Airbnb Rage

The accidental airbnb host

The guest sent me a message at 7am this morning asking if I could make my Airbnb space available to her for 2 days at a very good discount starting today at 12pm. I asked her what discount she wanted and she replied – just a small 5% discount.

I said ‘Sure’. I sent her a special offer with the 5% discount and then she said that her profile wouldn’t allow her to continue with the booking. Then I got a booking request from her other Airbnb account – one that she uses mainly for Airbnb hosting herself.

Con Airbnb

I sent the special discounted offer – she booked. However, what I hadn’t noticed when I replied with the second offer was her request for an extra day. She had not only got the discounted rate but she got that rate plus an extra day for free!

To get the room ready and welcome her in at short notice, I had to cancel a meet-up with a friend. As a result, my friend was angry with me. I lost out twice!

Airbnb Rage

So when the guest arrived, I had Airbnb rage! She admitted that she wanted the room for three days and that she wouldn’t pay the cost for the extra day. I was furious.

As you can guess, I’m afraid I didn’t offer her the best of welcomes. However, I managed to control myself just enough to show her to her room and carry her bags for her.

I didn’t like being in an angry state. As soon as the guest was settled in, I started to work out a way to get over it. Here’s what I came up with.

Anger may seem like a source of energy, but it’s blind. It causes us to lose restraint. It takes a calm mind to be able to consider things from different angles and points of view.

Dalai Lama

1. Everything in life is a gift.

You have to accept the things that life gives you. They are really always gifts. Here are the gifts I received from this situation.

  1. I’ve learned a new con that some guests might try – I can warn others.
  2. Always check the requested dates when you make a special offer.
  3. I earned money – the room would have been empty if not for this booking. For that I’m grateful.
  4. I can ask for something towards the final night by appealing to the guest’s good conscience. We both have to worry about the chance of a bad review.
  5. If I handle this situation well, my confidence will grow.

2. Change the story.

There is more than one way to see a story. What if this was not a trick but an innocent mistake? It’s much more likely that this guest made a simple error in the first place and she now finds herself in an awkward situation of appearing to be a con artist.

Therefore, my initial casting of her as a villain attracts a lot of bad things. It follows that my first thoughts might have caused me to be overly cautious and resentful and in this negative state I was likely to attract further disappointment and sadness.

3. Find the source of the anger.

It was actually my best friend’s reaction that got me the most upset. I wanted her to be more understanding. She doesn’t like a change of plan. Her annoyance was affecting my mood and I was involuntarily putting that onto the new guest. (I still love my friend BTW).

The misunderstanding over the number of days the guest wanted was resolvable, with the correct approach. However, it was anger that was hindering my ability to see the next step. I had to decide to stop channeling my friend’s anger. I needed to calm down and think to avoid the situation worsening.

4. Personal development material.

At that moment, I happened to chance upon a video on Facebook by Seth Godin. It was about the story of Icarus. His father had not only told him not to fly too high, but also and more importantly, not to fly too low. This is an uplifting thought. It helped to get me out of anger.

Icarus was warned by Daedelus not only of the dangers of flying too high, but also and more importantly, of the dangers of flying too low.

Seth Godin

5. Focus on the behavior.

Child psychologist Corale Betterfly, encourages people to recognize that the behavior is the story.

I looked at the guest’s profile on Airbnb. As a host, she has let people down in the past with last minute changed plans. So the guest shows the behavior of a disorganised person, not a sophisticated con artist.

6. Clear your head.

Get some space and some perspective. Time away from the situation prevents the emotional storm from brewing. For example, go out for a walk in wisdom. When you return you may see the whole situation in a brand new light.

7. Forgive and forget.

The longer you spend holding on to it, the more it damages you. You create anger on the inside so, consequently it should be just as easy to dissipate it with the right thought process.

8. Be Honest.

Declare your feelings. There is no need to bottle it up. As long as you realize that you are the one causing yourself to be angry, you can confess it. Don’t apportion blame. Just relax and admit openly that you are struggling not to be angry. It’s a good thing to warn someone. You’ll have to be brave to do it. Meanwhile, you might even start re-classify what you’re feeling. It may not really be anger; just frustration. And remember it is good to be assertive when it’s required.

He who blames others has a long way to go on his journey. He who blames himself is halfway there. He who blames no one has arrived.

Chinese Proverb

Conclusion

I wrote to the guest explaining my concerns, that is to say, that she appeared to have wrangled the third night for free, therefore I felt cheated. However, I told her I was also aware that appearances can be deceiving and that above all, I didn’t want a bad Airbnb review and I didn’t want to have to leave one.

She said that she felt she had been clear about the number of days. However, she had been willing to pay a set, discounted rate per night and she was happy to honor it. This meant she was going to pay for the third day after all.

All’s Well That Ends Well

I handled this situation successfully. I bought myself some time and detachment, in order to gain perspective. As a consequence, the anger went fast because I recognized the true cause. Yes, I was assertive, but I wasn’t abusive. I expressed my thoughts verbally, however, I attempted a balanced view by seeing the situation from the other side and I got a good result for both of us. I look forward to a time when I won’t feel any annoyance, anger or frustration at all. Meanwhile, I’m glad that I am getting better and better at regaining calmness of mind when I’m put to the test.

Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.

James Allen, As A Man Thinketh

Previous blog post, how to develop persistence.

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One thought on “Airbnb Rage

  1. You have taken all the positive aspects here. I completely agree with you. I think the first one is the best one EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS A GIFT. Yes It is. Thank You

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