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I just received an inquiry from someone asking when “the money has to be paid” and wanted to make sure that they had enough in their account when Airbnb pulls that payment.
The thing that troubles me isn’t really the payment question (although they could have just googled it). It’s the fact that there are a lot of really obvious grammar errors in their message and that they don’t have any reviews. They also don’t provide any information about themselves and didn’t even bother to say hi. In my experience, I feel like guests who are poor communicators or don’t spend the time to communicate tend to respect the rules less and are more likely to do something silly (especially someone new to Airbnb).
Edit: I will also add that this one person lives in the U.S. and that their mistakes don’t seem like those made by foreign-language speakers. It’s just a ton of run-on sentences… stuff English speakers make when they’re not paying attention…
So there are no big red flags in this case, but just more of a gut feeling. I have no idea what these folks are like and the only indicators are … meh… They are also looking to book for 8 nights during a time of year when I know I can probably get other guests.
My question is-- maybe I should just block the days on the calendar since declining an inquiry might hurt my search rank? Or–sanity check–maybe I’m just being oversensitive?
Also, I’ve searched the forum to find some tips on getting considerate guests–it seems like raising the price is one to look into. Although I feel like with pricing, it is largely determined by the market that your house is in. Would anyone have any other advice (professional photos?)? Beyond this person’s inquiry, the larger issue is that this is my home and I would love to attract people who would value the place as much as I do.
Thanks for hearing me out and I appreciate any advice
Thanks for the input! Forgot to mention that I believe they are from the U.S. (unless they are new immigrants… but grammar-wise, it does seem like mistakes a native English-speaker could make)… but I could be wrong!
Do you have any advice on what kind of follow-up questions that could be appropriate to ask/how to phrase this? Mostly I just want to know that they’ll be respectful, read the house rules, and understand that this isn’t a hotel.
Maybe a template that starts like,
“Hi, I see that you’re new to AirBnb, welcome! Wondering if you can provide a few details about yourselves before we complete the pre-approval process…”
If gut feeling matters to you then you should go with it. My “gut” doesn’t work for Airbnb and it didn’t work as a teacher. In fact, my “gut” usually steered me wrong because all the biases and prejudices ingrained in me from our society and my upbringing always made me misjudge people. But I’m inclined to think that you are judging folks based on the grammar errors.
There is no dependable way to only have considerate guests.
You can give context clues and make statements about what you value. For example I have pictures indicating that I don’t discriminate against anyone and perhaps an alert reader would pick up clues about my values. I’d like to think it works since I’ve had about 730 great guests and about 5 not so great guests. I’ve only had another 5 or so that I’d not host again but they probably do fine with some hosts.
I appreciate your input! I’ll look into putting in some value statements in the listing.
I don’t expect a perfectly crafted message, I think the grammar errors (mostly run-on sentences… they are from the midwest and are presumably English speakers…but I could be wrong) plus the fact that they didn’t say hi plus no reviews kind of made me worried. But maybe I’m overthinking it! (recently our neighbors have been giving me a hard time about running an Airbnb and I’m just extra worried about attracting considerate guests…)
The rest of your post is just filler. Many people use voice-to-text and that causes run-on sentences and grammar varies by region (I’m from NYC and the Southern “I seen” kills me every time). So I wouldn’t judge on that.
I’d start with “Please read Air’s policies on payments as we are hosts and do not have anything to do with the payment process. Now, before we approve your stay, we’d like to get to know more about you and your visit…”
Frankly, it could go either way - either they don’t have the money for the trip, they’re saving for it, or they and their zero reviews will try and scam you.
And grammar has nothing to do with how considerate someone will be as a guest. I know highly educated people who are absolute slobs and I wouldn’t host them.
You raise several good points, thanks! And I appreciate the wording.
I totally forgot voice-to-text, so that’s good to keep in mind. And yes, totally educated people can be slobs. I guess at the end of the day it’d just be great to know more about them before I approve.
