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Two years in, first 1 star


#1

So we’ve been hosting for two years as of this weekend. Thanks to a guest we had a couple weeks ago, we now have our first 1 star review…

I have instant book on, but don’t allow guests without previous reviews to instant book. I review the guests profile and what they say the purpose of their visit is. This guest did not have previous reviews, but had been a member of Airbnb for a year. I accepted the booking because it was a high value booking, 6 nights during a large convention in town. She stated she was coming to visit family in the area… My guess is that she had tried to book a hotel, and couldn’t find one for less than $300 per night because of the convention, so she turned to airbnb.

Here is the review:

This stay was an awful experience. We were woken up every night by people living in the house fighting & coming home late at night. We had 3 people for a week stay & given 3 towels. 4 days in we asked for clean towels & were told most people take the hosts towels to the laundromat! We had to text the owner every time we came & went. Even to walk out to our car. This was not a good stay. I do not recommend & I will be reporting to AirBnb. They should not be hosts!

Soooo… Our space is a loft above one side of our house and our garages. It’s pretty isolated, especially when the AC is running. We’ve had other guests mention in their reviews about noise from downstairs… We are a family that has teenagers… Occasionally disagreements happen, but generally they aren’t that loud, and end up resolved fairly quick. I work two jobs, so yes, I come home late at night. The airbnb space is above the garage, so you would hear the garage door open and close, but that’s about it. My older kids sometimes come home late from being out with friends, but they don’t open the large garage door, just the side door to come in. It’s not loud at all. Neither of these sound issues were mentioned to us during the stay.

It’s true, since access to the loft is a shared entrance to the rest of the home, we ask our guests to let us know when they come and go so we can put our dogs away so they don’t escape out the front door or cause a ruckus. With strangers coming and going, the dogs bark… A lot… So we like the put the dogs away when people come. This is mentioned in our house manual, which users have access to once they have a reservation, and we’ve had people mention it in their reviews, so it’s not a secret.

Then there were the towels… The morning of the third day, my wife gets a text. “I’ll leave the soiled towels on the stairs when I leave so you can wash them.” Huh? We were like “what the F did they do to our towels?” When she came down, she demanded clean towels. The towels weren’t soiled, just used… My wife told her that we just had enough towels for 4 people up there and we generally don’t wash towels mid stay on shorter visits. She also brought up that there weren’t enough towels for 3 people. Umm… 3 towels for 3 people…
When she pressed about longer stays, my wife thinking she was referring to when we’ve had people staying several weeks to a couple months, mentioned that those people usually washed the towels on their own. My wife was just so taken aback that this woman would demand we launder her “soiled” towels. I’m not sure why there were only 3 and not 4 towels up there, but really, that’s picking nits… My wife ended up just giving her some of our own personal towels. The thing is, had this guest just politely asked, my wife probably would have just washed them. It was the whole entitled attitude and demeanor that made the situation difficult.

I realize the need for spare towels just in case someone does ruin one, and those are on our shopping list for later this month along with a 3rd set of sheets.

I purposely didn’t leave her a review because I have this “nothing nice to say, don’t say anything” motto. I now regret not leaving a review. I feel that I need to leave a public response to her review, but I’m trying to come up with the wording that is polite, yet firm. Any ideas how I can politely tell this lady she’s better off staying at a hotel? How can I remind her that she was a GUEST, albeit a paying one, in MY HOME?


#2

Actually, it does sound as though the guest had a bad experience. You ‘profiled’ the guest straight away, before she arrived, as someone who had ’ tried to book a hotel, and couldn’t find one for less than $300 per night because of the convention, so she turned to airbnb.’

Any ideas about how to explain TO HER in the review that she should stay in a hotel? Firstly, be aware that reviews are for other hosts, not for guests. You don’t want her back so why should you care what she thinks? Secondly, why do you want hotel staff to have to deal with a bad guest? They are people who are trying to earn a living too.


