Hi all. Hoping to pick some brains here as I’m new to hosting and to this site.
I have a lodge in a summer holiday ( Uk) location. When I was brand new to hosting I didn’t realise that Airbnb defaulted to” flexible” cancellation pict and what that meant. I picked this up a couple of months ago and changed it but of course it doesn’t apply to an existing booking. The school holidays are my most lucrative time to rent the lodge and I made another mistake by making it available before I’d increased the price and as bad luck would have it, someone booked the week ( 24 th to 31st July ) in the few minutes between me making it available and increasing the price!
Lesson learned - no real harm done . My problem now is that my guest has not responded to my messages. I know that people are busy and have better things to do sometimes. But everyone else has always responded with a quick “ thanks for the info” message. I sent a message this morning asking when they would be arriving so it’s clear that I need a response. Hoping this will give me a clue as to their intentions…
My worry is that as they booked on a flexible policy, they will just not turn up, get their money back and I will have no chance to rebook this late in the day. If I found out now I might be able to refill the lodge. I also live a long way away and have to pay someone £75 to clean and get the place ready for them. If I know they are not coming I can cancel this arrangement and sort it out myself when I go myself on 1 August.
If I don’t get a response should I
1.Hope for the best
2. Cancel myself
3. Ring the guest. Hate to pester and risk annoying them but need to know what’s going on!
Any help would be much appreciated!
I find some guests for whatever reason don’t respond to messages through the Air system, perhaps they make the booking and think that’s it & do not have the APP on their phones/check emails for updates etc - and possibly don’t even realise there is a member-member messaging system on the AirBNB website. What I usually do is:
1 - When booking comes through send my main acknowledgement/thanks message inc detailed directions and asking for ball park arrival time.
2 - 2-3 days prior send an “Confirming all still OK” message which does or does not include a request for a ball park arrival time depending if they replied to the first one.
3 - If I have had no response the day before arrival I send message number 2 via text message direct to their phone via the APP (or by email if they have no mobile number registered) & add on a “Did my directions come through OK via AirBNB messages?”
The third one will hopefully prompt them to check AirBNB messages but I would never actually phone them. To date I have always illicted a response eventually with these steps.
Hi Caroline, and welcome to the forum. I’m a UK host too.
Can you clarify when the booking came in, when you first messaged the guests, and how many times since? I’m a bit confused, other than that you sent one this morning. This is important in terms of when/how you can escalate.
Don’t phone them. It’s important to keep all communication on platform, so you have an audit trail that Air CS can see,
If they aren’t replying to messages, call Airbnb @Caroline_Roberts and ask them to contact your guests.
Thanks everyone- really good to hear from you!
The booking was made in May. I sent a message along the lines of “ thanks for your booking - I’ll be back in touch nearer the time”. She also asked a question about Wi-fi which I answered.
Last week I sent another message along the lines of “ hope you are looking forward to your holiday “ and then sent directions plus access arrangements and cut and pasted my house manual for her. ( Some guests never find this on Airbnb and I want to make sure they know everything and don’t have to ring me up to ask me!)
Something about the one sided nature of the messages just gave me an uneasy feeling- particularly when I noticed that the booking was on the flexible cancellation policy which I thought I’d seen the last of. That’s why I sent the third friendly message today which specifically asks about arrival time.
I’m probably jumping to conclusions and have been spoilt with previous guests who have been really quick to communicate. On the positive side this guest got a bit of a bargain so is unlikely to find anything else better value! I definitely won’t ring ( hate being pushy and you’re right that it’s important to keep things on the Airbnb messages so there’s an audit in case of dispute.)
I really like the idea of a text message “ to check that my Airbnb message came through ok”. I’ll resist the temptation to do that for a couple of days though!
Think all I can do is sit and wait and see how this develops. Thanks everyone for your support😀. It’s been a real learning curve using Airbnb but overall it’s been a positive experience so far.
Personally, I wouldn’t be ‘waiting and seeing how it develops’ when you could just call Airbnb and ask them to contact the guest, which would set your mind at rest @Caroline_Roberts
As an aside, the reason for my 3rd step above to try direct contact via SMS or email is that this year I had a uncommunicative guest who didn’t reply to any AirBNB messages at all. Although my messages include directions to my car park down the side of my house inc slightly different postcode for satnavs to get people to it easier. He and his wife arrived flustered because they could not find my house (It’s a numbered house on the village main street but hey ho) and “had to pay to park in the car park so they could walk down the street looking”.
I got a 4 star rating because it was hard to find, the big irony is that this guy and his wife were staying here to go on a mountaineering course!
Do not cancel yourself, call Air and have them cancel IF you think you will get a booking to replace it this late in the game. Tell the CS person you are uncomfortable because the guest will not communicate. Be certain it will be cancelled penalty free or do not cancel.
Did your guests Instant Book? Do you think you could find a replacement booking?
If it’s IB and the guest is non-responsive, you can cancel penalty-free and re-book the dates at a better rate and your new cancellation policy.
If I thought I could replace the booking I’d call CS, say I’ve sent a couple messages to this guest and can’t get a hold of them. They’ll offer to reach out to the guest. If you have good rapport with the CS agent, ask them what happens next and that you saw a non-responsive guest is reason for cancellation. Ask them to document that you’d like that as the next step if they can’t reach the guest.
Here’s the info:
The second bullet point is what you should bring to CS if you want to cancel “The guest hasn’t responded to questions the host needs to know about their trip”
This might be dodgy but equally, it might be absolutely fine. I often have guests who book for a time a few months hence then don’t get in touch with me at all, apart from possibly a quick message in reply to my ‘thanks for booking’ thing.
Many guests don’t use the app in the obsessive way we hosts do and remember that guests get shedloads of emails from Airbnb so it’s easy for them to feel bombarded.
To be honest, I think it’s a little early for your guests to know what time they’ll be arriving. I’ve found that although sometimes they might give you a ballpark answer, they rarely know until the morning of check in.
Sure, they’ll know what time their flight arrives but then they have to estimate the time it takes to get their luggage off the carousel, get their rental car, find their way out of the airport (not easy here) and then if there can be roadworks or traffic holdups.
(Besides, you should be telling them what time they need to arrive!)
But you’ve got ages yet. It might or might not turn out to be okay, but I think it’s too early to worry.
I had no response to my message asking for check in time so tried to contact Airbnb this morning. Completely failed to navigate the website to find out how to do this (!) so in the meantime sent off a quick friendly text to check if the messages had been coming through. Got an immediate response ! Turns out that she had been getting my messages but every time she tried to respond using the link she got directed to the Airbnb home page. That happens to me a lot too.
I’m very happy that this is all sorted and that I’ve learned a lot in the process. Thanks everyone for your support!
That is funny! One recent guest rang me at 1 am to let me know that they had arrived safely!
Thanks for the tip on texting. I will add that to my repertoire!