My Top 5 Airbnb Pet Peeves & How to be a Good Host

I’m a big fan of Airbnb. It’s our go-to for family travel accommodations.

Over the last seven years, I’ve spent roughly seven months living in other people’s places through the Airbnb platform alone.

We’ve also used other platforms like VRBO, and of course, we stay in hotels at times, but the majority of our travels, especially the slow travel variety, involves a stay at a home listed on the Airbnb platform.

Over the course of dozens of stays, I’ve taken mental notes on the best and worst aspects of the experiences we’ve had on various trips around the world.

 

airbnb-pet-peeves

 

Why I Prefer Airbnb

 

When visiting any place for more than a day or two, it’s really helpful to have the amenities of an apartment or house. A kitchen or kitchenette. Separate bedrooms for the grownups and kids. A second bathroom doesn’t hurt, either, when you’re traveling as a family of four (and occasionally welcoming visitors).

There are other platforms that provide this, though, like VRBO, booking.com, and others that have recently entered the short-term rental market.

Usually, I only look at Airbnb. Why?

The search function works really well. You can set up filters to weed out places you don’t want. The pricing is consistent. You’ll know upfront, on the map and search results, how much you’ll be paying per night.

I have not found that consistency with its biggest competitor in the short-term rental space, VRBO, and it’s lame to find a surprise fee at checkout after taking the time to find the “perfect” place.

Also, most Airbnb listings will automatically apply a discount when your stay is 7 days or longer and a stay of 28 days or more typically gives you a greater discount, which can often be 30% to 50% off the nightly rate. I’ve heard of people privately negotiating further discounts, but I haven’t done so, personally.

I can assure you I’m not recommending Airbnb because of any advertising or referral relationship. They used to let users recruit other users with a nominal bonus for both parties, but the program ended some time ago. I just like using Airbnb, and with a  few exceptions, I’ve had great travel experiences staying at places on the platform.

It’s important to remember that Airbnb is just a platform; it doesn’t own the properties. They provide the search engine, booking, and payment mechanism, plus some customer support and mediation if necessary. Your experience in a place is largely dependent on the person managing that particular short-term rental property and of course, the property itself.

 

Room For Improvement

 

Before I get all whiny, I’m going to preface my first-world-problems rant with the fact that I actually consider myself to be pretty easy to please, at least for a somewhat wealthy American. I don’t need five-star treatment or a mint on every pillow (but I’ll take the mints, thank you).

I’ve slept in many a tent, plenty of couches, and some hotels motels that will never earn a 3rd star, let alone a 4th or 5th. I’ve also stayed at 5-star resorts and everything in between.

At this stage in my life, in my mid-forties, I want a comfortable place to sleep and some basic amenities that a traveler needs. Location is key, too.

With Airbnb, specifically, I’ve learned to pay attention to the Star ratings. They don’t match up with hotel ratings at all, even if 5 is the top for both. The average rating is 4.7, and more than 90% are above a 4.5.

If a property has less than about 4.4 stars, there are probably some serious problems with the place or the people running it. It’s not worth your consideration.

If the place is rated less than 4.6 stars, I’m going to be hesitant. Maybe it’s a newer listing and they had some issues early on that have been fixed. It could. If it’s a 4.6 and half the price of a comparable 4.8 in the same neighborhood, I’ll check the reviews and look for the reasons it was given a lower rating. It might be something I can live with like the need to walk up a couple of flights of stairs or city noise that I can drown out with white noise from my phone.

Generally, though, I look for places with a 4.6 rating or higher. Still, most places leave some room for improvement. I’ll share my top pet peeves and what I think a good host should do. I really think every host should spend a week living in their place before listing it. If they would, many of the issues would probably be fixed before their first arrival and sub-5-star review.

 

airbnb-history
taken from my airbnb history. dates and hosts have been removed

 

Airbnb Pet Peever #1: Poor Sleeping Conditions

 

Do you know why it’s called Airbnb? It started as a way for budget travelers to find a place to crash on someone’s air mattress.

Given that, maybe I should temper my expectations, but the platform has obviously evolved tremendously since then, and I expect to have a comfortable place to sleep.

