Hi there, I have a guest staying for 31 days until Feb. 21. We didn’t start well, first of all she checked in at around 3:00 AM and because of her schedule, she usually back home pass midnight or early morning and woke us up a couple of times. She did apologize and it doesn’t happen again. Then she parked on neighbor’s space after I mentioned where she can park. She was upset when I told her again where she can park. Today I told her that there is a fee “for future” using washer and dryer. I didn’t make it on the listing that there is a fee for using washer and dryer but after 4 days in a roll and no one else can use them, I decided to tell her. She was extremely upset. I don’t know what should I do. She also seems not very happy that there is no food for her when she woke up around 12 or 1. The listing includes breakfast but I didn’t make it clear before 10:00AM. I think I need to responsible for not communicating well. I’ll add those on the listing but it’s quite awkward for the rest of the days. Overall she is quite understanding and nice. I’d like to seek for any advice that I can make both of us feel better. Also I don’t think I’ll get a good review from her and she is just the 2nd guest for this listing.
Oh, Susan! I’m sorry your hosting life started with so many issues. I’m sure you can figure your way through, but this is why we usually suggest that newbies host short stays until you work the kinks out. It’s much easier to make changes between guests than to change expectations over a long stay.
At the time that your guest reserved, did you have the washer/dryer included in your amenities? If so, you can’t really change that during her visit. You can probably put a limit on loads per week, but I don’t think you can charge a fee that wasn’t disclosed in your listing when she reserved. Any changes you make are for future guests.
The breakfast thing is just another growing pain. Are you making a full breakfast? If so, good that you added a time limit to your listing so it’s clear for future stays. Many of us just leave shelf-stable or easy prep items like oatmeal packets, cereals, muffins, yogurt, etc. If you’re making a full breakfast, perhaps @KenH can suggest ways to make that run smoothly, as he does nice breakfasts for his guests. You might talk with your guest about what would make her happy, or if you could offer a discount if her shiftwork prevents her from having your offered breakfast.
You might also ask her if she’d like to cancel. As a new host Airbnb gives you a short-term bump in search results. This means your listing can show up ahead of well-rated established hosts. It’s best to book many short stays during this time so you can increase your review count while you have increased visibility. Unfortunately you’ve got the opposite situation: you have one big booking that might result in one lukewarm or bad review. In your shoes I’d offer to refund the guest the remaining nights on her stay if she’d like to cancel. I’d then set my max stay at 3-4 days and try to get more reviews to average out this not-so-great stay.
Hi Susan! Sorry to hear of your initial problems, many of which seem to be caused by your inexperience. Get things fixed on your listing, and just get through this one as best you can. Now you know one of many reasons why we don’t generally recommend guests staying for more than a few days.
You MUST set check-in and check-out hours. If guests violate them you can cancel them for violating House Rules
You MUST specify household QUIET hours. It does not matter when/where a guest comes in but if they are not quiet during quiet hours, then you can cancel them.
You MUST specify Laundry use - 1 load per week is all a normal person needs – and a charge for using the machine and soap etc. I’m afraid you can’t “charge for future use”. But you can lock the door to the laundry and tell the guest “1 load every third day” or something like that. Tell Guest sg=he must bring her own laundry soap.
As far as breakfast goes… exactly what does you listing say about this? Do you specify what is being offered – cereal, pastries, juices, coffee, tea, etc.?
If not, then you can offer the guest whatever you (not she) chooses. Go buy a box of cereal and a gallon of milk. Or oatmeal packets and breakfast bars. If she doesn’t like it she doesn’t have to eat it whenever she bothers to get out of bed. You are NOT her servant, to make her breakfast whenever she wants.
In your listing you MUST specify “Breakfast 8-10 AM” or whatever is convenient for you.
If you are doing prepared, cooked breakfasts the way I am, I send the guests a menu when I accept them, and tell them they must give me their breakfast choices within a week. We usually have two guests, occasionally only one. If that’s the way you are, DO NOT make one meal for Guest A and another dish for Guest B. My Menu is called Breakfast for Two – each guest gets the same thing, but they have a menu of a dozen or so items to choose from.
