I’m literally fuming at this instant 'cause i’ve have a bad experience i haven’t had in many many years.
So you know that hunch you get sometimes with guests prior for them arriving? Than gut feeling, that something isn’t just quite right?
I had that feeling after an instant booking with this guy several months back but I chose to give the guest the benefit of the doubt. Regrettably so, so here goes:
The guy simply wrote: "Coming to Copenhagen for a week for training. Is there a laundromat?"
I answered and asked for arrival detail to plan cleaning and check in (I always check guests in my self and introduce them to the house and neighbourhood with a tour and a chat)
5 days passed and he wrote: "xx is coming with flight xx from Paris"
A bit confused I returned the message saying I thought that he was coming and not xx and asked for their relationship, you know wife perhaps? and if he’d be coming later or just this xx. He replied:"yes my wife by herself. I’m booking. She’s coming."
I said no problem but I wouldn’t have only 1 duvet and towel for my cleaner to arrange if they were gonna be 2 guests coming. No answer to that which seemed fair. Not all like to communicate extensively.
A couple of days later, the spamming of questions began. The first main message was about the address. He mentioned an address I’ve never heard of and my and asked me to confirm the correct one. A bit weird since the address is mentioned on the confirmation and else where. Nevertheless, I sent the correct or “confirmed” the obvious. Anyhow, then another message pop up regarding the listing which I answered instantly. Then “a few more” as if I didn’t have anything to do other than answer their questions whilst I was having dinner out with some friends.
Is there a farmers market nearby ? (yes around the corner as you can see if you read the listing)
Is there an organic supermarket ? (yes, I’ve listed two of them)
What floor is the apartment on ?
"We see the neighbourhood is lively (as the world can see in my listing several times) Will it be loud at night?
- Well as you’d know if you read my frickin’ listing, yes, it’s lively and busy here in the heart of Copenhagen! We’re in the center of it all so of course there’s going to be a busy living outside but as I point out (also in the listing - surprise!) - the bedroom is facing a gorgeous, cool and calm court yard away from the street noise. A big contrast which my guests really love.
Food in Copehagen is nearly all organic - both in restaurants and in supermarkets. We have a distinct symbol for organic foods on every item on the shelves in supermarkets, so you can identify bio and organic foods which makes up at 80% - so I send them the symbol and explain this. Also, I tell them about the markets and give them directions to them and then … nothing… Not a thank you or any acknowledgement of the extensive information I provide after being bombarded with so many questions that they would have know had they read the description and guidebook etc.
I decide to let it slide in that particular moment since they might have a busy schedule and that is of course quite alright. I love giving tips but could have just given the basic info and referred them to reading the entire listing, so at this point I don’t blame them anything. Really.
He had previously told me that his wife had her own account from Airbnb, so a couple days later, I asked him to allocate her account to this very booking, so she would have access to all the information needed and direct messaging and I would have the actual person coming into my house registered correctly.
Service oriented as I am ( yes, im practically a saint wink wink ) - I sent the how-to do this from the Airbnb help thingy. No answer. After asking yet again, he wrote back saying he did it. Did he, though? No. But he did change his name to hers and strangely changed the area from the USA to La France but only so it said “John and Jane”… So strange, so I asked for it to be corrected which never happened. No reply. Just silence.
That’s when I phoned Airbnb and told them that I had a bad feeling. A hunch that something was wrong.
I wanted to have this on the record in case of a dispute but I still wanted to give the guest the benefit of the doubt and I would therefore wait and see who and what happened at check in.
And what a delightful surprise! The most nice and courteous woman from China with a broken but understable English. I offered to speak French as i’m fluent but she just looked at me funny and didn’t understand a word I said even though she came from Paris and said she was from there. Well, we’re all different and culture barriers you know so…
Then it dawned on me that the reason for him booking on her behalf might be because they previously had been discriminated against and didn’t want that to happen again? Perhaps? Pure speculation of course - but unnecessary as I’ve had some really great guests from S.Korea and China and Japan. But that could be why he booked and never allocated her account to the booking - which is so easy to do.
Anyhooooo … she seemed pleased with the tour to the sports center I thought the husband was gonna train in and the apartment was lovely and the hood seemed more familiar now with the introduction and tour, so keys in her hand and on my way i was. i thought…
I told her I was not far away if needed as I would stay with my girlfriend this week and then she curiously asked if this was my apartment?? . A bit odd as…well you know… Then she asked for guidance to the TV but I only have apple tv and netflix to which she seemed surprised and displeased about. I walked her thought the buttons and how to netflix. (when I turned it on upon return she had tried to access cable tv which is non existing).
I told her that she could get a hold of me always (I’m currently off work the rest of the month) so i’d be available online even at the cottage in the countryside I might go to with the missus during the week. She thanked me and smiled so much that I genuinely thought she’d be the perfect guest. I hated myself for distrusting them and was relieved that everything was in order and all was well. Well, not all well as it turned out.
