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Ill mannered guests and check-in time errors


#1

Hey guys, I am new to this forum so I hope this is appropriate content.

I had my first AirBnB nightmare yesterday.

A lovely young couple booked my apartment one month in advance and asked me if it was ok to check in at 5am when their flight gets in. I said that was ok for the moment since I had no one reserved for the previous night. A week ago three young girls instantly booked the apartment clashing with the morning the couple arrive. I didn’t notice until the day before, meaning the couple had very short notice for alternative plan.

I felt so terrible about my mistake that I offered the couple my actual apartment while the three girls check out at 10am. It’s a one bedroom so my partner and I literally had to vacate in the early morning. (Horrible morning to say the least).

Meanwhile, I made it very clear to the three girls that they must check out by 10am at the latest and I will be at the door to get it ready for the next couple. I had a very busy day ahead of me and needed to get it ready for the couple waiting patiently.

At 10am they were not answering the door, I heard them giggling away trying to make excuses. Finally they opened the door at quarter past still laughing I saw they weren’t ready, they hadn’t packed and the house was in a terrible state. They asked me to come back in half an hour. I urged them that I only have a small window to clean and I can’t wait any longer. So they told me to clean while they packed. Given I was so desperate I did so. They continued to sit, giggling and chatting while I cleaned around them still unpacked. I urged them four times that they are past their check out and a new guest is on their way. On top of all this as I was a cleaning I stumbled across the packaging of an $80 bottle of Moet brut that was in a cupboard away from airBnB access, I found it open three quarters full with no cork in the fridge. This upset me a lot. I also realised that they went through my drawers that is also not to be accessed by guests. I felt very uncomfortable by the way they treated my space, the situation and ill consideration of my time.

AND THEN they asked if they could leave their luggage since they had a later flight. We agreed we would meet at 4pm and I will let them back in while the couple was out. At 2.30pm they called me and told me they were outside waiting. I told them I was far and our arrangements was for 4pm. They then told me they need to be at the airport by 4pm! I didn’t feel comfortable disturbing the current guests because of poor communication from previous guests so I dropped what I was doing and made my way to the apartment to let them in. Of course they weren’t there, making me wait another half hour.

(ok perhaps this is more of a vent than advice…)

Your advice;

  1. Is the onus on me that the couple didn’t have a place to come to although check in at 5am is almost another nights rate? Their one day in Melbourne was partly ruined because of this. Should I do anything to make it up to them or just leave it?

  2. Should I ask the three girls to replace the bottle of Moet? Can I enforce a no 18yr olds policy?

Thank you!


#2

Mason you are not setting appropriate parameters. You can not be an airbnb host…which is a biz…and be a pushover. A check in at 5 am is either an extra night fee, or the answer is no.
And don’t allow yourself to be put into a situation that you can’t clean. Don’t accept the girls. And when the girls want to leave luggage the answer is no.
Set your rules and your parameters. And leave no valuables in rental space ( including good bubbly ).
You will need to develop a backbone. No 18 year olds? How about you must be over 25 to rent.


#3

Yeah totally agree with you on this one. I also learnt my lesson with my last guest which were a 18yro couple. Just very messy and no respect - haven’t lived outside of mum & dad yet. How so you enforce a no <21yro policy though? They could just lie…

I hope you left them a bad review, but then did you say to them not to drink the bubbles etc?


#4

You’re absolutely right! My partner was very disappointed with the way I handled it. He said I was too soft and I shouldn’t leave these things we want in our Airbnb apartment. I’ve had such great guests this took me by surprise. I’ve learnt to set rules and stick by them! I need to toughen up!


#5

My advice is you live and learn, but you should definitely charge them for the bottle they effectively stole from you. Do you have a security deposit in place? Take it from there. You don’t? Add it immediately. Contact AirBnB and explain what’s happened, perhaps they can help.

All in all, chalk this down to a lesson learned. I have had similar experiences in the past and it helped me toughen up.


