Urgent advise needed! Guest arriving shortly

Some of you may have read my saga of yesterday when a guest asked for a refund due to building works next door. The reason I felt responsible and therefore agreed to the refund, was because I had not updated my listing with details about the building work. That was on me and therefore I thought it was reasonable to have expected to have been told, and therefore to want a refund.

Today I have another guest arriving in approx forty mins. Again, when she booked there was no info on the listing re the building work. I know I know so stupid of me. I think I had a longer term guest at the time when the work started and he wasn’t fussed so I somehow managed to just forget when I unsnoozed my listing. But anyway…the new guest is now on her way from the airport.

If this person wants to move/ a refund, I think I should allow it. What do others think please?

Builders can be seen from her window. Noise not excurtiatingly loud - no drilling - and sometimes quiet all day. But often banging, and occasionaly dust if she opened her window. Plus view of builders about 2 meters away from the room’s window, which is next to the bed. Desk is away from the view.

I have failed to give her a Heads Up and feel bad about this - refund or no? And if no, what to say?

Thanks

For you to have put the building works in th listing you would have to have known about it when the reservation was made, which might have been months ago. Perhaps you didn’t know then or couldn’t have known. But as soon as you did discover this it would be appropriate to put in the listing and to message upcoming reservations.

Here’s what I would do now (please edit for accuracy; I am making some things up as ‘placeholders’ for you to edit or confirm.

Dear XXX, Please be aware that some construction work is being done nearby at another property of which I have no control or ownership. I was unaware of this at the time of your reservation but it now occurs to me that this work might be disruptive to your stay due to the episodic noise (sometimes quiet all day but often banging, occasionally dust if you open your window, and view of construction work about two meters from your window).

Please know that you have my apologies for not alerting you to this as soon as I became aware that any construction work was being done. Once you get here (or earlier) or by tomorrow at 10, please let me know whether you’d like to: a) immediately cancel your reservation without penalty or b) accept the first night free and then cancel the remainder of your reservation without penalty, or c) continue with your reservation as is.

Again, my apologies. If you choose to go elsewhere I’m happy to consult with you on alternatives.

4 Likes

In my haste to respond given the time limits I didn’t discuss the possibility of discounts, which might be preferable to both the guest and you.

So, while my note offered binary choices (cancel or not, cancel today or tomorrow), I would be open to discounts. I’d wait for them to bring it up and for them to suggest a discount if they do.

Understanding that the priority is dealing with this guest now, you should get an understanding of the potentially changing nature of the constructions work and its duration, and as applicable, edit your listing accordingly and notify upcoming guests. However, before you notify upcoming guests, I would wait a day or so for input from Hosts more experienced than I.

If they choose cancellation, make sure it is they that cancel (not you). But you protect them from an unscrupulous Host by writing on the platform that you will permit the cancellation without penalty.

2 Likes

@HostAirbnbVRBO gave you solid advice.

1 Like

I asked in the other thread what kind of listing this is, was it in a city and is noise to be expected. I didn’t see and answer. Did I miss it?

I’d really like to know where you’re located so I can book it seeing how keen you are to give away free nights of accomodation.

6 Likes

Of course, no Host is ‘keen’ on giving away their accommodations.

But under this fact pattern if a guest complains doesn’t it seem likely, or if not ‘likely’ isn’t there a substantial risk that if the guest complained to Airbnb that Airbnb might likely give a full refund for the entire stay and somehow further ‘ding’ the Host?

Or does your answer to that turn on the kind of listing it is (home share or entire listing? I don’t see the relevance. Or are you thinking home/apartment? Again I’m not sure of the relevance).

As to whether it’s in a city, are you thinking of whether it is ‘downtown’ or in the heart of a city where construction springs up all the time? To me, even if the location is in the heart of a city, I would think that when the Host became aware of construction two meters from the window, a guest could reasonably claim that this should have been disclosed. Do you have a different view?

I am also assuming that wherever this listing is that there are noise laws such that limit construction between certain hours of the day so that the guests’ sleep during those hours would not be disrupted. An informative heads up on the construction might list those hours.

Even though it’s probably too late now for the OP to change its communication to this guest, I am hopeful that once the OP does respond to you that you will be able to advise the OP on how to inform future guests and how it might deal with this one since I take it that you are a very experienced Host and have kind of ‘seen it all’ if not in real life than on this forum.

Please tell us what happened/is happening.

I hope you can respond to @KKC as I think you will find a lot of expertise and knowledge in her response.

I wish you luck in this process. Guests will sense your sincerity and hopefully will respond in kind.

My short answer is that guests who book accommodations in a city should expect noise. Yes, known close by noise should be disclosed (near a train track, long term reno of the building next door etc). But not disclosing noise where noise is to be expected is not grounds for refund.

Pre-emtively giving refunds as the OP has twice posted about doesn’t guarantee anything other than not making any money in this business.

5 Likes

Can you clear something up for me? When did this new guest book? If in the last few days, did you tell the guest when she booked that there was construction work locally?

If more than a few days ago, have you spoken to the guest and warned her?

Does your local code allow for excessive noise without warning? I had a neighbour who was renovating and we insisted that the work was done between 9 and 5 Monday to Friday only. (Quiet work such as painting was okay at any time). Can’t you come to a similar agreement?

But this undisclosed construction noise is two meters from the guest’s window. So agreeing with you generally, is this noise to be expected?

