Airbnb: I don’t recommend hosting anyone other than the person in the profile.

It is becoming more common that I get requests to host a relative/ friend of the Airbnb member ( the person in the profile). Even though I have been doing it, I have remained hesitant the entire time. There are guaranteed challenges that come along with it.

  • Communication– it automatically becomes third-party communication because it forces the communication to be outside of the Airbnb platform which is not recommend. This opens up the host to some liability. I personally like to screen shot outside communication and then put those pictures into the Airbnb messaging system. 20180405_162305.jpg

Bad Communication

Don’t communicate outside of Airbnb

  • Details included in the listing– hosts take the time to provide a wealth of information in the listing. Not having access to this information takes away the guests ability to be self-reliant. Guests are going to have more questions and are more likely to step over boundaries they aren’t aware of. Time is valuable and I don’t like wasting mine by explaining information that has already been provided. When asking for already provided information expect to be pointed in that direction.
  • House Rules- just like the details not being read, guests tend not to remember all the rules. How are they supposed to remind themselves if they don’t have access to the details of the listing. I provide a laminated welcome sheet that has the rules posted on it. If only guests would take the time to read it. My feathers get ruffled easily when guests don’t follow the rules they have agreed to. My House Rules- do you think they are reasonable?
  • The Review- The guests that are hosted are the ones that should leave the review. If they relay their experience to the profile person and then the profile person leaves the review it feels like we are playing the old school telephone game. I don’t think it’s fair nor as accurate as it could be. Airbnb: Location the category that isn’t fair to hosts for guests to grade.

20180522_082856.jpgI recently hosted someone’s parents.

Overall it went as well as any other guests stay. Their visit included the aforementioned issues which reinforces the reason not to host people who don’t have their own profile.

In addition to the recent experience, I learned something today that will result in me declining requests to host people who don’t have their own profiles. Straight from the Airbnb website……

Can I book on behalf of a friend or family member?

Transparency and trust are vital to the Airbnb experience. People rely on information in Airbnb profiles, reviews, and other verifications when deciding whether to host or stay with someone.

We require Airbnb reservations booked for personal travel to be booked by the person who’s going to stay at the listing.

Instead of making a reservation for someone else, consider referring them to Airbnb.

The longer I host, the more I learn about the law.

I find value in knowing the way short-term rentals work, informing guests of how things work, and without hesitation enforcing the rules. I’ve noticed people don’t like being held accountable and if you stay with me….plan to be.

Knowledge = Power

Ultimately- Everyone is responsible for themselves.

Airbnb: The Bright Side

Fun can happen any minute of any day – if your open to it.

Have you ever seen the Jim Carrey movie where he has to say yes to everything?

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Well that was my life on Tuesday.

What started as a regular day for me, turned out to include spontaneity, cocktails, and new music.  I got up, ate breakfast, prepared food for work and left on my bicycle for the day. There was one guest scheduled to self check in around 3:00p.m and the other room was free.  Of course, I was hoping someone was going to stay…. I just had no idea how awesome she would be and the adventure that awaited me.

 My day changed at 10:21a.m.

This fun girl sent me this message :7685ae60-b366-402c-bd07-03a6a79abb53 “Hola, Julie! Wanna go to Washed Out tonight? I was a bit bummed I missed him in Seattle last night, but there’s no point wallowing in regret when you can move your butt and run down your dreams. My dream is to dance to Eyes Be Closed. With a new bud. Tonight. If it seems suspicious that I’m a new Airbnb member, yes I did make that account 10 minutes ago. But there’s no time like the present. So if you’re down, I will hop on the 2:20 Amtrak and see you a little after 6. PS, long time bicyclist here too, is it worth the extra $10 to throw my roadie on the train to get to your neighborhood (don’t have much of a grasp on Portland’s scale) or better to walk from the train station? Anywho, hope to meet you soon. And not kidding, will totally take you to this show if you got the inclination. ”

How perfect is this message? How could I possibly refuse?  I said yes before I knew anything about it!

Then I began to research.

Turns out Washed Out was playing at The Wonder Ballroom , one of my favorite venues, which is 2 blocks from the house. No need to worry about parking or anything since we can walk.

