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What is your worst guest experience and what did you learn from it?

hosting

#1

It happened to us today and I don’t know where to start. The house is trashed: stains on the carpeting and bedding, knife marks/dings on the (vintage) countertops, pieces of food all over the house, like bites of pizza crust under furniture, scary brown …barf? in our white towels, trash all over the place. Cigarette butts and empty cigarette carton/boxes all around (no smoking allowed on property; guest said ‘one or two of us vape,’ I told her she could do it outside on the deck but our Ring camera shows 3 people chain smoking on the front stairs at all hours, til 4am most nights…also shows very drunken behavior by two guests who could barely walk) Broken picture frame, broken toilet. Also dozens of Whippet canisters that they were clearly getting high off of (I googled it … it’s either they ate an impressive amount of whipped cream, or they inhaled a lot of nitrous oxide)

How did I know this would happen? The guest (who has dozens of positive reviews, just one poor one for ‘dirtying’ some sheets) started out by asking for a discount if they stayed a week instead of 5 days. Seven guests total, coincidentally (?) our max occupancy. She said they could only afford x amount and I caved because we couldn’t have booked the 2 following days because our housekeeper was out of town so we wouldn’t be able to turn the place anyway. Then she asked if we would GROCERY SHOP and stock the kitchen for them, because it’s so convenient to just roll into a house and have everything you need…and we are vegan, she says, although they will eat cheese and sometimes salami. (?) I gave her a link to Instacart ($15 off for your first order if you sign up!) and told her about a great produce market and bakery across from a grocery store a mere $8 Uber from the house. THEN she asked if she could have some art shipped from a St Petersburg gallery to the house for a gift exchange, because she didn’t want to carry it on a plane and was worried about checking it. This is the same girl who pleaded poverty when booking. I said she could UPS or FedEX, but if it didn’t make it during her stay I had no mechanism to forward it to her so it was her risk. I was worried that she was a kook so I impressed upon her, since her stay was over New Year Holiday, that there are NO fireworks allowed because we are in a fire-prone canyon in California. She then asks if it’s okay if her friend brings FIRE FANS to ‘flow’. NO. Have you seen the news from California? THEN she asked for early (10am) check in. During her stay, my neighbor texted me to tattle about the number of people in and out and when I looked at the Ring camera footage I saw that indeed it looked like a lot of people – I messaged the guest with my concerns and she said they were following the rules, just 7 staying over. THEN she asked for a late checkout or even ‘an extra day.’ Again, no.

I should have listened to others in this forum about bargain hunters being a bad deal. My question is … do I just make a list of stuff that’s damaged/stained and request money from her, make a case for the hours of extra work to clean the place (housekeeper spent 8 hours) and rent a carpet cleaner? And for scratches and gouges on the countertops … okay, there was a wood block sitting right there and obviously if you see white formica counters from the '70s you don’t use a knife on them … maybe we should post a sign or something but how would you even claim damage for that? It can’t be fixed. It’s just a bummer that it’s something my mom kept somewhat pristine for 50 years and is original to the house.

I am a new-ish host (4 months, 15 or so stays) and apologize if these are obvious questions. Just needed to vent and hopefully hear some of your stories too!


#2

This says everything and I have nothing to add. I’ve never had a guest experience that comes close.

However you do have my best wishes for better luck in the future.


#3

That sucks, sounds terrible. Good luck in your effort getting properly compensated.


#4

OMG what a horrific experience! Sorry you had to go through this. Send her a request for the extra cleaning and contact AirBnb in regards to the damages. Did she pay a deposit? Hopefully, Airbnb will give it to you. Take pictures of eveything and send it to the guest and AirBnb. If you don’t get reimbursed, try to write it off on your taxes.


#5

I have had a couple of bad guests like this (always young people). I can tell you how I now handle it after making some errors.

  1. Take photos of everything
  2. Phone Airbnb immediately so that it is on file. Acting upset garners sympathy,
  3. Do not contact the guest.
  4. Make sure you have an invoice on a company letterhead for the additional cleaning etc. My housekeepers send me “invoices” as emails with all the info, including a line on how the place was left by the guests. Air will not accept those invoice/emails for compensation so I have also supplied them all with an invoice template to use if I am planning to make a claim.
  5. Wait for the guest to review you.
  6. Wait another 48 hours after the guest had written their review as they can edit it in this period.
  7. Contact guest and ask for compensation through the resolution centre.
  8. Follow up with a message on the platform.
  9. After 72 hours involve Airnb.
  10. Cross your fingers & toes.

If the guest doesn’t review you you can review them so that they get another prompt to review you. Then continue from 7 onwards.


#6

Security deposits are not paid in advance through Airbnb and if the guest refuses to pay Airbnb will not charge their credit card without their permission.


#7

You probably should clarify this in your house rules. Are unregistered guests allowed on the property? If so, how many? How long? During daylight hours only or…?

