Guest rang me this morning at 3am!

Under what circumstances would you expect a guest to ring you at 3am?

The smoke alarm went off in the middle of the night and rather than sorting it out himself, the guest decided to ring us.

This was after forgetting to take along the key safe code and ringing me saying angrily: I can’t get into the house. I say: have you brought the keysafe code with you? No, he says.

No apologies…I give him the code, I hear nothing from him. I assume he’s got in, but check. No thanks for the info that he should have brought with him.

Then the 3am call.

I give people lots of info, and in capital letters at the end of the check-in letter remind guests to take the keysafe number with them…I also ask them not to ring us except in a genuine emergency and not abuse our phone numbers (in the hope that they won’t ring us for nonsense as some guests - though not most - like to do.

But the 3am call for a smoke alarm!! I’m pretty amazed that a grown man (one of a party of 10 - you’d think ONE of them could work it out) can’t figure out how to stop a smoke alarm (which btw, has never gone off before…it was just one of those things.)

What are your experiences?

In my 500+ guests the smoke alarm has gone off twice and in both cases the guests dealt with it themselves. I have been awaken in the night more than once by guests who couldn’t get into the room. In one case the couple had gone in and out repeatedly over the course of two days and then for some reason locked the lock the code didn’t open. So after they checked out I replaced that locking handle with a simple lever, no lock. But still people are going to make mistakes. You will too so best to be forgiving and hope they do the same for you over time.

Most people will not ring except if they need something but it is a hazard of the business.

2 am, 3 am - nothing unusual, particularly with foreign guests who expect hotel service.


Why would a host be available by phone at 3 am???


I consider it my responsibility. If I’m home, I’m available. One, I treat others the way I want to be treated. Two, if there is an issue I’d rather deal with it ASAP in hopes that there won’t be a issue with a refund or review. Three, my phone can’t distinguish between a true emergency and a self centered jerk call.

But as discussed extensively, we all host differently.

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True, that’s the difference between us - and other hosts will be different again. I tell guests that I’m available 10 am to 6 pm every day of the week. In reality, I’m around for most of the time.

But I really do value my own time and turn my phone off (or leave it charging in the kitchen) after my own imposed hours.


You’re so right Jaquo. I really should do that. Unfortunately I can’t help picking up the phone as when you’re rung at 3am either I think my mother has died or the house has burned down. Sod those selfish idiotic guests!

Question is: should I leave a bad guest review. I never do this as I know I will get a salty message from them afterwards which just extends the stress.

Debthecat - sorry you’ve been bugged too (I imagine) by guests expecting hotel service. I’ve stayed in a lot of hotels and I can promise that I have NEVER called down to reception at 3am! I’d be mortified!


A real emergency and the guest can also come pound on your door (as they could mine). The convenience of a phone call vs having to put on some clothes and step outside might help them determine the difference. :wink:

Still, I leave my phone on for other reasons most the time. I have people in my life for whom I intend to be available 24/7 and that list is too extensive to program into my phone.


I would definitely answer at 3 AM. We almost NEVER have guests call us, but if there’s an issue (at any time) I’d prefer that they do. We once had a guest that didn’t want to bother us. Found out the next day that our long term tenants that lived upstairs from the unit had been gone and left their bathroom fan on, which apparently had gone out and was making a horrible screeching sound. Because they didn’t want to “bother us”, they just got no sleep and complained about it later. We ended up refunding her that night’s stay and she gave us a good review, but it could have been so avoidable had she just called us right when it started making the noise.

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I know just what you mean. I have a ‘business’ phone - the one the Airbnb guests have the number for and a personal phone for my family and close friends. If my personal phone was to ring in the early hours, I think I’d have a heart attack - it would definitely be something horrible.

Airbnb guests are another matter :slight_smile:

This has happened. Grrrr :slight_smile:


Once in a NYC hotel a drunk man was pounding on my door at 2 am. I went to he door and asked him what he wanted and told him he had the wrong room. I called down to the front desk and they said security was on it’s way. A drunk man could come knock on my airbnb door and I’d think it was perfectly reasonable for my guest to call me.

I can think of dozens of reasons a guest might legitimately call during the night. You can’t control the guests, you can only control your reactions. Ask yourself: What do you value as a host? What is your life like? What do you need in order to be comfortable as a host? What’s the worst that can happen if you aren’t available to guests? Then proceed accordingly.


Thing is KKC, I don’t buy into the whole ‘host’ thing with airbnb. I list through HomeAway (less actual bookings but more income) as well and they don’t participate in this narrative of ‘hosting.’ As far as I’m concerned, I rent out my house to holiday makers. I don’t host anything. Hosting implies I am responsible for them. Whereas I feel I’m responsible for making sure my house is up to scratch for them to rent.

I can’t abide demanding guests, I dread reviews (mostly good - I’m a superhost) and feel obliged on pain of a bad review to respond to all guest requests, reasonable or unreasonable. And this is what causes me stress. I can’t see a way out of it though.