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The set was exactly one hour long.  They were entertaining, they did a great job with their visuals ( I was impressed). I danced almost the entire time.  I didn’t realize they did the Theme Song for Portlandia!!!!! After eight seasons the show is ending and let me just tell you that the people in Portland are okay with that. portlandia_dvd_release

The band has a new fan.  I have a new friend. Goodbye Portlandia.  My new friend and I have an annual date together to see Washed Out when he comes to Portland and those times she can stay with me for free ❤

Gotta love Airbnb.

Airbnb Lessons are Really Life Lessons

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There have been guests that show up to the house who have never seen a lockbox or they  don’t know how to use it. They don’t communicate their plans or when their plans change.  They haven’t read the listing and all the details provided so they aren’t able to navigate the experience with as much ease had they been prepared. They say they have read the house rules, show up and don’t act like it. People say they will do things all the time they don’t do.

Isn’t this how life works?!?!

This is when you learn that actions speak louder than words.  You learn that knowing is different from doing. You learn when someone is showing you who they are that you should believe them. Unknown

Whenever a guest is having a challenge and I point out the part they missed, like reading the listing or following directions . Their response has been – “It’s my 1st time to use Airbnb”

5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

1st time to Airbnb- Here is your to do checklist.

Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

Can someone please explain to me how not using Airbnb before has anything to do with whether or not you read? What does being new to Airbnb have to do with following instructions? or being a good communicator?

I would genuinely like to know ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: The Hosts feeling matter too.

imagesMost people think that  “The customer is always right”.

The Airbnb experience is a unique situation.

Individuals are not big business. Individuals are not always in a position to come up with a solution that will make the guest happy no matter the cost.

Yes, you are the guest.  Yes, you paid to be in someone’s home. Yes, I want you to be comfortable. You also agreed to abide by the house rules.  You agreed to adjust your behavior in the way that is being required of you during your stay.

If you aren’t going to follow the rules, if you aren’t going to provide communication or be responsive to the host’s communication, then you should expect a conversation that will be holding you accountable.

It is tough to deal with people who avoid conversation or don’t acknowledge what you’re saying or they blame the other guest or they don’t change their behavior after some communication. images1.png

If you don’t like confrontation or accountability, then be a great guest. Don’t break the rules. Don’t give the host a reason to find you for a “conversation”.

I do my best to be tolerant of the way people live.  Some people operate with more awareness and thoughtfulness than others.  I personally don’t say anything to my guests when they walk around loudly, close doors loudly, have loud conversations, listen to their tv loud, come home late at night or leave at 3:00 in the morning.  The only time I ever say anything to anybody is when they have broken one of the house rules. Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?

You would think that people would be on their best behavior considering I have home field advantage. Would you believe me if I told you how many people break the rules inspite of that ??

 

Airbnb Observation: I’ve decided if you do not like these signs then you do not like communication.

I have noticed that people either love or hate the signs around the house.

There have been many negative references to them in the reviews guests leave after they stay. There have also been some positive ones.

I think the people who have strong negative reactions to them are the people who are challenged to act accordingly.

The people who have said something positive about them have said they found them helpful. They found it easier to navigate an unfamiliar space.

These signs are up for good communication purposes. They have developed over time. Some are meant to be helpful, some are informative and some are in response to people not doing the things they agree to do by staying in one of my Airbnb rooms (House Rules reminders). Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?

I think they allow guests to be independent. No Micro Managing necessary.

I also receive the unintended benefit of seeing what kind of people I am dealing with in my home. Their response to the signs shows me who they are. Most people have proven respectful.

During the week it can be challenging to greet guests. Things go better when I can greet, give a tour of the house and point out specific areas missed from guests not reading the listing 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

When I am not able to be there, I tell them to keep a look out for all the signs 🙂

How do you feel about things being labeled? Did you have a positive or negative reaction to reading the signs? Can you appreciate the hosts perspective?

Airbnb: Repeat Guests are the Best !!!!!!!

I consider it one of the utmost compliments when people choose to return to my place considering all the options out there.

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Whether or not the trip was the best (for me) the first time around. It will be great the second. Guests are already familiar with the vibe of the house and the way things flow.  They require less managing 🙂

We have gotten past that initial meeting and “stranger” level of conversation. We will get to learn a little more about each other (depending on the length of the stay and schedules aligning.)

