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At the outset let me say we are new to hosting, having so far had 7 successful (and well reviewed) hostings over the past couple of months. So we’re on the early end of the learning curve . . . .
Here’s what happened.
A prospective guest started contact with us with this (copied from the actual message, with the names and other personal details removed):
“My husband needs a place to stay until [another place they are planning to stay in, not far from our location, is ready. He partially works from home. Our toddler-age son and I will be visiting family most of the time, but we will need the extra room when we visit. We have not finalized the dates, but over half the time during our stay (the husband) will be there alone. We are hoping that you waive the $30 additional fee for additional people considering that we are staying for so long. …” [In addition to accepting the reservation for 1 person (and waiving the $30 fee which would have kicked in after the first 2 persons) our rate had a 20% discount per week and a 25% discount per month.] So the 3 of them are got the 2 person rate for the entire time. I’m not sure that a ‘freebie’ is necessarily called for, for a toddler (who causes extensive use of the like of washing machine, dryer, etc). We have since changed our rate structure to have a base fee that corresponds to what 4 persons would have cost at our original rate, and set the additional person fee for each person over 4.
What has happened is (can you hear this coming) the mother and son have been there 100% of the time. About a week into the stay, they requested to extend their stay for another 2 weeks. Without thinking it through enough, I did accept the extension but did not say anything about that the rate would be for 3 persons for the extension time; that they had represented themselves (as quoted above). I did not say any extension would be at the already discounted monthly rate, but would include the $30 extra person fee. My bad.
I have wondered if I should say something to them about this. My thinking is it’s my bad that I didn’t see clearly enough to catch as it happened, so now it’s water over the bridge. I’m best off just leaving well enough alone. After all the deal and all the terms are in place. Otherwise, these guests are excellent; friendly and fairly quiet, and clean . . . at least so far. (as of this writing they have another 5 weeks left).
Welcome to the forum. Hopefully you will post before taking another questionable booking. You already know you should have said something sooner. If everything is going well and you otherwise like these guests I might just let it go. If I was feeling resentful I’d say something but you seem to be okay with it.
ugh… they played you. You will know better next time. You are wiser. No real reason to give discounts for longer stays as they can wear on utilities, and of course no reason to waive kids extra person charge.
She sounds like the type who will keep extending. Just say no!
Have you been booked solid since you listed? If so, this has cost you some money but if your past bookings have been for 3-4 nights, I’d think that this long booking is bringing in a lot of revenue even with that discounted rate.
That’s a very big discount for a week, I give 5% in off season and nothing in peak season
I have had a couple of guests who have said they were in Dublin to meet up with friends, do some business and visit some places in reality they only left the room to pee and refill the kettle, people are not always honest.
My answer is yes, you should. It’s hard to confront these things when you’re new and it’s extra hard when you know you should have prevented it happening in the first place - I sympathise. But if you don’t say anything, the likelihood of at least one, if not all, of the following things will happen:
They will gradually stop being nice and take advantage in other ways because they see you as a push-over.
You will start to resent them and that will eat away at you and impact on your attitude to them so that every little thing they do, or don’t do, will irritate you and they will end up feeling your resentment and it will all be generally horrible.
The realisation that you should have said something at the time, but didn’t, will gnaw at you in future and undermine your self-respect.
OK, maybe I’m overdoing it a bit (!) but honestly, it’s best to say something asap. A lot can change in 5 weeks and bringing it up later will only make you look bad.
I wouldn’t say anything as it may put them offside when they come to review you (from someone who has been burned in reviews) but that aside, I think it really comes down to your general vacancy rate.
If you are generally booked 90-100% of the time, disregard the below but if you are less booked, consider this booking as a bird in the hand (rather than two in the bush)
Maybe this extremely long booking with guests who sound by all accounts decent, wouldn’t have even booked if you did not allow them the “discount” (perhaps there would have been a similar place at a lower price)- and maybe if you increased their price, they wouldn’t have extended their booking?
