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I knew it would happen eventually and I probably handled it wrong but still learning. Guest reservation for 4 plus a baby To celebrate her mother’s 50 th birthday traveling from 3 hours away— no charge for the baby on this platform. Guest sends a message a few days before and asks for an early check in. I say ok and day of send key code. Guest sends me a text a full 45 minutes earlier than the agreed 3 hour early check in to say they have arrived. Grrrr but if that’s the worse they do, I make no fuss and send them a welcome.
Two hours after that the oh boy text, “My sister and her husband showed up to surprise my mom for her birthday and they are staying too, sorry to inconvenience you.”So now she is 1 over my max of 5– not counting the baby. So I did not have My listing set up for paying extra—I do now—for 1 more guest over my max so I couldn’t tell her to change her reservation and pay more. I was actually at work and my cohost was not available and while I was really peeved I decided not to play hardball on this one, so I didn’t make her cancel or send her “surprise“ guests to a hotel and Ilet them stay.
I know you can all tell where this is going…They stayed, they left And afterwards Found out from my neighbor that the “baby” was at least 3 yo and had left Cheeto handprints everywhere including halfway up my front windows, the walls, the leather couch. So she got me there, too. Platform allows charge for 2 years and older.So…gave her bad numbers on her review for breaking my house rules, my cleaner didn’t mention the Cheetos till later and I didn’t mention it in the review, and she did throw out all the trash strip the beds etc…and I sent her a private message through the platform that what she did was not ok and a less easy going—- Not a sap— host would have involved the platform and/or made her cancel the reservation and she might have been charged for a good portion anyway And not to try this again. Dressed her down nicely, in other words. I felt a responsibility to other hosts in the future. She has not reviewed me back yet so I may also get a retaliation review. I kind of think she just won’t review me though and that’s ok.
So other than growing a back bone, I want to invest in a front door camera. As a stand alone STR with Covid social distancing and moreopportunity to deceive the host, I am thinking it might deter this kind of guest and this kind of behavior in the future. Any ideas?Any particular camera? I am understanding some cameras are motion sensored and will take a still shot and if your guest is playing loose with the age of the “baby” or number of guest the platform will take a picture as proof and take the guest fee out of the deposit or make them cough up the correct amount. And please feel free to tell me other ways I could have handled this …
That really stinks. I have a solar powered camera that is okay but not the best in the world. Of course something hardwired would be better. I have always been able to check who is coming, the number of people and vehicles, and if people try to sneak in additional people, kids or pets. I had someone bring kids without informing me in advance. When questioned, my people said the kids were both under 2 but one was definitely at least 3… I let it go and moved on. I wasnt happy about it but at least they made sure the house was well-kept throughout their stay, no mess, no damage. If there was I would have been livid. When I confronted them saying I knew there were kids she lied and tried to pretend it was just one infant even though it was obvious there were two. After that stay, I added to my rules that if any guests attempted to sleep unnamed people at the property, they would be evicted. I also don’t want more than 6 individuals - no matter what age. To me, a baby is a person. Six people is a lot in one house, 7 or 8 is way too many, I don’t want it!!! I ask for the names of all guests and no one unlisted can stay. Of course people can do whatever they want but it’s extremely rude to do so, people are rude though, you can expect them to do whatever suits then without any consideration of you or your home.
Because of this guest I dropped my max to 4 with a 40 dollar per night fee for 1 extra guest. But frankly at 1070 Square feet, 4 people is good enough. Imagine 6 and a 3 year old and my neighbor—-God bless him— said that other than come out on the front porch, they never left the whole weekend. It smelled pretty funky in there. I feel sorry for the 50 year old grand ma.
Absolutely. I live here and I wouldn’t do this without my cameras. I have a hard wired ring doorbell camera and a security camera system that records 24/7 onto a DVR. You can always pause the video and get a screen shot. And I agree that having a camera has to act as a deterrent to improper behavior. It’s not a guarantee, but just another tool in the tool box.
If this is an Airbnb reservation, please let future hosts know about your experience in the review.
Sorry to hear about these awful guests. You could have confirmed to her that the extra two guests were not allowed to stay as it. would take it over the maximum allowed in your listing. Or you could raised a request through the Resolution Centre for the extra two guests.
I think outside CCTV is an essential for hosts with whole listings.
You asked for a suggestion on a particular camera. I’ve tried multiple brands and have found Blink is the best. I hadn’t heard of it until a security firm rep told me about it and said it was his favorite after a hard-wired ($$$) system. They are not expensive and wireless, with both indoor and outdoor cameras. You can also adjust the intensity, sensitivity and block out portions of the camera view from triggering an alert. Plus they have the ability to speak to someone through the camera.
I’m sorry this happened to you. I am an offsite host as well, and have had many issues with people sneaking in extra guests/pets/children. My neighbor is good at letting me know about these things, but not great at capturing any of it on his phone. So, we bought a Reolink outdoor solar camera. We are headed down to our property on Sunday to finally get it set up. Fingers crossed it works well enough until we can afford a hardwired system we can access remotely. I’ll post up a review here once we see how it works.
