The vacation rental industry continues to be a booming one, and the more rentals available, the higher the guest expectations become. That means that if you miss a beat as an Airbnb host,it can cost you a customer and result in a negative review for all your future potential guests to see.
Begin by understanding that no one is perfect, and mistakes are going to happen. However, here are a list of some common Airbnb guest complaints that can be particularly irritating--and also ones that can be easily avoided with careful planning and preparation.
Guests Cannot Access the Property
When most people go on vacation, they travel. This may be a short drive or a long flight, but in either case, guests are usually tired and somewhat irritable at the end of it. The last thing they want to find out is that they cannot get into your rental property.
Rentals have a myriad of different security systems these days. Whether you're simply providing an old-fashioned key, a code to a lock box with a key, or a fancy pass code to an electronic lock, the bottom line will be whether your guest can open that front door.
You can avoid this problem by providing very clear directions and double checking any code entry points to ensure they work. In addition, you'll want a back-up for the unlikely event that gaining entry is a problem. This may be leaving an extra key with a neighbor or being personally accessible at arrival times to respond immediately.
You may want to touch base with your guest en route and after the expected check-in time to be sure all went well. If, for some reason, access wasn't easy, try to do something to make up for the error during their stay.
Customers Find a Dirty Rental
Vacationers' standards today are on par with those patronizing five-star hotels. They want your rental unit to be very clean and feature new linens and towels. If a cleaning service missed a turnover, and it's obvious that the rental wasn't cleaned in between guests, that is a more major problem.
Be sure you have a trusted cleaning company that is in regular contact with you and your calendar. Figure out a process to notify each other of rental turnover schedules and potential conflicts. You may want to have a back-up cleaning service in case you find yourself in a pinch.
In addition, it can be a good idea to either check the property yourself in between guest or trust a property management company to do so for you. A second checkpoint is always helpful to avoid problems as this one as well as to increase the likelihood of a 5-star review.
An Amenity Doesn't Work
Although guests can be somewhat forgiving of minor things that may not be functioning such as a rarely used kitchen tool, you'll want to make sure all major appliances and systems are working well. Obviously, there are some issues such as a sudden plumbing break that may not be preventable. Your job, however, is to maintain and double-check critical items such as the heating and cooling system, major kitchen appliances such as the oven and fridge, and your WiFi system.
Customers Can't Reach Host
Remember that guests want essentially a 24/7 contact comparable to a front desk of a hotel when they stay at your rental. From your standpoint, if something unforeseen does happen, the ability for a customer to get a hold of you is probably the number one way to diffuse an Airbnb guest complaint.
Be sure you have a system of either being available or hiring a manager to be available around the clock. If this is not possible, at least have a messaging system that promises a short response time and follow through on that promise.
Reservations Are Cancelled by Host
Juggling your own calendar as well as the changing bookings of multiple guests can be a challenge. However, having to cancel a guest's reservation last minute because you accidentally double booked your rental is a surefire way to gain a pretty bad review.
Today, multiple calendaring systems are available to help you avoid this problem. For your part, you'll want to keep your personal schedule, especially if you want to use your own rental, up to date. As a host, you'll also want to check your calendar regularly, even daily during peak season, to be sure your booking calendar is up-to-date.
Expectations Go Unmet
Yes, it's important to make your rental look beautiful, clean and inviting on your Airbnb listing. However, you also want to set realistic expectations. If you paint your place as something it's not, you're sure to generate disappointment upon arrival.
One way to avoid this is to be sure to update your listing, especially the pictures, anytime you make a major change such as adding or removing a piece of furniture or an amenity such as a hot tub. Guests book your property over another based on something they see or read about in your listing; be sure they find it when they get there.
You may also want to change the photos during the seasons so that your potential guests can see what your property looks like during both warm and cold weather.
Supplies Are Missing or Low
Remember that your rental is competing with not only other rentals but also lodging options such as hotels and bed and breakfast establishments. It's easy to get an extra roll of toilet paper or a few additional towels at competitive places; be sure your rental is over-stocked with what your guests might need.
Items like additional towels and blankets contribute a great deal to the comfort of your guests. Invest in plenty, especially if you have amenities that warrant heavy usage. For instance, if you have a swimming pool or hot tub, you'll want extra towels for multiple dips throughout a visit. If your rental is located in a winter wonderland, be sure your guests have lots of extra blankets to keep warm.
You want to make sure disposable products such as toilet paper, paper towels and tissues are checked as part of the cleaning routine between each guest booking as well.
Complaints Handled Poorly
If, despite all your efforts, your guests still encounter a problem during their stay, you can salvage some of the situation by responding to the complaints in an empathetic and apologetic way. Remember that reviews are read by potential guests, and one thing they are looking for is whether they trust you as the vacation rental host. If they feel like they can be heard and that problems will be addressed quickly and fairly, they will be more likely to forgive a less-than 5-star review.
Be sure not to get defensive or blame the customer publicly. Simply acknowledge the situation and try to do the right thing to rectify it.
Although you can't prevent every bad thing from happening, you can minimize common guest complaints with a little organization and preventative effort. Be sure you have enough personal resources or assistance with property management if you require it to have the time to double check these items throughout your booking season. By doing so, you'll grab more 5-star reviews, a greater share of the rental market, and more cash for your pocket.