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Airbnb Mistakes

As an Airbnb Ask A Superhost Ambassador, an Airbnb Volunteer Community Leader, a seasoned Superhost, and an Accountant specializing in real estate investors who have short-term rentals as part of their portfolio, I’ve seen many guests and hosts make these Airbnb mistakes. I hope this list will help you avoid them. Happy travels in the sharing economy!

Guests who do not bother to read property rules or think they are only suggestions

Airbnb, unlike hotels, is an extension of a family, not a corporate entity. Therefore, staying in an Airbnb is the same as staying with a family. The host is happy to have you join them but wants guests to follow the household rules.

Hosts are conscientious about creating rules to enhance the guest experience. In addition, most hosts make it a requirement for prospective guests to read and understand the rules. It is a mistake when guests ignore the rules and a sign of disrespect.

Common house rule topics: 

  • Check-in and check-out.
  • Parking.
  • Property access.
  • Pets.
  • Smoking.
  • Inside shoe preference.
  • Parties and events.
  • Visitors.

How can a guest enhance their experience? (1) Read and acknowledge the rules, (2) ask for rule clarifications and (3) follow the rules.

The guest fails to read check-in instructions.

To a host, it’s evident when guests don’t read the check-in details. The first clue is the guest standing at the front door and ringing the doorbell, waking everyone in the house (guests and host alike) when they should simply enter their door code.

It is a mistake when guests don’t familiarize themselves with the entire listing. In addition, guests should always use the Airbnb app with notifications turned on to create seamless host communications.

Most hosts create a series of short automated communication texts related to the arrivals and departures. These messages remind guests of their door code, parking advice, how to find their room, and other essential arrival information.

The guest does not understand what the word “share” means.

New Airbnb guests will sometimes arrive at a listing and be surprised that they must share the living room, kitchen, toilet, or house with strangers.

Airbnb defines shared rooms as “you will share a space with others.” However, guests who have NOT read the Airbnb definition or listing description carefully could be surprised and upset. So when you book a shared room, you’ll sleep in a secure room and share other rooms. 

Shared rooms are popular among flexible travelers looking for new friends and budget-friendly stays. However, if guests are uncomfortable with is arrangement, they can pay more for private accommodations.

Guests haggling over the price with the host

Haggling has no place in the hospitality-sharing economy. First, hosts determine the nightly base rate. Then, they compare the prices of their competition in the vicinity, the amenities they offer free of charge, parking, location relative to desirable destinations (i.e., easy drive to the beach), special events, seasonal changes, etc.).

So look at the total; if it’s too much, move on. You have many choices. Often, when a guest makes the mistake of starting a reservation by asking for discounts, it sends the wrong message to the host that they don’t value a host’s space, Host’s work hard for your business. Hosting is a person-to-person business. Respect the efforts a host makes to ensure a happy experience.

Only completing their phone and email for verification instead of a phone, email, AND government ID.

Many Airbnb guests think that they are Airbnb verified once they submit to Airbnb their phone number and valid email address. However, it is a mistake to think they are fully Airbnb verified

Many hosts require additional security for themselves and other guests. To reach this top level of protection, Airbnb requires a valid government ID. to complete a background check against public records for criminal convictions and sex offender registrations (US and India). Once completed, your profile is marked “ID checked,” and your government ID becomes part of your Airbnb profile.

The sharing economy depends on security for all members, guests, and hosts. Therefore, a host may require all guests to have an Airbnb Verified ID before accepting a reservation. If you want to use Instant Book and do not have the Airbnb Verified ID status, Instant Book will not work! This delay may be enough to lose the reservation.

Hosts and Airbnb are NOT being nosy. They are just making it safer for all of us.

Guests messing with the thermostat

Remember, guests are guests on your host’s property. Hosts want you to be comfortable, and they want to adhere to local energy savings requirements. Older homes may not be as insulated as newer homes. Hosts have years of experience on how to balance comfort and efficiency. It is a mistake to think you can mess with the thermostat for the whole house.

Older homes use a combination of opening and closing windows, window coverings, and ceiling fans.

The Airbnb guest insists on paying the host directly in cash.

