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Hello Everybody! Short introduction and the first problem: undeclared guests

Hello! Glad to meet you, all the members here!
It was a real pleasure to hear a lot of honest voices in this space, so “Vă salut cu drag!”, telling you that I am a proud Romanian newborn host who started to rent in 2020 at the same time with pandemic (I hope to live in this business longer than it).

I am offering a small apartment in a flats building in a crowded town close to Europe borders.

Now the problem: I need your opinion and advise on this situation:
I am offering the apartment on a few different platforms and I’ve noticed lately that a lot of guests on Airbnb (but not only) are trying to abuse the number of guests by not declaring extra guests, using various legends. I mention that I am not living in the same building.

My price is the same for one or two guests but I have an extra price for the third guest.

I can understand them to hide the third, to have a lower price per person. But it looks really strange to me for them to hide a guest when the price is the same for one or for two…

Question 1: I feel like I’m not the only one who encountered such as situations. Is this kind of behavior something usual on Airbnb?!

Question 2: What can be their reason?

  • young person who leave their parent’s home, trying to hide themselves from their parents?
  • young professionals trying to hide a little activity?
  • illegal migrants?
  • people trying to avoid the mandatory isolation at home?
    … other ideas from your experience?

I need your experience because I feel like I have to be prepared for more crazy situations in the coming future. Also I feel like understanding them will help me to better support them :wink:

Question 3: How do you deal with situations like this without affecting your rating?
I know that Instant Bookings let you dispute reviews and ratings but there is something to do when you already accepted the long-time rental outside the Instant Booking limits, and you already accepted the extra incognito girl ???

I understand that it was my mistake that I accepted. I have a weakness for poor strong girls fighting for their freedom because I was like this before…

The problem is that after few days from check-in this nice and young extra girl started to abuse my house and me by causing damages and pretending free repairs, calling me outside Airbnb messaging system and suggesting that my pieces of furniture are not correctly mounted… With other words, I’m being harassed by a young woman who doesn’t exist for Airbnb and I have the only weapon to give a bad review to the poor boy who rented on the Airbnb for the first time?

Instant Book has nothing to do with a host being able to dispute reviewsand ratings. Where did you get that idea?

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I was not assuming that other kind of bookings don’t let you do something… I was recently able to obtain a complete removal of a review and the afferent rating for a Instant Booking. Then, I’ve discussed with a support guy about my plan (not yet implemented) of removing Instant Bookings, having the feeling that this practice of abusing the number of guests is alimented by the ability to book instantly. The guy suggested me that I will loose the ability to dispute and obtain a complete removal of reviews and ratings (it may be his job of keeping hosts on Instant Bookings - more money for the system).

If many guests bring, or try to bring, a total of three people, then I suggest setting your base price for three (or whatever the usual number is).

Charging for extra guests has always seemed like a lot of trouble to me. Better to set your price so you don’t have to worry about it.

Welcome to the forum. There’s a lot of good information here. There are also many varying opinions.

Thanks for your suggestion, unfortunately this cannot be implemented to my space without extra costs. Doing as you suggest I will artificially increase my price, and it is not the right moment… They are not mainly coming three :slight_smile: For instance now I have this two for one situation, and the incognito girl is killing me :smiley:

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Same for me. I’m busy - I don’t have the time to try to get extra guest fees or to worry about people bringing extra guests.

An extra guest doesn’t cost me anything so I don’t mind if it happens occasionally. When I’ve had additional guests, it’s never been anything dodgy - no illegal immigrants or anything like that. The occasional hookup, sister-in-law unexpected in town, daughter whose accommodation plans went awry - that sort of thing. So I suspect you might be over-thinking the reasoning.

Regarding messages, I use whatever the guest is comfortable with. Some guests prefer contact by phone or text and remember that not all guests have the app.

As for the young girl, we’ve all had annoying guests from time to time and you have to go into mother-mode and simply be firm. That’s your weapon.

Absolutely untrue. Airbnb CS reps are notoriously uninformed about policy and spout off whatever pops into their minds. You can’t really believe a word they say.

What he might have been confusing it with (and no excuse for that level of misiformation) is that Instant Booking can be cancelled more easily than accepted Requests.

But reviews and ratings, no. It’s just as diffficult to dispute those for IB hosts as for those who don’t use IB.

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Being a host has turned me into an amateur psychologist. I would say that young miss was either expected more luxurious accommodations from the boyfriend and is taking it out of you instead of him, or that she is trying to show him she is in charge of such things.

You might want to respond: “I’m sorry that you seem to be unhappy with the furnishings and features as they are set up. It is important to us that guests enjoy their stay. So perhaps you would be more comfortable in a different accommodation. Our cancellation policy is ___________”

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Thanks, @jaquo I admire you for being able to have that “zen” approach, Italy is still a dream to me and anyone :slight_smile: Here the price of cleaning and ironing a set of linen & towels is half of the whole daily price for the big majority of hosts, with Airbnb tax + VAT included. So to include an extra set in your price brings you directly out of the business. We are a depopulated country. Our compatriots are abroad, serving other countries, and we as a country are not attractive at all for any worker. But we are attractive for students due of small costs of living. Running a small business here is a crazy adventure.

