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A guest with no reviews - had a few minor issues but should I give them a negative review

I just a guest recently who were a married couple of a toddler. They had no reviews but their communication was fine so I accepted them.

When I went to clean up after their departure I found a few issues

  1. All my cleaning compounds, usually stored under the kitchen sink, were placed on the top of the kitchen cabinet. That seemed strange to me until my wife they probably had the toddler (the giveaway was a few bags of used diapers!) and they moved the compounds out of the kid’s reach.Fair enough but shouldn’t they have put them back after?
  2. Dishwasher was dirty with dirty dishes, what looked like coffee or soup stains on the door. I leave a few dishwasher tablets in the kitchen so wouldn’t be common courtesy to at least run the dishwasher? After all they had put the dishes in it
  3. A chair had been moved from the living area into the bedroom. I occasionally have people move furniture around and on a few times have found they have not moved it back. Again how hard is it to do that?

The front door was left unlocked. I had a motorised deadbolt that is unlocked with a key code and it locks itself after about a minute. That means a guest can unlock the door to leave, let the door close (spring closing) and then it locks. What this guest had done was unlock the door, latch it open (I think), moved their stuff out and the release the latch to let the door close. But in that time the deadbolt had slide closed so the door just hit the door jamb. Luckily the apartment is in a multi-storey building and I was there a couple of hours after they departed

I was going to write a negative review or no review at all (they have not reviewed me but said in a message the stay was great) but thought perhaps since it could have been their first AirBnB, they had no experiences with staying and noting the differences between an AirBnB and a hotel, I don’t know about others but when I stay at an AirBnB I leave the place tidy with dishes washed and no mess. I treat the place as if a friend had let me stay a few nights when they were away.

So the option is to just message them with my comments and hopefully they can learn for the next time.

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If you charge a cleaning fee, I would let it all go and put it under swings and roundabouts…

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Accuracy is important in a review. A host that does not review, or reviews differently because the guest is ‘new’ or ‘sent a nice message’ does a disservice to all hosts and makes the review process invalid.

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ALWAYS REVIEW EVERY GUEST!!! The review is not for them. The review is for your fellow Hosts!

I wouldn’t give them a very negative review. Just because they did things differently than you would does not make them bad. Moved a chair??? OMG call the police!!! Didn’t turn the dishwasher on?? Call the SWAT Team!!! Left the cleaning things on the counter??? Radio for a HAZMAT Team!!! The worst thing they did was unlock the door, and may not have been able to figure out how to re-lock the complicated mechanism (not sure I’d have been able to figure it out, based on your description). Did you show them around and explain how things work? Or did they just let themselves in and never see you?

Do your House Rules specifically say “run the dishwasher; empty the trash; don’t move the furniture”??? If not, why not since those things seem to bother you so much? If not, you have no cause to complain!

No. They are new to Airbnb, and need to learn – not be beaten half to death! It was, and is, part of your job to educate them.

Here’s what I’d say in the review:

"Guests were nice enough, but new to Airbnb. They need to work on communicating with the Host, and leaving a place as they found it rather than in total disarray as they probably do in a hotel. Emptying the trash, running the dishwasher, and returning cleaning supplies to their place before leaving would have been appreciated.

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Before writing the review, ask yourself if you would host them again. The things they did were minor so I don’t think I would be too harsh on their review. Give them a fair review and in the private area for comments tell them that it’s customary to take out the trash and lock the door.

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The issues you mention are noteworthy, the unlocked door being the most serious infraction.

As this is the guest’s first AirBnB experience this would be your opportunity to act as an AirBnB ambassador as their first time being hosted. Not for AirBnBs sake but for us fellow hosts. Let them know the expectations. Sounds like they were flustered with their toddler BUT still should have had the foresight to put stuff back, start the washer and secure the premises upon departure.
I would leave them an honest short review. As already mentioned, if you don’t have house rules asking for them to do dishes etc then I would leave that out.
I would message them about the unlocked door and see what their response is.

Ken, I don’t think communication was an issue.

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If all it takes is a ‘dishwasher not started’ to get a public review specifically pointing out ‘total disarray’ …

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@KenH, I almost always agree with your suggested reviews. I think this one is a bit harsh. How about this:

“Guests were new to Airbnb and pleasant. They communicated well. They left a few things out of place (cleaning supplies were out of their cabinet, for example) and missed locking the door on leaving, but it was nothing that was difficult to put right. I would host them again."

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This is a known issue with these locks. You have to inform your guests how to use these correctly. It can happen just while one person holds the door for the other person loading bags. I know our locks lock automatically in 30 seconds, which is great if the door is shut but not if it’s open. Ever since I have put this information in the check-in message, house manual and demo when/if I greet in person, we haven’t had a problem again. The locks are pretty unusual to a lot of guests. Some education will go a long way.

Probably all weekend, the door was shut in time and locked itself so they stopped checking it. When they were packing to leave, one of them held the door for the others a couple of seconds too long and the bolt came out. They let go of the door and assumed it would lock, as it had been doing all the other days.

I really feel that all 3 of your complaints could be addressed in the private feedback unless you are 100% sure that you did everything you could to set the expectations for these guests. New users require training. Not training them and them slamming them in their first review only loses users for all of us.

