AirBnB feedback question
August 11, 2017 7:54 AM   Subscribe

I stayed in a lovely AirBnB house. The host was great. I noticed a staircase was missing several balusters. Should I mention this in the private feedback to the host?

Just what it says on the can. I stayed in a really fancy house, with a great host. We had no problems during our stay and she was super responsive to questions. I plan to leave a review saying such. However, in the place to offer private feedback to the host, should I mention that one of the staircases (a spiral staircase) was missing several balusters? In one place, there were a few missing in a row. This is a pretty serious safety risk and I felt like the staircase was also a little shakier because of it.

I tend to be hypersensitive to this kind of thing, and it was my first AirBnB stay, so not sure what the standard protocol is. The house was definitely designed more for aesthetics than universal design/safety. I have a toddler so tend to be hyper aware of ways people could hurt themselves! But, there was a hot tub, so you can assume that people might be walking up a metal staircase with wet feet above a marble floor....and it also seemed possible she might not have noticed. I am a little scared of spiral staircases and go up/down them super, super carefully.
posted by john_snow to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
Absolutely mention it privately, it would even be okay to mention it publicly (the host would have a chance to respond that they had repaired it) but I'd go for private. Many AirBnBs are cleaned/set-up by people who are not the owners and it would be good for the people who owned it (assuming they are running the AirBnB account) to have this information. I had an AirBnB which had clearly been cleaned by someone who had not flipped over the cleaning worksheet (i.e. all the setuff on the second page had not been done) and I considered it a courtesy to let them know.
posted by jessamyn at 7:59 AM on August 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think if it is/was listed as a house good for kids, you should absolutely include that in a private email after making your glowing public review.
posted by Night_owl at 8:00 AM on August 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Definitely mention it to them! Don't overthink it!
posted by lucy.jakobs at 8:01 AM on August 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

A close friend rents his vacation home as an AirBnB and this is exactly the kind of thing he'd like to hear privately from a pleasant person like yourself before he hears it in a nasty public review. It's hard to maintain homes perfectly, especially when you're not there all the time and things can crop up between guests.

I would send a private message just being like "hey, we had a great time, love your house, but I just wanted to give you a heads up about [explanation of the issue]."
posted by lalex at 8:02 AM on August 11, 2017 [6 favorites]

Thanks. I will mention it. yeah, this was specifically listed as not for kids (and BOY was it not child safe! I would not have let my kid in it.) and the hosts do not live there, they rent it almost full-time.
posted by john_snow at 8:04 AM on August 11, 2017

If it makes you feel better, make up something about the kids to justify the comment... "Our little one put her head through it and we were with her so it was okay, but it might be a safety issue in the future that you might want to take care of."
posted by k8t at 8:05 AM on August 11, 2017

Yep, mention it in the private feedback. AirBnB puts the private feedback box above the public one, I think, to catch complaints like these. Not a big deal enough to complain about publicly, but something the host should reasonably attend to. I've used it to mention things like all the kitchen knives being dull at one apartment I stayed in.

Doubly so that this is a safety concern.
posted by thenormshow at 8:08 AM on August 11, 2017

Thanks everyone! That was super fast. I just said, in my private feedback, hey, I'm hyper aware of this because I have a toddler, you probably haven't had a chance to notice they were missing. Left a glowing public review because overall I felt it was deserved.
posted by john_snow at 8:22 AM on August 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

If it makes you feel better, make up something about the kids to justify the comment... "Our little one put her head through it and we were with her so it was okay, but it might be a safety issue in the future that you might want to take care of."

This is probably my anxiety speaking, but please don't make up a story about how a child almost had a horrible accident! Safety concern for adults is a perfectly reasonable justification for a heads up.
posted by lalex at 8:24 AM on August 11, 2017 [16 favorites]

My understanding is that the OP has a toddler and is therefore hyper aware of safety issues, but that they didn't stay with their toddler in the house (they mention that it was specifically listed as not child-safe and that they wouldn't let their child in it) - so I don't think that they intend to make up any stories about children having horrible accidents.
posted by peacheater at 9:51 AM on August 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

You can mention it in the review. I have done this before. I don't sugar-coat things. I give an accurate description of the places, and end it by saying even with all of these minor issues the host was great and I would stay again (if that's how I felt).
posted by WizKid at 10:25 AM on August 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Why not mention it publicly? Isn't this something that people with disabilities or people with kids or animals would want to know? I'm not sure why the consensus here seems to be to mention it privately -- I don't think this is like "oh, they forgot to leave out the bottles of water they promised." This is something that will probably be the same for every guest who stays at this AirBnB.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:33 AM on August 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Kids under 12 and animals are specifically prohibited in the listing and it also says it's not wheelchair friendly, so I don't think we were mislead or that I'm misleading anyone by not mentioning it. There were other rooms in the house more appropriate for someone with any mobility-related disabilities; this was a staircase to just one of the bedrooms and there was another on the ground floor with no steps. I actually wouldn't call the house very friendly to anyone with any mobility-related issues, but it's not advertised as such and the photos of the listing were very high-quality and accurate, so I don't think anyone would be shocked on arrival. (There were no photos of the staircases (this one or the other ones) but I'm not sure why there would be.) Given the consensus here and her general responsive attitude to our questions and obvious pride/interest in the house, I feel comfortable having given a private note about this and a good general review.

(Peacheater is correct! I didn't make up a story, in my response I mentioned that I noticed it because I'm attuned to these things. Owner met us at arrival and knows I have a small child and that she was not there; owner has older teens and has probably long forgotten the stage of baby/toddler proofing!)
posted by john_snow at 12:08 PM on August 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Previously. I'm glad you decided to mention it.
posted by mama casserole at 2:55 PM on August 11, 2017

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