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Adventures in babysitting (I mean hosting)

Hello everyone,

(Sorry, this is kind of long. And not particularly interesting. However, the good news is that nobody died…)

So, a recent guest was an older European couple. The lady does not speak English, so I interacted mostly with the gentleman, who was also the person in whose name the place was booked.

It was quite clear early on that this gentleman was a bit of a character. He first booked for one person. Then rather than changing it to two people, he wanted to pay me in cash. I said no. He then spent some time trying to change the reservation and complained to me that he didn’t understand how the Airbnb interface worked.
After several attempts, and cancellations, he succeeded.

Eventually, he wound up booking for two different visits, spaced a few days apart.

He then sent me quite a lot of very chatty messages, all of which I replied to. I kind of felt like an unwilling pen pal.

However, the day before he arrived (Saturday 20th Aug) I still had not heard from him. I’d sent him messages on Tuesday 16th Aug, Thursday 18th Aug, and Friday 19th Aug. On Friday I contacted Airbnb. On Friday, at around 8.17 pm, he called me up to tell me his train was arriving at 6.30 am, and he would be checking in at 10 am. Which he duly did. In hindsight, it seems he was not happy about having to wait till 10 am. Note that normal check is at 4 pm.

As it turns out, this gentleman had a phone which he couldn’t access the internet with, though he had got himself an Indian phone. Which, however, he doesn’t seem to pick up often. He said something about it running out of charge.

Not much actually happened while he was here (only two nights). I made the mistake of giving him my laptop to use to send email. Later I discovered it placed outside, switched off. I assume this gentleman just turned it off; apparently he didn’t know that you need to shut down computers properly, or else it can corrupt the filesystem. I tried telling him, but I don’t think he got it.

Also, the evening he arrived, he called me while I was out to ask for directions back to my place. (It’s always fun to try to talk to strangers with Bombay providing an accompaniment in the background.) I texted him directions. Shortly afterwards, he called me again to tell me that he had deleted the messages, and to send them again. (You can’t make this stuff up.)

Then, the evening he was to check out, he hadn’t filled out Form C, which is this thing the Indian Govt makes lucky people like me fill out when foreigners are staying. So, I filled it out with him sitting there. He clearly wasn’t happy about it, and called it “annoying”, Which I thought was uncool. Fortunately, everyone else so far has filled this thing out, and not complained about it.

So, he was supposed to be coming back here today, Fri Aug 26th. As of Thursday evening, he hadn’t contacted me, so I sent him a text message at 7.56 pm, and then he responded at 8.44 to tell me he had missed his train and would be coming on the 27th. So I contacted Airbnb again, to tell them about that. Sigh. Here are the text messages verbatim.

Thursday evening

Hi xxxx, you are due to arrive tomorrow. Please let me know what time you plan to arrive. Thanks. Faheem Mitha

Thursday evening

Hi faheem we have missed a train so we have been forced to change our program we will arrive the 27 in the morning i tell you more details later regards

Friday evening

Hi xxxx, I received your message that you have missed your train and will be arriving on the morning of the 27th. However, I have received nothing since then. Please update. Faheem Mitha

Friday evening

As i told you we ll arrive tomorrow at 0730 regards

Friday evening

Will you be arriving at CST at 7.30 am? You never said anything about 7.30 am earlier. When do you plan to check in? Faheem Mitha

Friday evening

As soon as possible at 0800 as we arrive at Cst i hope we ll not have to wait untill 1000 as it was the case the first time

No, he hadn’t told me he planned to come at 7.30 am. I haven’t replied to that last one, because I would have a hard time staying polite. But I guess he’s arriving here at 8 am.

Ok, so, would you guys be happy to host this gentleman? And it is unreasonable for me to feel a mite peeved? Frankly, I’m relieved he will only be staying 3 days - I don’t really want to find out what would happen next.

I currently have one review pending from his previous visit. And I’ll have a second to write in a few days. The question is - does this gentleman cross the threshold of having to warn hosts about him, or is he mostly harmless? He’s definitely more work than I would like - maybe if I was charging 5 star hotel rates. But I’m not. Please advise.