Guests sometimes ask hosts if they will accept cash. The reason given is to avoid Airbnb fees. Guests may entice hosts by saying it will reduce guest costs and increase host profit. This is a mistake.

Guests, don’t do it. Hosts, don’t do it. Use the app ALWAYS.

Airbnb may remove both a guest and host from the Airbnb platform. For not following corporate rules.

What fees are guests trying to avoid?

Fees pay for Airbnb to run the hosting service. Most hosts pay a flat 3% of the booking subtotal. When you consider all the app features, the host support team, background checks, paying local hosting taxes, and the Airbnb web portal, these are costs the host would have to pay if they were on their own. 

From the guest’s perspective, guests typically pay a service fee of around 14% of the booking subtotal. As a result, Airbnb service fees are competitive.

Hosts should consider cash payment risks.

Hosts who do cash transactions substantially increase their risks.

  • No Airbnb platform protection
  • It is a security issue
  • Airbnb may legally cancel the reservation and deactivate the hosting account and the guest’s accounts. 
  • If a no-show, you may lose all the income if you have blocked off your calendar.
  • If a guest has theft in mind, you will no longer benefit from the Airbnb Host Protection Host Guarantee and will no longer have the $1,000,000 cover to protect yourself. 
  • Possibility of a lawsuit because no signed lease or disclaimer stipulating the guest’s length of stay,
  • You are unable to report a bad guest.

No excuse for not being able to pay with accepted methods

Airbnb accepts most international credit cards and prepaid credit cards:

  • Amex
  • Discover
  • Apple Pay 
  • Google pay
  • JCB
  • Paypal
  • Visa
  • Mastercard

What is the best way to refuse a host cash payment request?

You have two options when refusing a cash request. 

  1. You may either politely decline and offer payment alternatives in keeping with Airbnb terms and services and/or 
  2. Report the guest’s request to Airbnb.

If the guest seems like they may be up to no good, reporting them might save your fellow Airbnb hosts from falling into a trap in the future.

How to report bad guest activity to Airbnb

  1. Go to your messages and click the conversation containing the statement of a cash offer.
  2. Click the flag icon on the message.  
  3. Click on the reason why you are reporting the message.
  4. You will then have the option to block communication with the suspicious guest via Yes, Block now.

In conclusion:

Airbnb is in the hospitality industry. Millions of hosts benefit from a little extra income, and guests benefit from secure places to stay at reasonable prices worldwide. However, hospitality depends on trust and behavior. Acceptable behavior means following platform rules.

Guest assuming that it is alright bringing non-registered guests onto the property

The sharing economy depends on TRUST.

The sharing economy is here to stay. We share idle assets such as cars, spare bedrooms, whole houses, tools, and farming equipment.

The sharing economy cannot exist without TRUST. We share valuable assets once we have established trust between the buyer and the user.

Hosts share their property for payment; in return, the guest agrees to the terms and conditions of property use. That is it! If the guest does not like the terms of use, they have many other choices. However, if the guest agrees and then ignores the terms, that breaks the trust, and the sharing economy imposes consequences for the behavior.

Why do hosts have occupancy restrictions?

  • Utility use restrictions
    • Water
    • Electricity and gas
    • Sewer and septic systems
  • City housing ordinances
    • Occupancy
    • Pool and spa occupancy
    • Noise
    • Parking
  • Property damage risks (i.e., more people, greater risks)
  • Unauthorized parties restrictions (e.g., local housing authorities, Airbnb)
  • Legal liabilities 
  • Guest liability.
  • Owner preferences

It does not matter what the occupancy reasons are. The guest agrees, and, in exchange, they get to use the property. That is it!

How can hosts ensure guests’ are aware of occupancy rules?

  1. Include occupancy rules in early guest communications.
  2. Require guests to read and accept guest policy BEFORE approving the reservation. The policy should include:
    1. The maximum occupancy of the property
    2. Occupancy restricted guests on the reservation
    3. No parties and
    4. Airbnb enforces house occupancy rules.
  3. Host screening
    1. Insist guests are Airbnb Verified
    2. Only accept guests with reviews, or
    3. Discuss if they don’t have reviews.

