Allergies mentioned when booking

How do you handle a guest who says she has Severe allergies problems at booking?

My alarm bells went off as I can imagine this person going ballistic if she finds a stray animal hair that somehow got into my apartment.

I imagine that people mentioning allergies when booking will perhaps be overly demanding on cleanliness and maybe be the ones who come with a blue light and masking tape to inspect the sheets and corners.

Anybody have experience with this?

I basically said I cannot guarantee there are no allergens in my apartment, other families are using it before you come, animals are forbidden but I can’t control everything. Perhaps a hotel with daily cleaning would be more suited to your needs.

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I’ve had several people with allergies stay. Even when I had a cat and they were allergic to cats (wtf, people?). I just made clear, like you, that I couldn’t guarantee that the place was allergen-free and wouldn’t be able to offer a last-minute refund if they had an issue. (Basically buyer beware: you’re running a risk and if it turns out badly it’s on you, not me.)

None of them had an issue and there weren’t any other fussy requests.

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Did that do the trick, @lililou1? Did they cancel and book elsewhere? I do the same sort of thing. “Oh man, it’s Allergy City here. I completely understand that you will have to find someplace that won’t make you sick. Please don’t worry at all about cancelling.”

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If your listing says animals… and/or you say you cannot make 100% guarantees and that your cxl policy will stand- then it is on them.

My listing says no animals but I might accept a small dog in off season and I have a dog at my home (not same apartment). People can leave animals at home but have hair in their clothes and luggage that might get in !
Or they might bring a small dog or cat without telling me!
But regardless of that someone who mentions allergies at booking is maybe allergic to chemicals, cleaning products, acariens, dust? My place is professionally cleaned and laundered each time but I’ve heard stories about picky people…

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Yes it worked she went away! I was a bit unpleasant on her other ‘requirements’ as well! Problem is new booking system now Airbnb books the reservation in your calendar! And you have to accept or decline you can’t let it expire? I stupidly clicked ‘decline’ (as she booked for 1 person they were 4 coming). Now I’m afraid being kicked down in the search results for declining a reservation request.

Next time I will just keep it to ‘sory we can’t guarantee an allergen free environment ‘ and leave it at that

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It was a request to book? So maybe make it something like “Sorry, we can’t guarantee an allergen-free environment. You will want to withdraw your request. Thanks for understanding.”
I think that will free you from having to decline, unless it gets ignored.

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That’s exactly what I’ll do.
I’ve gotta learn to be more concise in my answers and not explain myself to these people.

I totally doubt the person will withdraw their reservation tho, they never do! I’ve tried it before. They’re annoyed that their strategy didn’t work, they’re on to another booking, they don’t care about you and what’s more you are rejecting them!

Maybe I’ll say something like ‘to avoid any risk of unwanted fees being charged to you, please withdraw your reservation request’

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For Inquiries only—if they inquire & you answer (not decline or pre-approve), it will eventually expire. Your days will not be blocked.

Request to book, you must accept or decline or it blocks your days.

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It was a request to book.
Here’s a strategy I will try next time, quick go on another platform and block some of the dates. Then after few hours make a special offer with high price instead of decline - normally even if they agree to the price it won’t go thru because the dates are no longer available.

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Hi @lililou1

Please don’t advertise your listing as pet free, if you accept animals in the off season. It is unfair to guests with pet allergies and could get you into trouble with Airbnb if a guest complains.

If you host remotely probably worth investing in CCTV to monitor guests coming in and out of the property and you would see if they were trying to sneak in pets.

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Um I don’t “list” my place as pet free!
What does that mean, like putting in my description this is a pet free apartment? Why would I do that? I would never guarantee to someone that there hasn’t been an animal in the vicinity.
I don’t accept pets but have made exceptions on occasion.
My house rules say ‘no pets’ .
So I guess someone who reads the listing could infer that I don’t ever accept pets!
And in europe privacy laws make it very difficult to put a camera in, which could get me in much more trouble than a stray dog hair under the sofa.

You said:…

And you say your house rules say no pets…yet you accept them in the off season???

It’s absolutely legal in Europe to have CCTV. Lots of us here use it.

The house rules are clicked to ‘no pets’. This does not mean there is never a pet in the apartment. It means you can’t instant book if you are planning to bring a pet.

In fact the exact wording is “suitable for pets” which is clicked to “no”. Which means you may not bring your pet.

I’m a bit shocked to hear that this could be construed by someone as a guarantee there is never an animal around.

On Homeaway it’s clearer they let you specify a comment under the ‘no pet’ policy and you can specify people must ask first before booking with a pet.

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I have a fragrance and chemical allergy so I understand how hard it can be to travel but I also know that it’s my problem and not the host. I look for places with no carpets, windows that open, etc. I brink my own bedding when possible. I try not to make my allergies a big deal to the host.

When I have guests who mention allergies, I advise that you they have severe pet allergies don’t book. I even advise that while I clean the suite with fragrance and dye free cleaners and linens, I also warn that I can not guarantee that it is 100 percent. I know that nothing I say will make everyone comfortable so I hedge my bets with the disclaimer.

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We used to allow pets but no longer do because of a homeowners’ association rule change (quite a complicated one but it boils down to no dogs). However I could never claim that we can accommodate people who have pet allergies because we have a couple of very friendly but stray cats who hang around. Sometimes pet loving guests feed them and maybe, although I’ve never seen it happen, let them into the apartments.

I just had my first guest that was allergic to chemical cleaning products and fragrances, was a bit nervous how it would go. I said I could clean with vinegar and /or a product I had on hand that I named for him. He was happy with that, turns out he brought his own sheets, dish soap, shower gel, etc. Was a great guest and left me 5 stars. I think just asking for more info and be honest about what you will and will not do goes a long way.

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I recently had an enquiry where I was told her mother had a “severe” allergy to cats,and she had noticed mention of our cats in reviews. Strangely, the “severe” allergy was persistently downgraded when I told her that the cats had gone, but that I was unable to guarantee an allergen free environment.

I think I dodged the proverbial pain.

Yes, and that’s why you should say that you cannot guarantee that your listing is animal free. I think the idea of telling inquirers via AirBnB that there’s no guarantee and they should cancel if they are not comfortable with that is the best idea.

I NEVER say my listing is guaranteed animal free.

NEVER would I assert that and if someone wants an allergen free guarantee I will refuse!

In fact, I only had clicked on “not suitable for animals” in my house rules.

Does that mean you are delaring your home is “animal free”? Just because you don’t accept instant bookings by people with 3 german Shepherds?

It was @Helsi that said I should not say “animal free” if sometimes there might be animals.

Afterwards I have double checked the literature and wording.

If you do not accept animals, you click a button that says “not suitable for animals”. This does NOT say that there are never animals, that the owner does not have animals, that the prior occupant did not have animals, etc!

In fact, there is a POPOP about SUPPORT ANIMALS.

In fact, even if I entirely forbid and exclude all types of animals, if a potential airbnb renter presents with a support animal (for example blind guide dog), I am OBLIGED to accept that animal.

So in reality, clicking on “not suitable for animals” does NOT ensure to ANYONE that the occupant before them did not have an animal. A person who is severly allergeric should organise extra stringent cleaning for example at his own expense.

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