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New Host Frustration


#1

I am new to Airbnb and have listed my guest room/bath. Our second guest checked in yesterday. The first one went smoothly and we barely knew he was there.

Perhaps I should have heeded the warning signs. This guest emailed me and asked to see the room first (no), then asked if I could send pictures. I asked what kind of pictures? He said he wanted pictures of the room. I asked him, “Like the ones on my listing?” and cancelled his inquiry, asking him to please read my listing fully as I put a lot of effort into conveying all the information there. I hoped that would be the end of it.

Well, it wasn’t. He booked six nights with us and I accepted. He checked in yesterday and has been totally picky and neurotic ever since. He wanted me to clear out a shelf in our pantry for his peanut butter, he wanted an extra light bulb in the bathroom (not a big deal), but then he asked my husband if we didn’t have a different kind of light bulb and then had my husband switching the light bulb arrangement around for him under his direction. This morning, I swear I heard him using my vacuum. When asked how his night was, he complained it was too hot when he went to bed and too cold when he woke up. I just feel that for the amount he paid for a clean, quiet, safe accommodation, he is being entirely too particular! I am counting the days left (unfortunately five more) until he checks out and wondering what kind of strange request/quirk will come out next.

My idea was to offer a very affordable option for people, mostly on business, to crash in our guest room. I am not trying to offer anything resembling a luxury hotel, nor does my listing imply that I am. But if this guy leaves a bad review I may just stop this adventure with Airbnb as I am still under 14 days out of the year as far as taxes go.

Just needed to vent my frustration. Maybe I am not cut out for this?


#2

Yes, in the future trust your gut instinct which was that this guy was gonna be a PIA. One thing that I’ve done with unappreciative guests that has immediately shifted the dynamic: I politely let them know that I’m sensing they’re not entirely happy about the apt and that they are more than free to check out that day and I’ll refund remaining nights. (I’d really rather have unpleasant people out of my space). This was met with a response of, “The apt is great, we want to stay! Thank you!” (the first time I heard thank you since they arrived). The nitpicking and attitude stopped.


#3

I think I just hosted your same guest lol! I had a guest stay for 9 looooong days and I too didn’t listen to my gut. Of course he was new to Airbnb so no reviews, and his first message was a complaint that he couldn’t stay longer because I was already booked up. Thank god he didn’t because he did nothing but bitch the whole time! He confronted out local ice cream truck driver in an exchange he himself described as “aggressive” because the music was annoying. He FLIPPED OUT insisting someone hit his car because his flashers were on - turned out the car in front of him had their flashers on and was reflecting on his car. He couldn’t sleep, there was too much noise, not enough parking, the cup tea I made him had flecks of tea leaves still inside (“Isn’t the whole point of a tea ball is to avoid that?!” he snarked), asked me after his third night, “Um, were you going to change the bed linens at any point?” The list of demands goes on and on and on… And it’s not that I mind special requests. I take pride in making my guests feel special. This was just over the top.

I love the idea of being totally frank, and so many times I wanted to say, “Look, you’re clearly not happy here. Maybe you should find somewhere else.” But I’m helplessly non-confrontational so I never worked up the nerve. I did, however, avoid him as much as possible and answered everything curtly.

The two lessons I took away from all of this was a) LISTEN TO YOUR GUT. That first message can reveal a lot about a person; and b) There are entitled assholes in the world, and there’s nothing you can do about it.


#4

Mariposa – I cannot believe how entitled and unappreciative some people can be, it’s pathological. Luckily, it’s been rare for me and out of 22 groups, I’ve only run into one couple like this so far.

I wasn’t confrontational at all – in fact, I texted and it just sounded like concern:

"Hi Kristy – I’m sensing that you might not be totally happy with the apt or the neighborhood. I’d be happy to refund your remaining nights if you’d like to look for a place that works better for your family. Just let me know and I’ll get the process started!


#5

Luckily it’s been rare for me too. I’ve hosted about a dozen people and everyone else has been very nice and easy going. I’m curious, how did your situation turn out after you sent that text?


#6

After they thanked me and said the apt was great, I never heard from the couple again and they left the apt spotless. I think when people like this realize we’re hardly desperate for their money or to please them, their attitude and the power dynamic shifts. If these repugnant type of people think I’m going to accept being spoken to like a maid or porter for their $350 booking, they are truly freaking clueless.


#7

I love that way of responding, but I am also helplessly non-confrontational! I wish I were off-site instead and could send off messages like that.

He is still here. Last night he asked us to drive him back to his work at 10pm because he forgot to lock the door and feared he would be fired. He did, however, give us $10 and showed gratitude. So far this is totally not worth the measly amount I am charging since it’s summer in Phoenix and I’m a new listing.

I can’t believe there are still four more nights left of his reservation :frowning:


#8

Tessa, sorry to hear you’ve had such an unpleasant experience. As others have suggested, heed your gut. I also find that any guests who want to see the room/place first will be problematic so that’s always a warning sign not to accept that guest. We’ve had many guests stay with us and we’ve been very lucky in that all our guests have been lovely, so I would definitely say there are many lovely people out there using Airbnb so don’t give up on being a host just from this experience.


#9

I loved your description Tessa1. It perfectly describes many a time at my own house.

