Sometimes I’m really surprised by the casual language guests use. While Airbnb isn’t the most formal of business environments, it’s still one stranger talking to another. So normally the language is pretty mainstream. But there are exceptions. Here’s a case where the guest had trouble using the Smart TV in a new apartment.

Me: I’m sorry to hear that. You are the first guest ever, so clearly we have some glitches to work out. I will ask the property manager to send over our electronics guy.

Guest: Ok thanks awesome! Also I didn’t see where to rate my stay, this was my first time doing Airbnb and your first time as well I see we popped each other’s cherry! Thanks !

Dodged a Bullet!

I feel like I dodged a bullet. A guest made a booking at around 5pm for same-day check-in. I use SmartBNB to automate messaging, and it sent all the check-in instructions and the lockbox code the minute the booking came in.

I wasn’t so quick. I was cooking dinner, and I didn’t check my emails immediately. So about forty minutes passed. When I saw the booking, I quickly checked the reviews, as I always did. This is what I found:

In fact, at the beginning and throughout the stay I had very good communication with Jeff, he even extended his statistics in a few days. However, the apartment was left in a state of disorder and destruction that I had never seen. They delivered the apartment an hour and a half later than agreed. Clothes hooks were taken and pieces of the refrigerator were broken, also curtains, pots and everything was thrown on the floor. We are not used to this type of tenants. I am sorry for the bad evaluation, but such an episode had never occurred to us. I had to suspend the idea of hosting anyone for a few days until cleaning and leaving everything in order. A shame .

Instantly I called my property manager and told him to go right over and get the keys out of the lockbox. He jumped in his truck and was there in six minutes.

I jumped on the phone to call Airbnb. “I want to cancel with no penalty to me because I feel very uncomfortable with this guest.” It didn’t take long to get the reservation cancelled. Airbnb said that since this was a same-day booking, they would call the guest and help him to find other accommodations.

Meanwhile, just was walking back to the truck, a beat up old car pulled into the parking lot and three strung-out guys piled out. He asked if they were going to #3, which they confirmed. “Don’t bother, I took the keys out of the lockbox,” he told them. He hopped in his truck and drove off.

But he just drove around the block, and he parked in a neighbor’s driveway a couple of doors down to watch what happened. The guys hung out for a bit, one of them peed in a bush, one of them got a phone call, and eventually they left.

I dodged that bullet!

A Major Health Issue!

This just received from a guest:

I have a major issue & due to that is there anyway I can get at least half of the money back because it’s not healthy for my girlfriend. We were and she woke up screaming because a lizard was in her arm & she’s very allergic to all those types of mosquitoes and insects. Therefore, I can not risk myself because then I will have to end up taking her to the hospital & I don’t want to go through this long process.

I will really appreciate it if you find me a solution ASAP! If you want a picture of the lizard I can send it to you. Not only that I have killed other insects in the room already & my girlfriend is having a bit hard time to breathe.

I’m Going to Shoot a Music Video in Your Home!

This just in from a guest:

Hello Matthew! I would like to speak with you about your rules and regulations! I am planning on shooting a music video in your home! I am very excited and cannot wait to speak with you!

Uhhhh … no you’re not. This is when I call Airbnb and tell them I am “uncomfortable” with a booking and ask them to cancel it penalty-free.

How I Ended Requests for Very Early Check-In

It used to be that the #1 most common question I got was along the lines of

My flight arrives at 5am. I know I’m going to be very tired and will want to sleep. Can I check in early?

Basically they are asking for a free night. And of course this often comes with a request for very late check-out. And of course it’s often a single-night booking that is also discounted because it’s a single-night gap on my calendar. So they want three nights for the price of one very discounted night.

Total waste of time. And then I added this to my automatic response to inquiries, and … poof! … these idiotic, time-wasting, never-going-to-book requests disappeared.

BAG STORAGE: if you need to store your bags before or after arrival, there is a retiree nearby who provides this service. He charges $20 (cash only) and will store a reasonable number of bags for an early arrival or late departure. Call Jesse at (561) 584-3558. He doesn’t email or text. Voice phone calls only.

House Rule: No Parties

A guest just wrote this in his review.

Not good for parties if there are squares staying at the same place.

And further cementing the idea that he booked without reading anything, here’s the full text of his review:

Pool was nice but shared with five or six other places. Clean place though and peaceful area. Not good for parties if there are squares staying at the same place.

Yes, Casey, if you are reading this, here’s what it says about the pool:

The pool is shared by eight units in four duplex houses surrounding a large common back yard.

Marriage Proposal!

Someone just left this review:

After being on a cruise for a week, Matthew’s place was just what we needed to relax! It was marvelous and exceeded all of our expectations! The house was clean, warm and inviting; just enough space for my fiancé and I! It was also close to local stores and some of our favorite restaurants. We couldn’t have asked for a better place to end our trip; my fiancé even proposed on our last night at this place! This place now holds a special place in our heart and We will definitely be booking again!

In my experience, reviews are often more a function of whether the guest enjoyed their vacation than whether the apartment was actually good or bad. I guess you can’t go wrong when the guest gets a marriage proposal!

Naked, Passed Out on the Floor

What actually happened:

Cleaning lady found him naked and passed out on the floor and had to call the property manager to wake him up and throw him out.

The review I wrote:

Overslept the checkout time by an hour, but left quickly when woken. Otherwise a fine guest.

Handy Bits of Text

Put this in your house rules:

Quiet hours are from 9pm to 8am. There are working professionals in neighboring units who have to be at work at 8am. They will not hesitate to call the police if you are loud or throw a party.

When people ask for a discount:

I’m sorry, but I keep my prices low and have almost 100% occupancy, so I don’t offer any discounts.

When people ask about payment or deposits:

Airbnb handles the financial end, and they don’t give me any visibility into how it works. If you have questions about payments or deposits, you’ll need to call them.

This sounds foam!

Sometimes Google Translate is great. I mean, sometimes a word or a phrase is a little off, but generally it’s quite understandable. But sometimes you get this:

Det här låter skum! Vi kan inte gå in på Airbnb! Har du erfarenhet när det gäller återbetalningar? Det står att vi skulle ha pengar inom 5-7 dagar nu är dag 12 och vi har ingen åning hur detta fungerar?

This sounds foam! We can’t go into Airbnb! Do you have experience regarding repayments? It says that we would have money within 5-7 days now is day 12 and we have no crap how this works?