How to warn hosts of obnoxious guest asking 278639 questions and requests

Hello - we have an airbnb that while in a seasonally summer location, still rents every weekend in the winter months (obviously for less). We just had the most obnoxious guest to date…first begged for a discount saying it’s a group of teachers and nurses and can they get the entire weekend with cleaning fee for only x amount (a hugeeeee discount). They messaged us this the first week we had opened in June for a January date. So being brand new to this and nervous about how the winters would go, my husband agreed to this ridiculous discount. Note that we would never ever do that now. The woman then messaged us in November about checking in early - we said it was three months away and can’t guarantee anything at that time. Then she messaged us about how many plates and cups there are. Then messaged about parking spots. Then messaged about early check in again (btw asking for 4 hours early!!!). The messages didn’t stop - and please keep in mind we have ALL the info covered in the user manual and within the responses we send when people book. I’ve literally never had a guest who was so obnoxious and demanding. So while the place was clean etc we wouldn’t rent to her again just to avoid dealing with her. Is this the type of thing you can warn other hosts about and how do you go about doing so in the review? Thanks!

Yes!

You want the review to be short, factual and helpful to other Hosts. The review also provides feedback to the guest.

You didn’t say anything about the guests’ other conduct, so I am assuming that that was good (cleanliness and observance of house rules). Edit appropriately.

This guest’s group maintained the cleanliness of the property and observed House Rules. However, they sent us message after message with questions whose answers were found in the listing’s house manual or our confirmation message. They asked for early check in (four hours early). Would not host again.

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If I get a guest like this @panda26 I direct her to my comprehensive visitor guide and ask them to come back if the information they need relating to my listing is not in there.

If they keep asking for early check in, I say no and direct them to a left luggage facility’.

Yes leave an honest review. Say what they did well ie leaving house clean and then mention the guest was demanding giving examples.

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I could weep. I just booked for Christmas for the first time, as we were going to be home (our rental is in our basement, no common areas) and I thought it would be safe and a way to make a little extra. The booking guest could have been your booking guests twin. At one point I thought, “Enough! This is not going to end well.” I went against my inner voice and continued to coddle this guest thinking that I could put up with it because we wanted to try and cover the cost of some upgrades. Why, why, why didn’t I listen to my gut?

It didn’t end well although the guest was clean. She hadn’t read the listing or House Rules properly. I found a box of wooden matches in a dresser drawer. I will never ignore the brain in my gut, again.

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So, that’s IT??

It was THAT bad?

What am I missing? I suppose the matches suggest that they lit candles, which might well be against your rules. Or maybe smoking? Though you didn’t say you smelled smoke.

Are you kidding? [Put those laughing emojis to tell us you’re joking.]

What am I missing?

As it is, your post will not win awards for the most horrible guest stories.

You’re very dramatic. I wonder your reaction when a someone leaves the toilet seat up. :rofl:

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As you’re brand new to this, I suggest that you get to grips with the fact that some guests ask questions. Some of them ask lots of questions. Some hardly get in touch at all. It’s swings and roundabouts.

It’s simply part of the job.

If a guest actually does ask 278639 questions, then you are perfectly within your rights to reach for the nearest bottle of wine, take a colossal glug, and count yourself lucky that it wasn’t 278640.

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I had a guest that messaged me numerous times. He was new to Airbnb and I guess he was nervous about renting a whole house rental and not a hotel room. He asked about the BBQ grill, washer & dryer, TV, etc. etc.

Then while there almost daily contacted me about restaurant recommendations even though I have a guidebook online with Airbnb and a hard copy in the home. I also had a bullentin board with menus for take out.

I didn’t penalize him on the review but I did click on “would not host again.”

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I also don’t understand. Is it against your rules for guests to possess matches? My daughter, who hates smoking, and no one in her household smokes, has a box of wooden matches in the bathroom, as lighting one takes away bad bathroom smells.

As far as guests asking a hundred questions, as Helsi said, I would just tell them the answer to all their questions can be found in your listing info or guidebook, but you will be happy to answer any questions they can’t find the answer to there.

To a large extent, people can only waste your time if you allow them to.

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@HostAirbnbVRBO Oh, I probably shouldn’t have said all that out loud. There was a lot more to the story. A lot. I just sort of wanted to chime in about listening to your gut, especially regarding the constant, badgering questions.