On the other hand, from looking at other people’s listings and conversations with guests I see hosts are often deceptive about what their home looks like/is like. I’m probably guilty of it myself. It all boils down to how much work you want to do. You’ll do whatever they want if you are eager to please and want their business. If you don’t, just blow it off and decline. I am afraid I have become so cynical about guest expectations that my profile motto is now: Live and Learn.


#10

Update: He has no car so he is here constantly and often just stands around awkwardly staring as if something has short-circuited in his brain. He takes at least four showers a day (I wish I was exaggerating) but also seems to consider flushing the toilet a waste of water as every time I walk by it is full of paper and other things. He leaves all doors wide open with his underwear strewn about (which he also likes to walk around in). Three more nights.


#11

Ok, he finally left. I had to lie to get him to leave and say I had people coming because he asked to stay several days longer.

This guy helped himself to many of our things while staying without asking and then gave us five dollars afterwards as if that paid for all of it.

He stuck an adhesive hook on the wall in my bathroom which I just had to remove and it tore the paint off the wall and now I will have to repair it.

He showered at least five times a day and had the water running sometimes for hours.

He complained it was too hot the first night but then constantly jacked the thermostat up into the 80s while we were home without asking us.

It’s now up to me to leave a review of him. How do I do this? He hasn’t done anything horrible, but lots of little annoying things. How do I write a review without sounding petty and spiteful? I don’t want to NOT leave a review because that is unfair to future guests, but if I make a list of little grievances, will it sound petty?

And what do I do about the wall? I am going to have to repair it myself and already own spackle and paint, so how do I decide how much it should cost and go about recovering that money? I had $100 security deposit.

Thanks for your advice!


#12

OMFG – what a nightmare. I would write something like this:

Guest arrived on time for check-in and had good communication prior to arrival. (or anything positive) Guest had quite a few concerns, including a request for different light bulbs, various temperatures for sleeping, and apparently felt that the bathroom needed more hanging space as he affixed an adhesive hook to our wall! I hope guest finds accommodations that work for him in the future!


#13

He sounds like a very difficult customer, don’t take it to heart - most of our guests are great! You did everything you could to be accommodating :slight_smile: don’t ditch it just yet.


#14

Our very first guest was just like that, needed to complain about everything, not enough hooks, not the right coffee on and on. I also had her for a week and after that we only booked 3 days max. after that. But since then I do weekly all the time. Everyone else was super and some are still friends. You passed the hard test, it will get easier. You will also learn to read between the lines on your prebooking communication. If they have annoyed you and you haven’t even met, decline their request politely. Good luck!


#15

Am I correct in assuming that I cannot recover any security deposit unless I have a repairman come to fix my wall? It’s small enough I can spackle and repaint on my own and would be silly to call someone else to do it.


#16

You can do the repair yourself (but take pictures beforehand and after) and send them to AirBNB. If you submit a claim of your time and materials ($25-30), AirbNB is very likely to reimburse you.


#17

Ok, I submitted a claim and asked for $30 after repairing it myself and taking pictures. He replied:

“There was no where else to hang a hand towel? if I attached the hook to the back of the door; the towel would have remained damp!”

Hmm…I think most normal people hang their bath towels over the shower rail and the hand towel on that big rail I have already installed on my wall in the bathroom. I’m not even going to respond to this.

I’ll update how the claim goes. Based on this response it looks like airbnb will have to be involved.


#18

I’ve read all this with interest and horror! The guy has “ISSUES!” And that kind of person has no business being an Airbnb customer. PLEASE do everyone a favor and be totally honest with your review. The shower taking along is enough. No one should expect to stay and take MAX two showers and that’s pushing it. He had no business putting up a hook. He should have asked first. And you should have replied that he could put it over the shower rod. DUH… Besides, a towel that is used five times a day will never get dry, much less hanging on a hook. Lastly, it’s too bad you thought you had to use an excuse not to keep him on longer. The truth is the best policy. You could have said, “I’m sorry but I just don’t think you are a good fit for us.” or “I just don’t think we can really make you happy.” Thanks for letting me vent after reading this!


#19

Yeah - I think for the Airbnb community it’s good to leave honest feedback so that other hosts aren’t subjected to that guest in the future. Some guests need to understand that having positive reviews and a good standing with hosts is the best way to ensure that someone will rent to you. Otherwise, they can simply find a hostel or hotel which better fits their needs.

Out of curiosity, what would have helped you filter out a guest like this before letting him stay with you? Did he already have positive reviews on Airbnb? What ideas do you have for making sure that you and other hosts only get the best guests?


#20

ianmchenry - he had no reviews. When he messaged me, he asked if he could come look at the place. I told him, no I would prefer to keep it on airbnb until after the reservation had been made and offered to answer any other questions he had.

He then replied, “Do you serve breakfast? Can you send me photos?”

If you know what a low price I charge, being new and being in Phoenix during summer, you would have also laughed/cried at the breakfast question. I asked him, what kind of photos?

He replied “photos of the room, of the house”

…oh, like one of the many photos on my listing? I then declined his inquiry and asked him to review my listing since I spent a lot of time making it accurate with descriptions and pictures.

This is when I should have filtered him out: when he expected breakfast and when he hadn’t even looked at my ----ing listing. :slight_smile:


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