Part of the fun of running an Airbnb is the fact that you get good guests who leave you 5 stars. In fact, most Airbnb guests are respectful and are here for a good time. But everyday isn’t Christmas and you are eventually going to run into that small percentage of people who like to be difficult and make you regret ever getting into the vacation rental business.
It is no secret that miserable people are out there who don't care about respecting other peoples' property or just have negative outlooks on life altogether and as an Airbnb host, you will likely encounter a situation involving one of them. An irate situation can even occur with the happiest of guests, it is just impossible to tell.
However, the light at the end of the tunnel is that there are steps you can take, to help prevent and minimize such situations from arising, and ways to deal with issues even if they popup.
Turn Instant Book Off & Identify Problem Guests Before Confirming Booking
If you are a Property Manager with multiple properties to manage, you likely have instant books turned on to allow guests to book right away. The downside however is that guests can book without your prior consultation. As soon as they click ‘book’, you are stuck with them, unless you decide to cancel.
Cancelling comes with its own drawbacks. If you cancel too frequently, it could even lead to your account being suspended. To avoid these dilemmas, simply switch the instant book feature off and sync your airbnb calendar with vrbo, booking com, Airbnb or any other booking platform.
Profile Check Skimming over a potential guest’s profile will almost straight away tell you a few things. If their profile is not fully complete, you can begin to ask questions as to whether this guest is legitimate or not. You can quickly identify an incomplete profile,
If you feel the profile is incomplete, try sending a message letting them know that if they are willing to complete their profile and the ID verification check, you will be happy to host them. If they agree, great, if not, you just might be taking a risk not worth your effort.
Review Check Checking guest’s reviews will also immediately allow you to tell if they pose a hazard as a nuisance guest. Any review between 2 and 3.5 stars is when you should begin to question why this is the case and if you are willing to run the risk.
Below 2 stars, should be an automatic no, unless there was a one-off terrible experience which brought their rating down. If you decide to proceed with the booking with an overall rating of 2 or below, you run a big risk of having more problems than it’s worth, because ultimately, they are below 2 stars for a reason.
However, bear in mind that reviews are subjective.
Clearly Outline House Rules As Airbnb is a global platform, there is a lot of mixing with different cultures and nationalities. This means that, for example, what may seem normal to a guest from Asia, may not be seen as normal by a host in the United States and vice versa.
Therefore, it is important to write up a list of house rules that is easy for everyone to understand so guests understand what you expect of them, especially if they are from a different culture. This is a preventative measure to help minimize issues that may arise. You should ideally speculate these house rules in your short-term rental agreement.
Consult Them Directly & Stay Vigilant What may seem like a ‘bad’ gesture to some hosts, may not necessarily be so bad to others. This is why it is important to talk it through with them first, if you come across a guest who is behaving poorly by your standards,
More often than not, you will be able to come to a peaceful conclusion, and it could be a misunderstanding. You simply won’t know unless you approach the guest and tell them how you feel.
If things do get out of hand, or you can’t come to a just conclusion, it may be time to involve Airbnb. If it does come to this, remain vigilant, as it is ultimately your hosting career on the line.
Offer Solutions As with anything else in life, the best way to deal with bad Airbnb guests is to offer solutions. As I mentioned earlier, regardless of whether the host is at fault or not, some guests are just miserable people and will look for all the negative aspects of their stay to tryon a discount or to get things for free.
If a guest does reach out to you and explains they are unhappy for a particular reason, work through it with them, remain calm, and offer a solution to the problem. If you offer solutions that don’t seem to work, you can even offer to cancel the reservation right away.
Be nice and say: ‘I am sorry, Mr/Mrs. Guest, that we were unable to come to a resolution. I am more than happy to cancel the reservation right now if you would like?’ Offering this extreme solution can lead them to backtrack on their complaints or behavior. This is because they will soon realize their reservation may be lost. Offering to cancel an in-progress reservation is a subtle way to say ‘pull your head in’.
Offering solutions such as canceling the booking will also likely help them realize that maybe their behavior was inappropriate and if they continue, they may have nowhere to stay.
Never play the Blame Game When a dispute arises and you have no clue why the guest is acting the way they do, simply remember that “Customer is King. It is critical to always, without fail, start on the guest’s side and attempt to remain empathetic. Besides, remember those guest reviews are crucial for your business.
If, as proceedings take shape, you realize the guest is being irate or irrational, or simply not making any sense, don’t criticize or judge them to their face. Doing so will only create a whole heap of other problems, which can be avoided by being respectful.
If you are anything like me and you are great with words with some experience in dealing with customer complaints, now is the time to shine. You could lead with phrases like:
‘I’m sorry you have experienced this problem, is there anything I can do to help?’
‘I do apologize that your stay was not up to expectations, what can I do to help?’
Sometimes, right communication is all you need to turn things around with guests.
This is why it's important to be aware of how you communicate with guests, and make sure that the tone of your voice stays professional. For example: If a guest asks for something unreasonable or if they're upset because their stay was less than perfect, do not respond in anger- just remain calm and try to solve the problem together.
It is important to remain professional and calm when dealing with a difficult customer, even if it seems they are not listening. Should the guest refuse your solutions or continue being disruptive, then you should follow company policy by calling for security help.
I get it, it is no piece of cake to deal with people who don't seem like they want anything but trouble; however, there are ways of handling them that will hopefully convince them their behavior was inappropriate and maybe offer some incentives as well in order keep things cordial.