Pillows are the number one culprit. Too many places offer one flat or lumpy pillow per person. Please, if you’re an Airbnb host, take a cue from the hotel industry and offer decent pillows. Ideally, two per person. I don’t want to use your throw pillows in bed, but I’ve been a knee-pillow person my entire life, and everyone in my family likes at least two pillows to get a good night’s sleep.

Along those lines, threadbare 150-count sheets have no place on an Airbnb bed. Although, I’d take that over the European tradition of having no top sheet. Are those duvet covers really getting washed after each and every guest?

Regarding mattresses, I don’t expect the 4-inch memory foam topper that I have on my own bed at home, but if I can feel each individual coil, something needs to change. This has only been an issue in Mexico; I addressed it by buying a mattress topper and leaving it behind.

Finally, “Let there be light” was never meant to be applied to your bedrooms at night. I should not be able to read by the glow of the streetlights when the “blinds” are drawn.

 

Airbnb Pet Peeve #2: How Does This Work?

 

Please tell me what I need to know. Ideally, there will be a written manual in the apartment with the same information available in the app, viewable by those who have booked the stay.

Too often, there’s neither.

Where does the garbage go when it’s full? Is recycling an option?

Why are there 4 keys on the keychain in the lockbox and what doors do they open?

What do I do when the hot water goes out? Don’t tell me it’s never happened before; it’s happened to us three times this week!

Regarding the washing machine with 11 settings and no words, what’s the simplest way to get a load of laundry washed in this contraption? Does the combo washer/dryer actually dry the clothes after the wash cycle? Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. Can I at least have a fan to blow at my clothes when they’re hanging on the rack or line?

I’d also love any recommendations for nearby grocery stores, restaurants, and attractions if you have any favorites the guidebooks and Yelp might not feature.

A simple manual, preferably laminated rather than frayed and covered in coffee stains, is always appreciated.

 

Airbnb Pet Peeve #3: Knives Out

 

Maybe you’re more skilled than I am, but I have a hard time cutting fruits, vegetables, and raw meats with a butter knife.

Sometimes, that’s all you get.

When you do actually have something resembling a paring knife or chef’s knife, it’s often duller than the collective IQ of a QAnon chatroom.

I’m sorry, but if you’re advertising the place as having a full kitchen, you need to provide something more than a micro-serrated steak knife or two. If I’m going to prepare meals here, I need the ability to cut stuff. If I’m ever an Airbnb host, I’ll probably call the place “Quality Knives.” That would really set the place apart from the rest.

As long as we’re in the kitchen, I’ll also request at least one plate, bowl, fork, knife, and spoon for each person the place supposedly sleeps. Can I also have a frying pan? The last place we stayed had a stovetop and some stock pots, but no pans whatsoever. Oh, and provide a cutting board. They’re like two dollars.

For less than the price of a night’s stay, I could outfit just about any Airbnb kitchen with the basics it’s lacking. If a host isn’t going to spend a trial week in their place, they should at least be required to prepare a few basic meals in their “full” kitchens.

It also annoys me when the fridge and cupboards are completely emptied between every stay. I don’t necessarily want a refrigerator full of half-empty and expired condiments, but it would be nice to have some cooking oil, salt and pepper, and maybe some other basic seasonings. We often leave ours behind  nearly full when we buy them out of necessity, but it’s clear that some hosts take everything away between each guest.

 

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Airbnb Pet Peeve #4:  I Have to Buy My Own Toilet Paper?

 

At a minimum, I believe an Airbnb stay should provide what a hotel would provide: enough TP, soap, shampoo, and conditioner to last for the number of days you’ve booked the place.

Additionally, since this is meant to be a home-away-from-home, and we might only be staying for a weekend, please don’t make me have to go out and buy napkins or paper towels, laundry detergent to wash a load or two, or a spare garbage bag.

I think the main reason some of these things are not routinely provided is that an infrequent guest will help themselves to far more than they need, taking home with them whatever’s not bolted down.

The answer shouldn’t be to provide nothing, but rather to keep a limited supply available to each guest. A few spare garbage bags, a handful of laundry pods, a 6-pack of toilet paper. People can’t take what you don’t leave out, but I honestly think it’s a rare guest that’s going to back the truck up and treat your supply closet like a Costco run.

 

Airbnb Pet Peeve #5: One Bedroom, One Bathroom. Sleeps 14.

 

Why is this couch so uncomfortable?

