Every guest’s booking is different for a variety of reasons; from the length of their stay to the reason for their visit, and even cultural and age differences of guests can lead to different experiences for them and for you. I get a wide range of requests from guests to help make their stay more comfortable for their particular situation. While it’s important to accommodate where you can, it’s also important to hold your ground and protect your business and your home against requests that push the boundaries. In this post I’ll list my most common special requests from guests and how I handle them.
Access To The Laundry Units (Not Included In Listing)
In two of my short-term rental homes, the washer and dryer are found in the basement. Specifically, an unfinished and dark basement of the ~100 year old home. Needless to say, these basements are full of potential hazards and not intended for guest enjoyment. Additionally, my cleaning partner keeps many of her cleaning supplies and backup stock down there and it’s important to both of us that we keep guests from rifling through these things. For these reasons, I make it very clear in the listing that laundry machines are not amenities that are included. When I host longer stays of a month or more, I often get asked if the laundry will be available, despite the listing being very clear.
The first time I was asked for an exception was by a 3-month guest visiting for work. I considered letting her open the locked door to the basement after thinking about the inconvenience of hauling laundry to a laundromat. After my cleaning partner talked some sense into me, though, I stayed firm to my rules and have always said “no” to the request from then on. The risks of injury, theft of supplies, and mistreatment/overuse of the laundry machines are things that I stay firm on protecting against.
If your laundry machines are within reach of guests in accessible areas, you still have the right to deny use if you please. Or, you could offer them as a nice feature to enhance their stay.
In my homes I have my check-in times set at 4pm or 5pm, depending on the preference of my cleaner for the home. I often get messages from guests asking to check in early for one reason or another.
My response to this one varies by situation. If there is a checkout on the same day as the check-in, I automatically turn this request down. I would never assume my cleaner can just change her schedule and be done with her turnaround of the unit faster than she usually is. Her thorough process is vital to my operation and I don’t want to mess with it!
Other times, a guest will ask to check in a few hours early and I see no adjacent checkout on the day of their arrival. If the booking is still a few weeks away I ask them to message me a few days before their stay so that I can confirm there has not been a booking that checks out that day. I wouldn’t want to be in a position where I promise an early check-in and then have to go back on my word. If I can be certain that there will be no checkout on the same day, I usually let them check-in a few hours early. It doesn’t really cause any harm to me if the house is unoccupied and it could really please the guests!
A Booking On Behalf Of Someone Else
This request happens before the stay and the decision results in an approved or denied booking. I get requests from friends, family members, or managers to book my homes for other people to stay in. I cannot stress this enough – do not let people stay in your home if their Airbnb account is not on the reservation. This means that the person or people staying in the unit must own the account through which the reservation is made or they can be listed on the reservation by the person booking. There is an area in Airbnb’s site to add additional guests. Be sure the guests are linked with their Airbnb accounts and you are not just given a list of names by the booker.
Pets… (When Not Allowed In Listing)
I go into depth on this one in a post dedicated to guests’ furry friends. To dive into the pros and cons of bending your pet policy, give that a read. In short, my response is “no”. But, that may not be the case for everyone.
I envision the above list to be everchanging – As my hosting career evolves I am sure this list will grow with more interesting guest requests I feel are worth mentioning. Do you have any common requests you receive from guests? I’d love to read them in the comments.