My Worst AirBnB Hosting Experiences – And the Lessons Learned

I’ve had some great experiences meeting guests, from wine nights to Elf on the Shelf.  Overall, I find guests are respectful of my space.  Many leave my house as clean as they found it.  I regularly get asked about any negative AirBnB experiences, so I’ve decided to keep a running list.  None of the following are bad enough that I’d hesitate to continue hosting.

7th group hosted – A group of six 20-25 year olds

Experience: I was uncomfortable booking them, but I was just starting out and needed to build up reviews.  They left the house a mess that took two days to clean up.  They broke house rules, including no smoking on the property.

Learned: To trust my gut feelings.  Now if I’m not comfortable with guests, I now say no and make recommendations for other places.  I also learned to be very specific in my house manual about what “tidy up after yourselves” means.

11th group hosted – a large family in town for a 5k run

Experience: the family said they had dogs and the children wanted to play with Jameson.  I let her outside to play with them, spoke to the father another two minutes, and then when I went out to get Jameson the kids were trying to push her in the pool and she was calmly resisting but clearly getting anxious.  Jameson and I stayed at a friend’s house that weekend.

Learned: Always leave Jameson in the crate if greeting guests and never leave her unsupervised for a moment.  Even if a guest says they have dogs at home, they may not treat them well.  

41st group hosted – a large family in town for their grandmother’s birthday

Experience: There were no red flags during the booking/initial contact.  During the trip, they didn’t respond to my messages – which happens.  They didn’t wave or greet me when I was on the property.  I was out of town for the last part of their trip and unfortunately when I returned, the house took 4 evenings to thoroughly clean, from trash left behind to sticky floors and stained bedding. 

Learned: A business owner will always be faced with bad apples.  One out of 40 isn’t bad.  Also, always check the grill to make sure the gas was turned off fully if guests used it.

53rd group hosted - large family causing damages

Experience: Mom, Dad and the kids were heavier - and unfortunately broke chairs, a decorative tile overhang and pool edging they shouldn't have been standing on to begin with, among other things.  They refused to pay for any of the damages, and their kids lied about how things broke after throwing pieces of the tile into the side yard.

Learned: I contemplated switching to requiring security deposits.  It's a house, not a hotel or restaurant with commercial-grade furniture.  There really isn't a way to sniff these out, unless you require people who have stayed at an AirBNB previously.


Update: I'm Married, and We're Done!

I ended up hosting 74 groups total over two full years.  That is a 5% Bad Apple Rate.  I'm happy to now live in the house without sharing it, even though I don't regret the experiences in the least.