When I accepted the guest, the red flags were already there. If I had taken to my own advice, the information I share with all of you on a regular basis, I would have not accepted them in the first place. Instead, these guests had a party at my home and now I’m the one who has to deal with the aftermath. Apparently, even after nine years as a host, I was no longer an unauthorized party virgin.
That’s the subject for today’s episode: “An Unauthorized Party in my Home.”
You probably have tons of questions, but you know that if nothing else I’m honest to a fault. I will tell you the great stuff about Airbnb and having guests in your home. I will also tell you all about the not great stuff. And there’s plenty of both to go around.
As you know, I’m remote hosting at the moment. I have a team of people taking care of Eveland, so I feel pretty good about everything.
You know I believe in my team. With their professionalism and my Ring video doorbell, things pretty much take care of themselves. But sometimes things fail.
Let’s go back to the beginning. The inquiry. (dun dun duuuuun)
The Warning Signs:
Flag #1: It was a local reservation. But I have accepted local reservations in the past without problems, so I accepted them anyway. Oh, check me out,
Flag #2: Guest says, “It’s my sister’s birthday.” I sent her an email stating, I do not allow parties in my home.
But before these guests, I had another set of guests who were also local… Do you know what I mean by local?
Just in case you don’t know, the term “locals” means they live in my state.
With the other local guests, one hired a private chef cook an intimate dinner for her partner. And everything was fine. So I figured, no problem. Right? A sister’s birthday doesn’t mean a party. Oh, cocky me.
Flag #3: “Birthday” guest doesn’t really communicate well.
NOW THE SIRENS ARE BLARING, and my host spidey senses are tingling…but it’s not like I want to cancel or it means a party… right?
Well, the birthday sisters arrive at my home and are having issues opening the lockbox. The handy dandy video doorbell to the rescue as I guide them through the process. But in the end, I have to give them my emergency key. Ouch.
What these guests didn’t know was that I was watching the entire scene with my video doorbell, so I could see them coming in with big platters of food. Oh. No.
Then my video doorbell stops working. I call one of my folks to go to the house and reset the wifi with the excuse of the keys.He goes to the house and resets the router, which is located in their unit. And makes sure all is well. No problem,
He comes back and informs me that they’re just cooking and chatting. Ok. I’m good at the moment. No need to panic. BUT this is Friday night, and they’re here for the weekend.
The Next Day:
The next day my cleaning crew were getting the second apartment ready for guests, and they call me that they smell pot. Oh, come on. I write a message on the platform.
You know why? Because you want this kind of communication documented, my dear hosts. How can Airbnb know what is happening if you don’t have it written anywhere? So, I write via the Airbnb message platform:
“The cleaning crew smells pot. We’re a no smoking home. Please stop.”
Because people don’t check their messages, I also call her. She picks up the phone, doesn’t really say yeah or no…but I think, ok. She got the hint. She is going to be more respectful now. Now, the cleaning folks are gone, and new guests arrive for the other unit.
My video doorbell is down again… come on, really?
And I know there is a party going on at my home, and there is nothing I can do. Unfortunately, my person can’t go and visit the home. He also doesn’t believe me since he just went the night before and they were innocently cooking. But this time I know. I know they’re having a party. Call it my Superhost sixth sense.
Check-out and the Truth:
The next morning, it’s their check-out and I have a new cleaning person and guests arriving. At 11am, the guest calls me that they just woke up and they need more time. I let them know that I’m sorry but the cleaning lady is on her way there. The guest says that they can clean. Yeah, no.
My brand new cleaning person arrived at the house and there were more people than the registered guests in my home, they had covered the kitchen smoke detectors, the house smelled like a pot den, dirty dishes were everywhere, and the sofa cushions were on the floor because that’s where the extra people slept. Yeah, not fun at all. The new cleaner was overwhelmed.
Eveland was unrecognizable.
What I Did:
I immediately contacted Airbnb to let them know of the situation. I kept the communication on the platform. The guest left without so much as an apology.
I had to hire more cleaners to come in and get the house in order for the next set of guests, who were arriving that day. Photos were being taken of the house as they were cleaning and getting the home back in order.
We found out these guests had disconnected the wifi router so the video doorbell failed and I don’t know how many people were in and out. But the upstairs guests told me that they heard the party. I also kept that communication on the platform.
I was lucky that they didn’t damage my home. They didn’t steal anything, and they didn’t even drink the alcohol I keep there for my personal use (remember, I usually am living in the same house with my guests but I just happen to be remote hosting this winter). I have plenty of personal items around the house. These were clearly not the brightest guests, however, because they left pot behind and even personal mail.
I know. It could have been so much worse.
We all have heard the stories. There are groups of people, renting homes for “Airbnb parties.” We have to be vigilant, and we also have to take measures to protect our homes so this doesn’t happen (ever…or in my case, ever again). I’m trying to process a claim since there are also missing keys. Airbnb is helping with that and contacting this non-responsive guest.
My Problem… Besides the Party:
But my biggest problem is, they had a party in my home and the original response from Airbnb was, “well, now they’re gone; you can just write a review about them.”
Yeah, no. These guests need to pay for having a private event at my home. Guests need to be held liable for taking advantage of a trusting host and for disrespecting their property and business. If they get away with only a slap on the wrist (aka, a bad review), what is to stop them from continuing to rent people’s homes for their parties? There need to be actual consequences to put an end to this kind of behavior. We hosts shouldn’t have to be trying to read between every single line from a guest to figure out if they are going to be the ones to destroy our home.
It isn’t fair to us or to all of the other honest guests out there.
No, there have to be more consequences. You stayed in my home and used it as a party venue and didn’t pay for it.
I’m going to share what I’m doing for this not to happen again. Wifi in my home being dependent on the cable company is too unreliable, so I’m looking at other alternative options. There are always other options, dear hosts.
I’m also in conversation with the people from NoiseAware and creating an affiliate relationship with them. I have been thinking of them for a long time…
And I’m even changing my house rules. But all of these tasty morsels and more will be the subject of our next conversation.