My Worst AirBnB Hosting Experiences and the Lessons Learned

My Worst AirBnB Hosting Experiences and the Lessons Learned

I’ve had some great experiences meeting some wonderful guests, from wine nights to Elf on the Shelf.  Overall, I find guests are respectful of my space.  Many leave my house as clean as they found it.  It’s been extremely profitable.  I regularly get asked about any negative AirBnB experiences, so I’ve decided to keep a running list.  None of the following are bad enough that I’d hesitate to continue hosting.

The Negative Experiences

7th group hosted – A group of six 20-25 year olds (August 2016)

Experience: I was uncomfortable booking them, but I was just starting out and needed to build up reviews.  They left the house a mess that took two days to clean up.  They broke house rules, including no smoking on the property.

Learned: To trust my gut feelings.  Now if I’m not comfortable with guests, I say no and make recommendations for other places.  I also learned to be very specific in my house manual about what “tidy up after yourselves” means, which likely would have solved most of the problems.

11th group hosted – a family of eight in town for a 5k run (September 2016)

“I’m not allowed in the pool. I shed too much.”

Experience: the family said they had dogs and the children wanted to play with Jameson.  I let her outside to play with them, spoke to the father another two minutes, and then when I went out to get Jameson the kids were trying to push her in the pool and she was calmly standing her ground but clearly getting anxious.  Jameson and I stayed at a friend’s house that weekend.

Learned: Always leave Jameson in the crate if greeting guests and never leave her unsupervised for a moment.  Even if a guest says they have dogs at home, they may not treat them well.

41st group hosted – a family of eight in town for their grandmother’s birthday (April 2017)

Experience: There were no red flags during the booking/initial contact.  During the trip, they didn’t respond to my messages – which happens.  They didn’t wave or greet me when I was on the property.  I was out of town for the last part of their trip and unfortunately when I returned, the house took 4 evenings to thoroughly clean, from trash left behind to sticky floors and stained bedding.

Learned: A business owner will always be faced with bad apples.  One out of 40 isn’t bad.  Also, always check the grill to make sure the gas was turned off fully if guests used it.

53rd group hosted – a family of nine, every member unfortunately on the heavier side (July 2017)

The pieces of the cracked ledge, found a week later in the bushes. Needed new tiles.  $200 to fix.

Experience: They broke a $250 dining chair just by sitting in it (wood of legs cracked under the weight) and refused to pay for replacement because “they wouldn’t pay to replace it at a restaurant.”  They cracked decorative honed marble around the pool (probably by sitting on the spa overflow or jumping off it) and threw the pieces in the bushes to hide them.  AirBnB did not follow through on their host guarantee.  I basically paid to host this group after cost of all the repairs.

Learned: Take a security deposit.  At this point, my business is firmly established, and anyone turned off by the security deposit probably shouldn’t stay anyway.

In Summary…

When you’re an AirBnB guest (or a guest in anyone’s home), try to be a good one. 🙂

13 Replies to “My Worst AirBnB Hosting Experiences and the Lessons Learned”

  1. Ugh. I’m not an Airbnb host, but I often stay in an Airbnb as a guest! I can’t believe how reckless or careless people can be. It’s someone’s home they are staying in – not necessarily a hotel! Wow!

  2. Of the 100+ guests we’ve hosted now, we’ve only had 3 bad ones – none terrible enough to shut down our listing, but just more annoying than anything. Our only really bad guest was a woman who didn’t read anything we sent her, then left the house unlocked after she checked out. My wife and I were camping at the time and I saw her leave on my Ring Video Doorbell without locking the door, but didn’t know if maybe she came back to lock the door and I didn’t catch it on camera.

    The dog thing is something I’ve always worried about a little bit. I make it very clear to any guest staying with us to make sure that my dog doesn’t run outside. So far, I haven’t had any issues, but I have had guests that left doors propped open while they get their bags into the house.

  3. These are some good lessons, thanks for sharing your experience. Are all the bookings you normally do involving such large groups? Maybe limiting to smaller groups would help avoid some of the potential problems. Overall though, 49 successful bookings out of 53 is awesome!

    1. For the dollar amount I charge per night and the amount of space available, I almost exclusively host groups of 4+ people up to 12. I’ve had groups of 12 before who have left things spotless. It’s definitely not about the size of the group but the members in it.

    1. I have had some minor issues before, but AirBnB has helped me coordinate with the guest to resolve them. Sometimes floaties pop, glasses fall, etc. They were all under $100, though. My 53rd group though caused about $500 in damages, and the guest wanted no piece of the responsibility for anything their family did. A $250 security deposit (which I now charge) would have at least covered half. Live and learn. 🙂

  4. Four negative experiences out of 53+ isn’t too bad. More importantly, you’ve learned lessons to mitigate the downsides going forward.

    It’s tough because you expect people to think and behave in a reasonably respectful manner as you would. But not everyone is cut from the same fabric. I think we’ll be AirBNB hosts eventually, and it’s good to hear some cautionary tales.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

    1. Exactly! All about risk mitigation. Some people aren’t careful or just don’t care. Anything fragile and not easily replaceable stays locked in my pantry for that reason. I replaced the door handle on the pantry door with a keyed handle that locks and guests store food in cabinets instead.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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