This is my story of hosting a Spanish woman; I offer tips on avoiding weird guests on Airbnb and alternatives to Airbnb:
1. Use Wimdu instead. It’s a German platform. I have switched to Wimdu and like it.
2. Don’ t ever assume Airbnb customer service will help. They are a bunch of useless employees.
Made no mistake, those two points are equally important.
3. Avoid taking bookings from this guest.
4. The guest asked to stay in my flat for a month. She told me she was visiting to improve her English, and used a picture of a lovely flower as her profile picture. I assumed (big mistake) that I was going to host a young, open minded student… never ever take bookings from people who are not verified and who hide their real photos using pictures of flowers, cats, dogs, etc. I did not know that I was going to host a narrow minded 70 year old from Spain who was expecting me to be her maid.
5. On the arrival day, I saw her: a 70-year-old lady who struggled to find my place, wearing heels, with her lovely toenails painted red. She was the kind of person who thinks “you are my maid because I am renting a room in your house.” She wanted me to take her to the shop (LIDL) to buy food. Because she was quite old I tried to be nice so I took her to LIDL in my car, she did her shopping, and she called me on the phone to pick her up when she was finished (like I was a taxi service)
6. The second day, she pushed us to have dinner together because she had to improve her English. I said, “Well, I am not starving; I will have dinner later.” She replied, “Okay, then I will wait and I will have dinner with you.”
7. On the third day, she woke up in the morning “fresh like a flower” after she had been snoring the whole night (I got no sleep…) and she asked me about breakfast. I simply said: “No, I’m not cooking breakfast for you.” I never offered breakfast in my listing; it was just the room with ensuite bathroom, fresh towels and linen, and free use of the kitchen.
8. Day 4: she realized she had no travel adapter. I told her that there is a shop close by that sells them, and she replied, “You have more than one so you have to give me one of yours.” I just said “No…”
9. Day 5: she started using the washing machines (I’m not talking about one but multiple washing machines and driers) at 7:00 AM… on a lovely Saturday morning… the fact that I was still in bed and the washing machine was bloody noisy did not even bother the “princess.”
10. Day 6: I went out, came back, and caught her hitting my poor kitty cat. Finally, this was too much. I called Airbnb, told them I wanted to her out of my flat. Airbnb contacted her, so the fresh flower came to me and said, “Okay, I can leave… but you have to find me some new accommodation.”
11. I gave her the phone number of a 4-star hotel where she could be treated like a real lady, a fresh flower. However, I doubt that even in a 4-star hotel someone would have given her a travel adapter.
12. Finally, when she checked out at 9:30 AM, I stopped her and asked for the keys. She replied: “I am going downstairs to the car and then I am coming back to get my second suitcase.” I waited and waited and waited…. but she did not come back. I called her and she hung up on me. I texted her and told her to come back, take her suitcase, and give me the keys. No reply. Basically, I had her suitcase and she had my keys. I didn’t know where she was, and she could enter my flat anytime she wanted. I contacted Airbnb immediately. They replied: “She can’t give you the keys because she is busy finding new accommodations.”
At 4:00 PM I went to a locksmith to change the locks at my flat (120 euros). I called Airbnb and they said the same thing again – “she is busy looking for a new place” – so I told them: “Okay, it seems that you are not helping at all. I do not know what’s in this suitcase so I am going to the police station to hand the suitcase to a police officer.” An Airbnb representative called me back after five minutes (the case manager of my original contact) and begged me not to involve the police. He asked me to go the the hotel where she was staying – I thought that she had been looking for accommodations…? – and to give her the suitcase. I told him to tell the fresh flower to go to the police station to collect her suitcase because I had no intention of going to her hotel. Finally at 5:00 PM I managed to get my keys back thanks to the police.
When the adventure with the fresh flower was finally over, I asked Airbnb for compensation because I had had to replace the locks in my flat. Obviously, there was no compensation and they have not paid me for the six nights the “fresh flower” stayed in my flat. I had never had a cancellation before and I won’t have cancellations again; I am not using Airbnb anymore.