Last summer, two of my close friends from college got married within a week of each other, one in upstate New York and the other in bumfuck-nowhere Ontario. Myself and three other old pals decided to take the week between the weddings to relive our lost youth in Montreal, where we all went to school. Now, in case you don’t know, Montreal rivals New Orleans as the best drinking town in North America, and as such, we proceeded to drink like we did when we were 20.
We did it like adults, though. On Airbnb, we rented a beautiful apartment in the heart of the Plateau (Rues Duluth and De Bullion, if you’re keeping track), with a rooftop terrace from which you could view the whole of the city. We cooked amazing meals. We went to grown-up restaurants. We drank. Man, did we drink. We had as a good week as you could ask for. No one was the least bit unhappy about anything. Except for our Airbnb host. Who was very unhappy.
Henry booked for 3 guests but they were more people sleeping in the place. A set of sheets was spoiled and a carpet had drinks spilled over. Sad… this is not our idea of a good airbnb relationship.
Doesn’t make me look good for the next time I try to use Airbnb, which is in a month or two, now does it?
First off, let me say in my defense on the 3 guests thing, one night we had 2 extra guests. That’s true, but I told her about it and she didn’t say anything.
Now, in my not-defense, apparently some of us did “spoil” a set of her sheets. I won’t say who and I won’t say what kind of spoiling (though, clearly, it was either sex-stains and or bathroom-stains) but it did happen, and I, as the guy in charge, had no idea about it. As for the carpet, it wasn’t a very nice carpet. I don’t see the big deal.
The first thing to do when someone takes a dagger to the heart of your online reputation is confront them. I wrote to Sophie, the twenty-something Quebecois Airbnb host who I had disrespected. My tack, which was genuine, was to apologize, plead ignorance and offer to reimburse her for damages. She was skeptical, but tallied the damages and sent a bill for an additional 200$. Certainly a blow, but I corralled my friends to pony up to help.
So that’s step one: be as apologetic as possible. Part of me wanted to retaliate by reviewing her place by saying it smelled, had an open-air drug market in front of it and was filled bedbugs, but I refrained.
Here’s the rub. Airbnb doesn’t let people take down or change their reviews. You can only add to them. So no my review reads:
Henry booked for 3 guests but they were more people sleeping in the place. A set of sheets was spoiled and a carpet had drinks spilled over. Sad… this is not our idea of a good airbnb relationship. Fortunately, Henry offered to compensate for the damage and we had everything settled after he left,
This doesn’t quite undo the damage to my reputation, but it certainly lessens it.
I reached out to Airbnb myself, but they said there was nothing they could do. The bad review is written in stone.
The second step, which is still in process, is I need to get back on the Airbnb horse and rent again, get better reviews, by being extra considerate: leaving no trace, giving flowers as a thank you gift to the host, etc… As of now, I have one good review and one still-pretty-shitty review. A couple more good reviews will certainly leave the impression that I’ve turned over a new leaf.
And the third step to negate the bad review is to just own it, because it’s not going away. I’ve updated my Airbnb profile to acknowledge that I may not have the best record, but I’m still the best guest, so please let me stay your place. I promise not to invite my college friends.
Henry Goldman is founder of yr an adult. He knows. He’s working on it.