Oh, that’s why. It’s a Transformers couch that also serves as an uncomfortable bed, and yes, I can sense those coils beneath the cushions when it’s posing as a couch. Maybe I’ll be more comfortable sitting on that futon over there…

I understand that the ability to sleep more people opens your place up to larger groups, but is that what you really want? More wear and tear per stay and can’t-get-comfy dual-purpose furniture?

I also think this is an excellent way to attract negative reviews. The places we stay as a family of four almost always claim to sleep at least 6 to 8. And they have enough hot water for maybe 2 or 3 hot showers in the morning if we’re lucky.

I already covered the kitchen woes of some of these places that aren’t equipped for a family of four, let alone six or eight, and the same is often true of the dining arrangements. You shouldn’t say that eight can stay when all you provide is a fold-out card table and four matching church-basement chairs.

 

 

If I Ran the Zoo

 

If I ever host an Airbnb, I’ll give you a comfortable, dark place to sleep with at least two pillows per person.

There will be a house manual that explains any quirks the place may have, what the keys do (although it will probably have an electronic entry), what to do with garbage and recycling (which will be an option), and where to go for groceries, drinks, or a bite to eat.

The kitchen will be well stocked with at least two bowls, plates, and utensils per person, and there will be pots, pans, a cutting board, and yes, knives that can actually cut meats and produce.

You won’t have to run out just after you arrive to buy canola oil or seasonings, toilet paper, napkins, or laundry soap. We’ll even provide dryer sheets and a dryer that actually dries your clothes, not one of those combo machines that take three hours and don’t even dry as well as a standard spin cycle.

I won’t pretend you can comfortably squeeze your entire extended family into the place, and there will be someplace reasonably comfortable to sit.

 

How to Be a Good Airbnb Host

 

In addition to avoiding my pet peeves, here are some additional things that I’ve seen that can help make a good Airbnb experience a great one.

 

Accuracy:

If GPS can lead someone astray, give detailed directions to find the place. Have pictures of the home, the door, the lock box, or whatever the person needs to find. If parking can be difficult, tell people where to find free or paid parking nearby.

If the wifi SSID or password has changed, make sure the new information is available. If you’ve made restaurant recommendations, make sure those places are still operating and update the manual as needed.

 

A Welcome Gift:

It doesn’t have to be expensive, but leaving a snack or a sweet treat with a bottle of water or wine waiting for the guests upon arrival is a nice touch.

When we arrived in Mexico after a long travel day in December, there were juice boxes, six little beers (Coronitas), and a variety of fruit and snacks waiting for us in the kitchen. The total cost was probably under $10, and it made us feel very welcome.

 

Be Responsive:

Airbnb has a convenient chat feature built into your reservation. There’s a translate button that allows both the host and the guest to communicate in their native language. It works well, and if you do have significant issues that are not addressed, Airbnb has a record of it.

I appreciate it when hosts are quick to respond, and they usually are. I am usually suspect when they want to move communication over to text messaging or Whatsapp. Is there something you don’t want Airbnb to know about?

 

Reliable Wifi:

With so many people working “from home” or doing the digital nomad thing, functioning internet is a necessity for many. Online schooling and homeschooling also require a reliable digital connection.

In two of our last four Airnbnb stays (all were in Europe), there was no router in our flat. The signal was clearly shared with a neighbor or two. If the internet goes out and the router needs to be reset in this situation, you may be out of luck for a while.

I also think that if you’re advertising free wifi, it should work throughout the home. I like my lazy mornings getting work done from bed, and if the only room that has a reliable signal is the living room, you may be forcing me to get my work done from your futon or Transformers couch, which I clearly am not happy about.

 

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Set Expectations:

I’ve only had one sort-of-negative review of me as an Airbnb guest (surprising, I know!), and it was mainly due to the host and I having very different expectations.

We were staying in Mexico City, and apparently, a cleaning woman would come through daily to tidy up. That wasn’t clear to us beforehand. It also wasn’t clear that we were expected to keep even packaged food in plastic bins that they had in the kitchen.

Another thing we didn’t expect was that a door leading to the kitchen from the common courtyard would be left open by the cleaners, apparently to air the place out. There was a locked gate to this complex, but with at least a half-dozen apartments sharing a courtyard, a lot of people could have walked right in to the apartment where my computer, camera equipment, passports, etc. were all kept while we were out sightseeing.

