The ups and down of dealing with (somewhat wacky) guests

Weʻve had about 100 guests, and so far itʻs been great. We had a wide open week+ with no reservation, dropped the rate, and were so happy when we finally got a last-minute 4-day booking for our separate studio. Whoopee!

He calls me to tell me heʻs running late. Arriving after 10pm, but I think “OK this guy is responsible”. Next morning he calls me again… “so sorry, Iʻm very sorry but it was so hot I couldnʻt sleep.” Whaaaat? “I have to stay here tomorrow night but is there anything you can do for the other two days?” I was so surprised. We are in Hawaii but we have cool tradewinds and we were actually cold last night. Did you have the windows open? “Yes of course. Look – I was expecting Air conditioning, maybe Iʻm just not used to the climate I am from DC” We donʻt have air conditioning by choice, most folks donʻt in this neighborhood. We have photos of the fans and itʻs in the description. Did you use the fan? “Yes but it was just blowing hot air” ??? “If I have to sleep here for 4 nights Iʻm going to go crazy. Sorry.”

Ugg - Iʻm very, very annoyed, we have a non-refundable policy, and his reasoning is very hard to believe, but hubby thinks we should just let him go to avoid drama. So we give him back the 2 nights, but I send my very easy-going husband check in on him the second night to make sure everything is OK. He comes back saying this guy is nuts. He was bothered by the light coming from the stained-glass window from the church across the street (the bed faces away from the window) and had the blackout curtains drawn all night. ??? This is a first, and something we would have never imagined as a complaint. “Look at that! Who could sleep?” Actually, many many guests and not a single complaint till now. We also find out he is an “IT professional” so we guess his natural habitat includes very chill air-conditioning. But yet he canʻt use a search filter or read, apparently.

After that, I was relieved he was leaving. Just too much trouble. Hubby even asked him not to review. Good. Then, lucky day - we got another booking for his last day and extending another 5 days! Whoopee!!! Perfect filling of the schedule.

Next morning - the guy texts hubby with “I had much better sleep last night. Do you have time to chat later today? I may be coming back Sunday night and want to stay for couple of weeks if we can agree on a decent rate.” Uh, no.

We tell him weʻre entering the busy season and already booked. But sheesh. Wants to negotiate our most rock-bottom rate? Even at full price, though, – no thank you. Thankful for good karma and glad I didnʻt lose my cool.


I wonder if he had a much better sleep after he priced the options he had to move to for those two nights.


He should avoid traveling to Italy. There you not only get the light from the stained glass windows (which is lovely in my view); you also get church bells ringing every 15 minutes.


:joy::joy::joy: yes a real possibility. Or maybe he let the cool breeze in. :joy:

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You should let me know his name or post on the BGL. I don’t want this clod coming to Kona. I would NEVER refund over something like this!!! I have refunded when a guest wasn’t happy, and it did nothing to stave off the bad review.

I think ANYONE reading all your reviews and seeing a guy who was hot in Hawaii in winter would laugh!

I just booked a small guest inn in Kyoto Japan. (Not through Air) Their TA reviews were all positive except for one douche who said, “filthy, dirty and unfriendly, Avoid.” Ran counter to all the other reviews of this sweet place and I ignored and chuckled. Some people wouldn’t be happy with the Taj Mahal!


You should review him anyway so the rest of us can avoid him!!!

Yeah that was totally out of left field for us. We never really noticed. My partner commented that the street light is brighter than the church window. The guy said “Look at it - who can sleep with that??” That’s when my hubby started to slowly back away from the guy and get away :joy::joy::joy: after that I was worried he’d be complaining about the birds in the morning or who knows what else. Glad to see that one go


It’s called an eye mask and I’m pretty sure he would have got one on the plane ride over. What a hand full! Lessons learnt.

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In Kona the red cardinals nest in the spring and make the most annoying racket at daybreak. A guest from the east coast remarked on how the sound reminded him of his childhood because now cardinals are endangered there… here…PLEASE take our cardinals back! There are way too many of them here!!!

It’s always amazing to me how much noise birds make in the morning. We don’t have a lot of birds here - they mostly don’t survive well in Bombay’s concrete jungle. Only those ghastly crows.

In the Connie Willis time-travelling novel, “To Say Nothing of the Dog”, the protagonist, Ned Henry, travels back from 2040s Oxford to Victorian England, and is struck by how much noise the birds make, comparing them to an avian Luftwaffe. Apparently birds are extinct in his time, or something.

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Incredible Hawaiian birds have become extinct over the last century due to the invasion of hostile species and avian disease.

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We have flocks of parrots that fly overhead at dawn and dusk, chattering away. I think they are fabulous - we didn’t have that in Yorkshire - but I’ve still had guests complain about the noise. Hey, you’re in the sub-tropics!


