3 min read

“Your vacation rental guest is always right.”

Do you agree with that statement?

I’m sure most of you, who have been hosting in Airbnb for at least a year, will not agree to that statement to some extent.

Although most Airbnb hosts will admit that the majority of their guests are awesome, it is not rare to find 2 out of 10 guests to be some kind of problematic.

For instance, you find some guests not following your house rules entirely, forgetting to read/follow your instructions on how to check in or check out, not emptying the trash bin before leaving, being too noisy that is bothering your neighbor, or in the worst-case scenario — you find them damaging your property to some extent that cost you a little fortune to repair/replace.

Then, how on earth your vacation rental guests are always right?

Well… if you’re offering your place for FREE (like hosts do in Couchsurfing), then yes, you have the freedom to say that your guests are not always right.

But when your guests PAY you for renting your space for accommodation, they become your paid customers, and from a business standpoint, your customers are always right!

Hi, my name is Ashique Abdullah and I’ve been an Airbnb host since October 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Just like most of you, I used to get frustrated with a few Airbnb guests who used to set high expectations on my low-priced listings and posted negative reviews.

“You get what you pay for” was the mindset through which I used to justify the basic furniture and limited amenities in the budget rooms that I offered in the beginning of my hosting career.

But this was a wrong mindset for hosting in Airbnb. As a host, one should ensure that a minimum standard of service quality is maintained in the vacation rental property, which is either equal to or better than the service quality of similar priced hotels in the region.

Now you might argue, saying that you don’t consider hosting in Airbnb as a business when a host is offering just 1–2 rooms in his/her home. Or, that your Airbnb listing price is too low that doesn’t bring you any profit but only helps to pay your bills.

Well… from a guest’s perspective, you’re still doing business no matter how low you charge for the room or no matter what format you’re offering the vacation rental space (e.g. shared room, private room w/ shared bathroom, etc.).

Your guests, consciously or sub-consciously, considers your vacation rental services to be a business activity, because their ‘opportunity cost’ to booking your listing is to booking a hotel room.

In other words, they sacrifice the best alternative (opportunity) of booking a room in a hotel (which is a full-fledged business entity) when they book your vacation rental property.

Although most hosts make it clear in their listing description and house rules that they are not offering hotel rooms, and that the guests should not keep any expectations of receiving hotel-like amenities and services from Airbnb properties, the problem is some guests still expect to get hotel-like services from Airbnb hosts. I can confirm this from my five years of hosting experience in Airbnb.

So, when your guests compare your vacation rental property with traditional hotels, you are actually competing with businesses directly or indirectly.

Hence, you need to change your mindset from being an average Airbnb Host (a non-business entity) to being a vacation rental brand (a for-profit business).

When you do that shift in mindset, you’ll stop complaining about how some guests are messing up with your property and, instead, you’ll handle the issues professionally and take the necessary measures to improve your services.

In my opinion, this shift in mindset in believing that ‘your guest is always right’ is the key to quickly scale your Airbnb business and to build your vacation rental brand that can compete with neighboring hotels.

Let me know in the comment section below whether you treat your ‘Airbnb hosting’ as a formal business and whether you treat your Airbnb guests as ‘customers who are always right’.

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