Our first guest and oh, holy S#@*!


Lessons: MORTIFYING. Go ahead and judge; we’ve earned it.

We’ve been renovating our cottage for … well, excruciating months. It was supposed to be done in JULY. We just had final inspection, right under the wire for our first guests to arrive yesterday.

The night before (the first night it was actually ready for occupants), my spouse and I stayed there to get a feel for it. But mistakes were made (and discovered).

First discovery: Our hot water heater CLAIMS to have capacity to fill our soaker tub. LIES.

Solution: Getting a new, MUCH bigger heater on Friday. $$$ (We’re all electric, so an on-demand system is a non-starter, alas.) Also preemptively refunded a night’s stay with a message to the guest before she checked in.

First mistake: We had a friend stay in the unfinished space last week (an emergency). In my cleaning, I checked every single drawer in the place but one – the one with dirty underpants in it. My guest was nice. I died.

Solution: Apology and thanks to guest. Disposal of offending undergarments with extreme prejudice.

Second discovery: Our wifi, which worked really well for us when we stayed over, was spotty for the guests and kept dropping their zooms this morning.

Solution: Hassled cable company, called a neighboring business with a fiber connection (and they generously offered to let our guests use their wifi) and finally solved the problem by moving one of the hubs for our mesh network so it was closer to the guest cottage. Guests were very kind about it and said they appreciated the hustle to resolve it.

Third discovery: We had used the stovetop but NOT the oven. Which is new. And requires 30 minutes to an hour to off-gas, with smoke. The guest discovered this when she was making dinner tonight.

Solution: Offered to cover cost of take-out for guests, which was politely and very kindly refused. Guest, who deserves to be canonized: “It’s really no big deal, we started doing home exchanges in addition to Airbnbs and we have seen it all! This is really small stuff; this place is absolutely amazing.”

Y’all, the past three days have taken a YEAR off of my life. I’m so, so, so aware that this could have been a very different story with a different guest – and am, of course, dying that this is happening to a paying guest. (For the record, and in my defense, I had actually lined up a FULL MONTH of non-paying guests to help us shake out the kinks, but we had a zillion construction delays and, when we offered to cancel reservations, our guests said they’d risk it. Still. It feels horrible.)

Thank heavens for patient, gracious and kind guests – the ones we don’t often hear about here, but who make this worth doing. And if you think I’m planning to comp these folks their next stay in town as gratitude for their role in making us better, you are absolutely correct.


I’m sorry…I can’t lie. I’m all like :rofl::rofl::rofl:! And I would recommend you NOT comp their next stay. Just send a note saying you’d like to offer them an X (20 or 30%) discount off their next non-holiday/event stay (don’t offer early discounts for high seasons is my advice).

“Errors are to be expected.” Some dude at my husbands legitimately hi-tech job said this…he was eventually fired. But this is different. Trust me, you’ll have plenty of guests do you wrong and they will NOT be offering to pay you more money! I get it. I’d be super embarrassed also, but it’ll pass. :wink:


Thanks for posting this. We usually hear about the whining, problematic guests - it’s great to be reminded that many guests are understanding and kind.


You are SO lucky to have had these guests when there were so many kinks to work out. Nice to read about forgiving guests who get it that s**t happens and go with the flow.

But I’m puzzled. Who puts dirty underpants in a drawer? Maybe you need to look for some new friends :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Stop! Y’all are killing me over here! :joy::joy::joy:
Oh, and my kids did this often when they were little. Stale, peed up underwear :nauseated_face:. Maybe I needed to look for some new kids.


To be brutally honest, and as a testament to how insane today has been, THIS IS ONLY JUST OCCURRING TO ME.


We do learn a lot staying in our own rentals. Understanding guests don’t get mentioned as often as our irritating ones. Your post is a great reminder. My favorite understanding guest was the one who offered to catch a bat that had made its way into our old Victorian when I asked her to stay in her room while we caught it. (No I did not take her up on the offer)


Thankfully you had some great first Guests!!!

Two things I most strongly recommend to new potential AirHosts:

  1. Be an AirBnb Guest first – at a minimum 2-3 days each in 3-4 different places and kinds of offerings
  2. Stay in your own place at least a few days – and try everything – before booking your first paying guest.

I would be happy to stay for free and offer a full and complete analysis of all your shortcomings and successes. I’d be happy to provide 27 8x10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one as well.

LMK available dates and I’ll see what I can arrange.



Wow. I’m laughing and cringing at the same time… I feel your pain. BUT how lucky you got guests who do home exchanges and also understand that they have received feedback on their shortcomings and were cool about it all.

Hooray for the guests. No, no, NO comping their next stay. You’ve offered a refund, you offered to pay for takeout, you did everything to make sure the issues were fixed in a timely manner.

Yes to a discount for the next stay. 10% or 20% max. Better yet, get them to pay directly and that saves you both a lot of hassle (with a rental agreement though)

Um… yup.

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Sign me up!


27 8X10 color glossy photos… lmao! :musical_note: You can get anything you want :notes:


excepting Alice…


Y’all, I know I’m still so new at this that I’m practically damp from hatching, but I love this board and am so grateful for all of the freely shared ideas, advice and commiseration.

I was so sad and dismayed and frustrated with myself yesterday, and I started reading replies this morning, laughing, and jotting down ideas. Thanks for being such a terrific community.


I think the lesson for new hosts/new listings which has been repeated many times before is that hosts should stay in their listings and use the amenities to understand what’s working and what isn’t. With only 1 guest and so many problems, I predict you still haven’t found all of the new-listing issues and that this is still worthwhile for you to do.

If your listing is a separate structure located more than 30 feet away from your home, I predict WiFi coverage and bandwidth issues will continue to haunt your guest stays due to using a wireless mesh network in your home to service your listing.

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Yep, I was worried about that the second they said that their calls were dropping; we have a dedicated line going into the cottage on Thursday. (And for $65/month? So very worth it.)


You’ll find that this venture will reveal all the nooks and crannies. As you work through them, they will diminish and you’ll get into a good operating rhythm. I’ve been there before where the wifi was dropping, the dishwasher and giving them errors, AND MY 6 YO PYRO SON LIT A BOX ON FIRE IN HIS BEDROOM. I still don’t know how he found that lighter, but he did and the smoke drifted through the central ducting system into the attached apartment. Yeah, I fibbed about that one.

And that was all in a single day. Sigh…


Just cross your fingers he doesn’t become proficient at rubbing two sticks together to make fire :wink:

@GuideCottage The way you express yourself is highly entertaining, please keep posting here even if you don’t have “issues”.


Ah, you’re that Hiccup woman, aren’t you?

I’m still waiting on my fried chicken vouchers :confused: I reckon you’re nothing more than just another scammer leeching off hosts.




HICHUP, thank you very much. That name never caught on. Kind of like Whoo-fee or How-fi or Hugh-fie, aka Houfy.

And yes I am “that woman” although poor Fred Burns never caught on, did he?

I don’t remember the fried chicken vouchers though. I guess I should re-read the thread.


I might have made that bit up, and no he didn’t, did he.

Just another :clown_face: who disappeared up his own back bottom.