We advertise our rentals in many places and AirBnB is just one so we have to focus on each site’s rules and procedures, which in and of themselves are always changing. For any of you AirBnB experts what do you make of this:
We had a guest request to book one of our nicest resort units the last second (day before arriving) which we normally don’t accommodate (we ask for two days at least). But for some reason the requests we have been getting back in business after COVID are about 85% from AirBnB, which it never was before COVID. Out of our worst guest experiences the majority have been from AirBnB, and then when they are either last-minute, no reviews and/or local, that is a recipe for possible disaster. And this lady was driving cross country and checking in with her husband, an 8yo and a 2yo.
Nevertheless to get business rolling we accepted the request after speaking to her by phone – she seemed nice and pleasant. When she arrived however she reeked of marijuana, so we made it clear smoking is allowed ONLY outside on patio with windows closed, to which she completely agreed (she asked for the nearest pot dispensary).
A few days into their 9-day stay she contacted me apologizing that her 2yo had crawled up on one living room end table, knocked over a nice lamp and cracked the custom glass on the tabletop, which I need to have custom re-made. But at least she told me and paid for it in cash. However while there to survey the damage their 2yo boy was all over everything – even walked out the front door without her seeing. I had an uneasy feeling from the start about her (we have learned that “nice” guests can still be the most dishonest and messy and ones breaking rules).
Anyway, when I went to respond I noticed her message thread was missing from my INBOX. She began contacting/texting outside of AirBnB. We did our standard “send-off” call the night before checkout, when she said all else was fine and there was nothing not working or that we needed to look at. I was still nervous upon checking it out the next day. Sure enough, aside from the reported shattered glass tabletop, the place had a marijuana stench the moment you enter. They had apparently yanked a ceiling fan light switch chain completely out of the mechanism (not just detached chain) requiring me to dismantle the light kit, cut and rewire a new switch mechanism I had to buy. One of the coffee table casters was missing (no big deal because they were cheap casters for such a nice table to I replaced all four a few days ago), the pool keys were returned without the keychain we issued them with, there was a small nick on the lamp where it hit the glass, a couple minor pieces of kitchenware were missing and black hair dye was found inside a bathroom drawer, marring the finish.
I emailed her outside the system about this (AirBnB being the only site we do business with where we cannot request a damage deposit up front) outside the system as necessary and went to request money from her in the Resolution Center. The only option was to file an immediate claim with AirBnB Host Protection, even though she agreed to pay an additional $40 on top of the $50 she had already paid for the glass top replacement. There was no 3-day waiting period or even the ability to charge her for miscellaneous services, etc. (I didn’t want to go thru a claim process for just $40 as I’ve had issues with those too with AirBnB). I call in (waiting about 45 min. on hold each time) and am told there is an “issue” with her account that they never informed me of while she was here nor after checkout and that they couldn’t elaborate.
I deliberately waited on reviewing her but when I got a second email prompt to do so yesterday (now ten days after checkout) the link said PAGE NOT FOUND, even when I tried to review her from the reservations page. I called again (another long hold) only to be told the same thing: there is an issue with her account (something she did wrong on her end, not just a technical glitch) and she would have to contact AirBnB; very unlikely if it’s so hard to get thru to them and she is the one at fault. So in four days it will be too late to review her (and she cannot review us either) thought we deserve a good one for our understanding and trouble.
TWO QUESTIONS for y’all:
Has a guest’s message thread and full access disappeared while staying with you, and if so what did (or would) you do? Do you feel you have a right to be informed if there is an issue when doing business with a guest, and that it is your right to know what the issue is so you can take appropriate action?
Is it against the rules to prohibit toddlers (walking children say under 4 years old)? And yes, I know there is a fixed option to indicate “not suitable” but is that the same as turning them down without being accused of discrimination by AirBnB (who constantly warns of anti-discrimination rules). Also, how does their strangely inflexible and specific option with a choice of suitable for “under 2” or “2-12” solve the problem of toddlers around 1-3 year old? Are we supposed to exclude all kids under age 13? How is that helpful?