Common Guest Complaints About Rentals and How to Deal With Them

Aug 19 2022
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Get tips on how to use Hostfully to optimize your vacation rental business and make more profit.


What’s in this article?

Dealing with complaints as a vacation rental property manager is stressful. Having everything run smoothly 100% of the time (while a beautiful thought) isn’t realistic. Things are bound to go wrong from time to time. You want to minimize complaints and negative reviews. That’s why we’re sharing the top complaints that rentals receive. Also the consequences of these complaints and how to do your best to avoid them.

Common Airbnb complaints from guests

Below we highlight some of the pain points that guests encounter. As a host, you want to ensure that your guests have a wonderful stay every time. No one is suggesting you provide a personal butler (although that would be nice). By putting just an ounce of thought into how your manage your vacation rental will go a mile with your guests.

#1 Cleanliness

You may be the property owner of one of the most desirable rentals. Yet, none of that will matter if your home is dirty. Guests want to feel comfortable from the moment they arrive.

On top of that, the recent pandemic has made cleanliness an even bigger issue. This is making guests hyper-aware of proper sanitation protocols. For this reason, it is important to ensure you hold to very high cleanliness standards.

So, what are your guest’s expectations?

When guests arrive at your property, they‘ll expect a clean and sanitized space. Similar as they would find at a reputable hotel chain.

This includes but isn’t limited to:

  • Clean surfaces
  • Spotless appliances
  • Dishes that are clean and put away neatly
  • A well-organized home free of clutter with all garbage removed from the property
  • Disinfected and sparkling bathrooms
  • Fresh and professional laundered linens and towels
  • Clean floors
  • Clean windows
  • A property that is well manicured and tidy

We also recommend investing in outsourcing to a cleaning company. Because they do this day in day out, they will probably get cleaning done faster and better than  you could on your own. Plus, they will manage your turnovers and implement quality control checks. Setting a standard for them to meet will give them some guidance. Your cleaning contractors should also check to see all amenities are stocked and appliances in good working order. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Need help with your cleaning processes? We have an extensive vacation rental cleaning checklist for reference.

link to article on vacation rental cleaning

What should I do if I receive a complaint regarding cleanliness?

Receiving a call that your property is not meeting expectations isn’t fun. If you receive a call regarding your property the first thing you’ll need to do is to put yourselves in their shoes. Imagine how you’d want to be treated and then respond in kind.

Here’s our 3 step process to rectifying a sticky situation:

What is Airbnb’s complaint process policy if the rental isn’t clean?

Airbnb provides step-by-step instructions for guests to follow if guests feel their accommodations do not meet cleanliness standards. The process is straightforward and is done through the Airbnb Resolution Centre. Note that Airbnb encourages guests to contact the host first. If there’s no response, or if the response is inappropriate, then Airbnb will likely issue a refund. In either case, getting a guest to that stage will likely land you a low star rating. So whatever you do, avoid cleaning complaints at all costs.

#2 Communication

Communication is key in any relationship. Especially for a short-term rental guest and their vacation rental host. Some guests might expect very little interaction. Other guests may assume that you’ll be available to answer every question that comes to mind about the property and the surrounding area.

To some guests, if these expectations aren’t met it can be enough to create a bad Airbnb experience. Which could cost you a coveted 5-star review.

To save time and ensure your guests feel taken care of from check-in to check out. We’ve listed a few ways you can be proactive about answering questions. This will help to guide your guests through their stay without having to be available 24/7.

link to getting 5-star reviews for your vacation rental business

Communication Tips

  • Use a communication flow that begins right from the time of your guest’s first inquiry.
  • Send a welcome email on check-in day to ensure their arrival runs smoothly.
  • Check-in with your guests approximately one hour after their arrival to ensure there are no issues and to answer any questions.
  • Have a digital guidebook covering the home’s details, from heating and cooling systems to how to use the appliances and parking. Don’t forget to add in all your recommendations for local restaurants, attractions, and your personal favorites for a personal touch.
  • Offer customer support by providing contact information and a phone number that can reach you in case of an emergency.
  • Don’t forget to send out a thank you message after check-out. Putting this into practice will help keep you top of mind next time they’re looking for a place to stay and can lead to rebookings and referrals.

If all this communication overwhelms you, don’t worry. There are solutions to help you automate and track all your communication, so it’s simplified. We at Hostfully offer property management software to streamline all your business processes. This gives back precious time. Leaving more time to ensure your clients have a fantastic guest experience.

Features of the PMS are:

  • Automated messaging can be configured to use the guest’s name. It’s still personal and you don‘t have to worry about ensuring texts or emails are going out on time.
  • Customer data management that allows access to your past and current guests‘ information. This is helpful for remarketing and rebooking.
  • Property data management where you can keep all your photos, lists of amenities, and other property details organized. They are always available to update your Airbnb listings.

#3 Amenities

As a guest, there’s nothing more disappointing than renting a place for a short-term stay only to discover that the property is not as advertised. This type of advertising makes the guest feel tricked. It will degrade the trust between the host and the person booking the property.

It can’t be overstated how important it is to ensure that your photos are an accurate depiction of the space. As well as the outside property. I️t’s also important that you keep your amenities list updated.

I️t is easy to avoid misrepresenting your vacation rental. By ensuring that everything is as advertised. Make it a habit to check your property for any damages including testing appliances. Also, ensure that your photos are always current.