Oh, and he has 5 reviews. All positive. I guess he didn’t set fire to anyone’s home. Apparently reviews really aren’t reliable. And this gentleman says he is a retired military officer. I would have thought military people would be more together.

(If you’ve made it to the end, congratulations. I said it was long.)

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I sometimes feel that I’m this forum’s black sheep because I tolerate all sorts of nonsense from guests. It’s because I like a stress free life (and consciously work towards it) so I don’t get stressed or bothered by the bits and pieces that we’re bound to get when dealing with (imperfect) human beings.

I’d put it down to him being a bit clueless.

I understand that with at least five Airbnb stays under his belt he should know the ropes by now but I’ve hosted experienced hosts who have been pretty clueless, believe it or not.

The only thing I’d find annoying is his arrival time but if the place was all ready for his and that time, and if it was convenient for me, I’d let it go. I had a guest who ‘informed’ be about his time of arrival (way before check in time) and time of departure (long after checkout time) and I just informed him that the former wasn’t possible and the latter could be accommodated if no-one booked for that night. He and his wife turned out to be great, but rather needy, guests. Swings and roundabouts!

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Don’t write the review yet. Wait until the last minute. I think you can state in the review that guest seemed demanding about check in time and made this process more diffcult than it needed to be. Communication could have been better. Something like that. It’s warranted.

You have to be firm about check in time. I have late flights arriving to Hawaii so I am flexible on late arrivals as long as they give me an ETA, but early arrivals are an absolute NO WAY JOSE.

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Hi @jaquo,

Thanks for the perspective. I appreciate it. Yes, the room is ready for his arrival. He was supposed to come today but didn’t. If he’d wanted to arrive at 8 am on the 26th that would have been a problem.

But that still leaves the issue of whether I should write a review and what I should say about it.

Oh, and congratulations on managing to have a stress free life. Or is that aspirational?

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More or less 99% stress free, which is wonderful :slight_smile:

If you feel that his behaviour warrants warning other hosts, then by all means I’d write a factual review. If you don’t, then I wouldn’t leave one at all. That’s just my (stress-free) way of doing things though.

@Faheem, you write extremely well (probably educated NOT in the US), so I am sure you can write a very nice but somewhat humorous review, such as, “If you like hosting people who seems clueless about check-in/check-out times, XXX is your type of guest!” I’m sure you can write it better. Slap his star rating for communication, not that any hosts ever get to see that (flaw), and decide honestly whether you would ever host this couple again.

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Hi @konacoconutz,

Yes, I’m inclined to go that way. Do you think a warning to other hosts is reasonable? And would such a review give you pause?

Someone needs to explain this last minute thing to me. I’m fuzzy how it works. The idea is to post so late that the guest doesn’t have a chance to respond? And how would I do that, exactly?

I don’t have a problem with early check in, and do it when possible. Ditto for late checkout. I think it’s reasonable to try to work with people’s schedules within reason. But I greatly prefer it if people ask first, preferably politely.

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Yes, that’s what I wanted you folks opinion on… I’m inclined towards yes at the moment. Of course, he’s probably a bit peeved about missing his train etc.

I think people need to be called out on a blatant disrespect of rules and check-in/out times. You have posted times. They blatantly ignored them and then got peeved even though you were able to make it work for them. People need to request nicely and understand when it doesn’t work. If they don’t have basic decency in this then other hosts need to be warned.

A (single) review like: While these guests were pleasant once here, I can not in good faith recommend them to future hosts. The communication was very poor and they had high expectations of check-in/out times that I was not always able to accommodate in both of their stays due to other guest’s needs. I have check-in/out times so that all guests have the security of knowing they a private place to stay and I can’t accommodate every request, and this guest did not respect that. General communication was very poor in other areas, and they did not want to fill out the forms that my government requires me to have filled out.

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Hi @sandy2,

Thanks. I’ve got a masters and a PhD from the US. Is that education? You can be the judge of that. :slight_smile:

Well, if I write a review for this gentleman, I’ll be back for comments. Unless I completely forget about it, which seems more likely.

