Do you have concerns about declining Airbnb guests? A lot of aspiring and new owners will ask us: what do you do when your guests trash the place? It’s something every vacation rental owner and Airbnb host dreads; the inevitable guest that comes in and just totally turns the listing upside down. Bad guests are one of the major cons of Airbnb. Everyone has their own hosting horror story, but honestly it doesn’t happen that often. We hardly ever get guests that cause thousands or even hundreds of dollars in damage.
Hosts often try to avoid this by requiring verified ID, strict house rules and cancellation policy, in-person check-in, or trying to size up their potential guests through research and communication. This can have a huge impact on your Airbnb search rankings, so be very careful about your booking requirements. It’s our opinion that this can lead to discrimination, and often, it won’t prevent the very thing you’re worried about. Every time we have had a guest be less than respectful to our property, it has always been one we wouldn’t expect. Nonetheless, we want to answer the question “what are good reasons for declining Airbnb guests?”
You might wonder how to make money on Airbnb if you’re declining reservations. Trust us, a bad guest isn’t worth it. It will almost always lead to a headache and guest complaints followed by a bad Airbnb review. It’s likely another request will pop up anyway from a good guest that will leave a great review! Unfortunately, on Airbnb you typically need to have a good reason to decline an Airbnb guest. Airbnb competitor platforms usually allow the host more freedom when it comes to deciding who can book their listing.
If you suspect the guest that is trying to book is a minor, it would be wise to turn them away. This also goes for a parent booking a listing for their children to stay in unaccompanied. It’s not worth the liability issues that could pop up down the road. Not to mention that it violates Airbnb terms of service and guest age requirements.
Unless you are going to put an additional contract in place with the production company, and know what you are doing when it comes to verifying the production’s insurance policy, it is probably not a good idea to rent to anyone who wants to do any form of photography in your listing. It is usually amateurs or students that will look for an Airbnb to film in, so you have even more liability. Don’t fall for the offer of a “credit in the finished product,” don’t believe that it will be a good “advertisement,” just tell them no commercial photography is allowed and press decline.
Often guests will ask to bring more guests than your listing’s maximum. We’ve found that if we allow this, the guest will bring even more additional guests beyond what they asked for. “Just one more person” will actually be three or even four more people. It is best to stick with your occupancy limit as one of the reasons for declining Airbnb guests in this scenario especially if you risk violating local ordinances or rental codes. It’s not worth the fine.
As an Airbnb host, it’s important that you don’t make exceptions for people who want to bring pets unless you explicitly state that you sometimes do this on your listing. Otherwise, guests with severe allergies could book after the occasional pet and not be expecting the allergens to be present. This could result in a negative review or even a lawsuit. However, it is important to note that you should not refuse any guest stating that they have a service animal unless it would cause a health or safety issue, and as a host, you should become well-versed in Airbnb’s policy regarding service animals.
When it comes to reasons for declining Airbnb guests, this one is a no-brainer. If a guest has many negative Airbnb reviews, it might not be a good idea to allow them to rent your property. If there’s one or maybe even two negative reviews, but they have a lot of good reviews, it might be best to just ask the guest for their side of the story. Just like guests can be unfair in their reviews sometimes, there are hosts that can be harsh too.
It’s not uncommon for people to inquire about your listing and ask for a significant discount. In our experience, this type of guest often turns out to be more trouble than they’re worth. This is also the type of guest who is most likely to try squatting in your listing. You’ve spent so much time pricing your listing perfectly. Don’t give in to hagglers!
Guests who ask more than just a few questions before they even look at the listing are going to be far more of a headache once they arrive at your listing. This is the type of guest that will ask you where things are located before even looking. They may also neglect to read the house rules and violate them during their stay. They may be very picky and critical and more likely to leave you a bad review.
If the guest has not instant booked and only sent an inquiry, you’re in luck. Denying an inquiry is as simple as hitting the decline button and writing a message to your guest apologizing that you are unable to accommodate them. Use your best judgment when it comes to giving them the real reason or not. It’s best not to leave even a rejected guest feeling angry or hurt.
If a guest has Instant Booked, but you want to cancel their reservation for any reason, do not choose any other option besides “I am uncomfortable with this reservation”. Otherwise, you could have your dates permanently blocked, or worse, be penalized with cancellation fees and an automated review. Be sure to review the Instant Book cancellation policies. Penalties can cost you your Superhost status for a full calendar year, and impact your search rankings making potential guests less likely to see your listing.
Originally from Connecticut, Kevin moved to Los Angeles in 2013 and worked his way up to becoming an editor on award-winning reality TV shows. Kevin owns 4 short term rentals in Southern California and founded AirHost Academy to help other hosts improve their business.
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