If Guests do not tell me their preference, then I give them whatever I darn well decide to make. We have guests coming this Sunday (check-in 4-6PM) and staying one night, who have not yet told me what they want. If they tell me when they arrive, I conveniently will not have ingredients on hand, and tell them am not going out of my way to get anything at that time, but they can have X or Y (of whatever I have on hand).
Just for fun, here’s my current Breakfast for Two menu:
Staffordshire Oat Cakes
A thick risen oat flour “pancake” topped with an egg and bacon; or served “English sweet” with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Creamy Dreamy Grits
Creamy, white cheesy grits with sausage or ham and toast with chef-made marmalade.
Spanish Tortilla de Patata
Classic dish of fried potato slices and diced onion, smothered in beaten eggs, then finished in the oven.
This North African dish consists of eggs poached on a tangy base of diced tomato onion and peppers, dusted with Moroccan herbs and spices.
Thick-cut challah bread French toast with artisan cane syrups, and seasonal fruit.
Scotch Egg and steel-cut oatmeal with chef-made orange marmalade.
This Icelandic breakfast treat is a combination of steel-cut oatmeal and creamy Skyr yogurt, served either sweet with a dollop of chef-made marmalade; or savory, with bacon crumbles.
Biscuits & Gravy
Chef-made biscuits with sausage gravy, and a fried ham slice.
Quiche Inna Cup
Well, a mug actually. Eggs, dairy, green onion, red bell pepper, and diced ham or bacon crumbles.
Large tortilla filled with eggs, sauteed peppers & onions, and cheese. Served with red or green salsa.
Eggs filled with tangy Andouille sausage, shrimp, and cheese; with a side of toast and chef-made marmalade.
Multigrain toast topped with sliced tomato and a mash of avocado and sauerkraut that is absolutely amazing. PBWF
Breakfast Muffins To Go
Need to catch that early flight, or the Key West Express? These savory muffins are just the thing. Eggs, meat, cheese and condiments all-in-one, with flavors you know and love.
Can you leave her a basket of muffins, fruit, and cereals so when she arrives at 12 or 1 there is something for her to eat. Maybe some juice and yogurt in the fridge. If she is a health professional, then I would let her use the washer daily. She might be washing a germ infested uniform.
Or… simply tell the guest to go shopping and stock the fridge with these things for her midnight meals?
Host indicated in the listing that breakfast is provided.
I still think it’s valid to tell your guest to buy their own midnight snacks! Honestly, this is so mean spirited of the guest to expect things like this. It seems that new hosts are targeted…
Thank you for all the advice. Very warm and helpful.
There is definitely I can do better in the listing description and I’m making updates today. Hopefully next experience will be better for both guest and myself. I’ll offer her refund if she would like to cancel. Not sure what would she say, she booked at my place with extra discount (new listing discount) I don’t think she can find anywhere cheaper but I will leave the decision to her.
@KenH Your breakfast menu is really attractive!! I’m sure it’s beyond your guest’s expectation. I offer basic hot breakfast, egg / bacon / toast / cheese / milk. My guest she is a vegetarian, so no milk, cheese, eggs…etc. I made a couple times vegetarian breakfast for her in the beginning whenever she woke up. The thing is I work from home, I do have a few things to do during the day, she woke up at different times from noon to 5:00 PM. So I texted her if she would be up before 10:00, I can make her hot breakfast or she can help her self (I have bananas and coffee in the kitchen). She is also free to use the kitchen and refrigerator. But thanks for the advice, I will have some oatmeal packets ready in the kitchen, so at least she has some hot food when she woke up.
About washer and dryer, when I listed the place, Airbnb only asked me to check the box ( It could be free or for a fee) on the listing. In the beginning I was thinking to tell her one load per week so the rest of people can use the laundry room also. But then I just think she might get upset because I put new rules. Lesson and learned, I will make it clear in the listing.
About check in time, I did specify on the listing before midnight and also the quiet time after midnight. This part is fine now, she didn’t wake us up since I told her.
I love travelling and love to make new friends and exchange the life stories. It would be a good thing to host guest in our available guest room if the experience for both host and guest are good. I can definitely do better and hopefully next experience will be better. Thanks everyone for sharing.
@Susan_Wang I love your attitude!!! Call this a learning experience and move forward.
Just to reiterate what others have said: Until you get about 20 reviews, it’s best to restrict the length of your stays, so that you maximize the number of reviews, and so that if you have a guest from hell, you are stuck with them for only a short time. Shorter stays also let you clean more often, so the place doesn’t get as dirty and can be turned around faster.