Out with friends in the evening I get a message from the husband. "Has my wife arrived? Cant reach her…"
Told her she came 5 hours ago and she wanted to go out but that I myself had sms’ed her prior to arrival (as she was nearly an hour late saying she was on her way via text and mobile)
THEN he wrote me again that she usually doesn’t turn off her mobile and if the coverage or internet was bad in my place… No to both question I gave but thought to my self that it seemed strange to involve me in how she uses her phone or not and even all that, what on earth was I supposed to do about that?
Later on they were so very nice to inform me that during the evening hours they got a hold on each other. I was of course very pleased and that saved my entire evening of course…
So this afternoon I was cleaning the grill in the summer cottage when I get a message from the husband.
"Christian. I talked to my wife and she is not comfortable. The idea she had of it through the description was so different from the reality… " Wait WHAT?! … It continues: “… She’s not going to stay and we wonder if you would consider a refund or partial refund for remaining nights (4 left) Thanks, John”
Highly perplexed I instantly write back and ask for the reasons and if he could specify the reasons. Within a minute, his reply hits my phone which I can barely hold steady in my sweaty hands. Eager to learn what makes this booking a deal breaker, I simply see a copy/paste of his above mentioned message. The same message just repeated…?
Am I to accept and refund a cancellation with this vague reply? No! So I write back saying: “I will of course consider a refund. Maybe there’s a valid reason, you know. Maybe my cleaner forgot to remove a used diaper from underneath the bed or maybe the wife was harassed by a drunk Dane in the streets? (Danes LOOOVE to drink and we do it a lot BUT we don’t harass people but you might experience a happy-go-lucky chat or a dance with a complete stranger, drunk but happy here in the streets of Copenhagen) Probably because we are so happy, cause we eat and drink constantly ?
but then… silence… crickets… no reply as to why other than she’s not “comfortable”…so I freak out a bit.
Not much but you know, heart pumping, adrenaline and sweat! Lots of sweat! so on advise with Airbnb I decide to jump in the car and drive back to Copenhagen, a small hour away. Before I start the engine I ask about check out, keys, is she there? What now? Telling I’ll be there in 1 hour or so and yet again I ask for specifics regarding why you’d abruptly leave like this. Also, stating that other guests never have complained like this and that I feel utterly awful. Trying to understand I tell him that the “accuracy”-score on my profile is crazy high, what you see in the pictures is in actuality what you get
No answer for an entire hour. Seems like forever but at this point I really am angry with my self being so swift in my replies to them but then all of the sudden, the wife writes me. From his profile.
” Sorry my husband saying sounds a bit different from my reason why i’m not comfortable. uhhhh okay. He didn’t really give a reason but okay…
"… I haven’t slept because of some odor in bedroom. I couldn’t shower because the bathroom, so I need to find another place. I’m out and you can have the keys tomorrow at 11 am".
Wut??!! A this point i’m on the phone with the kind folks at Airbnb driving just 5 minutes from my home and I’m literally fuming. There’s no odor in the bedroom other than the sheets which I have cleaned with fabric softener (like snuggles in the woods or something, idk) - and the bathroom? WHAT about the bathroom?!
Parked the car writing that i’d like my keys back asap which she accepts (thank god) and after 15 minutes we meet outside in front of my apartment. Before hand I go through EVERYTHING inside to check the bedroom and bathroom, check the water, check for weird smells and strange odors and what do you know.I find nothing. NOTHING of the sorts! So, flashforward to us outside where she hands me the keys and I calmly and politely ask what she meant saying " but bathroom… " She couldn’t elaborate on it. That was so strange as I was looking for a meaning of it all. I then insisted on what was wrong. Was it the detergent or a gross bathroom? What was it?
She then said something about my private clothes in the bedroom. ( I have huge bedroom where on one side there’s a rack in the ceiling that holds some shirts, neck ties, some winter scarves and some caps and hats and a bag on a hanger) - to which she said that’s where the odor came from and I shouldn’t have my clothes out like this. I was totally caught of guard and told her: but this is Airbnb and this is the scope of it and I live here. Of course i’ll have my stuff around! And all of the those clothes are of course clean and don’t smell. WTF
That being said I only use 20 % of this rack and guests clearly use it and its hangers for their clothes as they should as well as using the drawers that are cleared for them and I’ve honestly never had any complaints in this regard.
So the gut feeling I chose to disregard, never again! This was a case of a husband in charge of finding a place for his lovely wife to stay whilst she was attending yoga for week but forgot to ask what his precious wife’s preferences were. And why bother to read anything as you can just treat a strange host as you own personal assistent and then demand a refund from that host now you didn’t bother to research properly and read anything before you instant book a place!
Sometimes you unfortunately will clash with guests, strangers or customers or whatever term is appropriate but when it happens, it just sucks so badly. The stress this day provided me with, I so much would have liked to have been without. But that’s a part of being a host like this I guess. I’m just thankful that at least i didn’t have my placed trashed. But I’d still like to think people are great and some are just idiots and sometimes these folks book your place.
Rant over ! Thanks for reading if you made it this far