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Multiple non-fitting requests during Hurricane Florence

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#1

Good afternoon, hosts.
This topic has been brushed on several times, but not in this way that I can tell, so here goes the question in another vein.
I am getting multiple requests and inquiries for this weekend due to Hurricane Florence. To be fair, I think some of them are normal requests, but they happen to fall during this event.
Many of them are asking about things that we don’t offer. Many are first time guests with no record, no profile picture, no knowledge of the system, etc.
My question is that Airbnb wants to encourage us as hosts to open our doors to these people, and we’d love to help as well. But what ends up happening for a lot of them is that the apartment isn’t a good fit for one reason or another. I answer their questions, but the guests don’t cancel the request, so I am left to decline even though it isn’t my call. The guest moves on without cancelling.
(Also, Airbnb is encouraging me to accept or decline inquiries. Is it still the case that we aren’t penalized for non-acceptance or declines of inquiries? I answer their questions as well, but just checking that we aren’t penalized.)
The conversations are documented by the message system, so if Airbnb took the time to read they would see that I am not leaving potential guests hanging. But I have the nagging feeling that my listings are being dinged because of these requests even though I am doing what I can to help them.
Also, you need to know that I do ask them to cancel, but many times, especially new guests, they don’t.
Thanks in advance. i know we cannot avoid all potential problems, but I want to do what I can to negate negative input.


#2

If they are simply asking questions then you can just reply then ignore. If they are booking requests then declines will hurt you. I assume you aren’t on instant book.

If there is anything they are consistently asking for that you could change your listing title to reflect maybe you should do that temporarily. For example if you’ve had several people ask about staying with their pet and you’re unwilling to bend your normal rule then put in your listing title something like “2 BR, NO PETS, ocean view” or whatever.


#3

I think it is super duper that you are getting requests and/or inquiries in the midst of this Hurricane challenged weekend.
But your post and issues confuse me a little. How long has your property been listed on Airbnb and how long have you been a host?

  • What kinds of questions are they asking?
  • Are the answers to these questions bold and clear in your listing?
  • Are these requests or inquiries?
  • What are you asking them to cancel?
    Just digging into the issues…

#4

K9 has answered your question about inquiries but I’m wondering if people are often in a panicked flight mode, and simply moving on hurriedly to find somewhere to stay that’s safe.


#5

Thank you, K9KarmaCasa.
Glad to know that Inquiries still only need responses. There seems to be a plethora of people wanting to inquire who instead request, in the meantime blocking the dates.
I wish there were consistent requests for amenities. I could deal with that. (One request was for a freezer in the unit. (We have a mini-fridge, and I’d consider letting them use our freezer, but it is small also.))
You answered one question, and I appreciate it. The rest may be beyond anyone’s guess as to how to better handle.

The others (Our biggest frustration) seem to want us to bend over backwards to accomodate their extenuating circumstances…which we would do if we could.
The most recent potential guest (a newbie) indicated she wanted a full kitchen and wanted to come see the unit. I explained there wasn’t a full kitchen and the unit was fully described and is represented completely with photos. I asked her to complete her profile and indicate her acceptance of our House Rules if she wanted to persue the request.
She never responded to either of our requests, but continued to ask more questions about the apartment, which I answered.
After all that I find out she wanted a longer term lease, which I could have rejected right away as we have reservations in place.
In the meantime our unit is blocked for the dates she entered.
Anyone have any way to ferret out these nuts (I say with all the charity I can muster at this point.)? I have been dealing with multiple all weekend and they are driving me nuts!:tired_face:


#6

Maybe, but in that case you would think they would at least take the time to follow through on their requests. All they are doing is filling out a request and making demands, never mind answering any questions that are simple requests like indicating they agree to the house rules.

I must also state that I am having to guess that they are fleeing from the hurricane. They don’t indicate that. It’s just that they are acting so strange that I’m assuming that has to be the reason.


#7

Hi, and thanks for your clarifying questions. I would have given more detail except I wanted to try and stay concise. We have had the listings for almost 3 years and it’s just now that these requests have become so difficult.
Different people ask different things, but all the questions are addressed in either the house manual or the basics that Airbnb requires.
As mentioned, one girl wanted to know if there was a kitchen. The photos clearly indicate what is provided and the house manual gives more details. Regardless I answered her with details and thought she would cancel her request. She didn’t…so I thought she’d changed her mind about the kitchen. No, she just didn’t bother to cancel. And kept pursuing the request without bothering to tell me she really wanted a long-term stay.
One person asked about a freezer. Of course he could have been wondering if he could use ours, so I’ll grant him that. He wasn’t a problem. Once I answered his question he moved on and he was an inquiry only.
Another wanted to know our specific address. I explained the reason for not disclosing addresses before confirmation and referred them to the reviews to settle any questions about safety or anything they were concerned about. The listing indicated we are 2 miles from downtown in the title.
The inquiries, as stated above, can be answered and dispensed. But some of these are people who don’t know how the system works and have asked for specific dates when they haven’t taken the time to read the obvious listing details.
I was new at one time and didn’t know how to navigate the system. For that fact I have given them what I think are explanitory answers about where to find the answers, not just blow them off. I have been patient with them. But all this has gained me has been having my listing blocked by requests that haven’t panned out, not because I lacked anything, but because people haven’t applied any effort to their request.
This is my gripe and is what I am at a loss to avoid when what they need to know is right there in the listing.
Any ideas?


#8

Yes, I know what you mean. I’ve been dealing with my share of them too. For example, this gal kept me up all last night messaging…she wanted to stay in one of our houses with her husband and 3 children and the youngest child is one year old. The listings (I have two on the open house program right now) say not suitable for children 0-2 because of safety reasons. She was a new Airbnb user and had just opened the account and I could tell she didn’t know how to use it and was getting frustrated with me and the platform.

I did have success with one family right after her though–a military family with four kiddos. I could tell right away that the Mom had read my listing thoroughly from her initial message and we are on track for their arrival tomorrow. It was an easy and seamless process from the get-go, maybe because I am a military vet and my husband is retired military so I felt like their was a common understanding straight away. Also, her Airbnb account is two years old so this is not her first time using the platform.


#9

AirBnB used to have a decline request excuse as “guest is asking for different dates to booking request” which was very useful when they asked for 2 available nights but really wanted more but those nights were blocked. But they seemed to have removed it.


#10

Given their emergency need to find accommodation they were probably taking a shotgun approach and asking lots of hosts similar questions and then only dealing with the first suitable reply. I guess that is rude but perhaps understandable under the circumstances of them just wanting to find a suitable place very quickly as well as organising everything else to get there while worrying about their home.


#11

How was your calendar getting blocked from these requests? Do you use instant book?


#12

So glad you were able to help someone. I know for me that is my desire… to provide a home away from home for them. This is why the nuts get on my nerves. I want to be helpful. They just want what they want.


#13

I am not using Instant book right now. Maybe I should go back to it for the verified guests it provides. I am not sure how it was getting blocked/ showing booked. Perhaps it was just showing on my end, but wasn’t on the platform. I have to admit it got pretty crazy there over the weekend of multiple requests. I was confused by their confusion.


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