I wouldn’t be so worried about the grammar as there could be any number of reasons why they have bad grammar. I’d be more worried about how you said they didn’t even say hi or introduce themselves. I also rent a room in my house and want guests who communicate well and show respect. I have often found that the guests who take the time to tell me a bit about themselves, acknowledge something they like about my house or state that they agree to the house rules turn out to be better guests, vs the guests who treat this as a business transaction/hotel reservation with no niceties (I.e. “Hi, I’ll be arriving at 5”) who sometimes cause issues or disrespect my property. It’s not a guarantee of a good guest but it’s a good start. If guests don’t say anything helpful in their first message, I’ll write back and say something like “hi, thanks for your interest in my room! Because I live in the house too, I like to know a bit about who is coming into my house before I accept your reservation. Can you tell me a little about yourself and why you’re coming to the area? Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about anything in the listing or the house rules.”
It’s legal and mostly all of our guests are great (and I don’t see how any of them would make the neighbors upset). I believe the issue is mostly just that we live in a small community and people seem wary of outsiders (unfortunately) and the environmental impact of having visitors come through (how you would quantify that… I don’t know). I don’t know about you, but lately, STRs seem really contentious where I live to the point where it’s become a lot of overhead.
Thanks for the message and advice. I think you’ve definitely hit the nail on the head and I probably shouldn’t have jumped at the run-on sentences! If I thought about it more clearly it’s definitely more about the introduction/saying hi aspect, rather than the grammar. Thanks for providing me the clarity and questions for the guest. I’ll add that language to my message
@Kat, we’ve had a number of guests over the years about whom we knew nothing but name and cell phone. They had no profiles, they said nothing about why they were coming, and they communicated nothing while they were here. A few of our guests we’ve barely even seen.
Yes, guests like that are an anomaly for us. Most of our guests are much more communicative. But the “silent” guests have all been just fine as guests.
As others advised, if there’s something you need to know, ask. I guess we generally don’t feel the imperative to know.
haha I see your point… anyway, as I’ve mentioned to another replier, I shouldn’t have jumped on their grammar…(I don’t consider myself a grammar police since I don’t think my grammar is even that great). If I think about it more, I care more about these folks providing enough context for their stay/trying to get to know them more since they don’t have any previous reviews. Though as someone pointed out, it’s probably going to be just fine!
That’s true in many places. I think many hosts are blind or purposefully ignoring the fact that a majority of the population doesn’t like the idea of their neighborhoods being turned into short term accommodation facilities.
Yes, tourism is bad for the environment. But your neighbors should be careful what they wish for.
It’s not where I live but we have our issues. Airbnb can be a risky business.
Ha ha! Our little drinking town has a fishing problem. It’s really more of a village masquerading as a tourist town, where Village Rules apply, or rather, should. DFL’s (a term of abuse for Down from Londoners…) really don’t get it and are often caught gossiping about someone to people who not only know them, but are related to them!
This approach worked well for me last season.
I started a summer AirBnB and within the first weeks of my listing I turned away the first 6 requests because they were new users with poor communication and zero profiles. I then started replying similar to the above post. Basically stating “Thank you for your inquiry. I am handing you the keys to my home and driving away. If you are comfortable please provide a brief description of your group ie how many adults, children (and their ages) couples etc. … If you have any difficulty or questions about AirBnB feel free to ask…”
I hosted several new AirBnB guests successfully and 2 of them have already contacted me to come back summer 2020
We got our neighbors on board with us as Airbnb hosts by informing and involving them. We told them about it (on our neighborhood FB page) well before we even started. We promote our Airbnb rooms to them as “guest rooms to the neighborhood.” We tell neighbors that if they’ll have guests whom they can’t (or don’t want to) accommodate, they should give their guests our link to make a reservation. And neighbors do that. We’ve had plenty of neighbors’ guests stay.
We also have at least one open house a year and invite the whole neighborhood. We welcome them to roam anywhere in the house and see our accommodations.
And, especially at the beginning of hosting, I’d post on our neighborhood page about new guests. Things like this: “We have a couple coming from Alaska!” “An airline pilot is staying with us—before he goes back to Rome.” “A couple of artists from New York will be here next week!”
Neighbors tell us that they walk past our house daily to check license plates (don’t tell them that half the cars are rentals).
Anyway, involving the neighborhood, ensuring that they know we keep the whole guest situation well under control, has done us a world of good. I recommend it!