Airbnb hosting problems and how to resolve them

airbnb-logo-vectorIt was bound to happen and when it rains it pours.  Up until this point, my experience hosting has been flawless.  My guests loved their experience, and I was becoming very confident in my Airbnb hosting operation.

My last guest was great, but unfortunately, his experience wasn’t up to his expectations.  I had raised the price per night for my loft for several reasons:

  • To test the market and see what people would be willing to pay.
  • To make it worth my while to leave my loft and stay in a friends extra bedroom, because leaving for a weekend is quite inconvenient and disrupting.  

With raised prices comes raised expectations.

Barking

Cross Breed dog barking, 4 years old, in front of white backgrouThe second night of my guests stay, I received an email saying that there was a dog barking since 7 p.m. and had not stopped for the last 3-4 hours.  My guest was looking for me to solve the problem.  However, in my 1.5 years living in my loft, I have never had an issue with a dog barking.  I figured it was the upstairs neighbors, who owned their loft as an investment property / in town getaway.  They are never home.  I emailed them, they said it wasn’t there dog.

The barking eventually stopped and I figured I was free and clear.

Guest feedback

complaint

I request that my guests provide feedback for how I can improve my operation.  This guest obliged and I received a detailed email with the areas of improvement.  The list was in fact so detailed that it hurt my feelings a little bit.  I realized I had overlooked the fact that “garbage juices” leaked through the garbage bag / trash can onto the floor creating an undesirable smell.  I didn’t provide instruction on the lighting, which I admit is confusing, so my guest didn’t realize the lights were on dimmers and could be made brighter in the evening.  The guest listed a whole slew of things needed improvement.

Resolution

handshake make it right

When we are “called out” even with constructive feedback that we ask for, our emotions become charged.  At first my feelings were hurt, and then I got annoyed that he was so “picky,” then I became worried I would receive my first poor review, and then thankfully, I did what all Airbnb hosts should do. I put myself in my guests shoes and admitted that I would be upset too and maybe not as polite.  He paid a lot of money for his stay.

Refund

refundThe guest never once asked for a refund, but I trusted my gut and my gut was telling me that he didn’t feel that he got what he paid for.  I have a rule in life and it is this:

If someone of good will doesn’t feel they received the anticipated value, I ask them what it will take to make it right even if I disagree.

So, I emailed my guest to let him know that I didn’t want him to walk away feeling like he didn’t get the value he was expecting and if that is true, would he please name the refund amount.

He replied asking if I thought 15% was fair.  I processed the refund that day.

Airbnb lesson

lesson learnedAccepting responsibility as a host means that even if you disagree with a guest (which I didn’t in this case), you honor the transaction and make sure that guests walks away feeling whole.  Why?

  1. You are in charge of booking your guests so you are equal part in the transaction.
  2. You are in charge of communicating exactly what the value is that guests are paying for.
  3. You are in charge of delivering a great guest experience, and yes, that means a refund even for things that aren’t in your control if that’s what it takes for someone of good will to walk away feeling whole in the transaction.

For me, even though I had to issue a partial refund, I received really quality feedback for improvement and a positive review.

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