I would be taking a million pictures and sending an outrageous bill to them. Charge them for the cost of a new toilet, a new frame, the extra hours of cleaning, the estimated cost to have the carpets shampooed and the house fumigated to get rid of the cigarette smell. (Trust me, you will get bad reviews if there is even a hint of cigarette smell in or around your house!)


#8

Great advice. We have the Ring videos … and photos of all the mess; I have listed $3000 in potential damages hold with AirBnB so she could be in for it.


#9

Please keep us updated. I hope airbnb backs you up and this horrible guest gets an unpleasant surprise.


#10

We have firm hours when it comes to night time activity. If guests are outside at 4AM, actually, anytime after 10PM curfew, and if our Nest or Ring cam catches activity, we monitor it and take a screenshot immediately. Send a notice about curfew and if they don’t respond, notify Airbnb and let them contact the guest. Nip that in the bud.

We have a similar listing on a hillside in Northern California that stays 8. This stuff happens, don’t feel bad. But this has been what worked for us to keep from having a regretful morning after.


#11

And learn from all the red flags. There were so many in your first post that I had a mild anxiety attack.

I am very sorry this happened to you. Some people have no shame whatsoever. I would wait until your case is resolved before posting a review. Let the Master of Reviews, @KenH, help with wording. He’s brilliant with factual, non-emotional reviews. Never write a review when you’re upset.


#12

Here’s my review:

CANNOT RECOMMEND GUEST. Trashed the house, broke items, food scattered all over, body fluids on towels, scratched furniture and counters. Smoked/vaped in a No Smoking House. Kept pushing – for early/late check-in/out, extra days, packages to be delivered, etc. Denied unregistered guests were staying over but ring cameras showed people outside smoking at 4 AM. Worst experience ever!


#13

And wanted me to buy groceries and stock house with food of a specific nature beforehand.


#14

@JennB, so sad to hear about this horrible experience, we would all want to stay away from those guests!

We had a very poor experience with one guest, not from Airbnb but booked via Booking dot com, they had only booked for 1 night in our first month of hosting.

Firstly they wanted to arrive early (around 11am) when the check in is at 3pm, then they wanted to leave at 3pm the next day, when check out is before 12pm. Upon arrival I saw that they had a lot of shopping in their hands with some party items in them (I should have let them know there and then that parties are not allowed!). 2 of them checked in at that time (although booked for 4) and they said the others would be arriving later, they seemed very young (late teens) and that gave me a bit of a worry. As I live in the same building I tried to keep and eye out for any obvious crazy parties going on in the flat, however it did not seem like there were any extra guests staying over.

BDC does not hold the deposit for the hosts and hosts have to deal with the deposit themselves, as being a complete newbie I forgot to ask for the deposit at check in and felt embarrassed to ask for it after that point.

On check out, I was present to check them out, I did a quick visual inspection of the flat, it seemed all okay, it was a bit dirty but nothing crazy to the eye so I let them carry out with the check out. However as they left I started doing a full inspection as something was just not right, they had obviously left 2 large boxes of trash in the kitchen (I was okay with throwing those out in the rubbish bins), but with closer inspection what I saw was as below:

  1. Glitter all over the wooden floor and fabric sofas, not that easy to get off the sofa!
  2. Food bits left under the sofa (out of sight!)
  3. Bed covers and duvet covers had been stripped off and put in the washing machine, however suspiciously only one of the duvet covers and been stripped and the other duvet for the 2nd bed was on the main bed. This started off the discovery, I opened the washing machine and started taking out the covers and bath towels.
  4. The duvet cover, pillow covers and bedsheet had very large stains of pinkish liquid.
  5. The towels had large brown stains (I dont want to think it was poo, but it looked like shoes had been wiped off with the white towels!, not the worst part!).
  6. The bed sheet had been wrapped up and when I opened it, it had a large lumps of unexplainable food waste which was pink, so I can only think that this was someone being sick on the bed and they wrapped it all up and threw it in the wash!!!
  7. The carpet in the bedroom had pink/orange stain patches (atleast 6 across the bedroom), similar to the bedsheet
  8. The mattress seemed to have been turned over which I again suspected and I turned it over to find another 2 pinkish spots on it

So all in all I was horrified at the state of this, especially when 15 minutes after their check out the bell rang for the next guests to drop off their luggage (which they had requested in advance and I had agreed to this!) I was in complete panic mode at this time and I told them that they could drop off the luggage, however their check in might be delayed due to the intense cleaning the place required. I was also worried that I had no deposit, so I immediately contacted BDC and reported misconduct from the guests, all they could offer was a refund of their commission (15% of the booking). So I took the liberty of calling the guest myself, after having called them a number of times without any response even from a different number to the one they had and they finally returned my call (on my other number) where I explained to them the whole situation and asked for compensation to this effect. They agreed to this paid up there and then over the phone which I was totally surprised by.

