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First Time Guests and Unrealistic Expectations


And they’re everywhere!

Slightly OT but it shows the mindset … London-based friends of ours have bought a gorgeous village house not far from us in Malaga. They don’t rent it out but generously let friends and family use it when they’re not there, the only payment being that guests are asked to contribute a bottle from the duty-free shop to stock the drinks cupboard. Recently. her brother (!!) and his wife stayed for a week and left a similar laundry list entitled “Things to note”! And yes, one of these was to mount the tv on the wall!


Sound also carries surprisingly well through the ventwork.

He or she looks to be in Santee, CA.


Your place looks great, too bad you got a baddie for a first guest!

My only remark would be it was probably the noise that got her. And after a sleepless night or an afternoon of not being able to read or do work she was looking for anything she could find to drag you down.

Here are some things I would maybe do in the future:

  • Not have guests when you are planning to have family over or be extremely clear when they reserve and let them cancel if they don’t agree

  • check in with them once or twice THRU THE AIRBNB platform saying is everything OK or do you need anything. That way if they come up with hair noise and whatever at the end you can ask why they didn’t mention it so you can adress it.

  • As for the plugs I agree this is super important nowadays with phone chargers laptops and whatnot maybe envisage putting in some extension cords or even having more plugs installed, it adds to the comfort or discomfort and annoyance.

  • As for the washing up we went to an airbnb where the owner came in when we were out and adjusted the airco (down) - it was already on low and only in the bedrooms with everything closed up - we felt this was semi invasive so maybe yes check about the washing up or let them know you will be coming in to tidy up

  • As for the TV this is nitpicking probably due to whatever other problem she had


Things to note “please don’t come back here anymore” ! Ha!

Sometimes people think they are being helpful by telling you things you can improve.

Especially people who are used to having things given to them.

I used to offer our seaside house to friends until my brother in law also left a list of possible improvements and a fridge full of half used cheese and sausage (house was empty for 2 months after his stay).


Final comment, Christmas is super hard for many people this lady sounds like she was alone which can be very hard. People get irritable there is like a 38% increase of heart attacks this season!

I’m not defending her but just imagining a lonely person all by themselves in a studio listening to the next door family having their celebration.

People will pick on your property for things going on in their private life or other things you can’t control - I had someone pick on every single thing because she arrived in the rain and it rained every day of her stay. I knew on arriving that there would be problems. Of course she didn’t complain about the rain it was everything else, but she is the only one so far to have a rainy week and also the only one to make these complaints.

Maybe screen guests you will accept during Xmas in the future to ensure they are compatible and OK with hearing a family celebration next door.


I’m sure you and everyone else knows this is discrimination and a violation of Airbnb policy.


Nope didn’t know but now I do!


I don’t think this is reasonable. I think that when someone books an attached guest suite, there should be an expectation that they will see/hear other people on the premises. The important thing is being very clear in the listing that it’s an attached suite (or room in a house, whichever the case may be), that this is a SHARED property with other guests/hosts.


There are ways to encourage couples to book, for example not having a second person fee so couples can book for the same price as singles on those dates.


Thank you! I will say she was not alone. Both her mother and her daughter live in town but chose to stay here as opposed with one of them.


Yes! It is very clear that although this has a private entrance that it is attached to the main house. I do like the idea of a white noise machine though.


She was supposed to be a party of 2 but number 2 bailed at the last minute.


Is it possible that the foot rail of the bed blocks a portion of the TV screen? Try laying on the bed with a couple of pillows under your head and see for yourself.

Not that this would work for everyone, but here’s how I solved the shared wall problem with our listing. I also have an attached guest suite space where our living room wall (where the TV is) shares the guest’s wall where their bed is. We have a nice sound system on the TV with excellent base tones. Although I have good hearing, I like the TV on loud. However, out of respect for the guest trying to sleep, I used to forego evening television when we had guests. I got resentful of that after a while. To solve the problem, so I could listen to loud TV and so the guest wouldn’t hear it, here’s what I did:

The TV has a Roku on it so I put the Roku app on my smart phone, put a “Y” on my cell phone headphone jack, put the Roku app on “headphone mode” then put headphones on each “Y”. My husband and I watch loud TV now thru headphones and the guests don’t hear a thing. It’s working well for us, cost little to implement, and guests generally comment in reviews how quiet the space is.


Regarding the electrical receptacles…sometimes it is not a matter of how many receptacles there are, but how easily accessed they are. One super cheap fix…buy a power strip. You can get them for under $4…OR get one with outlets and a couple of USB ports for under $10 at Walmart or a dollar store. Plug in it a place where someone would naturally want to set their electronic devices for recharging.

These days, I travel with an iPhone, and iPad, and spare battery packs that have to be charged, and I don’t think I am unusual in that. I make sure each bedroom in my AirBnB house has at least 2 USB ports available–and that’s the minimum. Some of my bedrooms have 4 USB ports and I am moving toward providing more in the rooms that only have two. I often find hotel rooms don’t provide enough (or any!) USB ports or the electrical receptacles are in difficult-to-reach places.

I make a habit of asking every guest for feedback on any thing they think could improve the guest experience. I have implemented several of the guest’s suggestions. Even though I make a practice of spending at least one night in each guest space to check for comfort, there are things I might overlook (because they aren’t important to me or whatever) that guests do notice.

All that being said…your place is absolutely lovely and I think she was an unhappy person who chose to nitpick your place to death. I would consider her remarks and see if I could improve, but I wouldn’t take any of it to heart. She was looking to something to be unhappy about, IMO.


