Whether you are a consummate Airbnb-er or a complete newbie, familiarising yourself with these pet peeves can save you a lot of time and hassle in the future.
Airbnb Hosts’ Pet Peeves
As one host told me, the best guest is never there. The flip side to that is when a guest is always at home, making the host feel slightly uncomfortable in their own home and wanting to go spend time outside the house.
I have asked the Airbnb hosts whose houses I stayed at what their pet peeves were, and I have also looked at online forums including the Airbnb community page to see what drives hosts insane.
No “hello”, “good morning” or “good evening”: some Airbnb guests, I am told, simply walk in without greeting the host and ask for the WiFi password straight away.
When the host goes out of his or her way to help the host, for example giving them a lift to the nearest station or making some phone calls to enquire about something, and the guest does not even say thank you.
Some guests think that an Airbnb is a hotel, with waiting staff at their disposal tending to their every need. Most hosts have full time jobs and some have children, so they can’t help you with simple tasks you can do yourself. Also, some guests have unrealistic expectations, wanting a completely private space, but most times it’s not possible unless they book a whole apartment.
Guests who stay in the bathroom for ages make the top of the complaints list from hosts.
Having good communication is essential in order to have a positive Airbnb experience. This factor alone is often critical when a host writes a reference for a guest. Bad or no communication = bad review.
Not notifying the host about bringing an extra guest or a pet is a major issue, particularly with regards to pets as someone in the house may be allergic to them. Also, pets can accidentally break things and soil the property.
Talking of breakages and communication, if the guest breaks something and does not report it immediately to the host, hoping that no one will notice, there will be a complete breach of trust between the parties.
Wasteful and Inappropriate Behaviours
For brevity, here is a bulleted list of pet peeves that Airbnb hosts shared in the Airbnb community page.
- Not removing make up, leaving residues on bed linen which are hard to wash out
- Leaving all the lights on, even when not in the room or outside the house
- Not showering
- Turning up drunk at the doorstep when checking in
- Not notifying when leaving, which upsets hosts if they have prepared breakfast and the guest leaves without saying goodbye
- Leaving hairs in the sink and shower
- Not flushing the toilet properly
- Eating smelly foods especially in the bedroom and especially if house rules forbid it
- Muddy boots
- Dirty suitcases on the bed
- Slamming doors
- Eating all the food supplies that the host makes available for the guests in one sitting, meant to last for a week
- Using spray tan or dyeing hair in the bathroom
- Damages and spillages
- Wearing high heels on hardwood floors
Finally, guests who don’t read the listing fully and be surprised on arrival, for example not reading there is a pet in the home and getting traumatised because Fido wants to lick their face.
Airbnb Guests’ Pet Peeves
The perfect Airbnb host is never there. Off site hosts can be a dream to liaise with, unless there are problems. You only need to look at forums to realise that things can go wrong and, if your host is not only off site but also uninterested, you may be stuck in a property that is not fit for purpose. I read of a few cases of off site hosts who didn’t respond straight away to guests; one example was a family staying in a villa with self check-in and an off site host. The fridge didn’t work and neither did the hot tub. As it was the weekend, the host didn’t reply until the following day and organise to send in an electrician for the day after, when the family was supposed to check out.
It is a balancing act for a host to be friendly without being intrusive and to be professional without coming across as too formal.
The House Doesn’t Look Anything Like the Pictures
Some hosts will use stock pictures for their Airbnb listing instead of taking pictures of their own house. This always results in complaints, however many hosts still do this and guest will still complain. This practice also violates Airbnb’s content policy, which forbids using unlicensed copyrighted content (for example, a stock picture downloaded from the internet) and false advertising.
If a house is dirty and not well kept, it is not enjoyable to stay there, especially if you need to whip out your rubber gloves and give the shower a good scrub before you can wash yourself. When sharing a house with other Airbnb guests, cleanliness can become an issue and if the host is not on top of the cleaning things can get messy very quickly.
Lodger vs Friend
While in theory you don’t stay at an Airbnb to make new friends (although it can be a useful networking opportunity if you are self-employed), if your host treats you like a lodger and you feel self-conscious about invading their personal space, something is wrong. The concept of Airbnb is all about hosting and sharing your home, not to make your guests feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. You can see the dollar sign in your host’s eyes when they first meet you, and then they lose all interest and they can’t wait to see you go.
Unclear or Incomplete Listing
Just like some estate agents will not disclose problems with a property on sale, some Airbnb hosts can be quite economical with the truth when they describe the accommodation. For example, a 10 minute commute to the town centre may turn out to be a 30 minute commute. There may be no public transport available, but if there is no mention of that and you didn’t hire a car, you are likely to be at the mercy of your host, who can charge you to take you to places.
There are still places that don’t have WiFi, so the best thing to do to avoid surprises is to use the filters in Airbnb search to ensure you are only seeing listings of properties that have WiFi.
A small minority of hosts behave like “Lord and Lady of the Manor” and will tell you what to do and how to do it, for example reminding you to turn the taps off while you are washing the dishes. Of course it is important not to waste water and electricity, especially in someone else’s house, but if you are already conscious of your impact on the environment you really don’t need a reminder, particularly when it’s given in a patronising tone.
In the same category, some hosts want to know their guests exact whereabouts at all times – this invasion of privacy is not acceptable, because unless you are in a remote location and you may need rescuing, we are all responsible adults.
Treating You like a Free Resource
No babysitter for tonight? Not to worry, we have our Airbnb guest available! Some hosts may think you are a free resource to them, so make sure you stipulate your boundaries at the very beginning, if you suspect you may be taken advantage of. Same applies if you are very good at cleaning after yourself – don’t let the host become lazy, so make sure you only wash up the dishes and pans you used. You are paying money to have accommodation.
How To Have a Positive Airbnb Experience
To have a positive Airbnb experience both hosts and guest must lower their expectations if they are unrealistic, do their homework (especially for guests who must read the listing in full), respect each other’s space and be at their best behaviour. Small gestures to show appreciation on either side will go a long way towards a smooth co-living experience, even if it’s just saying “thank you”. When I spoke with hosts, they said that the majority of times their guests were very good and everything went smoothly. Therefore, prepare for the worst but on the day enjoy the moment. You may make a new friend, or a useful contact.