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Leaving reviews: when guests of guests were the issue...and arrivals hours after expected time


#1

I could use some advice! I have a hard time knowing when to review with criticism in public vs private feedback and when to leave no review at all. Late arrivals and guests of guests doing stupid things are the hardest for me to call out in review, so I’d appreciate some input on two stays with those issues, since they’re both due for review.

The first is a repeat guest – this is her third time staying with me. “Nancy” previously stayed with her sister and mom, then with her fiancé to celebrate their engagement, and this trip was a bachelorette/girls weekend. Everything was good with Nancy, but one of her girlfriends drank too much and barfed all over her bed (blanket, sheets, duvet). Nancy messaged me the following morning to apologize, describe the issue, and that they’d dropped the offending pieces down the laundry chute and would pay if I needed to replace them.

  • Yay: Good communication willingness to pay for damages
  • Boo: Hosts shouldn’t have to wash anyone’s disgusting, smelly, chunky vomit off linens
    (Also, more amusing than anything: The toilet plunger was in the laundry chute, too! I can only guess the wad of linens didn’t go down easily and in drunk logic pushing it down with the plunger made the most sense! ha)

She’s already apologized, so mentioning it in private feedback seems redundant. Based on her prior visits, this seems more like a bachelorette night gone too far, so I don’t wish to burn her profile, or my chances of continued visits/referrals, so I’m leaning toward not reviewing. (I wish we could “thumbs down” individual guests! I’d give Linda Blair the heave ho!) Does this seem fair, or how would you respond?

Okay, guest two:
Booked two nights in the run-up to her own wedding. Her parents were to arrive the first night, with she and her soon-to-be-SIL arriving the second. Obviously it’s preferable to have the booking guest show up for check-in, but she had good reviews and I didn’t want to add stress to her wedding week by calling the whole thing a third party and asking them to swap the reservation to the parents’ account. I asked that she share check-in instructions and my phone # with her parents. I also asked for their arrival time and phone numbers, which she provided. Her parents, who were supposed to arrive at 5, didn’t get to the house until a little after 9:30pm, close to my 10pm cut-off.

This leads me to ask: how uptight do you get about accurate arrival times? I feel caught because I ask that (and my house rules stipulate) they provide an arrival time. I don’t necessarily build my schedule around this, as I have a keypad and let them know they can let themselves in. I just like to know when to expect them so I can do some combination of keep an eye on my phone and be available, not start into a noisy/dirty/focused project, and be much more uptight about my state of dress (because people can’t read the rules or arrival instructions - or even the damned yard sign with arrows!!! - and have several times tried to enter through my private door, which in summer is often just a screen). Is “let yourself in when you arrive” too much of a mixed message with “please let me know what time you expect to arrive at the house”?

I’m leaning toward mentioning the 4.5 hour late arrival in the private, not public, review.

How would you handle these two reviews? Does anyone have a suggestion for arrival time issues?


#2

Always leave a review. What does not leaving a review accomplish? If it is information that could help a future host then it goes in the review. If it’s private info (like you left your vibrator behind in the bedside drawer…can I keep it?) put it in private. If it’s something you feel certain is a one off, you could put it in private. Given this is her third visit, it’s her friend and she confessed and offered to do the right thing, I wouldn’t mention it. BTW, I’d have stuffed the whole wad in a garbage bag and billed her for a new set.

Now if barfetta appeared to be an alcoholic who does this on the regular and it was her account it would get mentioned.

Guest 2 has several situations that fellow hosts should know. Just unemotionally state the facts. Arrival times don’t affect me, the later the better but I have self check in.


#3

The first guest, no review. Personally I would prefer the linen to be cold rinsed, prior to disinfecting/stain removal.
The second guest, definitely mention the 4 plus hours lateness. I think it’s really presumptuous to think that you haven’t got anything better to do than wait. Like you, even if I am home I like to get into a project.


#4

I am a HUGE believer in the premise that every Airbnb host should leave a review for every single guest. And that is especially if the guests were less that ideal. Other hosts need to know about your experiences so that they can evaluate the guest.

I’ve said here before that all hosts have such different criteria and different ideas about what makes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ guest. Tell me that a guest didn’t take the garbage out or arrived half an hour after check in time and I just don’t care. Tell me that they were noisy at midnight and I really care a lot!

As this is a public platform and I suspect that there are a lot of hosts lurking and not posting, I’d say please, please write reviews! If you’ve ever had a bad guest, wouldn’t it have been wonderful to have been warned by another host in advance?

Regarding your first guest, just be honest. ‘XXX is a lovely guest and highly recommended. But if she’s bringing her friend ZZZ with her, be prepared that new bedding might be in order’ (or something like that). XXX will be fine and it preserves her good reputation.

I don’t. Usually guests tell me right from the start what time they expect to arrive. If not, I ask them the day before check in. If they are going to be late - which often happens due to travel delays beyond their control - then I can arrange self check in. It’s all about what is the best thing for the guest.

I do. That’s not because my Airbnb business is my primary job, it’s because guests deserve it. I have cancelled (or arranged) by own major business appointments, conference calls with clients, video conferences, doctor and hospital appointments and so on around guests’ arrival and departure times. They are all part of ‘my business’.


#5

I don’t know if I would want guest 1 back. I thinks it’s GROSS to shove a barf laden sheet down a laundry chute. Repulsive. What happened to using your head and putting it in a plastic bag for,you?

I might make sure she agrees to pay and leave a review a,ong the lines of

Xx is normally a great guest but this time her friends caused some damage which she agreed to compensate. As long as the friend is not with her I will welcome her back.

Do you really want her back? In the private feed I would berate her for doing that disgusting thing, what on earth was she thinking?


#6

Thanks everyone! I left reviews for both guests.

I marked the vomit girls down on cleanliness and gave her some private feedback “Happy to say that was the first time I’ve had to clean up puke! Gross!” and that I’d have preferred if she’d bagged up the soiled linens rather than putting them down the chute.

For the late arrival, I guess I went a little soft on her and gave private feedback, but knocked a star off in communication.


#7

Do you always greet them in person? Have you noticed a difference in ratings or general guest happiness for doing so?

I see two dynamics going on with my arrivals: Airbnb is encouraging flexibility and automation (which necessitates hosts either live at the beck & call of guests, or become more hands off) and something, maybe not unique to my location, but to be expected when the destination is 3-6 hours from home.

Although they started off as a “touchy-feely homeshare where you’ve got a local friend in your host”, I’ve noticed Airbnb pushing self check-in and things that encourage a more hands-off hosting style. They prominently display self check-in on my listing even though I meant it to be a backup plan, so I think there’s some mixed messages being sent.

Almost all my guests are driving up from Chicago or downstate Michigan after work on Friday evening. “Going up north” for the weekend is a statewide past-time, so they often run into traffic, or were just optimistic about how quickly they could get on the road. I’d guess about a third of my guests arrive more than an hour outside of their expected time. I appreciate those who give me a heads up, but many don’t let me know. If they were due to arrive at 5pm, I’m still leaving for dinner with friends at 6:30p and will message them when I’m notified of their arrival (thanks, Ring doorbell!) or in-person if I’ll be home soon after. Because it happens so often, I no longer change pre-existing plans to meet guests.

I haven’t noticed a difference in arrival ratings between those who I greet and those who let themselves in. It does feel friendlier to know my guests, but I’m on-property, so I often have a chance to interact at some point during their stay.


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