#6

So to recap, no, you have no reason to let people into an apartment at such an absurd hour. As you see, it causes ridiculous conflicts with your own schedule, other guests, cleaning etc. Have a check in time, and just say it is firm due to your schedule. Other people’s issues are not yours to take on. Adults traveling aren’t babies and can occupy themselves for a day before check in and don’t need you to come to the rescue. People all over the world have been traveling from overseas and waiting to check into hotels and working out how to manage it on their own without being babysat for hundreds of years. If your guests are acting like this ‘ruined their day’ despite all the effort you went to, including letting them into your own apartment, then I am speechless.

On the 18 yo’s. Unfortunately that does sound like the way typical 18yos will behave. I have had some shockers I won’t bore you with. Frankly expecting to be able to trust people who’s brains haven’t yet fully developed and who are lacking proper impulse control is a bit silly, but I know, we just believe people are going to have respect for our property…until they don’t. These girls should pay for the Moët, and they also need a good reprimanding in their review. Call Airbnb for help if you have past the time.

In time you’ll toughen up. Having a number of people take advantage of your kindness will do that. I feel it’s a pity, because I’m somewhat more jaded about people now, but I guess I just never knew what people could be like when they feel like they can get away with it and no one is looking (no one they know or care about judging their behavior). Couples also sometimes can get into a thing where they egg on each others bad side I think. If one person is prone to taking advantage of a situation, having their partner there that is used to reaping the rewards of this behavior can often escalate something that they might be less prone to do when alone - at least that is what I think and imagine is happening in some circumstances. Certainly we know that with a group of friends if everyone is behaving badly they all seem to feel justified in doing so (lots of studies on this).


#7

I agree with the others…chalk this up to a lesson learned. In this business, at first you will be caught off guard with guest demands and will fumble around; however, you will be prepared for the next time.

First of all - you did not make a mistake by not noticing the other instant booking. You did tell the guests that they could arrive early contingent there wasn’t another booking. Now if you already apologized like it was your fault, then the current guests are just taking advantage of that. What should have been done is they contact you by a deadline to see if the apt. had a last minute booking, if you were going to choose to be so generous.

When I have a guest ask if early check in is possible. I let them know that I get many last minute bookings and I would not have that answer until the evening prior to the day they are arriving. And I don’t feel the need to offer it - only if guest is paying premium price and has been easy to work with - AND it is convenient for me.

Next time a guest wants to check in early, you can ask if they would like to go ahead and book the day before. Just tell them that guests check out at 10 a.m. so early check in cannot be guaranteed unless they book so you can close the extra day off.

As far as these girls, take a pic of the bottle of wine and if you charged a damage deposit, then file a claim with Air. I am still confused about the luggage part. You can’t leave previous guests luggage in the same apt. as new guests unless this is a shared space. It sounds like when new guests took over the rental, then you went back in to get the luggage. My guests would be livid if I entered the home during their stay. Sorry if I didn’t read that right.

And the girls were just playing games about making you arrive earlier than 4. I am sorry you had to go through this. And change your age limit to 25.


#8

How do you change your age limit? Is it a function ?


#9

@Mason_N

No, the onus was not on you unless you specifically agreed they could check in early. If you did, you are sort of responsible for keeping your word.

That said, if you said it was contingent on the property being empty, and the guests were inexperienced enough/careless enough to not check in that their plan had no issues, that’s on them.

Provided you messaged/texted/emailed that you now had a booking, and would no longer be able to accommodate their early check in.

If you still want to be able to offer early check in to guests, there are a few solutions:

  1. Tell anyone who enquires that your property is popular and you are often booked out- if they want to check in early, they can purchase the night prior to arrival- like any hotel.
    If you go this route though, make sure your policies are skintight- because that also might mean your guest assumes you are like a hotel, and they won’t clean/ can be careless in other ways.

  2. Offer a special rate reduced offer- a portion of your regular rate. Guest sees you doing them a solid, you can book the night out on your calendar, everyone is happy.

