Five Easily Avoidable Guest Complaints

By Sari Eichenblatt in Evolve Vacation Rental Network

By Properly / Feb 7, 2018

Managing a vacation rental isn’t simple. Between marketing your property, communicating with guests and running your operations, it might seem there is too much to do and not enough time to do it. When you put so much hard work and time into your property, the last thing you want is a complaint that could have been easily avoided.
At Evolve, we handle over 63,000 bookings a year for over 5,000 properties and it is our job to ensure things run smoothly for guests and homeowners. Here are the 5 most common guest complaints:

1. “The contact was bad at communicating”

Excited after having just booked your property for a fun-filled week, your guests have found themselves with many unanswered questions. After calling multiple times and leaving voicemails, they still have yet to hear from you and begin feeling concerned about their stay. What if more problems occur? What if there’s an emergency? Should we cancel and book elsewhere instead?
One of the most common, yet most crucial, complaints guests have is they don’t feel that their guest contact is available. Communication is key to a great guest experience, and requires having someone available to answer questions 24/7.

contact airbnb host communication superhost

Communication is key to a great guest experience.


While guests are staying at your rental, you or your guest contact should always be accessible and easy-to-reach from check-in to check-out. Guests may just have simple questions they want answered, but there is always a chance that they are calling about a serious emergency.

2. “The rental looked nothing like the pictures”

Your guests booked your home because it looked like the perfect place for their group of 6 arrived to learn “sleeps 6” means two in the master, two in the guest room, and then two in…the living room?
There is nothing worse than arriving to a rental that was misrepresented in the listing. This can not only ruin a trip, but could lead to bad reviews and refund requests.
Confusing listing language goes beyond the difference between a bed and a couch. Some other amenities that require clarity are:

If you say “bedroom”…

It has to be a real bedroom. When guests read that a rental has X amount of beds, they will believe that the property has X amount of bedrooms – not a pull-out couch in the office, or a bed in the basement.

If you say “waterfront”…

It has to actually be on the water. Even if your property is just a 3 minute walk to water, it cannot boast “waterfront” in any of its listing language.

If you say “new”…

It has to be new. While your property may have been completely gutted and updated in the past year, it cannot say “new” in your listing unless that’s actually what it is. To avoid misrepresentation, you may want to call it: “newly updated.”
The bottom line is that you must be accurate about what you do or do not offer in your listing. The right guests will find your property perfect just the way it is, and won’t feel mislead.

3. “It took us 45 minutes to get INTO the property”

After arriving to your property after a long day of travel, your guests can think of nothing better than getting settled and relaxing. But there’s one problem – they can’t get into your rental. The key isn’t where it was supposed to be. The contact isn’t answering their phone. Your guests feel as hopeless as they do angry. Unfortunately, this is a problem that happens more often than it should.

Unfortunately, guests can't get into hosts' rental is a problem that happens more often than it should.

Unfortunately, guests can’t get into hosts’ rental is a problem that happens more often than it should.

There are some easy solutions:

  1. Give a detailed explanation of where, how, and when to enter the property. If you have a tricky lock, explain its quirks. Send instructions again just before guests travel.
  2. Look for easier access options such as a lockbox or a keypad.
  3. Make sure you or your guest contact has a phone during check-in time in case of problems

PRO(perly) Tip: Add a reminder task in your cleaning checklist for your cleaner to test the lock and check to make sure the key is where it is supposed to be.
check the key note

4. “The rental was not clean when we arrived”

Entering your rental with a week’s worth of luggage and expectations in tow, your guests stop dead in their tracks. The trash is full, dirty dishes have been left in the sink, and one of the beds isn’t even made.
That’s no way to welcome guests. Travelers choose rentals so that they can find a home away from home, and entering a property that is not guest-ready takes away from that important experience.
Whether you clean your property yourself or hire someone, a great way to guarantee nothing is forgotten and everything is perfect is to use a checklist. Even though it’s your property, you can still forget critical tasks.

(Pro tip: You can’t beat Properly’s great visual and interactive checklist app.)

Properly checklist

5. “We want a refund”

The property was dirty, no one answered their phone calls, it looked nothing how it was supposed to, and your guests couldn’t even get in when they arrived. They want a refund.

When travelers book your property, they come in with expectations that they hope are exceeded. When their experience with your rental falls short of those expectations because of mishaps, slipups, or miscommunications, they might request refunds for parts – or all – of their stay.
In the case of guests requesting a refund, it is a good idea to outline exactly how and when you give refunds in different situations. You must be prepared for any type of situation to ensure that you are being fair to your guests, without allowing yourself to get taken advantage of.


The most successful owners know that to run a smooth rental and acquire rave reviews, you need to double check everything, be communicative, and offer guests topnotch hospitality.
They also understand that even when you’re positive that you’ve done everything to ensure a great guest experience, things can still go wrong. To avoid complaints as much as possible, it’s worth checking out the tools, services, and solutions that are now available to homeowners.
Properly’s app offers the ideal system for ensuring your vacation rental is guest-ready after every cleaning, before every single check in. It adds another layer of quality assurance to your housekeeping process give your guests the best possible experience and avoid unnecessary headaches that can come with being a vacation rental owner.


Sari Eichenblatt is the Content Marketing Specialist at Evolve Vacation Rental Network, a vacation rental management service. Evolve is transforming vacation rental management by offering lower fees, more flexibility, and better results. If you are looking for even more tips on how to manage, market, and maintain your rental property, visit our blog to keep reading.

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