I have the Nest Hello Doorbell and it has proved to be invaluable for me operating an AirBnB remotely. I get a notification on my phone whenever someone is at the door. I can verify when guests, the maids, and pest control are at the property. Not to mention security. If someone were to ever break in (which has happened before) I have them on camera.
I have the Nest doorbell/Yale Lock/Nest thermostat combo. The Nest camera has a really clear picture and wide scope. It alerts you to anything from activity by your door, doorbell rings, and package deliveries. I love it. I do pay an annual fee to store all video on the cloud so if needed, you can access video from days/weeks/months ago.
(Off topic) The thermostat is great too, you can monitor your A/C and heat usage real time, in case people are abusing. I haven’t had to worry about this as everyone has been considerate of utility use, but it’s good to have none the less.
Doorbell cameras are better than nothing, but you should be aware of a few downsides.
One guest can simply stand in front of the camera for a few seconds while another guest sneaks in a pet, etc.
WiFi cameras take away available WiFi bandwidth from your guests. If your WiFi is marginal, it could be unusable with a camera streaming.
Cameras that upload their videos to servers or the cloud take away internet bandwidth from your guests. If your internet is marginal, it could be unusable with a camera streaming. This will likely be worse with cable internet where upload speeds are much lower than download speeds.
WiFi cameras can be easily disabled by unplugging the WiFi router or the internet connection. You can make your WiFi router/modem/etc. inaccessible to guests, but remember that these items occasionally malfunction and require a reset.
In my experience Airbnb reps don’t take this issue seriously enough; they treat extra guests like a minor inconvenience or no big deal rather than a trust and safety issue. They also tend to suggest allowing guests to cancel remaining nights with a full refund if they show up with extra people, which is the dumbest thing I’ve heard in a long time.
I use a Ring doorbell to count the number of guests arriving, and have a $200 per person overage charge in my house rules.
You have to be on top of this stuff immediately - confront the guests directly via Airbnb messaging as soon as you discover it, and get them to pay the extra charge right away. Airbnb will not enforce the extra charges after the fact, so good luck collecting after they’ve left.
I’m curious. I have a small (650sqft 2bed/1bath) STR. I market to groups of 4 or less with dogs. No per person fee or pet deposit. I charge on average $95 a night + $85 cleaning fee and expect all beds and towels I leave out to be used. I never saw a point in having a per person fee or pet fee as it seems to cause communication problems. What do you find is the advantage to the occupancy limit and per person extra fees? We all have different STRs and homes so I am am interested in everyone’s opinions.
I’m with you. Like you, my apartments are small (490 sqft and 600 sqft) and guests could only sneak in another couple of people at the most and they’d be pretty uncomfortable anyway.
Occasionally there’s been an extra person and that extra person costs me no more as I leave out the same number of towels, loo rolls, bottles of water regardless.
Another major factor is that it seems that hosts spend a lot of time worrying about the whole thing. Search here and you’ll see how many people have been stressed and worried by extra guests. I try to be stress free.
Not for me personally, as I’m a home-share host with one private room, but according to all the host posts I’ve read over the years, charging an extra person fee is useful sometimes to hosts who have bigger places. They actually prefer hosting smaller groups, even if the house can sleep 8, so if a group of 4 want to book, it makes it affordable for them, rather than having to pay what the host would need to charge for 8.
Some hosts who do this even state in their listing that the bedrooms that aren’t going to be used and paid for will be locked, so that 4 people can’t bed hop and create as much laundry as 8 would and mess up all the bedrooms.
Did not even think about the effect on the wifi bandwith. Good to know as I do not want to siphon my Wifi. So a camera that downloads to a disc or to a card with a cage that people can’ t mess with mostly as a deterrent might still be an option set up high in on front porch. We have a motion sensor light that is aimed at the front door for security . Would it be better to put a camera next to it or on the opposit end as I know bright lights can mess with cameras.
Well there is wear and tear on your place, extra cleaning, and noise levels for the neighbors. In my case, the guests stayed in the whole time did a lot of cooking and don’t forget the cheeto fingers. But I think that when you try to be generous, and I think a generous host is a good thing, there is something that is taken away when you are lied to… I am hearing that for some hosting is dear to them and breaking that trust will eventually affect the way they look at their guests. Not in a good way. But neither do I want to become a policeman.
The bottom line, as far as I can tell, is that all off-site host listings are subject to guests sneaking in extra people or having parties. Even if you charge the same price no matter whether they are up to your allowable max guest count or not, they can still try to sneak in more.
The impact it has on the host depends on what safeguards the host has in place to monitor activity and how swiftly and competently the host deals with it.
Seems to me that all off-site hosts should simply assume that this is going to happen, if not frequently, then at least at some point, and have a game plan in place from the time they first start hosting.
I have an additional fee of $5 per person/per night for the 3rd and 4th persons, if there is more than two people. Mostly I get couples, so there is a savings for couples, particularly if they stay several days. The max for our place is four, and four is a LOT more work than two, and they use more of everything. I’ve done it this way for more than 3 years now and there’s nothing stressful about it. It works for us and that’s the key – find what works best for you and go with it.