Chances are subsequent visits will include food. I’ve been known to make Banana Bread, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, Lemon Pound cake, Smoothies, Strawberry Aqua Fresca, French Toast, Breakfast Tacos and/ or extra of whatever I am making.

I have had 7 repeat guests. 4 of them stayed twice and 3 of them have stayed multiple times. 1 guest has stayed five times with me. I love it !!!!!!!

One of the repeat guests moved here (yeah- we’re friends now and hang out from time to time). I met another repeat guest out for drinks when she was in town visiting friends, I have received fresh duck eggs from an organic farm. One girl even told me about a work opportunity… My current job! Another former guest tries to get me to go out with him constantly however I am not interested. That part is tricky….. I make sure all guests feel welcomed and liked when they are in my home. It just puts me in an awkward position, when they invite me out and I don’t want to go.

I am no stranger to awkward positions and if that’s all I encounter to get guests to come back.  Bring it on!

I look forward to seeing you again. It’s a small world.  They need to change that saying – six degress of seperation to four.

 

Airbnb: These are my House Rules. Do you think they are reasonable?

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I have instant book which means anyone can book the room without prior communication with me (the host).  I am willing to accept anyone at any time as long as they pass the Airbnb requirements.  In order to feel comfortable doing that,  I need guests to do certain things while in my home. That’s how the custom house rules were born.  Since there are fees attached, I require each guest to acknowledge that they have read the house rules.  When a reservation comes in, I let them know I am happy to host, I ask what time will they be checking in and I quote ” When you have a moment, please confirm you have read the house rules since they are really important to me and there are penalty fees attached to breaking them. Thank you”

 

Airbnb’s Rules you must pick an answer to:
No smoking
Not suitable for pets
No parties or events
Not safe or suitable for children (0-12 years) – Weed is legal in Portland and smoked in the house A LOT
Check-in time is 3PM – 10PM
Check out by 9AM

Custom Rules created by me- I put my reasoning in Italics, these words are not included in the listing.

**THERE ARE PENALTY FEES FOR NOT FOLLOWING THESE RULES
$50 each time you do not lock the front/back door properly
$20 for wearing shoes in the house
$10 for every time you leave lights on your not actively using
$5 to replace lost house key

– Turn off Lights, Fan/Heater and Lock the Front Door Every Time You Leave Please (even if we are home so we may continue about our day)
-Turn off all lights you are currently not using, it’s a waste of precious resources. If you don’t turn them off then you can pay for the cost of that.  You are not at a hotel and I am not a big business.
-No guests without prior permission
– Keep toilet seat down, put down after use (my personal pet peeve) & ( it’s bad feng shui)
– Please pull shower curtain back after use, it gets moldy faster when it can’t dry not to mention my $100 shower curtain statement piece is aesthetically pleasing to look at
– No shoes in the house. Your shoes have stepped on everything gross on the ground, I don’t want it tracked into the house, especially in the kitchen where I am constantly making things to eat. My floors are very clean!
– Smoking Cigarettes in the Backyard Only- Careful of the slippery backyard stairs and there is an Ashtray for your use (ASK if you need it)
– 420 friendly house- for you too since smoking in public is illegal
– Bike storage is in the backyard not in the house, there is a covered area on the back porch and a lock on the gate

5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

Airbnb Lesson for the week: When asking for already provided information – expect to be pointed in that direction.

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Time is money.

There is only so much time in a day.

and yet, if we want to get philosophical then time doesn’t even exist since the time is always now.

Repeating myself is not an efficient use of my time.

I have taken the time to provide a lot of information in my listings.

Provided Information includes; Check In time, Check Out time, Amenities provided, Spaces Guests are allowed to access, House Rules, Self Check In instructions including photos, How many guests the space can hold, Bed Type, If the bathroom is shared, Host interaction with guests, Other things to note, Description of the space, Directions from the airport using public transportation, Parking information, Cancellation policy, pictures of the entire space including room, Internet Network name and Internet password.

I am perplexed with the notion that guests do not prioritize knowing the details of someone’s home you are about to enter. I understand traveling can be stressful.  There are a lot of moving parts which means there is a lot of information to keep up with.  It doesn’t change the fact that the experience you signed up for is different than checking into a hotel.  More is required from you. If you would like to ensure a positive experience for yourself, then familiarize yourself with the rules of the game. 5 Top Things Airbnb Guests Should Do

Please and Thank you.