Proactive steps to reduce the likelihood of ignoring occupancy policy 

  1. Install surveillance cameras outside the property (e.g., front door and driveway.) 
  2. Install a Smart doorbell to notify your smartphone and connect to live video automatically. 
  3. Disclose that you have outdoor monitoring cameras as extra guest security.
  4. State that you use recordings to plead security issues with Airbnb.
  5. Create a relationship with neighbors. Ask them to contact you if they suspect anything,

Report rule-breakers to Airbnb. Airbnb is very sensitive to unauthorized parties and is well-equipped to assist.

What Should I Do if Visitors Bring Extra Guests?

  1. Submit a change request for extra fees if under the maximum number of guests limit.
  2. File a request with Airbnb Resolution Center if guests refuse to accept your booking change,
  3. Report the guest to Airbnb. Gather evidence (e.g., screenshots from your surveillance equipment, decibel recordings from noise trackers, and even reports from neighbors if you have asked them to keep an eye on the property.)

What are some consequences to hosts when guests sneak in or lie about extra guests?

  • You could lose money. Many hosts charge additional fees for extra guests.
  • Possible property damage. The more people, the more the risk of furniture breaking.
  • You might break the law by not checking unauthorized people’s IDs. 
  • You’ll invite more disrespectful guests. Guests who break house rules show a lack of respect towards the host. They could invite others next time.
  • Bad reviews are likely from guests who feel you are not being fair to their party wishes.

Recognize good rules following guests in reviews!

Guests not clearing hair from the shower drain

We have all experienced it. After cleaning the shower, removing shower scum, and removing any hair, we get a text from a guest that there is hair on the shower drain. But, of course, you know it was clean when the guests arrived and that it was the other guest who left hair in the shared bathroom.

Put on your Airbnb best behavior hat. What do you do next?

In the hospitality business, who is wrong has no place.

We know what we would like to do. Text the other guest to clean up after themselves. Of course, you can’t do this and be a responsible host.

Hospitality says to respond immediately, apologize for the drain hair, clean it for the complaining guest, and leave the shedding guest alone. But of course, they know they shed, but the guest may choose to ignore it because they are already paying an extra cleaning fee.

As a host, perhaps the best action is to smile and think this is why you have a cleaning fee.

Let’s agree that cleaning and smiling are the best courses of action when it happens. However, could you reduce the risk of it happening again? Yes!

Bathroom shower management

Hair in the drain will happen again. However, there are proactive steps hosts can take to minimize the risks.

Post a sign

We have signs all over the house to help guide our guests. Posting a sign like the one above reminds guests that they too are responsible for cleanliness.

Do periodic drain maintenance.

At least quarterly, between guests, perform a super-clean of the shower drain. It takes very little time. Just a few steps while you are doing your other regular host chores.

The last thing you want is a drain backing up during a guest’s stay. It will cost you an emergency plumber visit, a guest refund, and perhaps the cost of booking them elsewhere.

How to unclog hair from the drain

  1. Use boiling water only. If that does not do it,
  2. Try baking soda and vinegar.
    1. Pour a cup of baking soda right into the drain and wait a couple of minutes.
    2. Pour a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let this mixture sit in the drain for a few hours. It makes a frightening sound, but no worries, it is working.
    3. Pour a gallon of boiling water down the drain.
  3. Big hairball?
    1. Get a hook. Fashion a hook out of a thin wire, like a coat hanger.
    2. Go fish.
    3. Alternative, though not my first choice, chemicals.
  4. Pour some chemicals down the drain.
    1. When the natural method does not work, you could use powerful chemicals.
    2. Drain chemicals can sometimes damage your pipes, especially with repeated use.
  5. Break out the plunger.
    1. Suitable for deep clogs.
    2. A plunger isn’t always the most effective method, however.
  6. Call a plumber if all else fails. As part of your emergency planning, create a relationship with a nearby plumber and put their phone number in the emergency contacts list.

Prevention is always a good approach.

Purchase a hair catcher. A hair catcher fits over the drain cover to catch hair when people shower. When the guest sees their deposit, It might encourage them to remove their lost hair or, if not, makes your job easier.

Let’s face it; hosts have many more fun things about hosting than not-so-fun things. So be responsive to your guests, don’t blame others, and do preventive maintenance.

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