I guess you could say I have been holding in a lot of emotion, trying not to give in to the anger and disappointment that I have felt about going the extra mile for a guest and having it backfire. My husband says, “No good deed goes unpunished” and this time he was right.

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@muddy As I mentioned to someone else, there’s a lot more to the story and I probably shouldn’t have gone into it.

My House Rules specifically state “no open flame”.

This guest claimed to have “read everything carefully” yet missed the Quiet Hours from 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM and the fact that it’s an owner-occupied, basement apartment. It says, “basement apartment” three times in the listing, one of which is “owner occupied basement level apartment, no shared spaces” in the second line of the description.

One way to deal with such people is delay my responses to them. I don’t respond to them immediately. You can use Gmail to schedule a response to go out in a few hours. Or you can make it a day if it’s not urgent.

That way you always respond to them but don’t let them think it’s a chat.

If it becomes really bad then I have another trick where you can block the person from sending messages but you can still send them messages. I have had to do that with guests who have future reservations and they want to cancel and get a refund.

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@panda26 I also want to add, regarding guests that ask a lot of questions, I have noted here in the past that I had a guest that asked so many questions but I sensed something more going on. I believe he was on the autism spectrum. My property is sort of designed to accommodate people with special needs so we decided to simply respond and do our best to not get frustrated. He turned out to be a great guest and left an amazing review. You just never know. In this guests case it was only the questions, though. There was nothing else going on. No badgering for discounts and no asking for other things above and beyond.

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This may have been mentioned previously on other posts about similar situations but I’d advise having a saved reply that makes it clear again multiple times.

"Thanks for booking our place. We look forward to meeting you. As a reminder we live upstairs and will probably be greeting you on arrival. We’ll be back in touch with check in instructions on the morning of your arrival. "

I think some guests never read their messages between the time they book and the time they log on to find out how to get in or to find the address. But in this case with multiple questions you can slide the critical information into replies.

“There’s a place setting for 4 but if you need more just let us know and we’ll bring them right down to you since we are upstairs and almost always home.”

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@KKC based on experience I do send a message prior to booking or prior to accepting a reservation request clarifying the “owner occupied on site” aspect of the property “to make sure it’s a good fit for your needs”. For some people it is a non-issue, for others, it is. I tell them that there are many lovely properties nearby, I’m sure they’ll find something nice.

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I totally get it. [Though did it really ‘backfire’?]

You’re going to have to get over it.

Think of it as your personal growth challenge. Think of some of these guests as children. The rest are reasonable guests who just have different priorities and values than yours.

I have felt, and am embarrassed to admit that I sometimes still feel just as you do, without the backfiring.

We do all that we do, and the guest leaves a [small] mess, breaks a small something without saying so, even takes a small thing, doesn’t leave a review, leaves even a 5 star review but simply says 'Nice place" or “It was a great stay” [Yes, this disappoints me: I want more. I want them to go on and on. Some do (I love those guests.)]

But when I feel these things I channel Hyman Roth [“This is the business we’ve chosen”] and the folly of Professor Henry Higgins [“Why can’ a woman be more like a man?”] even as I sometimes think it too.

In the end I remind myself to embrace gratitude. We got the booking. They left the place in reasonable shape, even if a glass was broken or some minor damage occurs (there is such a thing as ‘wear and tear’ even if I think I would never have done that. My ex-wife would beg to differ.] We got the booking. We got a review! It was five stars. They said something nice.

This IS the business we’ve chosen. We do want the bookings. While we want 5 star reviews with glowing and articulate words channeling Aaron Sorkin that express their appreciation, I need to be appreciative for what we have received, be more internally driven by my own values, and focus on what will drive the success of our business, which for us is re-bookings – even from less than perfect guests, which on reflection are perfectly good guests.

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Excellently written! And… love the cultural references…

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Thank your for your comment.

I think the gist of my comment is to be appreciative even from less than perfect guest, which on reflection are perfectly good guests.

They’re just not me.

And I can tell you that the Host I am co-Host for – we’ve travelled together – would find me a less than perfect guest, but hopefully on reflection perfectly good, or good enough.

Just purely as a reality check: that is exactly what “3-stars” means on a 5-point rating scale :wink:

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On a reasonable 5-point rating scale. Not on Airbnb’s, where hosts are terrified of getting less than a 5* rating and would tend to view a 3* rated guest as undesirable, rather than “average” or “good enough”.

Yes, that was my point.

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