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ALWAYS Charge Your Airbnb Guests If They Damage Your Stuff Transcript
What’s up everyone? John here. Today I just want to explain why you should charge your Airbnb guests if they cause damage in your property. They come in, they break your stuff, and they leave it a mess. If they leave it like it’s trashed and they had a wild party in your house, yeah, you should be charging them. Even if something’s broken, like your Vitamix blender or your coffee maker, and they don’t tell you about it, it’s just they’re broken, it’s broken glass, or they broke a piece of your furniture or cracked a window, anything, yes, you should be charging your guests for this. Now, in this episode, I want to briefly explain again how it’s done in a way that you could kind of kill them with kindness so you’re not having them upset, having them emotional, having them wanting to leave you a bad retaliatory review.
There’s a way to do this and there’s a way to leverage customer service to get them to agree and do it with kindness. So here it is. The very first thing you’re going to want to do is take good pictures. I’ve talked about this on several podcast episodes, but it needs to be said again. When somebody breaks your stuff, your cleaners, your maintenance person or your self needs to take a picture with a timestamp on it, and there’s lots of apps you can use. I like to use a timestamp app, but that app will take the picture and in the right corner, left bottom corner, it’ll put the property address, the time the picture was taken, the date it was taken. It’s really helpful when you’re trying to do an Airbnb resolution center claim or a claim through VRBO or booking.com. It’s helpful to have this documentation because the platform, they’re going to ask for this because they want to show the guests what’s being claimed for and they need to evaluate it themselves.
So it’s important to keep proper documentation, and that’s a writeup. So you can have your cleaner or your maintenance person write up what they saw in terms of damage when they arrived, and then you can also have the pictures or video evidence to support that as well. And a plus is if you have a timestamp for that. Now, let’s talk about how long you have the file. You do have a 14 day filing window, but you want to get the process started as soon as possible because if you wait too long, you’re just going to miss your opportunity window and you’re not going to get paid out any money from the resolution center. So even if you’re not ready to completely file and it’s day two, you should still open the resolution claim, at least open the claim at that point. Now, if you don’t want to get air cover involved yet, you can ask your vacation rental insurance if you’re using proper or another insurance company, you can ask them to pay out for stuff like damaged towels or damaged beds, something of that nature, because that’s why you have another extra insurance policy.
So if you want to go that route, you can, but what I suggest you do is use air cover first because their policy will actually pay you out if they know the guest did the damage. Now, this episode’s different from the last one because in the last episode, I really didn’t explain the methodology you can use to kill them with kindness so they don’t leave you retaliatory review. And you can also deliver an exceptional customer service experience without upsetting the guests ruffling their feathers, getting them emotional. You don’t want that to happen because people, they get defensive, they start playing linebacker defense on you if you’re trying to tell them they did something wrong. It’s just human nature. They don’t want to be blamed, they don’t want to pay. They didn’t do it, the drill. So what we want to do is be kind about it.
What would that sound like? Well, if I was messaging the guests and what I do in real time is I say, Hey, thanks for staying at our place. Upon visiting the property, we found a couple of things out of order and we have to get Airbnb insurance involved. So I just wanted to know if you had any insight on how the property was left in this condition. Any insight is helpful and much appreciated. We’re here to help. If you have any questions about how the Resolution Center process works, we are here to guide you through it and help you. Thank you so much. Any insight will be helpful by sending a message. By not blaming them, they’re not going to be as defensive, but they will know what’s up. They’ll know that, Hey, they know that we messed up that blender. Oh no, what are we going to do?
At least they’ll know something’s up, but you’re not blaming them so they don’t have to save space. So you’re kind of being nice and it’s going to help you in a big way because what most hosts do is they go into Facebook groups and they start complaining, sharing with everyone pictures. They get really aggressive, and then they want to yell at the guests because they’re frustrated and then they don’t take a good customer service tone. They come in with heat and they say, Hey, why do you break my stuff? And it gets really combative. You don’t want that to happen. The best thing is to stay cool, calm, and collected, and you can respond just like I just phrased it so that the guest doesn’t get defensive or have to save face. And sometimes they will just pay it. They’ll know that they did the damage and they’ll just offer to pay it because you’re being so kind.
Most guests will say, Hey, I’m so sorry we broke the blenders. Is there any way that we can make this right or pay for it? And then most of the time, between two human beings, you can resolve the issue without even getting aircover involved. But if the guests were just not very decent and they didn’t want to take personal responsibility for anything they broke, at least you are not putting them on the defensive. And that is a good thing. Now, you want to do this after they leave the review. You want to request a review before you even bring this stuff up, because as heated as you can be about this damage, it’s best first to ask for that review. Explain that a five star review is what you want in nice terms. Thanks so much for staying at my place. We hope you come back with Airbnb.
