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Bad Young Guests Cape Town: Christmas Was Stuffed When The 16-Year-Old-Guest Called….

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Why Would The Bad-Young-Guest Call, Saying “The Geyser Flooded The Home”?

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Bad young guest on the phone, “The water is soaking the polished wooden floors”.

As the managing agents for the Cape Town home, we had many immediate questions; for example; why did the  parents not notify us?  Where will get a willing plumber over Christmas? Etc.

But let me start at the beginning.

It was way before Airbnb; the mother, who reserved the home, asked if the boys could arrive a day early. And the rest of the family will arrive later. The owner agreed and offered the night for free.

After we welcomed the boys, unbeknown to us,

The parents would not arrive the next day!

They would stay at another home and  leave the boys to do what boys do.  But you may say, “why did the agents not know this?” Correct. The only way to do it properly is with surveillance cameras. And it has its own issues like privacy. But read on…

More bad news below….

Oblivious to what would transpire, we, the Horak Clan prepared for a peaceful Christmas day. But….

During the free first night the geyser burst. Flooding the home.

One of the boys phoned to share the bad news.

They were still good boys.

What a good start to Christmas we thought. But it got worse.

We phoned the owner. Sharing the bad news immediately. He was not angry. He was furious. “My house is ruined”. Trying to tell him that geysers can burst while guests and hosts sleep made no impression.

The Horak Clan tried for hours to pacify him. Really- hours!

No luck. He would not take responsibility for the broken geyser and blamed us for the water-soaked wooden floors.

I want to ask you a few questions / share some ideas to clarify his logic (or lack of it).

Failing Logic

  • If the guests only arrived at the house on the day they should have they would walk into a flooded home.
  • Don’t you think the guests may have left there and then and  asked for a refund? 
  • Don’t you think because they stayed one night earlier they were able to warn us and prevent long term damages?

BTW: These (good) boys were up early drying the floor as though it was their own home. We jumped in with mops and buckets.

But still, the owner was angry, saying you  “should have warned me during the night! When it happened!” 

Eventually, our Christmas was stuffed.

The owner calmed down, apologised, and the geyser was fixed. And the boys said their parents would arrive later that day. Why not believe them?

All good?

We left.

But the parents did not arrive. They conned us.

The boys were free to do what 16-year-olds do. Party. The noise got louder. The rubbish bags stacked up. The neighbours got frustrated.

Luckily the disaster costs were diverted. The person who booked gave us a large security deposit. She lost it all.

How do you prevent this Airbnb Risk TODAY?

We can be very fortunate that with time naivety turns to wisdom or some at least, and listing websites, like Airbnb, have the tools to limit the above. And technology is available to check without intruding.

  1. At the time, hosts did not have a feedback system like today’s video cameras to check activities. Place cameras outside and declare them to prospecting guests. Always.
  2. Today in house noise alert devices are being used to notify the hosts. Another app I saw counts the number of mobile devices connected to the accommodation’s WiFi.
  3. Today we are able to review guests and check their previous reviews. And we can select not to host guests with bad or no reviews.
  4. Have relationships with neighbours as they are excellent early warners.
  5. Airbnb notifies hosts if the booker is 25 years old or less. 3 couples under 25 can be bad news. A young couple with kids and more family are better.

Boys will be boys. Some are good. Some are bad.

You may question our claim of wisdom. And you may be right. But I am sure you’ll agree with this Cape Town Airbnb Agent’s wisdom

Sometimes your Christmas is stuffed and it has nothing to do with turkey.

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