and folks sneaking extra guests)

You’ll inevitably run into some gross things as a host. I’m happy it sounds like your bad guests did no permanent damage to your place!

So sorry that happened to you. Do you have a minimum of more than one night? A lot of people who do whole house listings have found that If you require people to stay more than one night you’re less likely to get people who just want to party and trash the house. Did you try to charge them for the mess and damage?

@Sarah_39, the OP says it was 2 nights, but I think even that is short for a whole house rental. I also have always thought that the House Rule “No Parties” can be looked at as open to interpretation … what is a party after all? “But it was only the six of us and we ordered pizzas and maybe we had a bit too much to drink, but it wasn’t a party!”

I’m really sorry at what must have been very stressful and distressing for you, and particularly for your mum. As @Allison_H says, luckily there was no permanent damage, but the vomit was disgusting and they deserve to have a thumbs down for that if nothing else. Lights left on seem to be a common failing and I would say about 30% of guests forget to take out the garbage/recycling.

I think it must be very tough when you are letting a house that’s been a family holiday home and you find people not respecting it. So vent here as much as you like - everyone understands and maybe some people who do whole house rentals will have some good advice for you if you decide to relist.


Every host’s nightmare. I’m sorry your mom how to deal with that mess. Did the girl leave a deposit? I would call Air bnb and request to keep the deposit.


One point – NEVER let the Guests tell you when they want to check-in. You are not their servant, you are their Host. You should have a set check-in time of X-Y and so stated at the top of your listing description.

When they messaged that they were going to show up “after 9”. I would have (and did recently) call Air CS and tell them that the yet-to-arrive guests have violated Check-in and you want Air to Cancel them.

I told the CS that I had already accommodated the guests several times and would not accept these guests “I don’t feel comfortable with guests who want to tell me how to run my listing. No I will not give a refund.”


Wow! And did you face penalties for that? Sometimes we let people check in early if we’re home and ready for them. It seems kind of weird not to let them in if we are home and everything is ready but it is irritating to be ‘told’ when they’re coming instead of them asking nicely.

yes, all over the bedding :frowning:


Wow, that’s awful. What kind of degenerate throws an (unapproved) party in someone else’s home??

Your wonder about the two good reviews may be that she had stayed as a single (or duo) guest, possibly with the host on site, which guests tend to be on their better behavior when the host is around. This may have been her first booking for a large group in a whole house rental.

Whatever you decide about hosting…please be sure and review her honestly. It is one of the few tools hosts have available to us for eliminating bad guests from the platform.

Our first guest on Airbnb: woman and her son [from Brazil]. They poured bacon grease down the drain, severely clogging the sink and never bothered to tell us. We arrived to a sink with sitting stagnant water and nearly every dish and pan in the house stacked dirty on top of the counters…In addition to the garbage overflowing and the bathroom tiles stained from hair dye. We had to cancel the next bookings to abate the damage and hire tradespeople. It was a nightmare.

Maybe bad guests even go looking for “new” listings?? Our newer listings (in a different city) also had bumpy starts.

We all feel your pain. I would wager that nearly every host on here has wanted to quit after a particularly bad guest experience. Sorry that happened to you!

But as someone else said…it could have been much worse. No permanent damage, thank goodness.


Do you have cameras at the lakehouse? Conspicuously placed cameras help to ward off a lot of problems before they happen.

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I really don’t think it is weird at all. I like to have time to myself, with my husband at weekends, and with my garden. I have also found that people think that if they can stretch the boundaries, they’ll push you further.


@Barns I’m laughing my ass off at the deposit! I’m not helping w this , but after such a crappy day, boy, did i need a laugh!

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Nope – no penalty. AND, we got to review them, but they did not get to review us because they did not stay.
We always let people check-in early if the place is ready. Check-in late is allowed “with prior arrangement”. They did not make prior arrangements.

Normal check-in is 4-6. At 3:30 when I called to find out when they would be arriving, they told me they would be arriving “later in the evening”, and I reminded them check-in was 4-6. She hung up.

Next thing I know, Air CS is calling me asking what’s the problem. So I explained. CS asked me to accommodate them, and I told them I’d already accommodated them over a couple other things (they didn’t like that they both had to eat the same breakfast dish, and wanted something different than my extensive menu – I said no, I’m not a restaurant). Anyway, I told CS that I would allow them to arrive “before 9”. They were only driving from an hour away.

Half an hour later, the CS lady calls back and says now they don’t want to stay, but want me to cancel them and refund (we have Strict). I told CS that SHE should cancel them, that I wouldn’t because I was not going to be penalized for the guests actions. Then CS asked if I would refund them. I literally said “Hell no! We have Strict cancellation for a reason.” CS said “OK, I understand.” And that was that!


I am sorry that you went through this. I can clean anything but upchuck!

You didn’t do anything wrong. But it was suggested earlier to bump up the duration of your minimum number of nights. This means a bigger financial commitment to the future guest, and less trips for you.

I would also jam the damage deposit and cleaning fee a lot higher. I would also play with the idea of rebating part of the cleaning fee if they left it in good shape (an incentive).

You live and learn. Don’t give up.

After almost 4 years of hosting left lights and moves furniture have no effect on me.
You were given some good advices of making 1 weeks minimum . Mine is: use the money you charge for cleaning and hire those cleaners.
Many many hosts charge money and do it themselves . My life changed to much better when I hired a good cleaner. I don’t even have to see the mess or think how messy the house is or what they moved or spilled.
Eliza is paid nicely and cleans well and everyone is happy. Unless there are damages but ussualy there is none or at least not significant enough to make a claim .

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Same here re using Cleaning Fee to hire a professional Cleaner. Life got better & Susan is making a living.