 

Airbnb Lesson for the week: Never communicate outside of Airbnb

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People have different ways they prefer to communicate and I can appreciate that.

Personally my preferred mode changes with how well we know each other: If we do know each other then I like to Skype or talk on the phone, next would be texting and then emailing. If we don’t know each other then it I prefer email or text.

Maybe it’s just me but I have found it can be challenging to relay emotion through the written word whether you know the person you are communicating with or not. Especially if  you don’t want to add a superfluous amount of emojis.

When you are using the services provided by Airbnb whether it be as a host or a guest, it is recommended by Airbnb to never communicate outside of their program. It states it right on their website.  I’ve included a snap shot of it for the picture in this post 🙂

As a host, documenting all the communication that happens between you and the guest is imperative.  If you find yourself in the position of needing support from Airbnb, it only helps your cause to have followed their guidelines.

Conversations that happen between two people are considered hearsay by law. If you can’t prove it then you don’t have a leg to stand on.

Yes, of course there is going to be interactions between you and your guests that don’t get documented because they happen in person.  You can’t record every word ever said.  You just have to hope that nothing goes awry or it will be hard to have that verbal communication included.

Frequently guests include their emails and phone numbers during their initial communications as a way to get ahold of them “if I have any questions”.  They also  include the emails and phone numbers of their guests.

I always respond with ” I prefer to speak through Airbnb since it is a liability issue for me”

Most people are understanding! As you can imagine not everyone gets it.

Listen up world.  Listen up future Airbnb guests. Once the texting lines of communication happen, people tend to stay in that lane. Regardless, I won’t be calling you, texting you, emailing you or communicating with you in any other way besides through Airbnb. Not with the person who made the reservation and not with the other guests.  It makes no difference to me if they are your partner, spouse, best friend or a family member.


I recently had a guest who cancelled last-minute because I refused to let him text me the day of his arrival time.

After we said our hello’s, I asked for his check in time and confirmation the house rules have been read. He replied with a time frame and confirmation of the rules.  Then he said that he would be driving down and could give me an ETA while on the road.  He provided a phone number (which was blocked by Airbnb). There is usually a number attached to the profile anyways.  If that isn’t the correct one then people need to be responsible and update their profile.

As you know by now,  I replied with my ” I prefer to speak through Airbnb since it is a liability issue for me” to which he responded Okay but I won’t be able to contact you through Airbnb please expect a phone call. I asked what the reason was he couldn’t use Airbnb to which he replied he would be driving and only had his cell phone. What’s the problem with calling you?  ( He DOESN’T get it)

My message: “Like I said before speaking outside of Airbnb creates a liability issue for me. I prefer to only use Airbnb. You can download the app for your phone and we can continue to speak through Airbnb. Thank you for understanding. ” I also included the photo that is in this blog to show the exact language on the Airbnb website.

His Message: “The host is unwilling to allow me to contact her by phone to arrange entry on the date of my reservation, and I will not have internet access. This is ridiculous and I expect a full refund.” Full refund for cancelling the day before because you don’t want to follow the rules?! I don’t think so.

He did cancel his reservation and proceeded to keep sending me vent session messages.

The first one: “Nope, you fail as a host, please cancel my reservation. I have no time to deal with someone who is unable or unwilling to use a simple telephone. I run three rental properties myself, I know all about customer service and this is ridiculous. I need to be able to contact you to arrange entry into the house. Cancel my reservation.” Hosts are penalized for canceling reservations. There are fees for cancelling that can range from $50-$100 so nope I won’t be the one to cancel a reservation. If a guest wants to cancel – they can initiate it. What does running 3 properties have to do with the rules for hosts set by Airbnb??

The second one: “I have used Airbnb many times and this have never been an issue. There is absolutely no reason why I should not be able to contact you via phone on the day of my arrival. This is completely unprofessional, please refund my entire amount. I was simply trying to arrange contact with you so that I can be sure to find and get into the room that I had reserved. I can’t believe this would be an issue, it is ridiculous.”  It makes no difference to me if he has spoken with other hosts over the phone and it hasn’t been a problem for him in the past.
Every place works different. Every host has a right to set up their situation that works for them. Just because other people have chosen to disregard the language on the Airbnb site doesn’t mean I have to.