Thank you K9 for your comments. Yes this is a steep learning curve. Too bad I didn’t post here first. There is a lot of experience shared very articulately and freely here! Unfortunately the situation with this guest has exploded into a host nightmare. Having successfully gamed me [ yes my fault, my inexperience, and trusting nature got me into this] into offering the discount of waiving my extra person fee because she said she and the child would only be staying there less than half of the time of the stay (52 days), (and that her husband would be staying there alone for most of the time) she has now attempted to get me to waive the extra person fee for other adult guests that she told me, after the fact of them coming, would be staying for a few days. What can one say – she took a few inches and is taking it as far as she can, my bad not hers! I pointed out that my having waived the additional person fee for her son because she said her husband would be staying in the place most of the time alone, and she and the child would be there for less than half of the time – that I did that as an extra courtesy (over and above the 25% discount for stays longer than a month – (which of course I have changed and do not offer any discount for any length of stay). I told her that as an extra courtesy I waived one (1) extra person fee, for half of her stay (because she said she and the child would be there less than half the time) and specifically for that case. There was no carry over of the waiver of the Additional person fee beyond that. She now has discovered and informed me that Airbnb does not count humans under the age of two as guests. And is of course using this to say in effect that it really doesn’t matter what she said about only staying for half the time, that she can stay as long as she likes with the child and there is no extra person fee I could charge even if I wanted to. I ‘heard on some grapevine’ that ultimately it is up to the Airbnb host as to whether a child is considered a guest or not. Unfortunately I cannot find any statement anywhere that actually lines that out. Probably the best thing to do is to let this guest ‘win’, and soon enough they’ll be gone and I’ll have her to thank for upping my game. Thus from hence forward, like others said below, there is never a reason to offer a discount at all, ever.
Thanks soo much Magwitch, you were spot on. So I did say something, and this precipitated her now pushing for more. Basic animal nature is to take advantage of perceived weakness when there is something to be gained. I have her to thank for tightening up my game for the next round.
Hello Robert, even many thanks for your very thoughtful reply. Too bad I didn’t post beforehand, and instead put myself out here for ideas on how to clean up a mess in progress. Putting your thoughts into action from here forward sir, I thank you!
Thanks Gardenhost, I’ve wondered about doing this. A call to Airbnb is a very good idea, at least to run this by ‘them’ and hopefully they’ll have some sensible suggestions. Thank you again for your thoughts on my behalf!
I don’t know who this is best for. I do appreciate your good attitude but I would tell her in no uncertain terms that she has to pay for other adult guests. Let her win on the infant (!!) but charge for other adults. Make all of these requests via the platform. Do not accept any further extensions and don’t do any more favors. As has been suggested, call or write Airbnb sooner rather than later. If it were me I would be getting them out of my place but I don’t need the money.
And when this thoughtless, selfish, manipulative excuse for a human being checks out document every bit of damage before you clean up. Check for anything that is missing, even looking places you usually might not. Is your mattress pad still on the bed? Are any towels missing? Any extension cords or plug expanders? All the spare toilet paper. Document and submit a claim before your next guest checks in. She willing to steal your rental space so she’ll be willing to steal other things as well.
Unless your listing says that visitors are allowed, then I would tell her she cannot have extra adults stay over. I am a bit confused. I thought this was a home share stay and they were renting an extra bedroom. I assumed this because you knew the mother and son were there every single stay. Is this a separate space? I ask because of the extra adults coming later. Surely the extra adults are not stayin in their bedroom with them.
Such a wonderful statement about human nature. You are learning quickly. Don’t think that you can never give a small last minute discount or do small favors for guests. Notice I said the word “small.” It’s a shame that so many people in this world do perceive kindness as weakness. In turn they will just look for more ways to try to take advantage. This is one of the reasons why I only allow my guests to check in an hour and a half early if the place is ready. There are a couple of other reasons too as guests must be met on arrival. But 1 and 1/2 hours is just enough for them to feel I went out of my way, but not enough for them to think “ask and they shall receive” other favors.
BTW - are you saying the child is 1 years old? In your original post your guest said she had a “toddler - aged” child. I looked up toddler age and it says between 1-3 years. Air’s free “infant” policy is only for children who are under the age of 2. I wouldn’t be surprised if your guest was lying about the kid’s age to all of a sudden suit the policy. You should tell her that you need proof of age…lolol. That would piss her off.
If you want to count all ages as guests, then note this in your house rules section. At least for now, Air is allowing hosts to note this in the house rules. Guests will not see this if they haven’t read the house rules, or they will pretend to not have seen it. So if they already have entered a booking request then you can ask them to cancel and put in a new one with a full guest count under the adult count section. You can’t make a special offer once they have submitted a booking request.