When I first opened, I had a maximum stay of 5 days; by mid-summer, I lengthened it to 7 days. In the winter, I limit stays to 10 days.
I hate to sound like a cliche, with “the customer is always right approach”, but I sincerely want our guests to have a positive experience while in our place. My motto is, what can I do to help? When we were brand new, we had our first 7-day reservation for a family of 10. On the 5th day, I got a text, that they had a mouse in their kitchen, that grandma heard mice running back and forth all night long and didn’t sleep a wink, and they are all pretty upset. We are in the tropics, so I knew that it was entirely possible they had a mouse. I went to them, where they showed me some pancake mix that had been chewed on. I was mortified, as rodent control in the tropics is something we do pretty aggressively. I had already Googled what to do if this ever happened, and across the board, it was suggested to refund their money. I profusely apologized and immediately offered to refund the night before and the next 2 nights. They were surprised and very grateful. We told them we would sanitize the pantry and the kitchen that morning, so they went to the beach to give us complete access. My husband added baits and traps around the perimeter immediately and caught the mouse. They finished their stay, saying they actually had a wonderful time. And yes, they left us a 5* review. Whew! While is is obvious this is the tropics and anyone local knows you do the best you can and bugs/mice will still show up, I am so glad that my first thought was to take care of my guests’ dismay.
I’d be thrilled too if I got three free nights at a large home in HI due to mice. I wonder if the local pet stores sell mice. And could you send me your listing?
(I hope you get the joke)
I rented a very nice luxury home in Costa Rica and after the first day we had bugs inside every day and by night 5 there were spiders in the garden room downstairs by the pool. I’m not afraid of spiders so was in charge of insect removal from that room. The couple using that room moved to the murphy bed in the living room for the last night. We didn’t get any refund; it didn’t even occur to me to complain. This is a standard pint glass.
Not that your observation didn’t cross my mind. So far, some 30 listings later, no complaints about mice. It’s hard in this forum to adequately describe the grandmother’s state of dispair. It would take up way too much room. But I sensed the situation was a volatile issue, and I believe I did as a hotel would have done - it’s on us!
Oh my goodness! This all sounds amazing!! Do you have separate cottages or do you have a variety of rooms for rent? I would have a hard time choosing what I would like for breakfast, it all sounds delicious.
Do you make the Scotch Eggs yourself? They seem difficult to make so huge props to you for making them!
We just have one cabana, separate from the house by about 20 feet. We want people to have some interesting choices for breakfast. From my standpoint none of those are expensive or time consuming. Scotch eggs do take a bit of time, but I can also buy pre-boiled eggs at the local supermarket if I want. Not particularly difficult once you have cooled hardboiled eggs on hand. You also need a beaten egg, some flour for dredging, bulk sausage and panko breadcrumbs.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Peel the hardboiled eggs, and dredge in flour to take up the moisture. For each egg, roll out 1/4 lb bulk sausage very thin – I use my tortilla press – and wrap the sausage completely around the egg, sealing it inside. Take the encapsulated egg and dredge it in beaten egg and then roll it in panko. Place the coated egg in the cup of a muffin tin (I use individual silicon muffin cups). Bake the eggs at 400F for 35-45 minutes.
Wow! Thank you for sharing the recipe. Were you a restaurant owner previously? I’m envious of your guests…LOL. I have 5 separate wee cottages 5 minutes from the beach and there is NO WAY I could ever have the time to offer such delicious options.
Thank you again, I shall try these out in the future.
I was reading your post and was thinking how I would handle it. Now I have a rule no more than 1 loads per week and only if staying 5 days or longer. Otherwise charge 5$.
But in your case I would say something like that: dear guest, I noticed that you are doing laundry every day since you arrived. I am asking to collect your clothes and not run machines every single day. I need machines on regular basis for myself and other people need to use it also. I probably wouldn’t mention the cost but would make a point that it’s not acceptable .
About breakfast: I don’t think I would tell a person " no breakfast for you because you walk up late " . I would still offer something .
I .not sure why she got upset about parking because it was her who couldn’t understand . Were you nice to her through this whole parking issue. I learned to not loose patience with my guests