A four star review is actually negative, so if you could leave me a five star review, if you believe we deserved it, it would help our business and definitely get more guests to stay at our place. After you request that review and you seal the review and you got it, then you can send that kind email letting them know that, Hey, we found a few things we’re off, but we just want your side of the story. We’re going to have insurance get involved. Any insight would be helpful at moment. Then we’re escalating it to the resolution center and we can get paid out. Now, if claims are really small, like $20, sometimes Airbnb just kicks it out. They don’t even charge a guest because they have very deep pockets being a public company and they just kick out the money if it’s something small like a broken coffee maker.
Now, however, for the big things, Airbnb’s got a little bit greedy since they become a public company, and sometimes they just deny the claim and it leaves you feeling so frustrated because you had the documentation, they did it, but Airbnb just doesn’t want to kick out, right? You don’t want to stop there. There is a way you can get an attorney involved and move it to arbitration and you can get paid for it and all the costs associated with having to go through that process. But don’t give up. If they deny your claim, ask them why they did it and escalate it to arbitration. Get an attorney involved, you will get paid out. You just have to be persistent. If the guests came in and they did that damage, you will get paid out for it. It just might not be as easy as just asking for the money.
You may need to go a couple steps further, but you will get paid out if you’re persistent enough. Now, most of these guests, there are guests because we’re hosting them, but Airbnb kind of owns the guests because they’re the middleman and they have control. They could cancel the reservation when they want. They could modify the reservation, they could move your guest. So in legal speak, they’re technically Airbnb’s guests because they have more control than you do over it. They even hide their email. So if you want to push the issue, if Airbnb’s treating you unfairly or any platform and the guest came in and they had a party, they did damage, they didn’t pay you back for it, don’t take it out on the guest, okay? Be as cordial as you can with the guest and always kill them with kindness. Use nice language, use persuasion.
Let them know that you’re on their side. You just want to have any sort of knowledge or insight that they can provide you to know why it happened, because you need to go through insurance to put your place back in good working order, but you never want to pass blame or point the finger because it’s just going to make us as human beings defensive. And you don’t want that because it’s not going to go anywhere. It’s just going to get long and drawn out and bitter, and you don’t want to put the guests in a saving face position. It’s not going to help you one bit. Okay? So if you need to push the issue, many hosts, including myself, successfully have moved claims to arbitration and were successful in getting paid out. So don’t feel discouraged if you’re not paid out from an initial resolution center claim.
I bet Airbnb is even denying claims to protect their own bottom line, but they’re keeping track of these statistics of how many of us push the issue, because if they could just deny us and we just quietly go away, they’re going to keep doing it and it’s going to be even harder every single year. Increasingly more difficult to receive payouts resolution under payouts for our claims. So we don’t want to be shy about it. If we were wronged and our property is damaged by one of Airbnb’s guests, we do need to push the issue further and not give up because by doing that, we can get what’s rightfully owed to us, but also stand up for other hosts that have been in the same situation but didn’t receive a favorable outcome. You can’t be afraid to fight for what you’re entitled to. And when people break your stuff and do damage, your hard-earned money and blood, sweat, and tears went into paying for that home, you don’t want to be aggressive with the guests.
But definitely let Airbnb know that the guests that they provided to you, they did this damage. Here’s the documentation. What is the resolution for me? Okay? Don’t be afraid of doing that because from a legal standpoint, they do have to pay it out. Now, don’t get a bad review. Ask for a review first before you mention this at all, before you mention you needing it, more information on the damage they cost in a nice way. Ask for the review first and have them leave the review. There are time limits on this a 14 day window. So literally upon checkout, you want to ask for that review, get it locked in, and then you can move in that 14 day window to get this claim started through Aircover. Now, here’s a message example you can actually use in your business that’s worked for me. Here it goes.
So it’s, I hope this message finds you well. I wanted to personally reach out to you regarding your recent stay at our property. Now, while we appreciate your choices, stay with us. We notice some things we will need to replace and fix before the next check-in. Now, we understand that accidents can happen and we value open communication to ensure that all parties have a positive experience. So could you kindly provide us with some insight into how the property was left in this condition? Your feedback will be instrumental in helping us understand what occurred and address any concerns for the future. Thank you so much for staying with us. Now, I’ll share this message template in the Facebook group, but you can use this in practice to kill them of kindness and not irritate anyone, not get people defensive, saving face, and it works every single time, okay?
So don’t be afraid to use it in your own short-term rental. Now, if you like this content and you want me to make more of it, all I would need is if you can take 20 seconds out of your day, share a rating or review on Apple Podcast or on Spotify, or the podcast platform of your choosing. Doing this helps me create more content so that we can help as many short-term rental owners as possible with this short actionable podcast series. So thank you so much for joining me. Cheers, friends, and until next time, stay booked.
Vacation Rentals With John is one of the fastest growing short term rental podcasts. The show has been growing in popularity because of its no BS, to the point lessons on how to grow and operate a vacation rental. Join the facebook group. To listen to any of the past episodes, check out this page.