More often than not, 99% of Airbnb guests obey the rules and mind their own business. However, there is always that 1% that likes to be difficult, and unfortunately, hosts must bear the brunt of it. Whether the listing didn’t live up to the 5-star, mansion standard that some expect, a hiccup in transit, or just a bad mood, there are several ways to deal with bad Airbnb guests.
Without any further ado, let’s explore 5 ways to deal with bad Airbnb guests.
Having instant-booking turned on allows guests to book right away without your prior review and approval. As soon as they click ‘book’, you are stuck with them, unless you decide to cancel. This comes with consequences, should you cancel too often. And, it could even lead to your account being suspended.
To avoid these situations, simply turn the instant-booking feature off, so you can perform more thorough checks on your potential guests. These could include:
Checking over the guest’s profile will almost always alert you to potential problems. If their profile is not fully complete, you can ask more questions. You can quickly identify an incomplete profile if the photo is not clear, does not state the guest’s full name, has a description of less than 100 words, or has not been verified.
If the profile is incomplete, send a message and let them know that if they complete their profile and the ID verification check, you will be happy to consider hosting them. If they agree, great! If not, red flags should appear in your mind.
Upon checking the guest’s reviews, you will immediately know if they may be a nuisance guest. Any review between 2 and 3.5-stars should prompt questions to the guest as to why this is the case, and for yourself whether you are willing to run the risk.
Reviews are subjective, as some reviews say that the guest was rude but clean and followed rules, and for some hosts, they can put up with this if it makes them money.
A guest with below 2-stars should be an automatic “no” unless there was a one-off terrible experience that brought their rating down. If you do decide to proceed with a booking for someone with an overall rating of 2 or below, you run a big risk of having problems.
For a deeper dive into ways to avoid bad guests prior to booking, be sure to check out our post, 5 Ways to Avoid Bad Airbnb Guests, as the ideal solution is to avoid them altogether.
As Airbnb is a global platform, there are many people each day who are connecting with diverse people and cultures. For example, what may seem normal to a guest from Asia may not be considered appropriate by a host in the United States and vice versa. Therefore, it is important to have a list of house rules that is easy for everyone to understand and simple to explain should they have any questions.
This may not be a direct way to deal with bad Airbnb guests, but can be a preventative measure to help minimize the chance of allowing a bad guest into your Airbnb, and outlines rules to help guests understand what you expect of them, especially if they are from a different culture than your own.
What may seem like a ‘bad gesture’ to some hosts may not necessarily be bad to others. This is why it is important that if you come across a guest who is behaving poorly by your standards, you try to talk it through with them first to be sure it’s not just a miscommunication. More often than not, you can come to a peaceful resolution.
If things do get out of hand, or you can’t come to a resolution, 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. At the end of the day, you don’t know what the guest is capable of, so even if they act irrationally, take a deep breath, and try to maintain calm and respectful.
When a dispute arises, you may not be aware of why the guest is acting like they are. It is critical to always, without fail, start on the guest’s side and attempt to remain empathetic. If the guest becomes irate or irrational, don’t criticize or judge them to their face. Doing so may escalate the situation, which can be avoided by being respectful and remaining vigilant.
If you need to vent, wait until things have calmed down and do so away from your guest. On the other hand, if you are great with words and have some experience in dealing with customer complaints, now is your time to shine.
Some phrases to lead with could be:
‘I’m sorry you have experienced this problem, what I can do to help?’
‘I do apologize that your stay was not up to your expectations, what can I do to help?’
One of the best ways to deal with bad Airbnb guests is to offer solutions. Unfortunately, guests can have a negative Airbnb experience for whatever reason. Despite if it is the fault of the host or not, some guests are just destined to be unhappy or critical and will look for all the negative aspects of their stay to request a discount or to get things for free.
If a guest does reach out to you and explains they are unhappy for some 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:
‘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, so you can find a more suitable listing for your needs.’
Offering this extreme solution may lead them to backtrack on their complaints or behavior. This is because they realize their reservation may be lost. Offering to cancel an in-progress reservation is a subtle way for each of you to re-evaluate the situation.
It is no secret that difficult people are out there, and as an Airbnb host, you will likely encounter a situation involving some of them. A dispute can even occur with the happiest of guests. However, the steps listed above may help prevent and minimize such situations from arising, as well as to deal with issues as they come up during their stay.
Whatever you do, try to remain cool, calm, and collected, and side with the guest at first. Doing so will hopefully help them stay calm and willing to work with you. Offering solutions such as canceling the booking can help them realize that maybe their behavior was inappropriate and if they continue, they may have nowhere to stay.
Always check guest profiles before confirming the booking, and if at any point you are unsure, it’s okay to send them a message asking to confirm some further details or to simply say ‘no’.
Jake Leavy has worked in the content industry for 8+ years. Travel writing has been his main focus, however, he also has luxury hotel management experience under his belt. He has traveled to over 50 countries and loves immersing himself into different cultures. Jake combines his passion for travel and hospitality experience to offer hosts tips and tricks to improve their business.
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