- An Airbnb host photographed the checkout chore list at VRBO, Ohio, where she stayed this month.
- This included a request for sheets and towels to be washed, dried and put away before leaving in the morning.
- The woman, who rents out her home, said listings like this could get guests to stay at the hotel.
Annie is a new Airbnb host in Fairport, a village nine miles east of Rochester, NY. During my recent stay at Vacation Home in Cleveland, Ohio, which I booked via his rental site VRBO, I came across a list of chores that must be completed before checkout. She took a picture of her sign and shared it on her Facebook with other short-term rental hosts, and her post received hundreds of comments.
Earlier this month, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky pledged to be transparent about the chores guests need to do before they book, and to filter out low-rated listings on their chore lists. not yet, Annie, who only wanted to give her first name for professional reasons, recalled concerns that such a chore list could give all short-term rental hosts a bad reputation.
We live in a lake house during the summer, so Airbnb rentals are our primary residence. I have stayed 5 times so far. Most of them worked fine. We had one guest complain. It’s a historic home and she said it’s “outdated.”
We recently rented a five-bedroom VRBO house in Cleveland, Ohio for our daughter’s college graduation. We stayed for 4 days in a large cottage near Lake Erie.
What really surprised me was this note that instructed me to wash, dry and fold all sheets and all towels on the morning of my departure.
It wasn’t on the list at all. It just said, “All linens are provided.” If it was on the list we would have booked elsewhere.
There were 7 people. It took hours to hang multiple laundry items, and I had to wake up early on the day of my departure. I quickly decided that it was impossible and decided not to do it.
New to hosting, but the request caught me off guard
What struck me was the way it made me feel. It created negative energy around the place. I felt like I was in conflict with people I had never met.
It made me want to look around and say, “What else is wrong with this place?” What else are you going to find fault with? ’ There was a dent in the coffee table, and I thought, “If I didn’t put a sheet over it, people would say I damaged the furniture,” so I took a quick picture.
We removed all beds. We put all our laundry in the laundry room. We emptied the trash can, emptied the dishwasher, wiped down the counters. We left the place very clean and tidy.
I wasn’t planning on doing laundry for hours.
Other hosts agree it was unreasonable
I have joined the Facebook group of other short term rental hosts and am learning a lot. I think other hosts also need to understand how surprises like this affect people’s feelings about their stay.
You know the saying, “People remember what you made them feel.”
The post exploded. It has 1,500 likes and lots of comments. Basically everyone agrees that this is absurd. Not making these expectations up front is problematic.
What hosts usually do, as you can tell by joining a Facebook group, is make sure you have multiple sets. [of linens]. You can keep one in your rental and send the other to the dry cleaners.
We understand that it is impossible for the cleaners to do laundry for hours a day. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare multiple sets.
Experiences like this give all short term rentals a bad reputation
Airbnb in particular (but short-term rentals in general) has a bad reputation these days. Part of that is the cleaning fees and ridiculous expectations of guests.
Many hosts are talking about the fact that their bookings are down this year. They are wondering, “Is this a sign of the economy?”
If this is any indication, it’s that people are reacting to this bad press and not feeling it’s worth staying in an Airbnb instead of a hotel.
Nothing terrible happened. But going forward, I will be more careful about reading everything before booking to make sure I am clear about all my expectations.