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Guest says "I love your place - I'll be back" - I say "I'll be booked"

I’ve got a whole six guests under my belt now, ranging from a one to three night stay. Five have been great. One brought me flowers, one left a hand written thank you note, and one contributed his medical expertise when in need. All were respectful of me and my home, clean, didn’t ask for a lot, if anything. Except for the couple who just left, promising me that they had such a wonderful stay, that they’ll be back.

Well, I’ll be booked. The experience has almost made me feel like not hosting anymore, even though I loved the other 5 sets of guests. I’m considering posting this review for them:

“X and X were very open, polite and friendly. I am a new host, and their visit helped me realize I need to do a better job of communicating to guests what I will provide as far as food, drinks, toiletries, and extras for the beach, grilling, etc. I also need to be more clear about housekeeping expectations and set a firm check-out time. I need to inventory my belongings and furnishings before and after each guest to determine if items such as wine glasses were broken. I need to state in the house rules that, if something gets broken, to please tell me. I need to make clear what items I am offering guests to use and where they are located, and ensure guests know that other drawers and cabinets are off limits. Hopefully these steps will help me enjoy hosting more.”

Question: I have not written and posted a list of house rules yet. If I haven’t specified house rules, can I still claim damages for broken / taken items? Can I write the above review if I haven’t actually told them in writing that my food, condiments, and spices are off limits? Can I legitimately complain about any of their numerous bad guest behaviors?

I do know I can prevent some of this in the future, but my question is about the principle of this situation. How will others know which guests/hosts are recommended if people hold back on being critical in reviews? I feel like “if I can’t say anything nice, I shouldn’t say anything at all.” But these folks were out of line in so many ways.

Hope this makes sense - tired after a long weekend of hosting (and playing concierge/maid/grocery store).

I believe you can claim damages for broken/taken things however, it is my understanding that the guest has to agree. :confused: It is not written that they are welcome to your food, condiments, and spices. Therefore, you certainly could say in your review that they helped themselves when they were not offered. Most guests would not assume that everything is theirs for the taking. You would be doing other hosts a favor if you could raise a red flag when it is due.

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Thank you for your advice. I feel violated. And this guest has just started hosting herself. But apparently her first guest left early.

Betsy, I can feel your hosting heart growing cold as I read this. :slight_smile: Don’t be too hard on yourself and chalk it up to the learning curve. I think I would keep the review factual without the editorializing about how you could do better. It comes off a bit snarky. I would just say… … XX were friendly but unfortunately not a good fit for us. They did not respect the check out time, broke glasses and didn’t notify us, used spices and condiments without being offered and in general were not conscientious or good communicators. Can’t recommend."

Honestly, you don’t have to write every damn thing down for it to be understood as a rule. In general, if someone does it two or three times it becomes a rule. This may be the only time anyone ever damages anything, let’s hope so.

If it were me, I would try to make the damage claim and then do the review. Don’t review during resolution. When you do go to leave a bad review, wait until the very last minute of the last day to do it.

Sorry this happened, but it helps you become a stronger host. Chin up buttercup!


Dear Betsy,

Truly, if you are tired after hosting only six guests, may I respectfully suggest that hosting might not be for you.

I don’t mean this to be a criticism in the least but hosts need to have an incredibly thick skin, be totally businesslike and take the rough with the smooth.

There’s so much to learn about being a host and because you appear to be sensitive to your guests’ needs you could be a really fantastic one. Read all the advice here in the forum and continue to ask questions - we’re here to help :slight_smile:

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I was about to say in essence what jaquo said.

When i read your intended comments, they sounded more as self-analysis then a review about the guest. Perhaps taking hosting a tad slower, exercising patience and reading these forums to gain more perspective would help you with your confidence (aka thick skin).

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Please don’t give up. You are in good company here. Most of us have experienced every sort of bad guest situation out there. Some way worse than others. This isn’t too bad in the scheme of things. :smiley:

Think about how much worse it could be. Because the guests said they would be back just tells you they weren’t even aware of how clueless they are.

You have to give them your expectations for behavior even if it sounds juvenile. But I am sure you know this now. Your next guests will be better than these clods.

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What happened? You seem very upset.

Thank you all. My phrasing of “I should have” comes from friends who thought I might be too harsh saying straight-forwardly that they overstepped. They thought I should have had signs, locks, etc.

One of the reasons I want to host is that i know there are people out there looking for a clean, comfy place to chill - like I was recently.I couldn’t find it,

Thanks, I’ll sleep on your generous comments and report back.

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But what’s the story? What happened?

Did some guests destroy your place? Was it some cultural misunderstanding?