1 Like

I :heart: -ed this but I’d like to heart it over and over and over…

4 Likes

I would advise the guest that they can get relocated with the help of an Airbnb customer rep or they may remain and you’re reimburse them 50 %.

Something similar happened to me with the kitchen faucet, there was no water flow. The plumber said the faucet, which was new, was defective and he would return in 3 days with a replacement. I gave the guest an option to relocate or stay with 50% off. They opted to stay.

1 Like

Okay, I am not used to this forum and not sure if I am replying in the right place?
I have had a chuckle with some of these answers, and admittedly I may have gotten carried away with the two nights free for the previous guest. However, like KKC has said, and I am pretty sure you all agree, SOMETHING at the very least SHOULD have been mentioned of this work in my listing.

In reply re my location…I am in London. Even so, when your direct neighbour puts up scaffolding you know it is going to be significanlty noiser for a while. No noisier than on a main road (sirens etc), but my home is not on a main road and if it was that info would be included.

While I agree that two nights free was excessive (fortunately was one in the end) and I don’t know what I was thinking, surely it is best to br fair in general…you know do onto others kinda thing? This work is not average London noise, it is more. I should have told my guests in advance and I didn’t. That is why I okayed them moving on.

I have had two guests arrive since that guy left. The one I originally posted about today and a young man who booked the room that the therapy guy (who got the refund) moved out of. The young man was told in advance and was fine about it. The lady is really nice and says she doesn’t care she just wanted somewhere to put her head down at night.

I am updating my listing and contacting guests who are coming up.

I wonder if because I have to live with anyone who has asked for a refund, it might make it harder than for those who live in a different place and get to say no from a distance?! I don’t want any bad atmospheres and it is not worth the payment if I have to live with that!

Forunately as I said the room did get rebooked almost immediately, so I now have a much more esasy going, smiley guy who says he feels really lucky to have found this place. Better than having to deal with someone who thinks he has got a bad deal because it is not quiet enough for him to bring his clients (magnetic therapy), which is possibly why it was such an issue for him in the first place.

Thank you so much to everyone who has responded! I think the lesson learned here is do not put off updating your listing, especially with anything potentialy negative such as building works!

2 Likes

Of course you should update the listing, but you say the construction wasn’t happening when the guest who is arriving in 40 minutes booked. Yet she hasn’t been told.

So I don’t understand- when magnet guy complained, why did you not right away get onto messaging upcoming guests to warn them?

3 Likes

I don’t know. I’d have to see the OP’s listing and neighborhood. He hasn’t answered my questions though.

If a listing said “off grid, tranquil, get close to nature” and I got there and there was a major logging operation going on, with gas powered machines and logging trucks going up and down the road then I’d be very upset and expect to be able to cancel my booking without penalty.

I don’t expect cities to be quiet during the day. The key is if it’s not within the control of the host.

2 Likes

[quote=“Bosty64, post:13, topic:53634”]I
wonder if because I have to live with anyone who has asked for a refund, it might make it harder than for those who live in a different place and get to say no from a distance?! I don’t want any bad atmospheres and it is not worth the payment if I have to live with that!
[/quote]

But that isn’t what anyone is suggesting. If a guest isn’t happy about something that’s a deal breaker for them, that you have responsibility for in some way, you tell them they can cancel and you refund them.

What you don’t do is let them stay for free. If they get refunded, they have to leave.

If they want to stay in spite of the issue, it indicates that they can live with it, and some sort of discount- 10-25% or something, would be in order.

1 Like

I am in London. But I felt confident enough myself in determining that people should have been warned. Obviously that would have been more so the case if I had advertised ‘tranquil getaway in remote and p,eaceful location’, but I am without doubt that the listing should have contained this information, depsite being London

1 Like

No it is not. That is why I asked advise as to how to deal with it now, given that I had been remiss in not including it!

Is it safe to assume that your London neighborhood has laws about what hours construction can be done as well as noise ordinances that will restrict the loudness to particular hours of the day?

Because this guest has implied that she is not going to be at your place all day anyway. I think this guy with the magnets presented a legitimate issue but one that likely only applies to someone trying run a magnet therapy business out of your place during the day. There’s no indication that this lady will have the same needs.

I would not offer a refund to this lady out of hand. You should casually and politely apologize for the nuisance, imply that you had no warning of it, point out that unfortunately you don’t have any say in it and that she should please reach out to you if she needs anything. And go from there.

There’s just as much of a chance (more actually) of her saying, “oh I’m going to be out all day, I don’t care” than being fussed about it. Construction happens, especially in cities and most people understand that.

But do temporarily update your listing under the potential for noise section if it is actually a terrible nuisance. It’s difficult to discern whether or not it is really so awful or if you’re just too nice and magnet boy spooked you.

I wasn’t asking whether I should update the listing. I agree with you - ofcourse. Indeed, the reason for my refunding is because I had failed to do so to start with.

I have admitted my failings! I did not mention to people about the construction. This is why I posted! I didn’t rush to tell the nice guest about the construction when magnet guy complained, as she was already on her way from abroad. I made the decision at that to wait for her to see it rather than alarm her mid journey. Which worked out. Also by the time Magnet guy left, I realised that he may have had higher standards on the no noise front, given that he was planning to have clients round to his room for their therapy sessions!
Yes, when magnet guy complained I did message others.