He made a request for the full refund.  I declined.


The next day I received a message from an Airbnb case manager. I have a strict cancellation policy.  You get 50% back.  The guest wanted back part of that 50% and she was hoping I would reconsider. She claimed the guest said he was uncomfortable with my language so she was going to mediate this!

I am so happy that all our communication was documented!!! I explained my position which included my response to his second message along with this –

He mentioned he would only have his cell phone and wouldn’t be able to contact me any other way. Does his cell phone have the Navigation feature on it, like 99% of people do? Then he has access to the internet. He can download the app or access the internet and go the long way to get to the Airbnb website.

I have Self Check In. We could have made arrangements for him to utilize this option. This way he has access to the space when arriving with no need to communicate via cell phone, unless he is going to say he wouldn’t be able to access this information from his phone. Then I would counter with that he could prepare himself with the available information while he had access to Airbnb.

I plan to be home to greet guests when I can. I work during the week which makes it challenging however he was arriving on Saturday- the weekend, which meant I could plan for his arrival time. I told him in one of those earlier messages his time frame would be fine.

It is frustrating for guests not to take responsibility for themselves when they have been given the information necessary to be self sufficient or to be flexible and respectful of the hosts preferred communication method (which has been set by Airbnb).

I do my best to be flexible with guests. The one area I will not flexible with is the area that can create a liability issue for me.


I won. He did not get a refund and he was reminded of the communication rules set forth by Airbnb.

Thank you Airbnb.

Airbnb Lesson for the week: If you don’t know- ask.

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Scenario:  Host wakes up to find an unsecured bicycle on the front porch.  In that moment there are 2 guests staying at the house.  The host asks the first guest she sees if they know who’s it is – she lucks out – it’s his. Host immediately brings bike inside and proceeds to inquire….

Host:  Why it is not being kept in the backyard?

Guest:  Oh, I didn’t know

Host: Well like it states in the listing bike storage is out back.

Guest: I didn’t know how to get back there.

Host:  You could have brought it through the kitchen as she motions for the door that leads out back.  Or you could have asked for the code to the lock for the back gate.

***Guest makes no mention before or during his stay he has a bike***

Can you imagine it if it had been stolen?

I can see the 1 star review now- This house is in a bad location, don’t stay here unless you want your things to go missing.  Host didn’t provide a place for me to securely put my bike and I was looking forward to riding my bike around Portland.  It is the #1 city to ride your bike in America.

All of it could have been prevented if the details of the listing were read as well as communicating with the host.

#1 Lesson- if you don’t know….ask!
#1a Lesson- Read the details of the listing and communicate with your host.

3 Top Things Airbnb Hosts Should Do

 

  1. Offer Self Check In: Having a lockbox will make your hosting life easier as well as set your guests up for success. It can help alleviate the frustration that comes along with the lack of communication from guests.  People are not always the best at communicating their plans or when their plans change.  Often people who say they will be checking in at 5:00p.m come over at 5:15p.m./ 5:30p.m. or later. Having a lockbox gives you the freedom to carry on with your life and not get held up by guests.  This will also ensure guests have a smooth check in process since they can be  self-sufficient.
  2. Personalize Something: Each guest should have something with their name on it while they stay.  Making dedicated bathroom space or writing a welcoming note are two examples that are easy to do.  I write their name on a chalkboard sign that hangs on their door as well as in the bathroom with the dedicated shelf idea. It makes them feel welcome in your space which means their comfort level increases.  I think it helps guests have a nice experience by making them feel comfortable to be there from the start.
  3. Be Proactive in Communication: Certain aspects of hosting affect you more than others. It is important to take action to get the needed information from people.  Asking about their check in time and check out time will help facilitate the process. Utilize the lockbox.  I like to get confirmation the house rules have been read since they are important to me.  Realize this all could change. Guests don’t typically  update plans ( some do ). I would say at least 65% of my guests have not been familiar with either the check in time or the check out time.   Plan your day with the check out time and if it happens earlier then bonus time for you 🙂