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Cancellations

Discussion in 'Hosts' started by Sandy, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. Sandy

    Sandy Active Member

    I am meant to have a guest arrive tomorrow, but she contacted me this afternoon saying that she will be arriving the day after instead. She also said that her brother who was going to be staying here as well a day is no longer going to be staying. There's a couple of odd things. Firstly, she never told me her brother would be staying. She booked only for one guest, and mentions only that her brother will also be in town for a couple of days. I certainly did not take that as 'he will be coming to stay in the same bedroom as myself'. Would others read it otherwise?

    Secondly I find the way she tells me she intends to honor her payments (after saying something about supposing it's not possible to have them adjusted), odd, considering she committed to my Strict policy and is canceling the day before arrival as that would be based on my goodwill, whether to offer it. I must say, approached differently I wouldn't feel unusual about someone needing to change a booking, but I have the feeling this is another one of these older ladies I have had that starts trying to take the reins - perceiving me as a younger woman etc. I am getting quite attuned to those that try pushing me around. If I don't start with being assertive around certain types, I find they can really overwhelm me pretty quickly with different demands etc.

    Wondering how others think of these messages (I know not everyone else reads into things like I do!), and how you would handle it refund wise?

    First message:
    I am coming to ..... to attend a Dressage Competition in ..... and also check in on my special needs brother who is cared for in ?... I have another brother who will be in town for 2 nights to also see our brother. Our family is from the
    ...

    Second message:
    Hello Sandy,
    There has been confusion with departure date and now we are on our way on Wednesday. I realize that there probably isn't an adjustment possibility, and certainly will honor my commitment for Aug. 11-16.
    I will be arriving on Wednesday late afternoon now. My brother made arrangements with someone he knows so he will not be staying with me the one night either. Oh well, the best of plans can always just not be the best !! Again, I am sorry for the confusion and will see you on Wednesday.
     
  2. Estuarto

    Estuarto Active Member

    I don't see any expectations in her message. From what I see she is aware of your policy and acknowledging it. Some people are very unorganized, and scatter brained. They forget what they told you and don't bother to re-read it. My guess is she is just a bit overwhelmed by life and doing her best.
     
  3. Sandy

    Sandy Active Member

    Ah, sorry Estuarto. I forgot to mention a few other things. Just the day before we were discussing her arrival time, and she told me she would be arriving at around 6pm on Tuesday, and it was very certain for some time that she was arriving on Tuesday.

    I didn't describe very well what I meant, and it's so subtle. Because we have guests staying in our home, I have become almost expert at reading between the lines about the possibilities of personality issues arising, even before the guest arrives on my doorstep. In this instance, she uses two things - says I am off the hook for an extra guest I hadn't even been told about (she mentions her brother will be in town for two days, but says he was going to stay one night at our home - nowhere did she indicate this clearly to me so that I understood it), and also hints she would like an adjustment to her bill for the late change in plans, but will honor her commitment. For me there is a touch of the manipulative in there. Hopefully it is not intended and she is nice when she arrives. If she is, I likely will refund her. Because I have dealt with so many problematic personalities that seem to be entitled (especially among the more wealthy guests I get - her husband is a doctor), I am more cautious these days, as I have regretted playing into the hands of manipulators and dominating people before. Considering the stay will be just as unpleasant if she is that way anyway, and I will be annoyed with myself if I refunded her, I will wait to see if she is gracious and a good guest before going ahead with it. At this point I have come to trust my instincts, even leaning on the slightest things.

    Either way our situation with guests has improved, as my method of dealing with them has. I resent them less when I don't let them walk all over me so much. I have set more house rules, and our latest guests have been very respectful and experiences (aside from one - there's always one!) have been good.
     
  4. Sandy

    Sandy Active Member

    Unbelievable. This morning I had this message to greet me.

    Just checking in to confirm that I am arriving this evening, August 11, 6-6:30 . I sent a message yesterday and just want to be sure you received it.
    Thank you.
    Jan

    No, I had not received a message from her, there is nothing in the message thread. Clearly the woman changed her mind again, once she realized she hadn't managed to manipulate me into a refund. Anyone believe me now that I can read a manipulator from a mile off? Gee, this next five days is going to be awesome.
     
  5. Sandy

    Sandy Active Member

    I spoke to airbnb, and the woman I spoke to read the thread of messages and said she would be very uncomfortable with this guest in her home for the same reasons I picked up - she keeps changing things about on me. One minute she is coming on her own, 11-16, the next she is coming 12-16 on her own but not with the brother she would have been coming with but didn't mention, next she is messaging me saying she has already messaged me about coming on the 11th again, when she clearly hadn't.

