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The Things to Beware of as an AirBnb Host (A MUST Read)
I've Been In Your Shoes....
If you are a new host on AirBnb you've probably going to see a few things. Things break, deposits docked. No big thing, until it is. I've had an interior door demolished by a guest and the cost exceeded my deposit. Always good to get an upfront deposit, the larger the house, the larger the deposit. Again, no brainer there.
Then there was the time when a guest announced that his one year old was coming along. My house rules stated that guests must 12+ for safety reasons (I have a second floor without the proper gates for babies and toddlers and a pool). I freaked that the guest was "confirmed" and were approved for their date (they were guests before and got recommendations as good guests, so they didn't have to ask me for permission on booking the room as I had "Instant Booking" option turned on). I had no input into turning this guest away without getting dinged on my record. What to do? I called AirBnb (1-855-424-7262) and asked a representative how I could remove this guest for violation of a house rule. Everything got taken care of without a blem to my reputation (turning away confirmed appointments counts as a negative on a host's record).
Honesty is the Best Policy....
I once had a guest that violated my "no smoking" rule and I ended up giving him/her the correct review that I felt he/she deserved. They left the place a mess...another ding. They left water on my wood floors....damage!! (the damage was in a small area, and would have been difficult to remedy....I let it slide). They said they loved the place and wanted to come back, but of course, the feeling wasn't mutual. Luckily for me, AirBnb's feedback policy is a two way blind test street. The host can leave a review and the guest can then leave their review and neither the host nor the guest can see the other's review until both have finished their own review. I left a no recommendation and three stars (I'm soooo easy going). But the lingering fear of a retaliatory re-visit of some kind was in the back of my mind. So I made a call to AirBnb. "Is it possible for these guests to rebook this room, even after seeing their review OR BECAUSE OF IT". The AirBnb rep said no and that I could take my "Instant Booking" option off if I was overly concerned about it. To be clear, I get over half my bookings with "Instant Booking", so that didn't seem like a good idea. I asked the rep to look into it and provide me a followup email if he found anything else that developed. Later that day, I received an email from the rep stating that if I left 3 stars or less on my review of the client, then my listing would not appear in his search results for listings. Problem solved.
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I Spot Trouble...
Is there any way to screen guests? There are clues if you know where to look. I had a party animal invade another rental I had leaving a line of empty beer bottles strewn around the outside of the house and a mysterious liquid under the bed. .....Eww.
This particular "guest" had no reviews given to her and that gave me a quesy feeling at the time, but I ignored it to my peril. No prior reviews could be a sign of a newbie, but she was not very communicative. I gave her an honest review, warning off other hosts of this person. Newbie guests usually are open and talkative about their intentions, who will be staying, and how many will be with their party. Beware of the guest that is quiet and uncommunicative.
Another sign of a potential bad guest is the "bargainer". If they are asking you to cut corners on the price, will they stop at asking you to cut corners on other things regarding your house rules? It's a question to ponder, but the hosting experience is already diminished from the get go via the loss in revenue.
You can't run credit reports on guests, the best screening device is your own judgment and common sense. If something doesn't seem right, trust your instincts.
What are your experiences with AirBnb guests?
Share them here.