#3

It sounds to me like the guests review was pretty accurate. If you wish to remain as hosts then you need to ensure guests are aware of all these sources of noise including normal family noise before they book. What may be normal but manageable noise to you of teenagers having a brief spat or talking loudly on their phone getting home late at night could ruin sleep for the guest. And when people don’t get a good nights’ sleep that exacerbates other minor issues. I think there is a section on the listing now where you can highlight potential sources of noise. Be honest (put yourself in their shoes) then you are covered if people ignore it and later complain. As for the towel. Really? Just get some more towels.

Also “mentioned in our house manual, which users have access to once they have a reservation”. Things like this should be mentioned in your listing before they book.

As for the public response I would say “Sorry you had a bad experience. We have taken on board what you say and will endeavour to inform guests beforehand of possible noise. We have also brought more towels and happy to provide fresh ones on request”.


#4

Sorry I have to agree with the other hosts here, your place doesn’t sound like a great Airbnb. It doesn’t sound like the review misrepresents anything.

We had a thread here recently about towel usage. I’m in the camp of one towel per person for a week isn’t nearly enough. I would have provided twice as many towels to begin with and provided more after 4 days if asked. Would I provide a new towel per person per day? I’d hate it but for a place with an apparently jacked up price for a high value weekend I’d do it.

On the other hand if you’ve been hosting two years and have say, 80 reviews and they average 5 stars then just forget about it and move on. If you have 4.5 star average or below you need to make changes.

BTW, I once got a one star review by accident. The written review was great but they gave one star overall and brought my average down but hundreds of happy guests later it was just a blip.


#5

I have no doubts that the stay did not meet her expectations. I just think her expectation was a hotel. I had no preconceived notions about her. It became obvious that she was expecting a hotel level of service at 1/3 of the price in someone’s house. I just doesn’t appear that she read the reviews or read the house manual before she booked and came to the house. We’re up front about things and don’t hide anything.

23 reviews, one 1 star, two 4 stars, and twenty 5 stars… That rating dropped us to 4.7 It’s enough to kill my superhost status for the quarter. We only host 2 or 3 times a month usually, because most of the time they are longer stays.

Like I said, we’ll make adjustments to the towel situation, and we’ll have a family meeting about inside voices when we have guests. That’s all we can do.


#6

And be sure to be upfront about it in your listing so that people know what to expect.

Unfortunately, as most hosts know, guests don’t read. So it’s a good idea to reiterate any potential problems in a private message on the Airbnb system when the guest books. That way, you have a paper trail. You can control their expectations there and then.

Don’t worry about superhost status. Just read more of the topics about that subject here.


#7

And renting an Airbnb shouldn’t require a congressional investigation. There is no requirement that guest read reviews. The house manual isn’t required reading either. You should put the dog situation in the House Rules section. Also there’s a potential for noise section; make sure that discloses the shortcomings of your listing.

Maybe you should make your minimum stay longer.


#8

Unfortunately, hosting Airbnb guests sometimes means disrupting your own life and putting up with some inconveniences. It sounds like you have taken the review to heart and plan to work on some of the issues. As far as the garage door, we have a similar situation. Our garage door opening impacts guests because the garage is right underneath the guestroom and my husband comes home from work at 7 AM. So, we don’t put our cars in the garage when we have guests.


#9

So true. I live in one of the quietest places ever, If a little cat pads along on the path outside my house, I hear it. If it starts to rain - gently - I hear it. ‘Normal’ family noises - teenagers yelling on the phone and so on - are going to piss me off. Other people wouldn’t care - which is fine - but I’d rather a listing warned me about ‘normal family noises’ so that I could choose somewhere else.


