Just as in any facet of life sometimes you have to trust your gut above the thought of profit. In the slower season of wherever you are it is tempting to reduce to prices so low to ensure they book. That was my common practice at my Airbnb during the winter months. Rooms that would normally go for over $200 were lowered to rent at $50, and when things got really tough I would try to entice new bookings by reducing the price sometimes as low as $20.
Where the problem began
The problem began with the quality of people I started getting once I lowered the price that far. Gone were the vacationers looking to find a deal, and welcome were the locals looking for somewhere to stay. My thought was always any money is better than having the place sit vacant. That seemed like a good principal at the time until I started noticing extra vacation rental cleaning needed and ruined sheets to begin with. Then came the holes in the wall, broken glasses and dishes, and finally my stuff turning up missing.
The coup de gras to my troubles this winter was Emily. At the time of her booking I felt a little skeptical because she was a local. She said she just needed a place to stay while her apartment was getting fumigated. That sounded reasonable enough so I overrode my unease and welcomed Emily in my home. While there she raved about how amazing the space was, and especially how incredible my shower is. (It’s a fantastic shower with 2 showerheads, 2 stone benches, and enough hot water for an hour-long shower.) Because she loved it so much she asked if she could rent the unit long term. I informed her that she could book additional nights as this is not something that I allow, but that I wouldn’t be able to accommodate her for anything past a few nights. During her entire two day stay she repeatedly pestered me through the app to allow her to rent long term. I held my ground and continually reiterated that I will only rent short term, and wouldn’t consider anything else.
When Emily left I thought the trouble was over, and I was glad to see the back of her. Unfortunately, when my Airbnb cleaner went to clean she noticed the terrible truth, that I had been robbed of hundreds of dollars’ worth of stuff from my rental unit. She took the most random items, and it was my conclusion afterwards that she was simply trying to furnish her own house. Big ticket items such as my TV’s and electronics were left, but she took about 15 sets of sheets, and 20 towels. Plants, dishes, glasses, silverware, the iron, and even the hair dryer were stolen. All total she stole nearly $700 worth of random stuff from my unit. If only I had trusted my gut over my greediness I might not have lost so much.
Be cautious and trust your gut!
From then on, I have been much more cautious who I rent to. I’ve even set a bottom price that I never venture underneath for fear of attracting the wrong clientele. I hope you can learn a lesson from my cautionary tale. There is much more for me to share in upcoming posts. Tune in next time for my next helpful tidbits.