HMW #128: 10 Ways You Suck as an Airbnb GuestNov 15, 2023
Read Time: 4.5 minutes
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You want to be a Short-Term Rental (STR) investor? (Great, we teach how to do that!) If so, it's imperative you understand the 10 most annoying things your guests will constantly do, so you know exactly what you are in for as a host and so as not get too frustrated by these repetitive guest behaviors.
It's also important to learn how you can be a good STR guest yourself, because it doesn't hurt to network with your host who is a fellow real estate investor and entrepreneur if possible. They'll be way more inclined to want to share their business knowledge with an amazing guest over one doing the following 10 things that all Airbnb and Vrbo hosts hate:
- Asking the host to explain the fees: It’s pretty clear which fees go where. The nightly rate goes to the host. The cleaning fee goes to the cleaner. The service fee goes to the platform. The taxes go to the government. We hosts are not trying to pull one over on our guests.
- Expecting a hotel experience: If you want room service, concierge, or 24-7 bell hops, then short-term rentals are not for you. Your host probably has their own 9-5 job, family, and does the best they can. It's a mom-and-pop business, not a corporation that you can buy shares of on the stock exchange.
- Asking for the code to get in days in advance: There is valuable information in the welcome communication you received. Asking for the code minimizes the effort we took to recommend places to eat and things to do. Hosts will tell you the address, driving directions, check in and out times, Wi-Fi password, garbage pickup, and more in the welcome email (or message). Please read it.
- Looking for things to tell the host about when you walk in: Hosts understand you might be worried about getting blamed for something that was wrong when you walked in, like a scratch on a table. It is disheartening, though, when guests walk in and start nitpicking right away as if booking the cheapest nightly rental possible is going to provide a 6-star white glove hotel experience. At least let the host know you’re happy there first.
- Asking to bring your small, well-behaved pet to their pet-free place: They have chosen to remain pet free for a reason and with deep thought in all cases. Hosts would like you to respect that and suggest you pick a place who welcomes pets with open arms rather than making exceptions.
- Asking the host to provide amenities not listed nor pictured in the listing: STR hosts chose not to offer certain amenities because they've not figured out how to systematize having them in working order for every single guest without putting undue strain on their cleaner, handyman, or own time. If it doesn’t say the host provides bikes or kayaks, then no, they don’t provide them. Understand that every host has gone out of their way to list everything they possibly offer in order to get your booking.
- Telling the host you’ll see them soon: Most listings now emphasize the keypads and flexible check-in times. Telling a host “see you Tuesday” means you probably didn't read the listing, or welcome email, or already have misaligned expectations of your STR experience. Hosts are working their butts off to make sure you have a comfortable, clean place to stay, but can’t be in 9 places at once.
- Smoking inside: You can't smoke inside a hotel, or inside your friends homes, so why would an Airbnb or Vrbo be cool with your smoking inside? Common courtesy is not thrown out the window just because you are going to pay a mandatory cleaning fee at the end.
- Blunt or spammy communication: We all expect AI or bots to be our first line of response when we reach out to customer service for a question, but that's not the case with your STRs. Hard-working hosts that are real human beings are your main line of communication that appreciate common courtesy in all communication, include intros, pleases, and thank yous. Remember, you'll be reviewed as a guest too.
- Not leaving a reasonable review: Online reviews are the lifeblood of STR hosts and not mentioning when things go well or what you liked feels like a kick in the face at the end of a successful stay. STR reviews are not equal to hotel 5-star review systems where 5 stars are staying at the Ritz. Reviews should reflect your experience, value, and expectations as described in the listing, and nothing more.
Ok, now that you understand your own boorish behavior as a guest, you'll definitely understand how to be a successful host of your own. We don't want to sugarcoat the hosting experience for our new investor, but if these 10 items are no sweat off your back, then you now have accurate expectations of your day-to-day operations as a successful, and profitable, short-term rental investor in the modern world.
- Humans are human and do human things. Including you.
- Don't take anything personally. Professionalism trumps all.
- Understanding how guests often treat hosts makes you a better investor.