- Airbnb hosts don’t communicate with guests outside of answering questions and leaving reviews.
- So Insider asked hosts what they wish their guests would stop doing during their stays.
- The answers range from mild inconveniences to permanent damage.
Since Airbnb’s launch in 2008, more than 1 billion guests have rented its properties.
Hosts use the app or website to rent out their apartments, houses, or even solo rooms in their homes, to travelers as an alternative to hotels. According to the site, there were over 1 million active listings by March 2022.
But, like with anything in the service industry, there are some kinks that can still be worked out. Insider spoke to multiple Airbnb hosts and asked them the things they desperately wished that guests would stop doing at their listings.
Here’s what they wish guests would stop doing.
Asking for the address before booking and asking about fees that are clearly laid out
Airbnb listings show the general location of the home. Lauren Keen, a host from Florida, told Insider she wished people would stop asking for the exact address. “You get this when you book,” she said.
She also wishes people would stop asking about fees. “It’s clear what goes to me, Airbnb, the cleaner, the government, etc. It’s literally spelled out, line by line,” she said.
Asking about amenities that clearly aren’t listed
Keen said she also has a problem with people asking about things that would be mentioned in the listing if she provided them, like bikes. If the house had bikes, it’d be part of how she was marketing the listing.
Please don’t forget to clean up after your pet.
Alison Rose/Getty Images
Forgetting to clean up after your pets in a pet-friendly Airbnb
“We own a property in the mountains in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It snows from November to April. We allow pets at this property. We provide bags for pet waste to try to keep our property clean. Unfortunately, guests allow their pets to pee and poop on our decks. This freezes and is so hard to remove. Please respect our properties so we can continue to allow you to bring your furry friends,” Cohen told Insider.
Smoking in a non-smoking listing
In some cases, there are very real safety reasons for not allowing smoking. Smith told Insider that smoking is particularly an issue at one of his properties, not because he dislikes smoking, but because of the danger of fires.
“One property is in a log cabin in a very dry, forest fire-prone area surrounded by potential fuel from the woods constantly wrought with fire bans,” he said. “But, people are dumb, or not from a high-risk fire area, and throw their butts wherever.”
Phillip Foxall, who has an Airbnb in Rockport, Texas, also said he dislikes guests smoking, though his problem is with the smell.
“Please stop smoking inside! The smoke smell, both cigarette and marijuana smoke, are difficult to get out of the furniture and linens. This causes extra cleaning time and money and is just disrespectful,” he said.
Washing off makeup with a hand towel, staining it forever
Makeup-stained towels came up more than once when Insider spoke with Airbnb owners.
Maria Kennedy, a host in Spain, said she found this behavior “astonishing,” especially because she leaves makeup-remover pads in her bathroom for guests to use instead of leaving stains that are “impossible” to remove.
Nathan Waldon, another California Airbnb host, also mentioned this. “Because they stain easily, taking care to use towels properly goes a long way. Towels are expensive,” he said.
Moving the decor and furniture around and not putting it back
As an interior designer and California Airbnb host, Heather Bull spends a lot of time on her listings.
“Those were painstakingly staged, and we have to re-stage them after most guests,” she said. “This is a pet peeve of mine because the cleaners have to be trained on where things are supposed to go.”
Waldon added, “If you decide to move a piece of furniture — a chair, a table, anything —please move it back.”
In Bull’s experience, some people like to reorganize other things within the home — they move items such as dishes to different cabinets, she said.
Lauren Rudick, a host from Montreal, said that guests leaving decorations can also be a problem.
“Guests always pick seashells and ‘decorate’ the house with them. Drives me crazy,” she said. After every stay, she always has to go through the entire house to make sure no one has left any shells around.
Bottom line: Don’t move stuff around without moving it back and don’t leave any new “decorations” behind.
Lying about how many people are actually coming to stay
Hosts can sometimes tell when people are lying, especially when they have a larger home and it appears that only two people have booked it, perhaps to save money.
“We have a three-bedroom house and rarely does only a couple book it. Be honest, the more people that come to a property the more laundry has to be done, the more electricity and water is used and the more liability is assumed by the host,” Foxall said.
A checklist would be good.
Not double-checking you’ve packed all your belongings at the end of your stay
Smith noted that, while he’s happy to send anything back that’s left behind, it can lead to some awkward encounters.
“One example did make for an awkward situation with the guest, and the next guest, and our cleaning people, when the first [guest] left her vibrator in the nightstand. We had a good laugh about that,” he said.
Leaving food and drinks behind
Bull told Insider that it’s annoying to clean out the fridge after every stay.
“I think they think they’re doing a favor for the next guest by leaving it, but we have to throw it all away,” she said.
Waiting until the last minute to address issues with the listing
Foxall said he’s sometimes had problems with guests waiting until the last day to try and get a refund, instead of addressing issues early on.
“We encourage our guests to walk through the property and really check everything out. If anything is not working or is not clean, report it immediately and we will get it fixed. Don’t report it five minutes before you leave and ask for a full refund,” he said.
He even compared it to “eating all but one bite of an expensive steak at a restaurant and then sending it back.”
Too many weeds at the neighbors’ isn’t the host’s fault.
Blaming hosts for problems with the property that are out of their control
Sometimes, a guest will leave a negative review for things that are simply impossible to control, like “neighbor’s yard was overgrown with weeds,” or for something they knew before booking like, “the downside to the home is that it only has one bathroom,” short-term rental marketing specialist Jorge Zarate told Insider.
Forgetting to leave a rating
As Insider reported previously, Airbnb hosts live and die by the website’s ratings. Many of the hosts mentioned that guests forgetting to leave reviews can be a problem, including Foxall.
“We provide all of our guests a guide to the star rating so they understand the difference between a five-star review, four stars, and so on. Be honest, but be fair, and if there are improvements to be made, let the host know before you submit your review so they can fix it,” he said.