Okay, so I had a guest contact me 3 months ago for a booking. She’s in the U.S. and her son is coming here (to Canada) for university. Originally she wanted to book a 3 month stay with me (September - December) - her son is apparently staying in residence on campus. So she wouldn’t reply to my standard “Can you please confirm that you’ve read my entire listing” blah de blah email. So I had to decline her request. Then she re-sent it and I explained to her that I might be away for the last week of her reservation so she changed it to a one month reservation. Then, after she’s booked, she emails to say “Oh, my husband will be staying with me for a week, I’ll let you know when”. So I said “Um, I know you’re fairly new to Airbnb but all guests must be on the reservation and I need to know exactly who will be in my home and from when until when”. So I called Airbnb and they told me how to do it as an alteration. She accepted it. I also always confirm check-in time as soon as the booking has been made and so that there’s no confusion -she agrees to it.
Then, I touch base with her a week before, to ask when she’ll be arriving and it turns out that her husband will be arriving a day before she will. She then tells me that he’ll be arriving at my home at 6 a.m. that day. Oh. Hell. No. I reiterate that she had already agreed to the 6 p.m. check-in time. So all of this before she even arrives. My instincts were saying “uh oh”. So I called Airbnb the day before the husband arrives as I’m concerned and there have been so many issues to express my concern. Air records my concern and says we’ve got a record if something comes up.
The husband shows up at 6 p.m. (with the son). I welcome the son and chat to him about his school etc and then ask him to wait in the front hallway (remember, he’s not a registered guest). He does, and I quickly give the father a tour. Then, I have a feeling, so I just stay in the kitchen, wiping down counters etc…because always trust your instincts. I see the Dad trying to bring the son into the room - so I quickly stop him and say “Oh! I’m SO sorry, but as it says in the rules, there are no non-registered guests allowed into the house”. I go on to explain that none of the guests are allowed to bring in anyone not on the reservation. The son has no problem with it and the husband says “Oh that makes sense because then it’ s safe for everyone.”
The next morning, I ask the husband how his night was. He said that the room and bed are very comfortable and he feels that the house is comfortable and no, thank-you, he has everything he needs. Then, around 5 p.m. (I was out of the house) that same day, I get a message from him saying “I’m sorry, I have to cancel the reservation because I sent my wife (remember, she’s not even in the country yet, so hasn’t set food in the house) a photo of the stairs and she’s worried.” I took that to mean that she’s worried about the (well-lit) stairs going from the main floor to the washroom (located at basement level - clearly mentioned a few times in my listing). If it had been a mobility issue, she would have asked right away before booking, I believe. So he says he’ll leave the key in the room and thanks me for having been a good host. Then he writes “I know you have a strict cancellation policy, but I hope we can negotiate.”
Of course I’m partially relieved because who knows what kind of headaches would have happened once the woman actually arrived in my home and I’m also livid because that was 3 MONTHS where other guests could have booked (for the busiest month of the year here). So I thought long and hard about it (my policy is strict). Five years from now what would I wish I had done. I sleep on it, call Airbnb and talk to them. I decided no refund. They had 3 months to cancel and ALL of the information is in my listing.
Today, I get a call from Airbnb, apparently the guests are saying that the stairs were “dirty” and want a refund.
Who knows what the husband took a photo of. The stairs are wooden, going down to an unfinished basement and part of the paint has worn off. So perhaps that’s the “dirt”? In over 15 years of hosting guests, this is a first.
So now I have 3 days left to review. I wasn’t going to at all, but then, as a host, I’d want to know before booking these guests what they were like.
Any thoughts - oh wise ones?