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5 Things That Went Wrong at My Airbnb This Month

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5 Things That Went Wrong at My Airbnb This Summer

Just when I thought issues would stop coming up at my Airbnb…5 things that went wrong at my Airbnb this summer and how I’m handling them.

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I'm Sabrina, a short-term rental host coach who knows starting your own Airbnb biz can quickly get waaaay too complicated. But it doesn't have to be. I help first-time Airbnb hosts like you go from overwhelmed to "Yes!! Another  booking!"
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I’ve been an Airbnb host for two years now, grossed $160k+ in revenue to date, and earned Airbnb Superhost status 8 times in a row…and, yet, things still go wrong at my Airbnb regularly. Honestly, I thought issues would stop coming up after the property was “broken in” but that hasn’t been my experience at all. Rather than actually reducing the number of issues that come up, I’ve learned to be MUCH better at handling them when they inevitably do. By the end of this post, you’ll know exactly the types of things that go wrong when you own an Airbnb and how to successfully navigate them.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I’m not affiliated with Airbnb in any way (other than being an Airbnb host, of course). Read my full disclosure policy here.

5 Things That Went Wrong at My Airbnb This Summer

5 Things That Went Wrong at My Airbnb This Month
Who knew so many things would go wrong two years into Airbnb hosting? | The Realist

1. Found a potential mouse

The last thing I thought I’d have an issue with at my Airbnb is mice. My Airbnb is in a heavily trafficked and very well-maintained condo complex. I’ve spent a lot of time at my condo (I lived there for nearly a year before Airbnb’ing it and have stayed there several times a year since) and never once saw any sign of a rodent. So, when I found out there could potentially be a mouse in the walls of my property, I was shocked.

If this would have happened a year ago, it probably would have ruined my entire day. I would be freaked out, disgusted, and panicked. But what I’ve learned after two years of Airbnb hosting is that most things are not truly a “fire” (even the actual fire at my Airbnb wasn’t as bad as you’d expect). I did not immediately spend hundreds of dollars on an exterminator, I did not freak out, and I did not let it ruin my day. Instead, my wonderful co-host immediately bought mouse traps and placed them in hidden areas at my Airbnb. And, for now, I think that’s the most reasonable course of action. Here’s why.

I don’t even know that there is a mouse. There’s a strange noise in my kitchen, yes, but that’s it. There are no other signs of a mouse. As an Airbnb host, you’ll quickly learn that you have to ask questions and really dig into what’s going on before going into problem-solving mode. If you make assumptions and jump to conclusions, you’re most likely going to overreact. Given everything I know today, I don’t think there is actually a mouse at my Airbnb. So, for now, I’ve taken a reasonable step to mitigate the issue and am monitoring for additional signs/information that will inform my next steps.

2. Bathroom towel rods broke

I can’t begin to tell you how much of a pain bathroom towel rods are at my Airbnb. I have no idea why–like I said, I lived at my property for nearly a year before renting it out and had zero issues with the towel rods. But, as soon as I started Airbnb’ing it, the towel rods started falling off. I’ve probably repaired them half a dozen times since starting my Airbnb two years ago. Twice I’ve hired a handyman and the rest of the time I repaired them myself during a property maintenance check.

I don’t know what it is, but the towel rods just don’t want to stay on the wall (and I know other Airbnb hosts who have experienced the same). The next time mine inevitably break, I’m going to replace them altogether; it’s just not worth it to keep repairing them. Here’s my advice to you: avoid towel rods if you can, since they do tend to break a lot and are really hard to secure to the wall well. If you can’t avoid them and your property isn’t new, swap them out with new ones the first time they break. Repairing old towel rods over and over just isn’t worth it. Plus, every time they break, it’s a bad experience for your guests and you want to minimize bad experiences as much as possible.

3. The toilet seat broke

How does a toilet seat break? I have no idea. My only guess is that, similar to the towel rods, the toilet seats are just old (the condo was built in the 1970s and I have no idea if anyone has replaced the toilets since then…I can only assume they haven’t). In any case, when one toilet seat broke this summer, my guest at the time was kind enough to let us know and wasn’t upset about it at all (there’s nothing I appreciate more than an understanding guest!)

Since this is something your next guest would immediately notice and be impacted by, I recommend fixing something like this right away.

4. I got a 4-star review

As much as I hate it, 4-star reviews happen from time to time at my Airbnb. My first year Airbnb hosting, I got a few 4-star reviews for cleanliness issues (cleanliness is unbelievably important to guests). My cleaners are fantastic so I really don’t get cleanliness complaints very often; in fact, most guests rave about how clean my Airbnb is in their reviews, but complaints do happen from time to time nonetheless.

More recently, however, I’ve been getting 4-star reviews for a variety of other reasons. This month, I got a 4-star review because one guest truly thought it was a 4-star experience. These guests hated the location (even though I’ve only ever gotten positive feedback on the location from other guests) and hated that the floors squeak (I put in brand-new flooring before Airbnb’ing the property and I have no control over the 1-2 spots that squeak). They also thought that one of the fans was broken (we tested it after their stay and found that it wasn’t) and they didn’t like that I don’t provide beach towels or a cooler.

The truth is, you can’t please every single Airbnb guest but you can optimize for what most guests care about. Make sure you can avoid 4-star reviews as much as possible by knowing exactly what guests want in an Airbnb.

5. I got another 4-star review

To my surprise, I got another 4-star review this summer! Sure, I get 4-star reviews from time to time, but never two in such a short period of time! These guests didn’t like that the balcony was dirty and, again, that I didn’t provide them with beach towels. Unlike the previous 4-star review, these two complaints are ones that I can act on; meaning, I can’t change the location of my Airbnb, so there’s nothing I change there but I could ask my cleaners to clean the balcony and do an extra load of beach towels…but I won’t.

Here’s why–things like that just aren’t feasible at many Airbnbs and, if they are, probably aren’t worth the added cost that my cleaners would charge. I don’t want to charge all guests an additional fee because one guest found something inconvenient. It’s worth asking your cleaners if this is possible but don’t expect that they’ll do additional work for the same fee.

The point is that you can’t please everyone. What matters most is that you do your best to provide a great experience to as many guests as possible. If you do that, don’t sweat the one-off 4-star reviews that you’ll inevitably get from time to time. Instead, learn how to make negative reviews actually work in your favor.

Takeaway

Two years into Airbnb hosting and things are certainly not going the way I expected them to but when do they ever? I hope sharing the 5 things that went wrong at my Airbnb this summer gives you some great insight into what Airbnb hosting is really like. Now that you’ve got these tips, you’re well-equipped to handle any issues that come up at your Airbnb.

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  1. Sera says:

    Thank you so much for all of your content in this blog. So tremendously helpful and positive. I have learned so much, thank you!

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