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#21

And another question I have that only an insider can answer: how much discretion does a CSR have? We’ve heard that there is a sort of discretionary fund that an agent has and only they can decide how to distribute it. Hence an extra good idea to be polite to the CSR controlling the purse strings.

Do hosts who are always calling in needing something whether it’s having policies explained, wanting the CSR to tell the guest to shower, or having $$ claims after a stay…do they get different treatment. We’ve speculated that a host like me who almost never calls in or has a claim is treated differently than one who is always calling in. The emails even say “because you haven’t had many claims and this is a low amount” we will grant it. Or something to that effect.


#22

Lol, we know they don’t! Cmon KKC…

Lol

RR


#23

Thank you for being here!

I have a question about blocking guests. I made a mistake in accepting a local persons reservation and while she didn’t do anything against my rules or the TOS, I am very uncomfortable with having her book again. (Don’t really want to get into the whole story here.) I was very polite to her and I am sure she has no clue that I do not want her back again. I thought I would just get through this booking and then block her.

Later, I was told by CS that if a person is blocked and they do a search in your area, your listing still comes up in the available listings. If they then try to book your listing they will be notified they can’t book it.

My concern is that the person will now know I blocked them. They know my address. I don’t want them coming by to ask why they are blocked. I also don’t want them bad-mouthing us (in our small community.)

IMHO people who are blocked should not be able to see the listing they are blocked from - is that too hard to code? I’ve tried to make this suggestion only to get annoying form answers about how much I am appreciated and that I could call law enforcement if I worry about retaliation. Both responses tell me I am not being heard or understood!


#24

Just following in case I want to reach the TheInsider - thanks for doing this.


#25

Thank you! I fully appreciate your answer, but I do have a few problems with what is being said, and as you and @KKC said these are a few really touchy points.

First of all, I think your opinions are slightly colored by where you live and your personal preferences … Consider this more an advice than a critique.

  • Regarding an AC as something common is really a North-American thing. In my home country in and most parts of Europe they’re absolutely not common. Also in the South-American city where our listing is, they’re absolutely not common. And also in the guest’s home country and working place they are not considered that common or standard. What is common is offering a fan and that is what we do.
  • The need for having a TV is a very subjective and personal thing I believe. I have never missed a TV if there isn’t one, and I can even imagine people not wanting a TV in their room. Just to say, the need for a TV isn’t a universal thing either. The funny thing is: Our guests can make use of the living room and watch all the TV they want on a 55inch TV. He wasn’t interested, it needed to be in his room.
  • Yes a bed is very subjective too, but we have a very high quality mattress with a “6” on the firmness scale, a firmness that is generally considered the best “average” for all sleeping positions, body size and shapes. We are not the Marriott, we can’t go changing the mattress in the presidential suite according to his preferences.

You should know that we are being paid $US 30.00 per night for this reservation. And for this the guests gets a wonderful place to stay, great service and a delicious breakfast. (Our place was described by our last guest as a 5 star hotel :blush:. Yeah, that’s what we do it for!) I really wonder if we should consider it okay for guests to just be expecting anything they want, regardless of what they pay and what we put in our listings.

The problem isn’t the subjectivity in itself, the problem is the importance that AirBnB, very objectively, gives to reviews and stars. Suppose this guest continues his dissatisfied “strike” and just for the fun of it leaves 1 star in all categories, do you believe this to be justified?

Putting in a TV will probably be the next investment we will do. Giving different bed options isn’t possible for us. Putting in Airco is almost impossible, is quite unnecessary and would be too much investment, without any extra gain.

Yes, I can make it even clearer in the listing you are right. But do guests actually read? Most hosts here would answer NO. Hell :sweat_smile:, we even get people who don’t make it to the first line beneath the listing’s title :rofl::rofl::rofl:.
Listing: " Private room in apartment - 2 guests - 1 bedroom - 1 bed - 1 private bath".
Enquiry: “Is the bathroom private or shared?” or “Didn’t we reserve the whole apartment?”

So we hosts can give all the right information and offer great quality for a low price, but we can still expect guests to kill us for any ridiculous expectation they may have. And if we’re unlucky AirBnB will finish the kill afterwards.
I think we at least have to agree that there are serious flaws to the system. :wink: Of course, this is not your fault, I’m just writing all this in the good spirit of mutual learning :smiley:.


Like @KKC says, there’s only one possible defense to this kind of guests:

This is the course of action we will have to take, and since the guest didn’t have any reviews yet, although he claimed having traveled with AirBnB several times, our review and stars will hit him hard in his AirBnB future… That is, at least until he opens another account :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:.


#26

Thanks very much for taking the risk to do this, @TheInsider.


#27

Your story is yet another example of Airbnb moving toward the hotel model. They hear you, they just don’t care. Hotels don’t block people and too soon we will all have to host everyone whether we want to or not. That or leave the platform.


#30

KKC,
I firmly agree with how annoying the guests can be and what position it puts hosts in when they’ve done all they can to make sure their listing is accurate in what amenities are given. I went into agent mode and simply stated almost word for word what a common response from support would be if a host proactively reached out with this issue. If this was me personally, I’d say the guest needs to make sure they can read at a 4th grade level and not complain about something that isn’t there when it wasn’t offered to begin with. I’m one of the rare case managers whom are on the host’s side of thing 99% of the time. I honestly think the review system is shady AF as we can not do very much with regards to removing posts or hiding that one-off negative review based on a guest’s opinion of their stay. I’ve had the experience one time of having to tell a host I can not remove the guest review of “there was no damn pool!” even though the listing clearly did not list a pool to begin with. This is largely due to the review content policy Airbnb has basing reviews on “one’s own truth of their experience”. Unless there is a direct threat, mentions Airbnb involvement in a case, and a few other exceptions, agents will never remove a post. Agents can also never edit a post unless it is due to a transgender person wishing to change their name.