So moral of the story for me is that I would always be asking for deposit upfront now, atleast from BDC guests, I am not sure whether I should from Airbnb guests.

Sorry for the long post!


#15

The worst guest ever showed up 8 hours late and appointed me his personal servant. It would normally be quite funny, asking for rides, appointments, meals etc. But he wouldn’t give me a moment’s peace. Where was he to hang the bathrobe I offered him? What flavor of instant oatmeal is this? Why won’t I extend his stay off platform? Constantly in my face. Finally God took mercy. The toilet plugged. I had pneumonia. Air cancelled with a full refund immediately and would rehouse him. But he refused to leave. In fact he took off for the day. Refused to take calls from myself or Air. Showed up at 7:30 that night fully expecting to stay for free.

Did I mention it was $26 a night?

My story is unusual. But it underscores the imposition hosts can encounter with guests. And yes, he got to write a review.


#16

What a dreadful experience. There is an old saying “you gain the experience, just after you needed it “ and I’m sure you will have learnt some painful lessons.

We’ve been hosting for a little under a couple years and now have a good feel for the type of guests that could cause us problems. We’ve also adopted a fairly rigourous vetting process before we accept any booking. Following an enquiry I message back explaining our accommodation, so there are no surprises for guests, but I also quiz them on who is coming, what they will be using accommodation for and most importantly, ask them to confirm that they have read the house rules and agree with them, particularly if they intend to bring a pet.

98% of guests reply and of the reminder, we are happy that they Look elsewhere. Of the responders, almost all end up booking. So far with approximately 130 bookings, we’ve never had to give a negative review to a guest.

We are only able to vet guests this way because we refuse to be cajoled into Instant Booking by Airbnb.

The guests that have caused as the most work following their visit, are young families were both parents work, with a couple of say 2 to 5 year olds. Upon their arrival we can tell whether the children are disciplined and if not, then there is usually a lot more work involved in getting the accommodation up to scratch after they’ve gone. To try to mitigate this, I add to my initial message our accommodation is designed for adults, although children are welcome. Small beer by comparison to your nightmare, but I just wanted to share that you have control at the initial booking stage and can often nip potential problems in the bud.

Don’t be put off hosting because of this dreadful guest and I hope you are fully compensated. Do let us know the outcome. Best of luck.


#17

I just had another one and I honestly didn’t know what to say.

I have a very pretty room. I only allow men now, because women tend to be fussier. Well don’t I get a 55 day IB from a female. Right from the get go she was high maintenance, And she subsidized part of her stay with the free snacks, meals, etc. She also complained about the fact it has no window, etc even though these are clearly described oh I know we have heard it all before.

For the last 3 weeks I moved her into our best room at no extra charge. We had 3 changeouts that day and didn’t she find a whack of dead mosquitos under the bed. And there was a mark on the downstairs toilet.

Bang head here. $23 a night.


#18

Omg. I am so sorry. This literally makes me want to quit hosting. I am sorry for your losses. This is inexcusable behavior. All I know is I learned in this forum - pictures pictures pictures. Please keep us posted as to Air’s response - if any.


#19

UPDATE:
I requested $990 from my guest 48 hours after checkout with an itemized list of things, including $350 for mitigation of smoke. Didn’t hear a peep … escalated to AirBnB and am waiting to hear from them. I included dozens of links to Ring doorbell videos of the guests smoking and flicking cigarettes into the trees along with many showing impaired behavior. It’s too bad I don’t have better pictures of the mess as housekeeping was focused on getting the place ready for another group … which we were unable to accommodate because of the cleanup needed. (We managed to talk them out of booking and recommending a place that would probably be better for their needs … closer to the venues they were interested in visiting … which we never would have done if we could have booked them!)

This is a person who was told there is no smoking no fire no fireworks of any sort on the property (a douglas fir tongue in groove house in old growth redwood/oak canyon in vulnerable California fire area)

Waiting to hear from AirBnB but wondering if these videos give enough of a glimpse into what kind of mess was left behind inside if this is the spillover. We have some pictures, but housekeeping was unwilling to dig out the spewed-upon linens from the trash for photographs!


#20

If you don’t have photo evidence from inside the house then I doubt that Airbnb is going to give you that much money. Do you have receipts that show “smoke mitigation” services provided by a professional company on a letterhead?

As for the smokers flicking butts out into the CA woods I’d be beyond apoplectic. What kind of @$$holes are that clueless? Fires are no laughing matter. In the future you’re going to need to evict this kind of guest ASAP. You need a process or person in place. I hope you are in position to physically go to the rental in a case like this. Make sure your wording about no smoking allowed is strong and prominent with consequences like cancellation with no refund. I think some hosts even have successfully implemented fees.

Keep us posted.

Oh, one more thing. As for the Ring footage. This is a publically viewable forum. No one needs to be a member to read it. So you might want to consider if you want this posted publically.


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