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Recently i decided to schedule a post-check in message along the lines of “hi, hope you’re all settled in, let me know if you need anything” … and have had 2 guests (so out of 4, that’s 50%) respond with a complaint of some sort. I fear that my message actually triggered them into looking for something to complain about! We have an old farmhouse, so if you want to be really picky (and you’re from the city) i’m sure you could find lots of “flaws” in my 100year old cottage.
I’m thinking this extra message is doing me more harm than good?
And having been a guest i remember how irritating it is to get constant msgs from Airbnb.
I personally would keep the message and welcome the feedback. I believe in the notion that if multiple guests point out the same thing (issue, problem, missing amenity, etc.), and it’s something that’s practical and affordable to change, I should do it.
You’re asking the question - do you need anything? What is a guest to do? Yes, we need more loo paper, yes we need to know if that construction noise will continue, yes we need to know why we can’t smoke, yes we need to know why we couldn’t bring our dog…
You are ‘asking’ for complaints.
“I hope that you’re enjoying our wonderful apartment and that you loved the view of the sunrise [or whatever] this morning. Did you enjoy the croissants and fresh coffee we left for you for your first breakfast? The weather forecast is great for today so have a wonderful time. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to make your stay wonderful. Have a great day”.
I think people are only going to complain about something that they was already bothering them or concerning them. So if there is something that they want to complain about, it is best to get on top of it by asking them. Even if it’s something you can’t do anything about, you can validate them by hearing them and they’ll feel a little better purely from being listened to (assuming it’s not something you can fix for them). And if it’s something that is already in your listing or something they don’t understand then you can make them feel better by clarifying.
It’s a bad idea to avoid asking because it doesn’t change whether or not the guest has concerns. And I think it’s part of good hospitality to ask and to find out and then to do what you can. You want guests to feel comfortable communicating with and post check-in message is the best way to open that door to comfortable communication. If a guest can’t find the extra blanket, you want them to ask you so that you can point them in the right direction (and make sure that they’re happy). Otherwise, that guest might not say anything and leave thinking there was not an extra blanket (and be unhappy).
I send my message the morning after they’ve checked in to give them time to get settled in and explore the unit on their own a bit. I’ve never gotten a complaint only a question now and then but I certainly want to hear about a complaint so that I could do something about it. Mostly, I want them to feel comfortable contacting me and it seems to work, the message opens up communication.
Are you responding to me? I’m no psychology expert. I think it’s exhausting to have to try to word things in some specific way so as not to get an unwanted response. But it seems to be something hosts have to consider.
If I were your guest, your “along the lines of” message wouldn’t lead me to come up with complaints. But 2 of your guests have- I thought you were asking for feedback.
I’ll just say that it takes a confident (and good) host to ask the “hope all is OK” question. It says that you know your listing is good/great and you are confident that you will get a “everything is terrific” type of response.
And if the guest has a concern? This is great news! It means you can do something about it. Of course the actual “work” of having to resolve it sucks. . . But its a lot better (for example) to have them tell you how cold the listing is. Then, you can tell them where the thermostat is (this happens often). Then, 15 minutes later they give you the “everything is terrific” response you wanted in the first place. Instead of the “it’s cold in here” concern landing in a 4-star review long after you could fix it.
I think you’re doing good things. Don’t get discouraged! And if you’re told the same 3, 4, 5 things over the coming weeks, make permanent improvements! Eventually, you will quit asking “hope all is OK” because you’ll know that you’ve handled 99% of things by either improving your listing, or your communication/instructions, or both.
For insight on effective messaging, check out the work of Anat Shenker-Osorio. A good start is her Words To Win By podcast. In a previous life I wrote ad copy and speeches for candidates, and I wish that her research and insights had been available then. Even if you don’t agree with her political views or objectives, her tips on effective language for messaging are right on.
I would continue messaging once. Some of the wording by other hosts seems more positive. The words “I hope” may sound to some guests as though you are worried. As a guest I always appreciate hearing from my host. It is fairly obvious at reservation which guests check their Airbnb thread and which ones don’t. The latter usually need an text message.
My message, when I send one is “let me know if you need anything.” I never get complaints, occasionally a question. They say attorneys never ask a question they don’t think they know the answer to. If you are asking if everything is okay with confidence that it is, your wording is fine. If you are asking with trepidation because there are often problems then you need to look at fixing the problems.
Since I’m a home share host, I see my guests the first morning and ask how they slept, if they needed anything in the night, plans for the day …
I have had 2 guests pre-Covid say that the memory foam topper is too soft and have supervised my taking it off and remaking the bed (small room, so I have had to ask them to wait elsewhere while I wrestle with a King sized memory foam topper… and they waited in the small hallway! Ugh.
Often the feedback I get is small stuff, easily fixed or addressed. I think guests like being asked for feedback and about their comfort.
That room is super quiet and dark so folks say they sleep really well.
Yes, and guests still find a way to misunderstand the question!
I recently had an inquiry asking if the pool was private. I said that it isn’t a pool in a community, but in my back yard and that while they do have use of it, it’s a shared space. I then asked if she and her guest wanted total privacy in the pool and I’d do my best to accommodate them. Ghosted.
It’s as if they want the private bungalow experience in a shared home listing. smh
This is the best advice.
I get that feedback in my reviews and in person. Limited interaction unless the guest wants more and the “she looked after us and made us feel like honored guests” is what I’m looking for as to their experience.
I always check in about 30 minutes after the guest checks in via the airbnb app. Part of the reason is to cover myself with Airbnb. This way guests can’t complain to Airbnb (well they can try that something wasn’t right. In most cases according to Airbnb that they want the host to try to rectify the problem within 24 hours. My message tells the guest this is their chance to complain.
I actually find that about half the guests never respond to my message but the other half have very nice things to say. It is extremely rare that I get a complaint and if I do, I find that their complaint is justified. (IE: the wifi was out but only for new sign-ins so I never realized it - had it fixed in 45 minutes but that could have turned out that they wanted a refund if I hadn’t reached out and they never told me.
Here’s my message:
Welcome to XXXs Airbnb Guest Suite:
We just wanted to check in and make sure that everything was as you expected.
If you have any concerns, please message us via AirBnB message system so that we can address any issues that might arise during your stay.
Separate from what you were asking about on your post, I found a way to prevent most of the issues with guest not reading the descriptions.
When I send guests the check in info (which they have to read), I highlight the things in my listing that guest used to complain about because they didn’t read the listing. Since I added this info, I no longer get complaints.
You don’t want to send too long of a check in message so you have to be selective but it’s helped a lot .
I know some other hosts use a specific word in the description that they ask the guest to reference so that they know they read the listing. I think this is mostly for hosts that share their home to prevent people from thinking that they are getting a whole home or if there are no kitchen privileges they know this.
I tried this and it only annoyed me and the potential guest or IB guest so I stopped and now just have a quick message conversation “Thanks for booking! Please confirm you’ve read the HR and are OK with the cat. I need both your “real” names before you arrive and your ETA after 4pm. Thanks!” So far, so good.
My strategy if I can’t tell from a guest’s initial message whether they have been attentive to the listing info has been to ask them “Just checking to make sure you’re aware that…” Fill in a couple of things that could be a deal breaker or cause for complaint, that the guest actually has to read through the info to see, as those things aren’t mentioned in the first part of the listing descriiption.
In my case, those were, 20 minute walk to town and the beach, and that there is both a dog and cat on the premises.
If they replied “Oh yes, I like to walk, it’s part of my daily exercise at home”, “Yes, I love dogs and have 2 of my own at home, looking forward to meeting yours”, I know they have read the listing info.