I know it’s all frustrating sometimes, bear in mind I will give policy answers and my opinion answers when responding to posts. I will also give helpful hints and tricks to getting support to do what you want, even if it’s not public policy, in certain situations.


#33

I fully agree with both of you. My response was mainly per policy as an agent would explain to you when calling in. Unofficially, I’m a spoiled, fat, lazy American who wants a firm bed (so yours would be perfectly fine, but I also want a nice tv to lay in bed eating cheetos watching tv in peace and privacy.
To be perfectly honest, most guests who can’t read at a 4th grade level will completely S&*! on hosts even though the host stated exactly what is in their listing. I side with the host almost 100% of the time in these situations, but officially I have to recommend things to “save the reservation”.


#34

I completely understand the worry. Airbnb doesn’t officially recommend not accepting reservations from local guests, however it does happen and hosts call in with similar issues regularly. As plain as the advice is, IMO, just block the guest as you have stated you want to do. Guests can be blocked by host or admin for many reasons and if they call in to ask why they were blocked, csr is not allowed to disclose details other than “the listing is unavailable at this time” and a good agent will go further in also stating “it may be an internal error on our end” and will assist guest in finding a similar listing in the area therefore taking the attention off of the reason for blocking in the first place.


#35

@TheInsider
Re taxes: State of MA passed new STR tax bill on Dec 28 and it applies to all rentals that occur on/after July 1 that were booked in 2019 for less than 31 days. It also requires that for rentals made thru an agent/service like Airbnb, that agent/service who takes the payment MUST be the one who collects the tax and NOT the host. How will this be implemented? Esp for any existing bookings? Thanks!


#36

That is good to know and makes all your responses even more interesting :smiley::sunglasses:. Thanks!


#37

@KKC good question. Simple answer, a non trip agent (newbie) has a $100 limit. Case managers have a $200 direct loss (DL) limit per reservation. So… I can directly send reimbursements, refunds, or coupons adding up to $200 without additional headache of getting upper management to sign off on it. The frequency of the user calling in has no bearing on our decision to take a DL. I personally will only have a difference in opinion in how I give out that “money” if the host or guest has admin flags on their file only staff can see such as: “questionable host” “strikes: abusive/irate caller” “unresponsive host/guest” etc.

An agent telling you “we’re approving this because you haven’t had many claims and this is a low amount” etc etc is a nice way of saying “I can approve this because it will satisfy you, get the case closed, I get another easy case solve, and I don’t have to ask management to approve it”

One thing agents watch for is “agent shopping”. If a host or guest call in multiple times about one specific issue and it creates multiple tickets, they are trying to get the response they want. Personally, I’m strict on needing documentation in order to justify why I’m doing what I’m doing for the host/guest where as another agent may just want their solve rate high for the day and will give you that $10 reimbursement for a bed sheet a guest ripped without asking for a receipt or anything else. Hopefully that makes sense.


#38

I know many city/counties are requiring occupancy tax to be collected from guest at time of reservation on the host’s behalf and Airbnb submits it to the local tax authority at the appropriate time. If this is the case with you, you’ll receive an email from Airbnb regarding it. Personally I think the new policy sucks because the host should be able to collect and hold the taxes Airbnb collects on their behalf that way the host can earn interest on the money but unfortunately, Airbnb will collect it, hold it for a period of time collecting interest then submit it on host behalf. There is no way around this rule at this time but I will post updates as I get them.


#39

Thanks! I personally don’t yet have any bookings in this situation because I’m not yet actively scheduling for season but know a couple of hosts via web who already have booked dates that would require taxes and they are really wondering how Airbnb will resolve this because they as host don’t want to be the bad guy asking for the new 12.45%+ tax! Nor can they based on law as we read it. Only Airbnb can collect it. Kinda of a sticky mess, i think!


#40

Yes, plus it’ll be added automatically to the booking confirmation page the guest sees so the host wont need to add any additional money to the nightly rate or stress about anything regarding tax, at least for now.


#41

This is a great thread! Thanks for risking to help! Following to not lose the thread!


#42

I would be interested to learn about how and why hosts are dropped from the site. Is it arbitrary, or is the issue investigated?
Or do you have so many hosts it isn’t seen as an issue?


#43

Hosts are removed (ghosted) for unresponsive situations multiple times, multiple strikes for abusive language/aggressive behavior, sexual accusations that become proven, multiple violations for the same reason, very low response rate, high cancel rating, and/or violating the host standards policy (www.airbnb.com/hospitality)

Statistically speaking, under 6% of hosts/guests call or write in for any issue related to Airbnb so even though it’s the agents job to handle these situations day in and day out, it’s a very low possibility that anything occurs normally.


Seeing reviews help
#44

Thank you - but looking at the member that was dropped for having a rubber pistol in her dogs toy basket that ended in court and eventual reinstatement, she wasn’t contacted at all with a history of 600 + happy guests. Nothing multiple there at all…


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