Being an Airbnb host means having to interact with different kinds of people, some great, others unsavoury. I spoke to four Airbnb hosts about their experiences and how they coped during the pandemic.
Being an Airbnb host in Nigeria is quite an interesting experience. Many times, we have great guests who aren’t a bother. They don’t send you any messages until they want to hand over the keys. And then we have the ones who send you messages in the middle of the night. Or the ones who expect a porter to carry their suitcases for them. One time, we had a guest who trashed the house terribly; used condoms, weed and dirty plates were littered all over the home. We had to block out an entire day just to get it back in order. Of course, they never got their security deposit back. We also place them on our banned list, to make sure we never let them back.
2020 was quite an interesting year. Despite COVID, we still managed to be fully booked. While Airbnb is our main marketing tool, it’s best to be on multiple platforms, work with local agents and advertise aggressively on Instagram. We had guests who were stuck there, others who were renovating their homes. In all, 2020 wasn’t a bad year.
I decided to stop hosting in January 2020. I found the experience to be financially rewarding but STRESSFUL. My guests were mostly people visiting from the UK or US, staying three weeks to one month. Occasionally, I’d have “Ikeja boys”, I assume they were just people looking for a place to have sex LMAO.
The worst part about hosting was that I couldn’t do much if/when guests misbehaved. Guests from Nigeria usually booked with virtual cards, unlike foreign guests who booked credit/debit cards, so if they wanted to spoil things, there were no financial consequences. The first guest I had, a white girl and Nigerian boyfriend smoked in the apartment, despite a strict no-smoking policy. They even left burn marks in my sheets! I ended up having to give the next guest a discount because the place reeked of smoke.
Another knuckleheaded guest tried to break the padlock to the wardrobe where I kept my personal stuff. They probably thought I stored valuables there instead of tampons and underwear. I reported to Airbnb, nothing happened. I finally ended my tenancy and moved back fully to the US in January 2020. I considered keeping it because the money wasn’t bad but I’m glad I didn’t because 2020 happened. I would have just cried.
In my experience, guests can be very annoying. To be a host, you have t be ready to listen and tolerate different attitudes. The rules for our apartment are simple and clear: no smoking inside the apartment and no parties or hangouts, but many times we’ve had to remove guests who broke the rules. We even had one guest who brought a DJ to a full party.
2020 was quite rough for us. Our apartment was empty throughout the lockdown, so we were running at a complete loss. Things didn’t start picking up again until November, December.
Generally, I’ve had good experiences with guests. Some are difficult, some are easy. Some of the guests damage stuff and leave without informing the host. We’ve also had a few needy guests. And some guests can be absolutely pigs. Unimaginable levels of filth, using bedside tables as ashtrays and staining it beyond recognition. Some have left heaps of trash and unwashed plates. One guest even wrecked the TV and Venetian blinds, leaving cigarette odour lingering in the room, despite the no-smoking rule. It was a complete mess.
2020 wasn’t a bad year at all. In fact, it was good. During the pandemic, the bookings from Airbnb reduced but we had a lot of booking on other platforms. During the original lockdown, a guest stayed for three months.
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