Yes, this is ideal but someone probably clued you into in these standards in the beginning. The expectations were set up for you. Even Airbnb clued you into it in the beginning, but now they really don’t. It’s up to us as hosts to train the newbies. All new users that I have given direct but kind feedback to have been grateful for it.

It really sounds like you didn’t have much contact with these guests as you didn’t realize they even had a toddler until after their departure:

None of what they did seems like overt disrespect but more cluelessness or more specifically, unawareness of your exact expectations.

Was the dishwasher full? Some people will not run a dishwasher unless it’s completely full.

That may have been their thought too.

Do you have a house manual that they were made aware of with all of these expectations clearly stated in it? If not, I think it’s fair for you to consider shouldering some of the responsibility since you knew they didn’t have any reviews and may be new users and using this as more of a teaching opportunity than mentioning it all in the public review.

I understand that I don’t have all of the details, but if you do give a negative review, it would be more useful to me as another host if you noted that they were new users.

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First off if you list your place as family friendly you MUST move your cleaning products or any toxic products out of the reach of children. You are really opening yourself up to a big problem there. Second, I hate it when my guests nitpick me and my listing, so I don’t nitpick them. Did they cause any damages that cost you extra $$ to fix? Did they violate your house rules? Did you get paid? Stick to the basics with your expectations. Sometimes people do things that irritate us but that doesn’t mean they did anything wrong. Third get rid of the difficult door lock. You cannot expect guests to operate a complicated door lock like that. Set them up for success not failure.

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I agree with @space4u.

If the electronic door lock in question is like ours, ours had a suggestion that might apply here. It said that if the door has a deadbolt (ours does), then it recommends NOT setting the deadbolt to lock automatically after a certain interval. Setting it to lock by itself could end up with the deadbolt preventing the door from closing, and/or the extended deadbolt could cause damage to the doorframe.

We don’t have our lock set to lock automatically. Instead, we show each guest how to operate the lock (we call it the lock tutorial), including unlocking and locking it. If we were absent hosts, we could use a sign to do all that.

As @space4u noted, far better to set it up so your guests will succeed.

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We have these locks and do have them lock automatically. We also do a lock tutorial and have no problems since, even with the automatic locking.

I really don’t think the locks are the problem. The guests having the information they need is the problem.

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  1. I had this happen once. If the guest didn’t tell you they were bringing a infant/child, they should’ve done so. Airbnb has recommendations for preparing for infants/children and this would be part of it. I don’t think moving the cleaning supplies is the real issue, but not telling you they were bringing a small child is. I see a message after every booking that says “XXX will now tell you if they are bringing infants or children”, so I’m pretty sure Airbnb tells guests they’re supposed to let you know.
  2. If you don’t put in your house rules for guests to wash the dishes, then there’s nothing to say about the dirty dishes. You could mention the cleanliness about the spill on the floor if you think it was excessive or if your house rules state guests should clean. [Edit: For me, anything that isn’t clean, but cleans up with my normal cleaning routine definitely isn’t worth mentioning.]
  3. Probably not worth mentioning. I eventually put teflon gliders under the legs of the heavy furniture to prevent damage to floors and to make it easier to move back. You could also say in your house rules to not move furniture or put it back.

Regarding the lock, you might need to instruct guests on the lock operation. You’d expect holding a door open while moving luggage in/out is common for guests, and in this case, the lock itself has the deficiency that it can’t tell when the door is open/closed. Put in your house rules for the guest to ensure the door is closed and locked.

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Being the laminated sign queen, I have a sign right on the door about the lock system.
I know there are differing views on signage, but I must point out I just got a compliment on my helpful signs in a review!

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I think all of these are tiny, minor things that many hosts wouldn’t even care about. Leaving these new guests a bad review could sour them on Airbnb forever. I would leave a positive review and bring up what you feel you need to in private feedback.

Now, if they brought an infant without telling you that is a different story, and I would definitely mention that in the public review.

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None of these things rise to the level of mention in review, other than the unlocked door. Even that I’d mention in private feedback.

I only mention disordered stuff if it’s going to take more than 10-15 minutes to set it straight. Putting the cleaners back under the sink and returning the chair to another room takes, what, 2 minutes? It would look petty to mention in review.

People aren’t mind readers. If you expect them to start the dishwasher before leaving, tell them. My HR say “Put dishes and garbage in bins, hang towels, return any borrowed items, and lock the door.”

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Thanks for all the responses. I was tending not to submit a negative review but the suggestions are good.

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I’m on the “an ounce of prevention” boat. All of these things could have been avoided through forethought and communication/education, so I wouldn’t ding the guests. My homeowner’s policy actually states that flooding/damage caused by an unattended dishwasher won’t be covered, so I never run it when I’m not there. Perhaps your guests have seen a similar clause. (And definitely reduce your potential liability by keeping chemicals out of reach, if children are welcome at your property.)

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One thing I am considering is to put child proof locks on the door where the cleaning compounds are kept. And to answer a previous question, I did know there was a toddler coming but it hadn’t occurred to me the place was perhaps not toddler safe. That’s why it’s good to ask fellow hosters for their views.

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I have these on the lower kitchen cabinets, and a tiny sign on the counter that tells guests how to work them.

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