#10

I’ve lived in London, Sydney and NY and all the noises that entails: sirens, drunk or drugged up neighbours or passers by shouting, parties, police, garbage trucks reversing and loading up at 6am. Now I live in the country it is so blissfully quiet. Sometimes I can hear my ducks from 4 houses away and I think “shut up ducks or the neighbours will complain!”. Duck noise, that’s the worst. :japanese_goblin:


#11

:smile:

I know, I’ve lived in London too. And Manchester - whicy probably - in those days - had a higher drunk-person ratio. Now, the noisiest drunk around here is me. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


#12

‘It’s true, since access to the loft is a shared entrance to the rest of the home, we ask our guests to let us know when they come and go so we can put our dogs away so they don’t escape out the front door or cause a ruckus. With strangers coming and going, the dogs bark… A lot… So we like the put the dogs away when people come. This is mentioned in our house manual, which users have access to once they have a reservation, and we’ve had people mention it in their reviews, so it’s not a secret.’

For me this would be a deal breaker and I would not book an Airbnb that expected me to check-in with hosts as I come and go. I would expect to know this BEFORE I reserved not after… And not from reviews but from the host write-up about your space…


#13

I have said this till blue in the face. White noise machines drown out noise. I am still shocked by how many people still do not think they need one for guests. Buy them. Use them. Offer them. I wouldn’t know how well one works on my cell phone as my area doesn’t have the best cell service. But spend the $50 to purchase one and show the guest. It does wonders.


#14

I have been known to fall out of my wheelchair when drunk and the first thing I think is: “I hope there’s nobody downstairs heard the thud and is worried about me”.


#15

Yeah, Karma is a b*tch (And do not mean the forum member here :slight_smile: )

There probably were some other hosts before you that did the same. Next time leave review!


#16

Thank you for this, I provide 1 bath, 1 hand, 1 washcloth per guest. If you are a single traveler you get two of everything b/c it just looks better on the towel rack! My longest stay was a single man staying 6 days. He had two towel sets but from now on I will just switch out the towels for everyone every, what, 3-4 days? Thoughts? I have 6 sets of guest towels but will probably purchase another couple of sets since I have a 10 day stay coming up of 3 guests (my space is a 3 guest max). Who wants to keep laundering towels on the fly? Best to be prepared, especially for folks who would like extras on hand. I already planned to change the sheets halfway through the stay–5 days in. Acceptable? I’ve travelled extensively in the US for work and as you all know hotels graciously ask you to hang towels that don’t need to be laundered, in efforts to conserve water. I do think that throwing towels on the steps is a bit rude though!


#17

to be honest, i agree with other responses.
cant you have a fenced off area for the dogs? how annoying would it be for both you and the guests to text you every time they come and go. why are your teenagers fighting in the garage, i don’t think that’s appropriate?

also i don’t think 1 towel is enough, especially for women, you need one to dry your hair and one for your body. I think 2 towels per person would be better, or at least a couple spare.

and i wouldnt look at it as they are quests in your home, your renting accommodation, as in running a hotel like service, they’re not your friend staying over.


#18

Yes! I own three of these! I have the Dohm brand. $60 US I believe. I would post a link to where I purchased but don’t know how to give Tom2 $ credit for the link. Help me mods! I haven’t figured this out yet…

My house is quiet. Cul de sac with literally zero traffic. We are quiet. Tiptoe with or with out guests. House is not quiet, hardwood floors creak, bathroom doors open and close. No one complains but I make it a point during check-in urging guests to please use the white noise maker. “It’s lovely.” You don’t hear a thing, even with open windows and the weekly garbage and recycle trucks coming by, very early AM mind you.

Guests do not seem to want to use them. Why? Must be a flaw in my approach? A few comply…but I usually get, something to the tune of, “I like it quiet when I sleep, I don’t really need to use that.”

I’ve had friends/family/co-workers etc. who’ve visited here for years. They have no choice. Use the damn noise machine! I like to get ice & water in the middle of the night, and trust me, you will hear that!


#19

I travel with my own hair special hair towel/head wrap thingy. Got sick of requesting more towels and hand towel does not suffice to wrap around my head. God, with my linen fetish! I’ll shut up now. :joy::yum::sunglasses:


#20

Oh and there’s that…Not going to bother with the edit this time. I travel with other’s hair too.


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