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Thanks, @Sarah_Warren,

That’s pretty good review wording, thank you. It’s very helpful to hear from more experienced hosts how to handle such things.

I’m not sure about mentioning the govt forms, though. That’s a bit of a gray area…

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Haha, I’m not a more experienced host by any means. I just work hard at thoughtful written wording :slight_smile: And hey, you’re welcome to use as little or as much as you’d like.

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I think that’s been well established. Sorry you had to learn firsthand.

hahahaha. Maybe the fact that he’s older and isn’t up on technology is the problem

He’s annoying but not a thumbs down. I, too, like guests that are a bit more self-sufficient but you have a few more rupees in your pocket now. Another way to deal with the stress of a difficult guest it to “count the money.” Take the money you made and take yourself and your loved ones out to a nice dinner.

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Since they were mostly just really annoying, how about “I recommend them to future hosts with the following qualifications…” Just to soften it up a bit.

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Some people take up so much of your time! I have sympathy, but an early check in is probably easier to deal with than a late one, if its convienient for you. Is it his first time in India? I’ve been to India 4 times now and it can be a confusing place for travelling.

Don’t let this fool borrow your laptop again whatever you do, say you left it at work or something! He is using you like a hotel not an airBnB.

As for the review its tricky territory. Because hes booked twice, you’ll both get to review twice!
One strategy might be to write an okay short but sweet review for the first one like “nice gentleman very friendly” and see what he’s written for his first review of you, then you can do a harsher review for the second. “On the second visit found the guest more demanding” or something like that. Remember if you’re too harsh on the first review he could retaliate n his second review. Have you looked to see how he has reviewed his other hosts he’s stayed with?

Good luck!

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There are lots of threads about this somewhere.
Get the exact time (hour) their review period expires. You might have to call Air since the guest time zone may be different. You may even have to get up in the middle of the night to do it. Then have a review ready, cut and paste and hit submit. This only applies if the guest DIDN’T write you a review. Then you can write yours and submit anytime. The theory is that in submitting it at the last second pre-empts the guest from writing their own smackdown. In your case because you have two stays you might want to wait until the second stay is complete.

I don’t let things get me down. Sure I find things annoying and irritating a lot (probably mostly due to my bipolar). But I remain a laid back person and believe in karma. I find for all the bad things that happen I’m rewarded such as when someone doesn’t stay the full length of the stay and I get paid for it all. :slight_smile: when some ones a bit messy, the next guest is super tidy. Etc etc

I always say no to early check in and late check out. It shouldn’t be me working around their time. It should be the guest working around mine. I have 11am check out and 3-11pm check in. Thats plenty enough time for them.

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Faheem,

[Man does autocorrect dislike your name!]

I think that this gentleman has pushed your very congenial buttons big time. His first arrival was indeed an early checkin and done in a very assertive way. His second arrival, since he had paid for the previous evening, doesn’t seem like an early arrival at all. If anything it is a late arrival. Of course, it is impossible to tell if he is just a pushy person who has no consideration, or if his inability to understand what is happening around him has befuddled him outside his comfort zone. There is the chance that he is exhausted from trying to decipher the world around him without language skills.

As to the computer, lesson learned! I don’t let anyone touch my computer. I also don’t share my underwear. Same thing in my world. You made a significantly generous gesture and this guy abused it. Again, without language skills, he may not understand what went wrong or he did.

He is clueless clearly. His current trip is outside his comfort zone and you are lucky enough to have him as your guest.

As you consider how to write your review, it is important to evaluate aggression, vs, cluelessness, vs. language barriers, vs. not having read your well-written listing properly. If anyone can do it calmly, it is you.

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Am off the same thinking as Jaquo, a little bit of patience goes along way. I started hosting in May and have had a few older couples or pals and I do relax my rules around them. Some of them need a little more hand holding, it costs nothing to show a little kindness. I would not slate this guy at all. I remember mr cassid and I honeymooned in Italy and we got lost, went to different locations every time and total strangers helped us out, gave us lifts and just took time to help us. I will always remember their kindness and help. I just think its not a major thing.

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Faheem,

Are you concerned that this guy is going to complain about paying for the 26th?

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