Airbnb hosts constantly face all kind of challenges. Many of them are common though and involve safety problems and issues with guests. Lucy, our client, who currently manages 4 properties, says that she has hosted over 370 Airbnb guests. She is listed as an Airbnb Superhost on one of her properties and has something to tell about the challenges she had on her way and advice on how to deal with them.
Lucy: I’d like to say that the majority of my guests are really awesome and normally don’t cause any problems during their stays. However, in some cases I’ve had to deal with guests that caused damage to my properties. I’ve had guests break furniture and damage the walls. Although Airbnb Host Protection Insurance is designed to cover hosts in the event of an accident, Airbnb hosts still need to have their own primary insurance. If you’re going to have guests staying over the long-term, consider a rental agreement as well. This can help you as well.
From the very beginning, Lucy decided for herself that business insurance is a must. While most of the Airbnb hosts get homeowners insurance this is not quite the best way of doing it. All homeowners insurance policies carry a “business activity exclusion”, meaning, any claim involving a “business activity” could be denied. Airbnb is considered a business, so be careful and consult your insurance company first. Lucy says that even though business insurance is higher in price, she can sleep well knowing that even if something happens, she will be covered for that.
Lucy: “There was one guest who gave me 2 rating for my property because it had no ironing board and I didn’t allow him to stay an extra couple of hours. I guess he had a right to do it, but to be honest, it felt bad. I also need to mention that I had almost all 5 ratings for this apartment. Although I was extremely angry, I wanted to appear as a professional host for my other guests. I explained in the answer to that review that rules are rules for all. But I am sorry (oh, it was hard to write down that word) for the guest’s experience. I even offered him a free night stay if he books 3 nights in a row with a promise to get an ironing board. He never answered me back though.
Lucy says now she always tries to get snacks, adds toiletries to the bathroom, and buys fresh flowers to make the stay nicer for guests. She also makes sure to list exactly what will be offered at the property so that there are no surprises when guests arrive. This way Lucy also decreases her chances for a bad review.
Lucy: I used to worry a lot about whether my units were being properly cleaned after each guest stayed. Sometimes I had a really hard time getting the place in order with some especially messy guests. I remember this first time when my guests, who were a couple of students, had a wild party at the house and left an awful mess. The thing is that there were only 2 guests that I rented out the apartment to. But apparently, they invited some friends. I thought it would become a hassle to get the place back in order and decided to pay for cleaning services. I had no time to do it myself anyway.
Lucy has one local company in her area and now she works with them all the time. Cleaning her properties is much easier and painless this way. Lucy also increased her cleaning fees on her Airbnb listings to cover the cost of professional cleaning services.
Lucy: If you only own one property and you still clean it yourself, you may only need professional services from time to time. But there’s no way you can handle it with multiple properties. One important tip: make sure that the cleaners also tackle those often overlooked tasks, such as cleaning the oven, dusting, and emptying the dishwasher.
Lucy: Once a guest wanted to leave an hour or two later. At first, I agreed to it without additional payment but he ended up leaving almost 6 hours after the time of check-out. Thank God, I didn’t have more guests on the way that day. Sometimes, people just keep demanding additional amenities or services. Imagine this: one guy asked me to get him some groceries from the store. While there are times I’m willing to go the extra mile, I have certain rules that I’d like my guests to follow. So, I leave a list on the kitchen table in every property. And I ask my guest go through it carefully. Sometimes I even send my house rules via Airbnb’s messaging system before the guest books a property.
If you want your bookings to go smoothly, enforce your rules and establish good communication to avoid some major headaches, just like Lucy did.
Lucy: I thought about some software when I started to rent out my third property. I’m not sure that I would be able to handle it all because there is so much communication involved and it is such a pain to go from one Airbnb account to another and log in and out constantly. So, I found AirGMS that allows me managing all those chats in a single inbox. The software is developing constantly and offers new features for hosts. So, yeah, I am happy to be a client of this company.
Professional Airbnb management software is essential if you have more than one Airbnb property. For many hosts, a cloud vacation rental management system makes it easier to manage bookings, customer service, pricing, and cleaning services.
We are thankful to Lucy for sharing her experience and hope it will also be useful and applicable for your hosting.