His review said that our kids left their toys everywhere and that we invited critters and bugs in leaving food out all over the place. In my view, the kids’ belongings shouldn’t have been in anyone’s way but ours, and the unemptied garbage bags were much more likely to attract critters than our bags of unopened chips, bread, and the like.

The lack of clear expectations up front made it a suboptimal stay for both of us. It didn’t help that his place was listed as a three bedroom when one bedroom was the living room and another was smaller than most walk-in closets. Again, please be accurate!

 

So Fresh and So Clean

A top-notch cleaning crew will help you get those coveted 5-star reviews. This is an area where we haven’t really had any major issues, but one can tell the difference between a wipe-down job and a thorough deep clean.

If there are dust bunnies under every bed and sofa or the place has a smell that’s not quite right, it’s time to change up your cleaning routine.

 

 

I’m not asking for 1,200-count Egyptian cotton bedsheets. I don’t expect a Wüsthof chef’s knife, and I promise I’m not going to fill my trunk with your spare paper towels and toilet paper.

I’m just looking for a decent night’s sleep, a kitchen where I can cook for my family, and a comfortable spot to sit my butt down after a day of sightseeing or fun in the sun. Can you help me out, Airbnb hosts?

 

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What are your biggest Airbnb pet peeves? What have been your worst experiences or nicest touches from short-term rental stays?

Airbnb hosts: What are your pet peeves with guests or your most outrageous stories?

 

42 thoughts on “My Top 5 Airbnb Pet Peeves & How to be a Good Host”

  1. I’m a superhost on airbnb. I agree with much of your post, but you might consider as far as the hosts star rating goes, guests don’t understand that airbnb considers 4 stars failing and it significantly brings down the overall score. Many guests rave about their excellent stay in the review and give 5 stars in every category, but give 4 stars overall. Talk about frustrating! Some guests never leave 5 stars for any business no.matter.what, not realizing the damage 4 stars does to the hosts overall score. Airbnb needs to adopt a more universal rating system, but no sign of that happening. They also can deactivate a hosts account if they fall below 4.5. They don’t offer the same penalty for guests that consistently receive low scores from hosts.

    The issue of missing items that should be stocked in the kitchen has a lot to do with hosts that don’t do their own cleaning and/or management companies that don’t care and just collect their money and are not concerned about the guest experience.

    Airbnb does still offer the referral fee, with caveats such as not being able to use the yearly $100 superhost coupon, etc.

    To your point about condiments. Airbnb asks hosts to provide salt, pepper, cooking oil. Leftover condiments in the fridge are supposed to be tossed out (due to germs). Many guests will complain if there is anything left in the fridge as it can be viewed as unsanitary.

    It’s hard to please all guests, as some do have other expectations regardless of listing photos and detailed descriptions of what is provided. Guests often don’t read and blindly book a place based on location and/or price only…..then, give the host a poor review when they didn’t read what they were buying!

    Reply
      • Thank u! I NEVER EVER knew that 4 stars was considered “failing”! Explains a lot. I have been in 2 places that did the whole 1/4th roll of toilet paper left, trash bags were all previously “acquired” grocery store plastic bags, “melamine/plastic” NONmicrowavable “dinnerware” for THREE (yet “sleeps up to 6” & incomplete sets and not a matching number of knives/forks/spoons ratio. Never even the “college dorm” quality of NEEDED kitchen items. Not even any “pizza pans” to cook a frozen store pizza. Always ended up making extra store run for just the basic supplies (personal toiletries, toilet paper etc) which for a 3 day trip, is annoying as crap. I’m not asking for a $25k/night private villa with 24 hour staff and cook; I would be extremely happy with the travel size shampoos etc from Dollar General store as these can be difficult to pack and fly with in general, etc. I as well as others completely understand this IS completely a business for the hosts. Otherwise, why do it?! I wouldn’t do it without a profit margin! I just can’t justify the excessive cleaning fees and checkout instructions on the “EXPECTED” checkout cleaning and “chores” BUT yet, I’m being charged huge extra cleaning fees (& once “excessive” additional amounts when I left the unit cleaner than I found it AND fixed/replaced the Ballcock in the (only) toilet because it would flush completely & was told when I 1st called upon arrival (it was 7:00pm Thu nite) that he couldn’t get a plumber out until maybe Monday AND, “SOMEONE” had to be available for a 5 hour window of availability to let him in. Why am I expected to cancel the sightseeing tour that we have booked for our vacation to sit and wait for a plumber to fix YOUR toilet?? So I did it myself and left copy of receipt on counter. We had a Tue checkout and by Thursday had an excess cleaning/damage fee charged to my card for the “broken toilet” that I fixed (that upon going back many reviews,) I found buried mentions of the “running water in toilet ” and toilet doesn’t flush completely or very well. So, from a guest perspective; it’s all extremely frustrating. I have since just stayed in regular Hotels AND have all the toilet paper I need and if toilet not right, I can get moved to another room at worst, BUT don’t have to cancel my paid tours to sit for 5++ hours waiting to let someone in to fix someone else’s toilet (or any appliances). Things need to improve on both/all sides unfortunately…

