Tips for Troubleshooting Issues with Guests

As a host, you deal with all sorts of people: young and old, seasoned travelers and newbies, cooperative and—not so cooperative. While most of your guests will hopefully be stand-up people, there will inevitably be a few who give you trouble. But don’t fear—we’ve compiled a list of tips for dealing with the issues that your guests might throw your way.

  1. Excessive complaints and requests

Most of the requests from your guests will be reasonable, like dinner recommendations or a couple extra towels. But occasionally you might come across a guest who asks for way too much—like new sheets for every bed in the house—or contacts you constantly, blowing up your phone every five minutes. It will be annoying, and you’ll feel like telling them off. But try to keep your cool—if you do, these same guests will hopefully write you a review at the end of their stay that acknowledges how you took care of their every request. Unless they just can’t be satisfied, in which case you’re out of luck and simply have to grin and bear it. A good question to ask these guests: “Is there anything else I can do to make your stay as enjoyable as possible?” The answer might be “no,” but hopefully they’ll appreciate your dedication.

  1. Disruptive and disorderly

As you rack up more months as a host, you’ll probably get a handful of guests who just want to use your home as a party spot. A lot of these guests are respectful partiers, but some are not. Your neighbors might call you during your guests’ stay to report the noise, or in the case of excessive noise or excessively awful neighbors, they might just call the cops directly. It’s pretty unlikely that your guests will get in any legal trouble with the cops (unless, of course, they’re unruly and rude toward the officers), but it’s still a hassle and makes you look bad to your neighbors. If a party is out of control and the cops are called, it’s not a bad idea to write that in your review on your guest’s profile. Future hosts should know what to expect if they allow this guest to stay in their home.

  1. Broken/stolen items in your home

This is the number one fear of short-term rental hosts, and with good reason—you’ve spent a ton of time and money furnishing and designing your home, and you don’t want things to get messed up. But especially with rowdier guests (see above), something is bound to get broken at some point. The first line of defense should always be to talk to the guest directly. Most likely, they will have realized that they damaged something during their stay and will be quick to sort out the repayment process. In some cases, though, guests will say that the item was already broken or that they never saw an item that you know they stole. This is when you contact Airbnb and let them handle it. They deal with guests like this every day and are more experienced at settling these matters than you are. Note: be sure that your guest actually damaged/stole an item. It’s embarrassing (and sometimes legally problematic) to accuse a guest of doing something he or she did not do.

  1. Payment issues

All payments should be handled through Airbnb or your other short-term renting platform, so they should be the first people you contact with any issues. Airbnb employs a team of people whose job it is to work out problems of this nature, so it’s probably a better idea to contact them than to try and resolve an issue with a guest on your own. If you are going to contact a guest directly about money (for example, in the event that a guest damages something in your home), make sure you know how much the item costs and can back it up with a receipt or a link to the product online. As we all know, people get pretty touchy with money, so having all of the information and conveying it in a clear way is always helpful.

  1. A bad review on your profile

If this happens because of a specific problem that you were not able to fix, it’s a good call to own up to it and apologize in your response to the review. Maybe it was out of your hands, like you were out of town and the pipes froze, but you should still apologize for the inconvenience. That’s where the respond option to reviews really comes in handy—but try not to launch into a paragraph of self-defense where you also attack the guest for being too needy and whiny. This just makes you look bad. Unless of course, you have some real evidence for your claims—like the guest broke all of the beds and sprayed red paint on the walls. If not, keep it friendly.

Sometimes you can do everything right and still get a cranky guest who writes you a bad review. There’s not a whole lot you can do in this case. If you want to respond, keep it short—something like, “I did everything I could to accommodate [guest’s name] during his stay. It’s unfortunate that he had such a bad stay. I hope he finds what he’s looking for in the future.” Something concise and polite will do. There’s no need to start an emotionally-charged comment war.

Just remember that for every guest who gives you issues, there will be at least 20 more who don’t. Being a host is usually a great experience, and when it’s not, just remind yourself that they call it “short-term” rental for a reason—your guest will be out soon enough.

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