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I have to admit I am experiencing Host Burnout into our third year, and as a result I recently added the requirement for guests to have recommendations. So… I get an inquiry from a newbie and I explain that two recent incidents have caused me to add that rule. Sorry, I say, we can’t book.
So she sends another message explaining that she is having a hard time booking anywhere because of hosts using that rule, and that she and her husband were just looking for a break. Sigh. I cave and respond, telling her we’ll accept her request for three nights in the guest room in our house. And I feel like I just violated my own boundaries. Oh well.
They turn out to be nice people, respectful of rules and overall very good guests. But here’s the deal. On the second morning over coffee she is looking a bit overwhelmed/tired and tells me the real reason they are here. For 16 years she has been searching for her father, who just evaporated from everyone’s lives. She didn’t know if he was alive or dead, but had a lead that he might be residing in a nearby town. And she found him. The story brought me to tears.
We were able to recommend a fishing spot for the couple and the aging dad, where they caught a couple trout. Reunions like that are seldom all roses, and I was amazed by the love and courage of our guests.
I just wanted to share this with y’all, because sometimes there’s a big reason for that guest walking through the door, and sometimes we learn a lot.
Thanks so much for sharing. I suspect there are hundreds of such stories in Airbnbs every single day. But people aren’t on forums or they don’t think to share except with their personal circle or maybe with Airbnb.
I have had hundreds, literally hundreds of guests, with no prior recommendations. 98% of them were fine. I’ve had more problems with people with prior reviews.
Maybe not taking newbies isn’t the right strategy for preventing issues. Or maybe the universe just had a message for you.
Thanks for sharing your moving story and for being a generous and thoughtful person. So glad it worked out well for all of you. I take people on IB with no recommendations and maybe 50% are newbies. I’ve only had a couple of problem guests out of over 250 bookings and they had good reviews. Maybe I am lucky, maybe it is my price and market and location so I won’t say other people shouldn’t have restrictions. It is usually someone bringing an old dog for a few days of quality time at the end of its life that move me to tears and glad I accepted someone without recommendations.
One was apparently riddled with cancer and then next checkup after my place the cancer was gone. Another the owner told me she was on her way to the vets to put her beloved pooch down and in the shower getting ready to go while crying and telling her dog how great he had been and he did a big black banana sized poop and then was okay. I’d like to use this in my marketing somehow: Lourdes for Dogs.
I had a son who was adopted as a baby find his birth mom through a genetic testing service and the family through a wonderful reunion to meet him. A couple of months later a friend was telling me about the event when we both realized that it was my Airbnb and her friend’s son.
Everyone is a newbie at some point so they’ve got to get their start somewhere. Luckily since it was a room within your house you’re not likely to have parties or anything of that type. Now you have added to their fond memories and the kindness that you did extend to them
Ah it’s so nice to hear of a positive outcome. All too often hosts seem to be facing issues with problematic guests (some with no previous reviews - so they just can’t be sure what they will get)! Screening can be useful to try and get a heads up on the interested parties.
It’s great that your guests not only turned out to be great, but you’ve also got a heartwarming experience to share.
I was very wary of newbies, but so far my best guests are newbies, they all “need to start somewhere” (I was told this by a 19 lad who I gave the third degree to when he booked with me and had no reviews), who was a great guest and respected my home, very friendly and clean, then there was the retired couple, didn’t even have a pic, again I sent them a few questions and it materialised they didn’t know how to upload a pic and they had only just joined as they were house hunting in my area( I live in a retirement area), again a great couple, we have now become friends and they ended up putting a offer in on a bungalow with help of my local knowledge, I could go on and on, I have learnt to be open minded,and not be afraid to ask honest open questions, because if they have anything to hide they will cancel, which trust me they do!
I agree to I have learnt a lot being a host, my husband has now become my co host (he did leave me to it originally as it was my idea when we first started), as we are so busy and he’s very good at helping me stay on a even keel when bookings come in one after another.
We meet all walks of lifesome have a story, some don’t!!
Thank you for sharing! I find that I have more experiences like this than not. For that reason I persevere and find something good in every guest. It takes time, and personal interaction, which I miss when I use others’ airbnb’s where it’s mostly self-check-in and without personal touches or interaction. Keep on keepin’ on!
It doesn’t bother me when people have no reviews. I note their join date and lack of reviews, but am only curious at most why they joined a while ago but haven’t been anywhere. When I joined ABB, I did it in a rush and was rejected by a few places. I told them why I was coming but my info was incomplete, maybe even lacking a photo. My nose was out of joint that I got rejected, but I later understood.
It doesn’t take much when they first contact me, just a little information about why they’re coming or how old their kids are. I engage people in conversation before they come. I can then customise their experience. Leave out relevant brochures, get them certain drinks or snacks.
I have only turned down a few newbies and that’s because their request breaks my house manual/rules. Most of my best guests were younger people, & my top five worst guests were women over 50, & I’m a woman over 50, I felt so betrayed by the way they treated my property & the fact that I expect older people to be more considerate is not something you can rely on.
Most of my guests are newbies and I do the same vetting process - ask about their trip and their expectations. Three times I’ve had newbies stay who were building or buying in my neighborhood and they’ve become friends. My last 2 “problem children” had positive reviews, so there’s that… :-/