        Reply
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  3. I’m a superhost on airbnb. I agree with much of your post, but you might consider as far as the hosts star rating goes, guests don’t understand that airbnb considers 4 stars failing and it significantly brings down the overall score. Many guests rave about their excellent stay in the review and give 5 stars in every category, but give 4 stars overall. Talk about frustrating! Some guests never leave 5 stars for any business no.matter.what, not realizing the damage 4 stars does to the hosts overall score. Airbnb needs to adopt a more universal rating system, but no sign of that happening. They also can deactivate a hosts account if they fall below 4.5. They don’t offer the same penalty for guests that consistently receive low scores from hosts.

    The issue of missing items that should be stocked in the kitchen has a lot to do with hosts that don’t do their own cleaning and/or management companies that don’t care and just collect their money and are not concerned about the guest experience.

    Airbnb does still offer the referral fee, with caveats such as not being able to use the yearly $100 superhost coupon, etc.

    Reply
  4. I was made aware of this blog post after someone linked it in a hosting group I belong to. You’re spot on and I suspect you would appreciate the lengths we go to as hosts of @carpenterscabinoh As a matter of fact, we were just added to a carefully curated list of just 1800 vacation rentals worldwide.

    Some are attracted to our striking design, some by our story, some by our sustainability measures, but when you stay, you fall in love with our organic bamboo sheets, eucalyptus & Turkish cotton bath towels, organic bath and body products, and these detailed ease of our layout (and conversation pit!).

    Fully stocked kitchen. No air mattresses or sofa beds. Just an eco-luxe getaway on 32 secluded acres.

    And cleaning? In addition to our cleaning team we use a cleaning auditor. This individual checks the cabin after each cleaning to ensure everything is perfect for your stay.

    A few times a year, we travel and experience other vacation rentals to see if we need to add or change our guest experience.

    Bad guests? We’ve had a few unfortunately but my biggest eye roll wasn’t a damaging guest, it was the one who complained about pine needles on the hot tub cover. We’re in a pine forest, there are times of the year these rain down as the trees shed in the fall, as was the case during her visit.

    You’re welcome at our property anytime.

    Reply
  5. My suspicion, upon reading your post, is that you are cheap. I’ve been to many airbnbs that offer everything you could ask for, from a complimentary fridge full of beer to all the paper towels your little heart could desire, with thick matresses, an espresso machine and everything in between. I’ve also been to places with uncomfortable beds and bare kitchens. The big difference my little friend, is price. If you want luxury, spend a buck.

    Reply
  6. To Author, Perfectly detailed written. What a concept – just to have pots and pans and condiments…
    I love Airbnb’g, ha, a verb now. I’m a 5 🌟 cause I do sleep in my home occasionally and I like comfort – so I want to share that experience.
    airbnb.com/h/onthefairwayvacation. Come and stay – North County San Diego, Ca

    Reply
  7. I used to have apartment hotel and also and airbnb property, in both I had to make sure that living conditions where optimal but I was pleasantly surprised that in my airbnb property in France there was an inspection required and the list of items it ask for was very long, which allowed me with my previous experience in hotels to have excellent reviews very fast and attract the best customers. I miss that life. As a customer I hated renting in Spain where I live because I have to pay extra for sheets and they are not confortable, but that’s only in Cataluña, the rest of Spain is good. I will see how things have changed since my last use. As a customer my pet peeve is the cleaning fee, I like to know full price in advance. Worse is hosts that charge cleaning fee but expect you to clean on top of it

    Reply
  8. Good observations but I share my home and don’t rent the entire place, so a few don’t really apply. That being said, one change I’ve been advocating after a few frustrating incidents is some way to know if a guest has a history of canceling bookings.