Oh, I don’t provide anything extra if an additional person is sneaked in. :slight_smile:

I guess it’s different everywhere but where I am, an extra guest costs me nothing. It’s the same electricity usage etc. Both my apartments are one bedroom, each with a queen bed so the extra person has to sleep on the sofa with no extra linens or towels provided.

I can’t give you a hundred of hearts for your answer,@dpfromva ! I was thinking that my place was chosen by her, but your image is much more likely to be true! Thank you for opening my eyes and for the great advice!

This is what I do.
At time of booking- message and thank them and confirm guest numbers.
Two days before arriving, message and ask if they have an approximate arrival time and confirm guest numbers.
Day of arrival - meet and greet and do a head count, and let them know I live over the road and will be very aware of any issues.
It is amazing how often the size of the group changes……:grin:

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That’s also great advice that looks like not applicable in my area… Only last (and very last) minute reservations from a year… They are hunters :slight_smile:

I apologize if I’ve misunderstood anything at this point. But here it goes. I agree you should stick to your max allowed guests (2) & require everyone to be named in the reservation, even if last minute. It is up to you if you wish to allow more to stay for free. As you see, there are different positions on it here depending on the host.

They only thing you may wish is to point out to the young miss that you are allowing her a FREE place to stay as she did not pay and therefore she is free to depart immediately or decide she is happy with her free accommodations and not bother you. I would give the person who booked a fair review and note that they sneaked a person in they did not pay for & who became a bothersome presence.

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Is the guest new to the platform?
I often find the new ones think they are booking the listing and it doesn’t matter how many they bring.
Particularly if they are using the phone app.
Which is why I do query as to guest numbers.
More than once I have had a booking request for a single guest, that then tell me they are bringing more.
Even had 1 guest tell me he preferred the price for one …. He didn’t like the price for 10 and accused me of doing a bait and switch.

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Don’t overthink the why a guest “booked for one and brought two”. Think of this as an opportunity continually enhance what we need to do as hosts. We should always be looking for little improvements to our stay and/or process, and thereby avoid X ongoing.
.
Instead, just make it part of your process for each booking to communicate with the guest and validate the booking party, with for all guests “full name, address and age” with “as required by insurance”.

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That happened to me on my second booking. She was a new to Airbnb guest, and I was a totally green host (my first guest had been great). Silly me, I thought my listing title, which includes “For solo travelers” was self-explanatory.

20 year old guest arrives (she’d been fine in communication, and when her flight was overbooked and they’d put her on a flight 2 hours later, she let me know right away). She gets settled in her room, then goes into town for the evening. At some point I go to bed, never hear her come in.

Next morning, late, I’m sitting at the terrace table having my coffee when she emerges from her room and comes down the outside staircase with a guy. My first thought, after the initial shock, is that she’s picked him up at the bar.

No, she comes right over with an open, friendly smile, and says, “Good morning, Sarah. I want to introduce you to my friend Emiliano.” I really had no idea what to do, and just said, “But I only rent to one guest at a time and you booked for 1”. By the shocked look on their faces, I could tell immediately that she simply didn’t realize she couldn’t have a friend stay.

I then felt bad for them and asked, “You’re both going to squish into that single bed?”
“Oh, yeah, no problem, we’re real cozy.”

So I charged them a little bit more and let him stay- they were both really sweet kids. They stayed for a week, and it turned out they were best friends from high school, had sort of gotten into a lover thing just before he went away for 6 months to Canada, and they hadn’t seen each other since then. They were so enamored of each other, were really quiet, even though I know they were screwing up a storm up there, always invited me to partake of their breakfast, weren’t drinkers or partiers, although they went out dancing at night, and she left a one-liner review- “I spent the best week of my life here”.

So I didn’t regret letting him stay, sometimes going with the flow is the right thing to do, but now I make sure that guests are aware that the room is for 1 guest only.

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I have found that many innocently list one guest and then talk about two people coming in their message. Occasionally someone may be purposefully devious, but it has been an exception for me.

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After a guest books (instant book or regular booking),I request the names of every guest and their age and current address. It’s in my house rules. You don’t want to provide, fine, you can cancel because you are breaking my rules.

I am polite and explain I need info for insurance and airbnb doesn’t supply but mostly I use this as the way to see who is really coming.

I used to convert the second room used as a den into a 2nd bedroom for an extra fee (2 is the same price too) but then I would have 2 guest book and expect both rooms not a 3rd guest). It takes time and money to change the bedding and got frustrated. Now with COVID I state that it’s only the bedroom available for sleeping AND no guests are allow to visit due to COVID.

With these changes I rarely get guest trying to add people and if it’s a 2nd person I modify the reservation and tell them to accept. A third person, then the reservation gets cancelled. It’s be a while since some try to sneak in an extra person or pet. I also have cameras that I make sure I know and that I live below.

I’m strict but fair and Nono of the BS happens anymore.

BUT I also sometimes people just don’t understand how to use Airbnb and the website. Some are honest mistakes.

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That’s invaluable, thank you!

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