Some of us haven’t even responded yet…

OK, here is my list for their stay of three nights, petty or not. I don’t mind sharing if asked first, in a reasonable way and not too often. Here we go - some may need clarification, some repetitive - sorry - just ask.

Fri - first night

went in my drawers - they were raving about one of my my books they got out, which was in the bottom drawer of a dresser
left wine glasses around
left window in bath open (it’s south TX in July!)
Perrier with asking (at least a pack of 8, which is $5)
left gate open

Sat am

big mess on counter, spliing onto floor
linens and wet towels heaped on the bed
bath window open (again)
hair in tub (gag!)
cigarettes - ashtray upper patio (pretty sure A, since he knew where the ashtray was)
N had Perrier w/o asking
left gate open

(I did seem to be low on eggs??)

using all towels?

hair in downstairs shower - ugh!

Cooked my shrimp. took my lemon, used my spices, used up my ghee (and left downstairs)

  • could have been AJ and Mo, but I don’t think so

used sponge to clean grill before they cooked, but not after
at least one wine glass broken - missing others
Natalie probably drank a whole case of Perrier
my lemon - really?
told A to hang towel downstairs and he still brought it up to me
whole ashtray of cigs plus toothpicks
lotion in bath missing
used my shampoo and half my SSS
cigarette stub on grill

they asked and I old them they could use downstairs shower after beach until 2 or 3, they said they’d pack up and just rinse off. They showed up at 3:45 coming into the house when I thought they were gone, took and hour to leave.

A host can’t put up signs for everything.
It is best to learn your parameters and limits, and then include those in House Rules, so guests can get on the same page. Some guests lack social limits, and they need the written rules ahead of time. .
So rules need to state basic needs which are different for everyone : for example= Kitchen off limits except for warming food, boiling water or enjoying morning coffee or tea. Cooking not allowed. Guests do not share, nor have access to, owner’s personal space or private belongings. Check in and check out time must be respected and observed. Provisions included with your booking are - clean and personal bedroom with fresh linens, towel set, tp in private bathroom, pump soap, and hair blower. We hope you will enjoy your stay at our house, and respect owner’s space at the same time.
OUch - just read your response. Need to add to above. NO smoking in or on premises.


Thanks for sharing…except I can barely comprehend what happened.

Are you renting a space where you move out of your apartment while others move in?

What is the mess spilling onto floor Sat a.m.?

What’s with low on eggs, etc.? Hair in tub? - Well that is normal if someone took a shower…

If they are cooking your food and stepping over boundaries = that is off limits. You will approach this differently depending if you live with guests, or they are renting out the space you live in…while you move out.

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I like this - thank you! My house still smells like a grease bomb after a huge breakfast fry-up I wasn’t expecting. I think I will limit kitchen access per your example. I’m thinking about not having a cleaning fee so mentally they will maybe be more likely to clean up after themselves.

Thank you georgygirlofairbnb. I’m learning. I know I need to get a thicker skin - this is practice. Thanks for your input.

I should reiterate I loved the 5 groups I’ve had! Would do it again for nothing in return. This particular couple was greedy and invasive. Trying to figure out how to prevent that in the future.

As usual I agree with Kona. Stick to the facts. Say not a good fit and you don’t recommend for these reasons. It is important for other posts to have the heads up that these guests are problematic and it’s important to do it in a nice concise professional way so it’s clear you are not being petty or unreasonable.

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WE TRAIN others how to treat us and that goes double when Hosting. I also live on the property that I host guests in but have learned over the past year that in order to limit friction between guests and myself that I needed to change a few things.

  1. Anything that I do not want guests to use or break, I put in my room behind a locked door. Maybe buy a lock for a kitchen cabinet and store any thing off limits there. Put lock on hallway closet and store extra towels , etc. there that is off limits to guests.
  2. WRITE Guidebook that informs guests PRIOR to arrival, what exactly the rules are, what they can and can not use. It is your responsibility as host to set the rules and sorry but there are some people who think that they can do any thing and everything when staying with you. A Guidebook will NOT completely stop certain people but it will lower the headaches that you will have with the majority of guests.
  3. Have a glass of wine and relax after guests leave. This is a new experience for you and while it should not feel like a job of full time maid, only you can make changes so when the 5% of guests do show up, you are prepared and can limit their impact on you and your home.

^^^ A very wise post.

I rent a whole house, so it’s slightly different set up, but this actually all sounds like pretty typical guest behavior to me :confused: In my case roughly 1 in 5 guests will completely ignore the rules and leave this kind of mess, and more like 70% leave the place stinking of fried meat (this grosses me out more than absolutely anything else!).

I wouldn’t personally be able to handle people like that in my home, but I’d be curious to hear from other in-house hosts how much of this kind of behavior is really unusual.

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