    As you may know, hosts have an option for guests to cancel any reservation without penalty either thirty days, five days, or one day before arriving. I’ve had guests who booked a two-week stay cancel exactly one day before the penalty would kick in. I have a five-day cancellation window but it’s awfully hard to get my room booked with only five days notice.

    If a guest has a history of canceling bookings, I’d like to know that before accepting a reservation.

    In any case, Airbnb has changed my life for the better.

    Reply
    • It would be easy to know if hosts left reviews for cancelled bookings but the fear of retaliation prevents that. While the reviews are blind – a guest is going to suspect they aren’t getting a positive review for a last minute cancellation.

      I had a guest come in, break antique furniture and decide to go stay with her kids instead of my cabin, once she realized that given the sloppy snow conditions, it wasn’t as close to the ski hills as she had hoped (despite being informed of this earlier). She blamed the beds being too uncomfortable and too small. I am EXTREMELY upfront with the confines of my 200 year old cabin and clearly list the bed sizes. I also provide custom made mattresses and $200 sheets. She demanded and received a full refund for a week stay.

      So, when I left a 3 srar review and reported the broken property, she guessed it wasn’t good and left me a scathing 1 star review.

      She didn’t stay, she received a full refund, she broke my antique furniture and she decided to top it off by tanking my 4.9 star rating.

      So, most hosts don’t want to gamble. I took the risk of warning others and paid dearly for it.

      Reply
  9. As the top rated Airbnb host of Baltimore, super and premier host of Vrbo I have several comments on this post.
    85% of our guests are wonderful and fun.
    15% are a freaking nightmare.

    1. Don’t ask if we can store your luggage off premise ( that makes us liable for your stuff once it touches our hands. We have rules on that one)
    2. Don’t ship packages we won’t except them even for longer stays of 2 weeks for example (once we a brick of cocaine shipped to us). I also had a guest ship a package 4 months after he stayed here…and that’s also in our rules.
    3. Stop asking for 3 hour early check ins (constant constant constant) we pay for a great cleaning service and they need time to do so. I don’t know if a hotel alone that allows a 11am-12pm checkin.
    4. We have a strict no drug policy and smoking policy so don’t dismantle our labeled, tested detectors even the carbon monoxide ones. And don’t get mad if I suspect you of breaking such rules.
    5. We send extremely detailed guidebooks both through the apps and email please read them (it’s takes 100 plus hours to develop them).
    6. If you happen to have certain accidents regarding bodily fluids please call and inform us, we have to take extra precautions.
    7. Please even with reminders on the door double check to collect all your belongings, you just created a ton of extra work for us having to go to a shipping store bag it and send it and wait for you to Venmo money.
    8. Ask to introduce yourself to host if they are around it’s just polite. Think about it like this do you just walk into a nice restaurant and sit yourself and ignore the host? We work hard to keep our places to high and fun standards.
    9. Don’t break our plate wear and glasses because you obviously were drinking and not offer nicely to replace them. This is the reason it’s hard to have nice stuff that isn’t cheap plastic.
    10. Please don’t make me spell this in the house rules that this isn’t for your escort service.

    I could keep going. Sorry I’m just letting you know it goes both ways….

    Reply
    • Thank you, Jamie!

      We’ve actually been really curious about this. What are the pet peeves and horror stories from hosts — I appreciate you filling in some of the blanks for us. At the moment, we’re staying in a high-end Airbnb and it’s surprising how stingy they are with supplies. One load of dishwasher soap, one laundry pod, etc… I’m assuming larger quantities / containers must get swiped routinely for it to come to this.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

      Reply
      • I’ve had guests who’ve invited guests that thought it was okay to discharge a semi-automatic rifle in the yard, and my neighbors had to call the police. I’ve had guests who thought it was okay to have male strippers out to the house and then have sex with them in the parking area leaving their used condoms.