    She encouraged me to cancel, but unfortunately the penalties will apply, until the trip advisory team could oversee the situation to overturn the penalties (removal of superhost status, and fees). I don't know what decision to make. I wouLd prefer to cancel than put up with someone who is manipulative and dishonest, but it sounds like a PITA going through that crap. Why doesn't airbnb have a way to protect hosts in this situation? Surely there are even worse situations than this that come up with guests that start to misbehave before their arrival.
     
  6. Matt S

    Matt S Active Member

    She's is likely just lost in her own mind. I recently had a guest who left crinkled paper towels all over the house and yard. Other then that they were fine. You have your alerts on, I wouldn't cancel at this point for her crappy messaging skills. I had another guy somehow book two places including mine. He also was very poor at messaging, only responding when he had a question, then when asked going days and ignoring the question. Anyways, he came and went, and it wasn't so bad. We just weren't on the same personality level. Knowing that ahead of time I was prepared for the worst, and when it turned out to just be quirks and ideologies I don't relate to, I was able to coast through the 4 days and onto the next guest. No problem.
     
  7. Sandy

    Sandy Active Member

    I did want to cancel, as we don't believe in putting ourselves in the way of any negative experiences that can be avoided. Fortunately for the guest, she called and still trying the lie about sending two emails about changing her reservation back to today, and still without any apology for inconvenience (she knew I had changed my schedule to receive her originally, so then I changed it back when she cancelled, and on the day of arrival when she again changed her mind I had to cancel again my afternoon appointments again - and run around doing last minute prep). I decided to be straight with her.

    I explained the mixed messages were beginning to be an issue for me, especially as she hadn't even alerted me to a brother staying at any point, and considering we are receiving strangers into our home and all we have to go by are the messages they send in many cases where the guest has given no details about themselves and has no reviews. She said that even though she had booked for one, she saw we had an extra bed in the room, so believed it would have been fine to bring another guest to stay without mentioning it. I doubt any highly educated woman who actually turned out to have very good manners and be perfectly courteous would have believed that just because a host has room for extra people, they can be brought along without at least telling the host beforehand.

    Either way, she sounded a bit sheepish. It is pretty clear that once she realized she didn't guilt me into a refund, she decided she would come as intended, as it was after all just a change of plans, not something she should have expected a refund for (although I may have given one).

    Alas, she was a little nervous on arrival - unsure if she would like airbnb I'm sure or ours at least, but as usual by the next morning, she was happy as a clam and has been raving about the comfort here ever since. She has been a great guest in fact. So, it's clear she was prepared to behave online through messages in a way she would not do in real life.

    The greatest problem for me out of this situation is not what actually happened in the end, it is airbnb' treatment of me when I realized that we had a guest that was being manipulative and dishonest before arrival. There was no real support in the case that you feel uncomfortable or at risk of a bad experience. If you choose to call off a booking due to realizing the guest is not going to be a right fit for your home due to new information that has come to light, messaging style, or anything at all that makes you want to not open your doors to this particular stranger, YOU will be penalized, even if they can see the person has lied, or done anything else. I found this policy to be bad practice. If this stay had turned out to be a terrible due to the guests emotional/mental instability, or even resulted in criminal type behavior with the guest getting into our private things and eventually committing identity fraud etc, I would have felt very unhappy that I was told repeatedly that they would not help me in fact they would punish me even stripping me of my superhost status (everyone knows how hard it is to retain this for years) and paying possible fees.

    What company that has their hosts best interest in mind does this?

    Airbnb just doesn't want to step up and protect its hosts. One particularly young sounding guy that seemed to lack any kind of life experience or empathy wrote follow up messages reminding me repeatedly that I was welcome to cancel, but I would face penalties and loss of my superhost status (as if I didn't get it the first time). He seemed to think that this was totally fair. So here it is hosts: if you end up booking someone who before they even arrive starts to behave in ways that make you uncomfortable about having them in your home, you can cancel them, but you will be punished for doing so. Airbnb doesn't believe you have the right to have guests in your home you are comfortable with and that behave honestly.
     
  8. Matt S

    Matt S Active Member

    Im glad she turned out to be a good guest! Perhaps their is a bigger issue here of hosts being powerless to the system which brings on question of independent contractor versus employee.
     
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