Bye Bye Airbnb

I was an Airbnb host for 1 year. However I decided to hang up my Airbnb keys as I was too tired from the stress of hosting and the experience taught me to dislike people. Bye bye Airbnb.

Being an Airbnb host is extremely stressful, especially if you also have a demanding full-time job. We let out our spare bedroom with ensuite in London and in a 6 month period we hosted 43 guests from more than 8 different countries with the average review being an okay 3 stars. Whenever we got a new reservation for the room, we’d go through the following process:

  1. Change the sheets, ensuring bedding smells fresh and there are two pillows per person
  2. Lay out new towels, 1 big towel per person and a smaller hand towel
  3. Put one to two rolls of fresh toilet paper out
  4. Fill up bowl with some chocolates or sweets
  5. Put clean cups and teaspoons out
  6. Ensure toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash, soap) were more than half full
  7. Clean shower with Windex and bleach
  8. Clean bathroom floor, toilet and sink with Flash and bleach
  9. Confirm check-in with guest

Sounds straight forward right? Well preparing the room takes usually one hour and trust me that is the easy part. The copious amount of laundry that comes with it is also a piece of cake. The hard part is dealing with people.

On my advert I clearly stated that we cannot facilitate check-in before 6pm on a weekday due to work. However the majority of guests auto-booked and then tried to push me to accommodate an early check-in. Plenty of times I used annual leave or worked from home to do so and I was very happy to do it. Unfortunately 98% of the time guests were late and didn’t keep to their promised check-in time!

When you work a full time job, later is usually better. However people who arrived significantly later than the agreed check-in time without bothering to let us know could ruin our night. If they would only let us know! Sometimes we would like to go out but were stuck waiting at home for the guest to arrive. Other times, they arrived so late beyond our bedtime the next day we were tired zombies at work. Most guests don’t realise that we are not a hotel service and that we rely on their good word when indicating what time they will check-in.

But I can live with all that and in all honesty we were late home 3 times out of 43 guests. What really made me lose faith in humanity was the constant complaining. By the time we decided to end our Airbnb arrangement, I had become so depressed and demotivated by all the bad reviews I couldn’t bring myself to read them anymore. The room was not great, we admit it. But the location was fantastic and the price we were charging was a fraction of what it actually would cost to live here as a resident. We tried to be helpful and offer advice on local sights and restaurants, but the harder we tried the more people seemed unhappy.

Complaints varied. The ones that particularly upset me were about the quilt being stained. Yes our quilt is stained. We took it to the dry cleaner but they could not remove the stain. So we put the quilt in a clean quilt cover but unfortunately this was not good enough for some people.

Other people complained the walls were paper thin but that was out of our control. Someone even complained they were not given a glass to drink water from… but they never asked for one!

However there were a few very sweet and memorable guests that we are grateful for. We hosted lovely couples from Switzerland, Spain, Poland and Chile who were all humble and kind. One of our first German guests even bought us chocolates! We also had a couple of cool Aussies. But the best were our guests from China, who were never too shy to ask for what they needed, they made themselves at home and they never EVER complained!

Being a host on Airbnb I found to be a depressing experience. When we first started the adventure we would invite our guests to join us for a beer, exchange contact details and plan to visit them in their home country one day. By the end of the experience we had become demoralised and scared of being too friendly in case we offended any sensibilities.

Is Airbnb a great idea? Sure it is! It is cheaper than a hotel and for longer term stays, you can have all the comforts of home. However I always thought the key was about meeting new people and having new experiences. It turns out, this is the worst part of all! Bye bye Airbnb!

Please read below some of the reviews and decide whether I am being too sensitive?