Hosting a drama guest right now. She booked for five nights starting Monday. Her check out is on Saturday. A couple of days after she booked (a month ago), she asks me if Saturday night is available. It was available at that time, so I said yes. She said she will consider booking it. I forgot about her after that.
Today, she tells me she wants to stay Saturday night. But another guest has booked it so I can’t offer it to her. Now she has to find another place for one night and it’s much more expensive as not many people around here offer one-night bookings. She may need to book a place for two nights or book a hotel. She is pissed and blaming me that I should have kept the night blocked for her so that if she decides to stay longer, she can have the option.
I see a bad review coming. I wonder if Airbnb will see this as retaliatory behavior for no fault of mine and remove the review.
She sounds entitled! Why would a host block a date for a guest? That’s an unfair expectation. What’s your cancellation policy? If it’s flexible, I would suggest she cancels and books elsewhere to fit her needs and save you from an awful review.
Do these people walk into clothing and food and furniture stores and ask the management to hold items for them, for free, just in case they decide to come back and buy it?
A few thoughts:
For next time: Make sure your messaging when someone asks you whether a date is available that you say something like, “That date is available at the very moment I am writing this, but literally could be taken before you have a chance to read this message. Yes, it can happen that fast! So, please keep in mind that availability and pricing can change in a moment.”
On her disappointment: It might be too late to explain the situation to her. If not, you might say something like: “I’m sorry that you’re disappointed. I could not possibly have kept the date open for you as doing that might have prevented a booking not just for that Saturday but subsequent nights (e.g., prevented a three-night stay). Bookings change by the minute. In fact, that’s what happened. I have a x-night booking starting Saturday at x pm. If I had done that for my previous guest the dates you reserved would not have been available for you.”
On the possibility of a retaliatory review. I don’t know what you can do to lessen this chance. If the guest does do that, come back here to discuss. It arguably violates the Airbnb content policy because it does not relate to guest’s experience during the stay but instead relates to regret at the inability to experience a new stay for the night after the current stay.
You could seek the review’s removal by stating to Airbnb:
This review relates to the guest’s complaint that the Saturday that was available before her booking (i.e., available before her stay) was not available after the stay she booked. So the complaint violates Airbnb’s review policy since the Saturday in question was after the stay she reserved and therefore not "reflecting the actual experience of the reviewer during the stay ". Please remove this review, which is not “relevant” under Airbnb’s policy.
- I wonder if you contacted Airbnb now, in writing, and wrote: "RE: Reservation Code XXXXXXXX, Last Name, First Name. I am writing to bring to your attention the correspondence on the platform where this guest, [First Name], is complaining that a date that had been available before she booked, and which she chose not to book, is no longer available.
I am concerned that [First Name] might overstay the reservation or possibly make a retaliatory review given that I will not (as you see I cannot) extend the stay because of a reservation beginning Saturday at x pm.
I am wondering if you might contact the guest as a goodwill gesture and write something like " Dear [First Name], We understand the you would like to extend your stay now ending on [Date, check-out time]. Regrettably, this Host has a reservation beginning on the same day of your check-out. Please understand that booking reservations is a very fluid process, that a date available when you booked might not be available even minutes later. Hosts are not required to ‘hold’ dates and it is both costly and impractical to do so. Please see here (How to book Instant Book and regular listings - Airbnb Help Center) for instructions on making reservations, and we hope you enjoy your stay!
I don’t know if Airbnb would send a note like that or not. The main purpose of your message is to convey the possibility of the retaliatory review. If the guest does make the retaliatory review you make the same argument as suggested above, but also point to your previous correspondence that highlighted that the possibility of the retaliatory review you wrote Airbnb about on x/x/xx has now occurred. That might seem to give your argument more weight.
Maybe none of this will work but takes little of your time because you don’t have to talk with a customer service rep, just send the note on the SuperHost message line.
Hosting this drama guest was a rollercoaster ride! Despite booking for five nights, she seemed to have forgotten her own plans. When she asked about an extra night, I thought she might consider it, but alas, memory failed her. Now she’s upset, but hey, I’m just a host, not a psychic! Next time, I’ll be sure to keep every single date reserved for her ever-changing whims. Good luck to the next host!
She’s deflecting the blame on you when she knows she’s the one to blame. Of course you didn’t mean you’d hold it for her until she made up her mind (unless you told her you would).
As long as you have a lot of good reviews, take the booking. She can be an adult and either leave the area on Saturday as originally planned, or find something else for the night. If she gives you a bad review and you cannot get it taken down (although @HostAirbnbVRBO makes good points to argue to get it removed), then simply reply to her review that it is retaliatory for not saving the extra night for her even though you never agreed to do that.
Actually some of them do just that. And unfortunately some establishments accommodate them…
But this guest didn’t even ask for it to be held. Just asked if it was available at the time of booking.
So you know what to do if ever in this situation again – say you can’t hold rooms, the guest needs to modify their reservation on the platform to ensure another guest doesn’t book it. Look at it as another hosting lesson learned and move on.
You might look up some nearby Airbnbs that are available that night and suggest them. I have contact info for a nearby moderately priced hotel that I send guests who want to stay extra nights that are not available.
I do the same. Lots of people book our home months in advance, then buy the airline tickets later and find out adding a day or two on either end of their stay can save a fortune in airline costs and ask about where they can stay.
I see a bright side when one of our guests are in this situation. I mainly host businesspeople who return a lot. It only takes one time for them to be deflected to another airbnb in the area to come back praising us and vowing never to procrastinate again…
When I get people like this I tell them I will keep the place for them for 24 hours (eg “till 5pm Wednesday 24th”) That way if they don’t get back before then, which most don’t they can’t later claim I should have left it available. If they want longer to decide because they have to check if they can take leave from work on those dates we agree on a date by which they will have decided and keep it closed till then. To be honest I would only do this if the booking is more than 4 weeks away, so I am unlikely to get another booking in the next few days. At least they don’t just book and cancel like on BdotCom.
Sorry, I fail to understand holding any space for even one minute for a guest. Guests go online and book any hour of the day and night, for any kind of stay close or far. When someone makes a reservation request and fails to respond to a question quickly, for example, and holds that day or date hostage, who is to know the five people we’re trying to book those dates or parts of those dates and failed because it was unavailable? There is no upside to holding a date for a guest.
Sure there is. An added day is extra money for the host without much extra work like having to clean the room, send a check in message, set a new door code, etc. If a host doesn’t do one day bookings, or holding that day would interfere with a longer booking, like for the upcoming weekend, this the calculus is different.
If a guest is known to me to be a good guest, I’ll take them over 5 unknowns any day. I have held days for known guests several times and on the whole it’s a good thing that I will continue even though they don’t book 100% of the time.
I’m with you about 90%. That’s because 90% of the guests I held dates for never booked and most of them simply ghosted me.
However, I’ll hold for a few days if the guest is a repeat and specifically asks for it and the dates are at least six months out.
Except the warm, fuzzy feeling of doing onto others…