        Reply
  10. As an air bnb property manager of over nearly 15 ‘super hosted’ units in Bryan, Tx ( Whoop!) I have to say all of your comments are spot on. I’m surprised that extra blankets, streaming services and neighborhood safety concerns didn’t make the list because they literally are things we HAVE to ensure are there, working and easy to work …we have laminated guides on everything! We not only clean inside but outside each flip too! Soaps, shampoo, lotion, makeup removal wipes, salt, pepper ,oil coffee, creamer, sugar, sweet and low. Full knife sets , pots , pans toasters dishwashers ans detergent, laundry and soaps.. the list goes on forever. Long long way from the air mattress life ! Hair removal from pets is another thing we HAVE to get right. Luckily our hosts walk thru each unit before check ins to double check most every time! I’m pro tipping for obvious reasons but no One ever has lol

    Reply
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  12. Having rented 18 different Air BnBs in Europe and 1 in NY between 2018 and 2020, your suggestions are spot on! Europeans seem more proud of their apartments/ homes to rent. In Veliko Tărnovo, Bulgaria, the Air BnB I rented was not only spotless upon arrival but the refrigerator was literally fully stocked: fruit, vegetables, milk, yogurt, bread, coffee and all the condiments down to hot sauce. In all honesty, the hosts were so pleasant, I could have rented that apartment for the rest of my life! The “worst” one was in Sofia, Bulgaria and only because it required a full day of my cleaning to whip it into acceptable shape. I guess my pet peeve is that the unit must be clean upon check in! Now I am headed back to Europe in a few weeks for another two year jaunt. If I have as much success with Air BnBs as I did last time, I will be completely satisfied. Thank you for the lovely and truthful article!

    Reply
  13. This review is spot on. How chintzy is it to leave 1 roll of toilet paper and a small bar of soap per bathroom. The lack of kitchen equipment is an irritant for me too. In addition to the lack of adequate kitchen equipment (cutting board, sauté pan, spatula, knives & sharpener, adequate number of plates, bowls, silverware…) add to that list: a colander to wash fresh fruit fruit & veggies. Crappy CFLs are no excuse when long lasting LEDs are available. One more gripe related to poor lighting: no dusting of cobwebs from lamp shades. yech!

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  14. I had a bad experience with AirBnbs jacking up ridiculous fees. So the advertised price I saw per night wasn’t close to the total. May be market dependent, not sure.

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  15. Hi,

    As both an Airbnb host (Yosemite National Park, Cloud’s Rest Retreat) and a frequent guest, your comments were spot on.

    The more remote a vacation destination is, the more amenities it should have and the better stocked it should be. Many guests arrive after a long day of travel and being able to make simply plop down and relax is a big win.

    Because our unit is high-end (and we work hard to keep it that way), our guests have all been incredible. An interesting surprise was when our cleaners found our toaster, welcome gift bottle of wine, and our coffee creamer inside our dishwasher. When asked out of curiosity, our guest said that as an orthodox Jew, these items were non-Kosher and she did not want her family accidentally using them.

    It was a friendly exchange and we gave each other 5 star ratings!

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  16. Another good read. Always enjoy the work. We’d love to have anyone check out our physician-owned Airbnb Green Door Lofts in Waco, Texas when you bring the family to check out Magnolia! I think you’ll see we exceed all the expectations you set here!

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  17. Just had a terrible AirBNB experience. On 1/29/22 my AirBNB host texted me and cancelled my month-long February rental in Florida. Said a cleaner got Covid and he was required by AirBNB policies to quarantine the property for 2 weeks and then spend another week cleaning the place from top-to-bottom. What? Just 2 days notice for me to find a new place (which cost me $3K more)! I think as we head into the 3rd year of the pandemic, we know there is no safety risk from being in a townhome several days after a person with Covid was there. Ridiculous!

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    • From a scientific standpoint, that makes zero sense. The disease spreads primarily via droplets and close contact, not surfaces. And statistically, we know that there are thousands of people with COVID staying in Airbnbs every day — most are just not reported and in some cases, unaware they even have it.

      I’m sorry that happened, but I’m glad you found a replacement place. Enjoy the margaritas!

      Cheers!
      -PoF

      Reply
  18. Happy that my vacation rental homes (offered direct as well as via OTAs, like VRBO & Airbnb) has everything you’ve outlined. They are all great asks. On the knives though, amazing how people thrash things, I leave a sharpener, but I am not sure guests know how to use it.

