This experience feels tender still, and as much as this puts me in a vulnerable position to share this, I figured it would be important to do so—to let you know that I’m not perfect, that these things happen, that it may happen to you, and even if it does—you’ll be okay.
Recently, there was a huge athletic event in my home city, and so I had been able to rent my one-bedroom out for double the usual cost.
I headed out to go camping in the mountains for the weekend with a friend, trusting as usual that these would be the kinds of guests I’ve always attracted—respectful, clean, communicative and generally good people.
I was wrong.
When I returned home, the first thing I noticed was the inside welcome mat was missing. How strange, I thought. I took a glance around the entryway, and noticed another strange thing—my large hanging plant had been removed from the ceiling (and mind you, I have 10-foot high ceilings) and placed on the kitchen counter.
A quick tour around the house (accompanied by a slightly faster heartbeat than normal) revealed several other things that ranged from strange to disrespectful—they had taken down a high-end whiskey bottle and drank some of it and left it on the counter. My sherry in the fridge was also moved, its contents mysteriously lessened. And while I have around 7 pillows in my guest bedroom, 3 additional pillows had been moved from the couch into the bedroom. A towel I had given them lay folded and unused on the floor, while they had also gone hunting in my closets for additional towels I had not put out. A plant potter was broken. Various things from my alters (one being a mask) had been moved from one location in the house to another.
These things, while strange and a bit disturbing, were just the tip of the iceberg.
I later discovered that they had broken nearly all of my house rules.
They had a dog over (I’m allergic, and I mention this). They had another visitor over (I explicitly say that only people listed on the reservation can be in the house), and I suspect he stayed over due to the extra pillows. They wore shoes in the house (the floor was covered in dirty footprints). And they hung out on my front porch (which is shared with all my neighbors) and smoked cigarettes, flicking the butts over the ledge—this is unacceptable where I live.
Worst of all: My neighbors complained to the HOA about these guests, and I was at a risk of losing the ability to Airbnb my place entirely because of them.
I received several emails from worried neighbors and my housing agency, to which I spent hours writing letters of reassurance that this wouldn’t be a problem in the future.
So okay, you’ve all read a venting-based review like this before (maybe you’ve even written one).
But, what does it all mean?
As this was several weeks ago, I’ve seen and felt the dust settle. This wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. I’ve now been hosting for 3.5 years, and this was the worst incident I’ve ever had. Not bad, right?
However (and here’s where I feel vulnerable…). I am The Abundant Host. I “shouldn’t” have situations happen like this, right? I “know” all of the ways to vet people, I use both my intuition and logic, my heart and mind, to make decisions about guests.
So, here’s where I felt the most pain…
I went back through me and this woman’s interactions over Airbnb and otherwise (via text message). I looked at her profile again, I read her reviews, I checked her verifications. And nothing—nothing—set off a red flag for me. And so this made me realize…
What I was most upset about was that my intuition had failed me.
And my intuition is what I trust most in this whole world.
My intuition is what I base this website, this blog off of; the advice I give people is based around it.
My intuition is what I use and have used to keep me safe.
And it failed. It didn’t work. It wavered, it faltered.
My intuition did not keep me safe.
When I tell people this, they tell me things like—”You don’t know what your intuition has kept you safe from for the last 3.5 years!”
Yes, they’re right.
But, it still comes with a bit of shame.
And then I realized—even someone who is regarded as an “expert” on something (and I never claim to be that) is bound to mess up. To fail. And to fail exactly where it hurts.
Because we are human. And we are here to learn and grow and… to f*ck up sometimes.
And so, I don’t have any tips for you in this article.
If you’ve gotten to the end of this thinking I’d be able to tell you how to avoid this in the future… I can’t.
I can only tell you that no advice is foolproof.
No matter where you read that something works “100% of the time”… it doesn’t. It won’t.
And still… you will always learn from your experiences.
The most important thing you can do is to show up, be vulnerable… and share your experience with others.
And so, I’m sharing here, with you. And, of course… in my guest’s review. ;)
Thanks for reading! Have a question that wasn't answered here? If you'd like more specific help, I'd love to work one-on-one with you. Or, if you want to work collaboratively in a group with fellow motivated hosts, find out if the next Abundant Hosting Mastermind group is open. I also wrote a book, Cleaning Up, where I give you the nuts and bolts (and so much more) of finding your perfect turnover assistant, thereby upleveling your profit and success on Airbnb. Have a beautiful day!