As a property management company or host, updating listings across distribution channels may feel like an overwhelming task. Using property management software that automatically updates the details of your listings across all distribution channels is a huge time saver. This feature will help ensure your listings are accurate. Which will assist you in avoiding negative reviews by disappointed guests.

What essential amenities are required by Airbnb?

Whether you’re advertising through Airbnb, Vrbo or, there are basic amenities that every short-term rental should make available for their guest’s stay.

These include:

  • Toilet Paper
  • Soap for hands and body
  • Minimum one towel per guest
  • Minimum one pillow per guest
  • Linens for each bed

Providing these will go a long way in ensuring your guests are happy. It also doesn’t hurt to go the extra mile and offer some additional toiletries or special touches. If your guests have booked an extended stay, you should provide extra essentials.

amenities that will make guests happier

#4 Problems with the wifi

Wifi has always been an important amenity. Guests rely on wifi to connect with friends and update their social profiles. Hopefully tagging your property and telling their friends what a great place you have (free marketing!). However, since the pandemic and a significant shift towards remote working. Your guests may not be on vacation while staying with you. They might be depending on your wifi to fulfill their job’s responsibilities. Which makes it even more critical that your wifi is stable.

As a host, you’ll want to avoid providing false hope about how reliable your wifi is. We recommend posting an image of your wifi’s speed or sharing the results of a speed test.

To make things easier for you and your guests, leave detailed instructions on how to connect to the wifi. This is important for once they arrive. Also, leave instructions on what to do if they get disconnected.

Taking the time to add this to your digital guidebook can save a lot of frustration for your guest. It can reduce or eliminate receiving phone calls about your wifi.

Common Airbnb complaints from neighbors

To ensure your neighbors are ok with a short-term rental in the neighborhood, you’ll want to pull out your social skills. All you have to do is walk next door and establish friendly relationships with them. Being a thoughtful neighbor is a good idea for many reasons. A major one is that they’ll feel more inclined to call you instead of the police if you happen to rent to rowdy guests.

Neighbors who are upset with short-term rents have the potential to call the police. They can also issue complaints to the local government. This can be a catalyst for more controls being implemented on vacation rentals in your area. Which has the potential to harm your bottom line.

Here are some of the most common complaints received by neighbors. You’ll need to do your best to avoid them.

#5 Noise

Noise can be a massive issue with short-term rentals. When people are on vacation tend to be a little louder, drink a little more, and play music loud and late into the night. For good reason, this can be very annoying to neighbors who aren’t on vacation. They need to be at work in the morning or are trying to keep their baby on a sleep schedule.

To curb this loud behavior, ensure your property doesn’t cross the acceptable threshold with noise software like noiseaware. This tiny device tracks noise levels while guarding your guest’s privacy. If the noise level reaches a certain point, it will notify you by text. Then send an automated text to guests that the noise has gotten too loud. This device has resolved over 90% of noise issues without further intervention.

Tip: Include in your listing that there is a private noise monitoring device. Put this in your guidebook as a reminder. Outline what this means in your house rules [on listing sites and OTA].

#6 Parking

Parking can also be a sticking point with neighbors. This becomes a problem when guests make it difficult to find street parking. Or if they are parking in the wrong assigned parking spot. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure that you are super specific about where your guests can park.

Tip: Make sure your parking information is clearly indicated. Include in your listing, your check-in email, and your digital guidebook. You can include a picture too.

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#7 Safety

Having a stream of new people coming and going from your property can pose a threat to your neighbors. This may make your neighbors feel uncomfortable.

The best way to address this is to ensure you’re nurturing a positive relationship with your neighbors. Provide them with your contact information and how to reach your property management company. Additionally, we advise using a security system. This will assure your neighbors you’re taking precautions and safety concerns seriously.

Tip: Vet potential guests fast with guest screening software. Make sure that it works with all your distribution channels like Airbnb, Vrbo and You can make informed decisions about potential bookings to avoid renting to rowdy guests or scammers.

#8 Parties and unauthorized businesses

It’s no secret that Airbnbs and vacation rentals have a reputation for having guests that host parties or use the location for unauthorized businesses.

Saying no to parties or these activities won’t always control your tenants. There are some things that you can do to prevent these situations from happening.

To avoid both of these scenarios, we recommend that you:

  • Set your channel manager settings to disallow one-night or last-minute bookings. These types of bookings seem to have a higher chance of a party being in the works.
  • Consider implementing a considerable damage deposit. Choosing to do this could lead to fewer bookings. It could also save you repair expenses and your relationships with your neighbors.
  • Use a noise detection device as previously discussed. Also, make sure you have it written clearly in your listing. Anyone looking to book a party can automatically see that you’ll be notified if things get loud. That way they are aware that they’ll be asked to stop or asked to leave.
  • Let your neighbors know about the Airbnbs neighborhood support team. This can be used to report a party, noise, or neighborhood concern.

Tip: To avoid parties or unauthorized businesses from operating at your property, provide very clear house rules. This will deter people from wanting to rent your place. Accidentally renting to someone using your space to run unauthorized businesses does happen. If this does happen contact your local authorities if the situation warrants it. If it doesn’t, contact the customer support of the OTA that processed the booking for the next steps.

To summarize…

Complaints from guests and neighbors are stressful and bad for business. Implementing these four business commitments can be helpful in avoiding them

1) Be impeccable with your property

2) Don’t be unprofessional with your communication

3) Don’t ever misrepresent your property

4) Do your best always to be guest-focused