So, I just got my first semi-troublesome guest at my new airbnb. There were a couple of red flags from the beginning, but it’s hard to say no when you’re just starting out and trying to make rent through the bookings you get.

The red flags

  • The client asks to extend their reservation off the app
    • In my case, the client had a discount for being one of the first to book the location. They wanted to continue with the discount off the app, deducting all airbnb fees and cleaning fees
  • The client does not pay immediately for the extension
    • Now, conventional wisdom will tell you that you should not accept reservations off airbnb for an airbnb booking. Many things could go wrong. In my case, the client extended the reservation but was very slow to make the payment.
  • The client does not check out on time
    • I get it, sometimes you may have something that gets you to check out a little later. If the checkout time is 11am and you want to check out at midday, that can be arranged for. However, the issue comes about when they say they will check out at 12.30pm and when the cleaning staff arrives at roughly 2pm they still find the guest in the house. Keep in mind that by the time it gets to noon, that would count as a new reservation, which means they should pay for the extra day
  • They client has way too many requests (that cost time and money)
    • I could go on and on about this, but in my case, the client needed gym equipment, which I gladly shared my personal equipment. Then they were getting tired of waiting for the boiler (that’s the thing that makes shower water hot for an extended period of time), so I switched that for an instant shower. Then there’s the asking for a check out extension, having not paid for the day they extended the request for.
  • The client leaves the house in a mess
    • From balloons sticking to the bedroom ceiling and chipping the paint off when being removed, to an extremely unclean kitchen, it was a catastrophe. Keep in mind, they had requested for additional cleaning over the weekend where they had laid out rose petals throughout the house in celebration of their friend’s birthday. Despite their trip already being discounted, they refused to pay any extra amount for extra cleaning claiming they would leave the house tidy. It might as well been a pig sty when they checked out. The guest completely ignored the trash bin and put all the trash on the kitchen counters, from decomposing food to leaky yoghurt plastic packs.

If it sounds like I am ranting about my terrible experience with a guest, that’s because I am. But this is not just about me, this is also for you, the potential aspiring airbnb (or any other short term rental platform) host. Troublesome guests can be seen from afar, and my hope is that this article helps you see what kind of attributes would potentially lead to you having troublesome guests.

What you can do to minimize troublesome guests

There’s a few things you could do to prevent yourself from being in the same predicament. I made the mistakes, so I’ll save you the trouble. Here’s what you could do:

Before their reservation is confirmed

  • Check what other hosts say about the guest. This may not convey the complete picture, but it certainly is a good starting point for weeding out bad actors.
  • Look at how long they have been on the platform. If a guest is new to the platform, you should be aware that you are taking a higher risk with them.

When their reservation is confirmed

  • When sending any check-in instructions after receiving a booking, ask if they would have any special requests or whether they would be hosting people over. If they do have special requests, inform them of the costs associated with those requests.
  • Make sure you share your house rules again as part of the check-in process

When they are about to check out

A less awkward way to ask someone to check out is to share a check out message around the time they should be checking out. It could read something like this:

Hi {Name}, thank you for staying with {Property}. I hope you enjoyed your stay. Just a friendly reminder, checkout is at {check out time} and we would appreciate if you could honor this so that our cleaning staff has enough time to prepare the home for the next guest.
Once again thank you {Name} and I hope to host you again in the future!


Notice how we sandwiched the checkout request with positive messages. This way, it is positively reinforcing without sounding too condescending.

Final thoughts

There are many ways in which guests can be troublesome, and I hope this article at the very least shares some insights on some of the things to look out for when hosting a guest on a short-term rental platform like Airbnb. I am curious to hear what experiences you have had with guests before as well as any red and green flags you may have seen while hosting.

That’s all for today. Bye 🙂

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