    Personally, as a host and guest, I prefer VRBO, because Airbnb is so proprietary and controlling.

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    • Good to know about VRBO. I know many hosts use both platforms.

      I think that control that Airbnb exerts may give a more consistent experience to the user — but that’s just been my experience.

      Best,
      -PoF

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  19. My pet peeve is when they list that breakfast is provided. In Europe I have stayed at Airbnbs that will serve you a cappuccino, eggs, fresh rolls and fruit for breakfast. Most times in the US, breakfast means a granola bar and coffee (lucky if they have cream and sugar). I have complained to Airbnb that hosts should describe what exactly they mean by “breakfast”. It’s false advertising and deceptive to say breakfast is provided when it is not the case.

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  20. These bullet points are very useful for me as someone who has never used Airbnb or VRBO, but hopes to in the future.

    At least the park service cabin I rented in the Georgia mountains told us up front that we needed to supply our own paper products, and that no food products such as cooking oil or condiments were provided. That allowed us to prepare in advance by bringing things from home (we drove there). They were kind enough to leave us a bundle of cut firewood for the fireplace. I really enjoyed that cabin, which was spacious enough to live in full time and was very quiet and had nice views of the surrounding woods.

    I think it’s really egregious to advertise the place as having more sleeping capacity than the furniture/rooms provided. Do they expect people to sleep standing up, or to lie on the bare floor?

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    • I don’t mean to be overly critical. It’s just that most stays have some room for improvement.

      As far as the number that can sleep, it’s generally accurate if you put 2 in every bed, futon, and pull-out sofa and don’t need a place setting for everyone at the same time. 🙁

      Cheers!
      -PoF

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  21. Great ideas. We got burned on the TP one last fall in Big Sky. I understand the pots and pans get trashed by everyone, but they could literally add $10 to each rental and supply each visit with a brand new non stick fry pan from Ikea. I’ve slowly started making a checklist of things to bring when we rent, and I always bring knives and cast iron when we’re driving. I’m considering bringing them when we fly, too, since they are such a sorry excuse for knives and pans wherever we visit. I’m going to look into a canvas knife roll.

    One that PoF didn’t mention, but irritates me to no end is shitty daylight temperature lightbulbs in fixtures. I am trying to take a vacation from an examination room or lab, not vacation at one! Almost worse is a different temp bulb in each fixture!

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    • Cast iron is awfully heavy — I don’t know that I’d fly with it. And the knife wouldn’t be an option if you’re carrying on. Both could be considered weapons, I suppose. I wouldn’t want to be hit in the head with a Lodge skillet!

      As an amateur photographer, I’m 100% with you on the lighting. Please do something about those 6000k CFLs! Incandescent bulbs are terribly inefficient but give a pleasant light, and LEDs can now replicate that 2700k to 3000k light quite nicely.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

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      • Yeah, we have kids and my wife likes to pack a ton of stuff, so we’re always checking bags! Agree on the color temp, 3000K in the kitchen and bath, 2700K for living rooms and bedrooms!

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  22. I wonder if maybe you need to give VRBO another try. We’ve never had even a single one of your peeve issues with them in a whole lot of stays. It may be that VRBO has caught up and surpassed Airbnb since the last time you tried them. Or maybe its the places we rent, almost always out in the middle of nowhere where we do wilderness hiking and almost always in the US. We still have our perfect guest rating so far with VRBO, but I think you are more likely to get a lower rating if the host has done a bad job of describing their property. Its their best chance of discrediting your honest review of them. I think you’d be a perfect guest for any rental with very reasonable expectations.

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    • My frustrations with VRBO and sometimes with Airbnb is that the listed price is used as bait. Then the service and other fees add up to exorbitant bottom line costs.

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    • I did notice that the interface looked updated to a more modern look the last time I searched it. My main issue was the lack of consistency in pricing.

      I feel like Airbnb gives you the all-in price per night right on the search results screen. With VRBO, I had to dig for it, making comparing one place to another more challenging. But, as you say, perhaps that’s improved in the interim.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

      Reply
  23. Well said.

    We often stay at places during the summer/at the beach, and I’ll add to the knife the request to have at least a spatula and pair of tongs for the grill.

    Reply

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