  3. Simply refuse. Firm checkin and checkout times.

Now, as a guest view- I prefer hosts who have some flexibility to their policies- it suggests I am unlikely to have trouble. Upper age limits for rentals, having to sign additional contracts, and overly detailed house manuals can be a red flag for me. Less so if I talk to the host and like them, but I still might question it. That is also dependent on the rate, too.

I generally always message a host before staying- just to get a general idea of compatibility- which might sound weird but an awful lot of ownership bias comes into play.

Which is not to say it shouldn’t- but I detest hosts who have so much ownership bias that is unclear. If you’re going to charge me a high cleaning fee, and simply say “treat the home as you found it, or treat it like your own” well, I might not pay attention to the smaller cleaning issues, and I’ve been dinged for it. Or assuming I’m going to leave everything in exactly the same place when living here for two weeks to three months.

Balance is hard to maintain, but as a general rule I’d say that if the inconveniences outweigh the benefits, either jack up your rates significantly enough that bookings are just jam money, and the extra covers and random inconveniences, or air might not work out, and it may be worth having a professional vacation management company do it for you.

Hope that helps!


#10

Kirsty,

There’s no check box or anything like that because Air allows anyone over the age of 18. I can’t exactly remember what Air’s answer was but they did say that I could put it in my house rules and also my description. Since we can accept or decline who we want then I don’t see any issues.

Come to think of it, I don’t even know if I have it noted on my account. I did accept a group of college kids for a 2 night stay once. There was maintenance being done on the waterfall and my partner would be over there outside. I told them no at first, and then they begged and said they wouldn’t mind him being there. So I knew if they didn’t mind that the owner was in the backyard, then there would be no big parties.


#11

Justshoot - can you expand on “well I might not pay attention to the smaller cleaning issues”? - I did read your funny adventures post a while back. But what are the smaller cleaning issues you are referring to that you wouldn’t pay attention to if someone asks you to “treat the home like your own” - that is not to be taken literally BTW - it really means treat the home as if you are a respectful guest in someone else’s home. Sure relax, use all the amenities, etc. - enjoy the home. But you should only need to be tidying up when you leave. Just keep your dishes washed and maintain the home in a tidy condition.

I know you mentioned you sometimes work side by side with professional cleaners before you leave. Whether or not a cleaning fee is charged, no one expects you to be “cleaning.” I know when I go in to clean it is going to take me the full 5 hours to clean the place, do the laundry etc. It really takes 8 man hours to get the place to spic and span condition (all ceiling fans, blinds dusted, etc.) - Sometimes that just has to wait with a same day guest turnover. I do not expect guests to be scrubbing bathrooms, vacuuming, mopping, etc.

And no one expects you to leave everything in the “exact” same place. But if it takes a housekeeper 2 hours just to reorganize the kitchen, clean dirty dishes that were put back in the cabinets, move things from room to room,before even getting started on “cleaning” - then you will have upset hosts. The best thing to do in that situation is to take pictures of where everything goes. That way if you move things around, etc. you know where they go back. I don’t know the details of your past experiences but I couldn’t imagine my guests hiring a professional cleaner before they leave. I have had my share of total pigs and would have loved for them to have hired a cleaner. And they had a hotel mentality that if they paid a cleaning fee, then they don’t need to clean up spilled drinks, food their kids left all over the floors, couches, etc. That is ridiculous. That is not maintaining the home in a tidy condition.


#12

Well said Cabin! Once again you are the voice of reason! I expect my guests to take their trash with them and wash up their dirty dishes. Clean the stove if they messed it up. That’s what I mean by Leave the Studio as you Found it.

I will do everything else and that includes ceiling fans, slider tracks, top of fridge, screen doors, windows, blinds, etc etc.


#13

Oh gosh…and the spilling stuff in the oven and not cleaning it - drives me crazy! Yes, that is another thing that is expected when you maintain a home.


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