Your listing is gorgeous. And as a former Santee resident, I remember this is a lovely area. I learned a lot from my early guests and their suggestions. She may however be overboard. I have these 4 usb ($15) on each night stand and one in the living room. This is most impressive to guests.
I remember one guest recommended I re-wire my 1940 apartment homes so all lights have wall switches. He had never seen an in-line switch or a lamp top switch and had no idea how to operate those lights. And he never called to ask for assistance. Another guest said I needed a trash can in every room. For an 825sf apartment. Cracks me up!
My favorite was a girl ‘from Manhattan ‘ who said I had no Air Conditioning because it was only 75F in the apartment. I am in FLORIDA and during her Summer stay, it was 102+F outside. That is the definition of conditioned air. But she said I misrepresented my listing as we use Heat Pumps in FLORIDA. Haha. She wrote this in the review that I had no air conditioning but only heat pumps.
My favorite saying in this business in ‘NEXT’. You will surely have a run of lovely guests who appreciate your beautiful place in a stunning area.


Don’t be put off by this guest’s 2 pager. Lots of good advice above, but I would add that one way of minimising guest/host mismatch is to only offer enquiries for bookings and not allow IB (Instant Book). We have a somewhat quirky barn that probably wouldn’t suit everyone. So when we get an enquiry to book, we message back:-

“Thank you for your enquiry. Before we confirm any booking we always like to make sure our barn meets guests’ expectations and vice versa.”

We then explain its not 5 star, but we hope it’ll be a 5 star experience and add all the potentially negative elements such as no central heating, but there’s a wood burner and electric heaters etc…”. Depending upon their review count, I then qualify the guest , by asking questions such as how many, what they will be using the barn. Finally I specifically ask them to confirm they have read the house rules, particularly those regarding pets, if they intend to bring one.

Approximately 95% of enquiries lead to bookings and of the remainder that don’t respond, I conclude that had they booked, they would probably have not been a good fit for what we offer, so a win win for them and me!


This babe needs to say in a 5 star hotel, not an Airbnb. Just ignore it. If you feel a need to respond, just thank her for her suggestions and move on. If you continue to get any of the same requests, then you might consider making changes. A note about cleaning the bathroom: If I don’t wear my “readers” when I clean I often miss hair and dust in the corners. Not saying you did that, it’s just a good idea.


I don’t agree about the 5 star hotels comment, most Airbnb hosts actually provide even better experience from 5 star hotels and do far and beyond of what hotels do. Your place looks amazing.
I feel that every Airbnb has to deal at least once with such guests - it happened to me and I am sure we are not the only hosts who got unrealistic complains. What I noticed is that the complains are coming mainly from one issue and that they try to put more to justify a bad review. I am sure she was upset about the noise and start being picky due to that. I always try to seek for main concern and fix it for next guest. I am actually suffering now from a different angle - I am staying in an apartment in Tel Aviv and my family still has jet lag and the lady downstairs comes and complains that it’s too noisy for her :slight_smile:


I got a review like that when I started about 3 years ago. I was so surprised I didn’t respond as I think I should have done. In fact I don’t think the review was about my place but someone else’s place, it was SO incorrect ! I always vacuum the bathroom and shower recess for lurking hair however. That’s the spoiler for a review, hair!!
The person who reviewed you sounds like a real spoiled brat. I suggest you respond very unemotionally and factually to her points if you think you should reply.
In hosting there will be always someone who gets a ‘droopy nappy’ over things not suiting them.
Do your best, keep a sense of reality/ humour and improve with constructive guest suggestions.
Good luck! Your place looks fabulous by the way!!


I would send photos of the letter to Airbnb and let them know what happened. I do not know where you live, but unless they took photos of the hair in the bathroom, and your cleaners don’t have black hair, than I wouldn’t worry about. You need to post a honest but diplomatic review of the guests. If you aren’t sure how to do that, talk to most calm and yet most well mannered friend. Because when they review you, you get to respond. We had a guest leave us the most insane review, the guests that came right after were so lovely, they left use the longest review and counter said everything the bad review said. I am am very southern though and people tend to believe me when I say I care. I have washing machines break, plumbing issue, refrigerators go out, even the AC in July, and still got 5 stars. It is all about how you handle it.
However, some people just complain, because they want a refund. I had one guy say internet wasn’t working. Wanted a refund. Called Airbnb and demanded it. I thankfully had another guest in my house and showed the text where guest told me he reset the router many times and it didn’t work. I asked him which one, the white or black? He said the only one in my room. I responded with that is a TV box. The routers are in living room, on the desk, one is white and on is black. He called me a liar so I send photos, texts, and phone call times to Airbnb. When he tried to leave me a bad review because I refused him his money back, Airbnb didn’t post it.
Being honest but polite is the only way to handle these things. If a guest has complaints but doesn’t have the balls to say it to your face, then they lack communication skills and get no stars or 1 on communication. I am honest. If they didn’t want to wash their dishes, there went cleaning stars. However, I do not know the true whole story. But anytime there is a damanding guests, I let Airbnb know. Also I didnt see your listing link, making sure to take the time to fill out everything in a very detailed way is important. Use your computer, and fill everything out all the way. House rules and such, every description and make sure your bio also explains not only you, but how you plan to host. Your style of hosting if you will.
Not ever guest is crazy, But around 20% are. Being prepapred to handle them is important and will say alot about you as a host!
I hope things change in the future. Take everything with a grain a salt, and as my momma says “treat everyone as an elder, regardless of how crazy they are, we do not know the miles they walk in their shoes.” Meaning we never know what their side is, ever. But we can always be the best version of ourselves.

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