I yearn for the good old days when I rented out my (other) cottage and there were no reviews possible. People still had the same lovely cottage, well maintained by me…but my life was easier.

I’m not cut out for it but needs must…!

Good idea jaquo about different phones. I hadn’t thought of that! Off I go and buy a ‘business phone’. But I will probably - against my better judgement - still answer it if it goes off in the middle of the night. I’m just oppressed by the fear of a bad review!


I got a call like that, late at night, because the back door light burnt out–it was an automatic light that comes on when someone walks toward the door, then goes off, nothing was wrong with it.


Now, here is a key clarification. Airbnb has tons of non-hosts stuck with the monniker Airbnb chose. Good for you, knowing your lane and sticking to it. Too many people don’t really know what they want with Airbnb. Jaquo unsurprisingly has suggested a great idea for a rental like yours, the business phone. As long as you make clear what you offer in the listing that should help. Yes, you’ll still get the hapless guest who is in a world of their own but matching expectations with offerings is half the battle. Make clear that you aren’t available at certain hours and that will help.

I host a room in my home. It’s attached to my home with a private entrance and ensuite. It’s really perfect in every way. I can house the anti social and self sufficient guest who doesn’t want to meet me and I can host the older fellow who needs a bit of a hand (description following.)

Why call it a “bad” review? You should leave an honest review. And yes I’d be inclined to slip it into the review. Thing is, one phone call shouldn’t be the basis of an entire review should it? Anymore than people having a great time at your holiday rental should leave a one star review because one toilet overflowed one day.

I had an older gentleman yesterday. No red flags in his day before arrival booking. When he arrived he didn’t park where instructed and called me on the phone. He completely ignored all check in information I’d given him. He didn’t update me on his imminent arrival as he said he would. So when he called I was out back with the dogs and didn’t answer my phone. When I saw it was a CA number (he’s from CA) I came inside and peered out the window. There he sits in his car. So I go out and got him parked in the driveway, settled in the room, advised on where to get a quick fast food burger. An hour later he calls again… do I have wi-fi? The wi-fi info is on a stand up card next to the bed, on the guest info sheet I’d pointed out to him and in the appropriate place on the Airbnb website. I direct him to the bedside card. At this point I’m feeling a bit irritated and ready to mark him down in something, not sure what. Then he checks out in the pre-dawn hours (my favorite kind of guest!) and leaves the place clean as can be. None of the snacks or drinks are touched. There’s no trash in either bin. No lights are left on. A sweet little handwritten note is left on the bed. He went from zero to hero real quick.


Smoke alarm goes off = possible fire. SAFETY ISSUE. So, which should they choose? Let’s see…

  1. Take the battery out or disable it since they can’t SEE smoke, turn over and sleep. (If real fire would then develop, host would sue them for having disabled a safety device)
  2. Call the fire department
  3. Call the host

Weelllll, if they cal Mk phone, it’s right by the bed. If they call me ( the Host) it’s in the kitchen getting charged. But, if they walk down to the gate Bella will roar and we will know for sure that somebody needs attention! I only ask that they don’t wait. However, I like Jaquo’s hours. All within reason. We will see. I have also included ( in the TTT-Zone Handbook) the land line FD, 1 mile away. They came up once and dispatched a rattler for me when I was here alone and expecting guests…
P/s my smoke alarm in BR is dangling again, I hate the lights and Mk takes forever to replace those dang batteries:)

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I would think if the smoke alarm went off the first thing you would do would be to turn on the light, get out of bed and go check if there was an actual fire. Unless the fire has been started by Mrs Rochester in the attic or Mrs Danvers in the East Wing the only question is whether to ring the host because you don’t know how to turn off the alarm. I don’t think too many people would stay in the dark under the duvet and think should I ring the fire department or the host at 3am? Or maybe that’s just me.


I vote for Mrs Danvers - one of my literary heroes in the baddie section.

I have my hours on my business card which is left in both rentals for when guests arrive. During the house tour I point out these hours, usually with some light-hearted quip about enjoying quiet evenings but I also tell the guests to come and hammer on my door (just a few steps away from both rentals) if there’s a genuine emergency.

To clarify, are you saying that a smoke alarm that “spontaneously” went off at 3am is not an emergency?

Smoke detectors often will sense electrical fires or other hidden fires before you do.
I’m gob smacked that you found this an annoyance, but you probably have a good insurance policy.


My two cents…you didn’t state if it was the beep of a low battery (which could be handled by the guest to by removing the battery) or a constant beep like an actual alarm. Our smoke alarms are a combination of smoke & CO2, since it is winter here if the alarm had gone off at 3 am my first thought would be CO2 issue with the furnace and would immediately call the fire dept/gas company to check it out. I would rather be woken up by an annoying alarm that wake up to a house full of possibly dead guests by CO2 poisoning. I am available 24/7 for my guests, although I very rarely ever get a call late at night and if I do I try not to be annoyed and handle the issue no matter how irritated I might be.