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I have a couple staying in my flat who booked for a week but want to leave after 4 days because
1)access to the terrace involves stepping up a step…clearly stated with accompanying photo in the offer!
2)the flat looks bigger in the listing photos(as they all do!)
3)the shower clogged after they had been there two days…my management offered to send a handyman over to fix it but they declined and said they’d rather move out
ALL THIS ALTHOUGH I HAD NOT OFFERED TO WAIVE THE PAYMENT FOR THE REMAINING 3 DAYS!
Question: can I just say tough luck or will Air B+B take their side and say I have to pay?
No, all flats do not look bigger in the listing photos. I’m assuming you have those wide angle shots that make the space look twice as big as it is.
If that is the case, I think guests have a right to be disgruntled, as it is misrepresented. Str photos are not like real estate photos. They should give an accurate impression of the size of the rooms.
Real estate photos are designed to attract the attention of prospective buyers. But those people can just walk away if they find it looks little like the photos in person, they aren’t out any money. Str guests cannot just walk away- they have already paid.
Quite frankly I’m sick of seeing all those slick wide angle str photos, where a normal queen size bed looks large enough to sleep a family of 6, and a standard apartment size kitchen is made to look like a chef’s kitchen where you could easily prepare a meal for 20. If that is what your photo gallery looks like, I would suggest you get new photos taken that look like what the guests actually see when they arrive.
Of course, the terrace step, which you say is clearly pictured, and offering to fix the plumbing right away are not grounds for a refund.
It’s up to you whether to refund or not. You don’t indicate whether the guests are asking to be refunded for remaining days or not. And of course they are free to leave whenever they like. No one can say whether Airbnb will override your cancellation policy and refund them if you don’t. It depends on what they tell CS and what CS rep they get.
If you wish to cancel the remainder of your reservation, please do so on the Airbnb platform. It’s regrettable that the property no longer suits your preferences. However, the property is accurately depicted in the listing, with standard (non-wide angle lens) photos; the terrace step is both described and shown in the photos; and you declined the host’s offer to send a repair person to check the shower when you reported an issue. It has always been our policy to be accurate and complete, and respond to guest issues and concerns promptly.
I have been repeatedly told by guests the space “looks exactly like the photos online” – and they mean it as a compliment [unsolicited]. I heard that just this afternoon as a guest was checking out. We had a professional photographer (arranged by Airbnb) and we specifically told her we did not want anyone arriving here and feeling like the actual space did not meet their expectations (under promise, over deliver!).
More generally – if the shower drain clogged I would feel like I had let my guests down and if they were grossed out by wondering “what else is down there” and no longer felt comfortable, I would accept that as a consequence.
Depending on the vibe, I might even say “I’ll get it fixed within the hour, and the rest of your stay is on the house” in the hopes that a combination of contrition and this magnanimous, over-the-top gesture would at least salvage a good review. (My overall view of hosting is that my primary business is earning five-star reviews, and that everything else (being a warm host, clean space, beautiful garden etc) is in the service of that goal.)
After they left I would sit down with my wife (co-host) and – if necessary – the plumber, and figure out what the hell I have to do to make sure this never, ever, ever happens again, and then change my maintenance routine (or my pipes) accordingly.
You’d be well advised to get accurate photographs on your listing as soon as possible.
A few years ago, I stayed at a rental that was advertised on Airbnb. It was badly misrepresented on the photographs and was only half the size the listing made it seem to be. I felt cheated, as most people would.
There were other issues so I wrote an accurate review and also wrote to Airbnb.
The listing disappeared shortly afterwards.
Because of my actions? I don’t know but did I feel bad about it? No. I felt pleased that I had acted on behalf of honest hosts.
If you think it enhances the look of the room, then take a new photo. But I don’t think any guests are going to complain that there’s wall sconce that wasn’t in the photo. Most people aren’t really all that observant.
If the host changes something major, like the couch, or removes or adds a large rug, or changes the decor colors, or adds a big painting that guests may not like looking at, then I’d say the photos should be changed.
To be fair, I think some hosts, especially those who use property managers, may just not know any better (at least until they get their first bad review about inaccuracy). They get some professional real estate photographer to take photos, and it never occurs to them that str photos need to look exactly like what the guest will see when they arrive, not have a click bait photo gallery that will lead to disgruntled guests.
@Rolf, I like to have the photos be fairly precisely representative of the actual place. We made a bunch of changes/additions and were quite proud of ourselves, then later realized “Damn, I gotta re-shoot a bunch of pics!” New sheets, new pillows, new barstools, new SPA! Specifically about your sconces: do you think they look nicer than without? Take a new pic; nice details subliminally attract potential guests.
I like Gillian’s idea for things that you don’t have time to re-shoot yet. Caption: “Backyard view showing BBQ, shade structure, gas firepit. Not shown: NEW HOT TUB!”
well, i’d be pretty sure to photograph the new hot tub asap! haha. I kept some older shots in for a while and captioned that the bed had been upgraded. any changes are always called “improvements” or “upgrades”
Well, I wouldn’t consider a different couch, even if the same color, or the removal of a work station to be minor changes.
I don’t think most guests would even notice things like an added light sconce on the wall. And it’s hard for me to imagine guests complaining about something nice added to the place, as long as something else pictured wasn’t taken away, or the added thing entailed a furniture rearrangement or made the place more cluttered.
Of course, with Airbnb you can never be too careful.
“Airbnb- how can I help you today?”
“Hi, yes, I just stayed at a listing for 3 nights and I noticed that there was a small light sconce on the wall that wasn’t pictured in the listing photos, it must have been recently installed. I didn’t like the design of the sconce and it totally ruined what was supposed to be a relaxing long weekend holiday- I never would have booked this place had I seen that sconce in the listing photos. I think I deserve a full refund, as this sort of misrepresentation is unacceptable .”
“I’m so sorry to hear about your experience, I can imagine how stressful that would have been for you. We take reports of inaccuracy very seriously, so I’m issuing you a full refund and we will be suspending the host’s listing pending a full investigation.”