I have been hosting people in my home for several years, but this is my first time using Airbnb.
The space I have available is an in-law suite/apartment attached to my house. It has a full eat-in kitchen, living room, and bathroom on the main floor, and the sleeping areas are in the (finished) basement. I provide dishes, towels, sheets, etc, but guests are expected to bring their own food. The furniture (sofabed) in the living room is older, but still comfortable.
In my ad, I make it very clear that laundry facilities aren’t available to guests (although the laundromat is about four minutes away), nor do I have a TV in the space, but that there is free WiFi.
Two weeks ago, I had a guest from Spain come and stay. He was my first “official” Airbnb guest and I was very excited meet him. Before he arrived, I had a cleaner come in. I purchased new bedding and curtains for the bedroom, which I had painted the week before. Fresh flowers on the table when he arrived. Aveda products in the bathroom. Coffee and filters for the coffee maker. Etc, etc, etc.
He had told me he would be arriving by 10 pm, but his arrival time kept changing. First he would be an hour later, then two. Finally his arrival time was settled at 3 am. This was a Sunday night. I have to wake up for work at 5:30 am, so I told him that I would leave the door to his space unlocked (I live in a very safe neighbourhood) and I would meet him the next day.
When I did meet him, (I came home specifically on my lunch hour to meet him) he seemed nice enough. I asked if there was anything he needed, and he said no. I asked if the apartment met his expectations, and he said “Oh yes, you have a beautiful home”. I asked him if he was warm enough (it was unusually cold here that week, but this is Canada - summer doesn’t really start until July), and told him to feel free to turn the heat up as far he needed to. I explained that there were extra blankets if he needed them - just ask. I tried to ask him about his job (he was apparently here on a work trip) but he basically just stared at me… awkward. I told him I had to get back to work, and that if he needed anything at all to please just text me.
Over the next few days, I did see him about once a day. Our conversations were stilted as there was a language barrier, and he didn’t seem to understand when I spoke. Texting seemed to work better. Every time I asked if there was anything he needed, he told me that everything was great. The only complaint he had was that there were no young people in my town. He asked several times where he could go to meet young people. The problem was that he wanted to go out at 10 pm on a Wednesday night - my town is very working-class and any young people would be home in bed by that time because they work in the morning. My town only has one pub and one pool hall - which I pointed out to him - but he seemed quite unsatisfied with this. I did tell him that there was more “nightlife” in the city about 45 minutes away. What he chose to do with that information was up to him. He did go out and bring someone back one night (the living room is right under my bedroom and I could hear them talking) so I’m assuming he found some young people at some point.
On the Thursday (he was staying from Sunday - Sunday), he asked if there was somewhere he could go to wash his clothes. I gave him directions to the laundromat and told him that he could use my laundry soap if he wished.
Unfortunately, toward the end of his stay, I was called out of town unexpectedly for a work emergency. I had to leave on Friday, and he was leaving on Sunday. I asked that he leave his key on the counter when he left. He seemed fine with that and, again, told me that he was having a great stay.
When I returned from my work trip, there was food left on the counters and the smell of his cologne permeated the place (it’s still there nearly two weeks later, even after I have had the cleaners in). However, because I am a fool, I wrote a very short, positive review. Basically, “He was a fantastic guest”. He wrote nothing for the next two weeks. Today was his final day to be able to write a review and I. Am. Gobsmacked. Absolutely gutted by what he wrote.
“The house is as an hotel but very very bad. Its a house with a little kitcken with a old sofa without television. The room was dark and cold basement. The washer machine didnt work and i had to look for a laundry in the village. It looks like a scary movie . In 7 days i only see host in two times and only 2 o 3 minutes. She told me hi, all is good? And that all. Im sure that i never will return to that house. Horrible house with a scary basement like in a scary movie.”
He also gave me 2 stars out of five for “arrival” and “cleanliness”. An overall three-star review. And this is my first review, so it’s the only one people will see! I did respond (and I hope this was the right thing to do) with the following:
“It is very unfortunate that you feel this way, V, and I wish that you had told me of your concerns in person. I’m not unreasonable and would have liked a chance to rectify the situation for you, if only I had known there was one. To address your concerns: As advertised in the ad, yes it is a small space as it is not a house, but an in-law suite attached to the house. The furniture is not new, no, that’s true. The ad states that you do not have access to laundry, so I’m not sure why you were upset about the laundromat situation. The ad states that there is no television. The kitchen is small, as it is an in-law suite, and I feel that is clearly visible in the photos of the space. The bedroom is in the basement, again as stated in the ad. Yes, the weather was cold when you were here (not something I can help), and yes, a basement can be cooler than the rest of the house, I 100% agree with you on that. I did mention several times that you could turn the heat up to whatever temperature you liked (which you did), and offered extra blankets several times, which you refused. You continually told me that everything was good. The only complaint you made to me during your stay was that you had nothing to do as there were no young people in town. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to provide you with more exciting things to do while you were here. As for not seeing each other often - I was at work. I work during the day and have a second job in the evening, and unfortunately I was called away on a work emergency the day before you checked out. I did have more than one conversation with you during your time here, most of which were, I thought, pleasant. We also communicated quite a bit via text. I apologize that you didn’t see me as often as you would have liked. I will take the time to thoroughly look through the apartment again, to see if there is any way I can address your concerns. Once again, I’m sorry that you did not address these with me when you were here as I would have liked a chance to make your stay more positive.”
Now I am paranoid that my house is somehow like a scary movie. I have contacted my next booking (I have someone arriving this weekend) and asked them to read the review and my response, and to please contact me with any concerns that they have. She wrote back that she is not concerned at all with this review. I’m still thinking about it, though. I don’t know what more I could have done for him.