Okay. Who is nuts? The bird or the owner? This is why you need the grammar police.


Well, our little experiment with lowering the rates $10 below our normal minimum and reducing from 2-night minimum to 1-night was a dud. We just got lower quality of guests that were just headaches.

In addition to the guy above, the only other booking we got was a lady who booked on Saturday night only, then ended up wanting to cancel with 9 hours notice. She was ill, which I can understand, but she wants us to absorb the entire financial burden (even for 1 night)? Like the last guest, this one texts me instead of using the AirBnB system:

" I was supposed to stay tonight but, I am very ill. I have blood in my stool, cramping and lost sleep. The doc says no tea training tomorrow. Can I reschedule for another date or just cancel? I often need a place to stay in town?"

I replied via the AirBnB that Iʻm sorry she canʻt make it but she will have to cancel through the AirBnB system. Sorry itʻs non-refundable, but she will get the cleaning fee back if she cancels. Around 1pm (check-in is at 3), we get an email from AirBnB saying that they were contacted by the guest and would investigate their claim under the “Extenuating Circumstances” But that the guest would have to cancel and then would have to submit a doctorʻs note. They never checked in and now Iʻll have to contact AirBnB that she was a no-show.

I try not to think too deeply about what folks are doing – itʻs their business, and most guests are fine. But I canʻt help notice that the guest lives less than an hour away, needed a room so that they wouldnʻt have to drive early on Sunday morning? And needed extra accommodation - needed a full-length mirror which is not in the unit, so I was going to let them into our main house at 8am on Sunday to dress for the event. Maybe not the best idea after all.

And this guest books on a Saturday night ONLY, breaking up a week window when we might have gotten a longer booking, and then cancels right before, and wants a full refund, saying “can I reschedule”? I often come to town. Um, no.

That was my mistake, I meant to change the one-night setting until Friday but I didnʻt understand the date range under the “special conditions” – the day you select is not like the date of checkout (like for example, checking in on Thursday and checking out on Saturday means Th, Fri booking), but actually includes that evening (so would be Thu, Fri, Sat nights). More lessons learned :slight_smile:

Well, if he was REALLY that unhappy, we didnʻt want to force him to stay here. I was not sure if he was just a scammer, but had no way of telling. So we just let it go.

It was just hard to believe. And the vast majority of our guests love the unit. I had one guest though who helped me immensely with the right perspective – he absolutely LOVED the unit and asked a bunch of questions to set one up for his home because he traveled so much and wanted to make better use of the resource. Anyway, he worked in customer service and said “10-15% of the people will be unhappy no matter what”. He was a very nice, positive guy, and seemed to know what he was talking about.

So instead of worrying about the cranks, weʻve mainly focused on trying to attract the kind of people who would appreciate the place and are willing to pay a fair price for it (not the hostel-rate folks). So far itʻs been getting better and better, except that business has dropped off recently. I canʻt help but feel that itʻs related to you-know-who coming into office and all the travel ban and other insanity.

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I just threw the birds out there as another absurdity like - heʻs coming to Hawaii and complaining about the sun. Our birds are not really that noisy, we do have birds in our valley but theyʻre not roosting near our property so the sounds are more far-off. When I lived on the mainland, I was always struck by how dead silent the mornings were. It was really sad. Of course all this was nothing compared to nights in Puerto Rico where the cacophony of Coqui frogs can be deafening if you stop to really think about it, but you do acclimate pretty quickly to constant noise. The brain is an amazing thing.

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Don’t torture yourself thinking about it. Assume you wouldn’t have booked that night anyway. Go back to two night minimum on weekends and hopefully this woman won’t be booking. I’ve had some people book and cancel last minute and I just refund and don’t worry about it. However I have a business that is about 60% last minute. I would not be so gracious if I were in a tourist area and held a place for months and had no chance of re-booking.

I also have not found any correlation between my price and quality of guest unless it’s the reverse. Some of my best guests were when my prices were lowest.

Thanks. I did go back to 2 night minimum. It was just for that one week. We donʻt get a ton of last-minute bookings anymore. We did about a year ago. Weʻve had great low-priced guests too. Itʻs just that the really wacky ones were always at the rock-bottom prices. Lucky they are not a lot.

Sometimes we can get a replacement booking – but not when the cancellation is just hours before!

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Is your rental in Hawaii? It seems like one night rentals there would only be locals.

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Yes we are in Hawaii. This person was a local. We do get short rentals though from out of town because they either want to stay a night in Honolulu before gong on to a neighbor island or on their way back at the end of their trip. We used to do one-night in the beginning when we needed bookings and my husband was between jobs. But after he went back to work it was jus too much work. So 2-nights are better for our sanity.

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