Airbnb Chronicles

By Amanda McDonald

I am an Airbnb host and rent out one bedroom with a private bathroom for roughly $42 night. The following is an email I recently received from a potential guest needing 7 nights of accommodation which with my discount would have totaled $250. I had, at the time, a 4.7 star rating and 47/47 very positive reviews. He asked 15 separate questions despite a very detailed listing description that specifically addressed 13 of his questions. Nonetheless, I took the time to respond. My answers appear in bold italics beneath each question.

Enjoy the glimpse into the life of a host.

Hi Amanda,

I’ll be in Houston for a week, and your place is one of the options in my list. Thus, I need to ask you a few questions about the place before making up my mind. Could you respond to following questions at your convenience?

1- Do you wear shoes at home?

I do wear shoes at home but often leave with none. My workplace is not fond of this. When I’m feeling a bit edgy I sometimes only wear socks. Depends really.

2- Is your home quiet at night, especially after 10PM? Do you have friends over to party?

My home is quiet at night. Except on Wednesdays when, as sitting President of the North American Bird Calling Club Southwestern Region, I host the Gulf Coast weekly meeting with Texas members reliant on hearing aides. This usually ends by 1 am and, honest, other guests have said the cacophony of calls is surprisingly soothing. This potential irritation is offset by the fact that it is a clothing optional gathering. However, all are required to wear shoes.

3- I think you host only one room at a time. Is that correct?

Yes, one room.

4- Does the room have a lock?

Yes, the room has a lock. A highly secure, state of the art, zombie proof thingy you turn and must use a hanger or paper clip to then unlock. It’s monitored by ADT. I have a safe too but it’s at the bank.

5- I may need a desk for my laptop in my room. Does the room has a work desk and chair?

I can pull a table in that will serve as a laptop holder nicely but it isn’t a desk. Yes, there’s a chair but you can only sit with shoes on.

6- Do you have a hair dryer in the bathroom that I can use?

I have a hair dryer but I keep it in the closet, not in the bathroom. I don’t care where you use it.

7- Do you provide towels for the bathroom?

Are there hosts that do not provide towels? Really? I do but am considering a switch to the Sham Wow and field testing in May. Shucks, you’ll miss this but I can keep you abreast of the results.

8- I may need to iron my shirts, so do you have an iron that I can use?

I have an iron. Never used it. You can. Have at it.

9- Can I use your kitchen to cook?

I have a kitchen, I do, it is true and I’m told cooking can occur there. You are welcome to try.

10- What kind of dogs do you have?

I have one dog. Her name is Stella and she is a pittbull mix. Problem with her though is that she has the distinct impression that she is a cat. Please do not suggest otherwise in her company.

11- Can I use your TV and sofa in the living room to chill?

You can use my tv in my living room. I have a PS3 and a chromecast, Netflix and Amazon. I have dvd’s. I do not have cable. There is also a couch. Yes, you can chill but only when you are standing. No chilling can occur whilst supine. Shoes are required to chill. It’s a law strictly enforced in Texas.

12- Do you have a parking spot available?

I have a driveway. I park there. A second car can go in front or behind but neither has a “spot” and I’ve no plans to add lines to make such. There’s a street that I live on, as do others, and I see cars, without people, left on it. I’m sure yours would be welcome there as well.

13- I saw some of your past guests mentioning a pool. (Not a single one does incidentally.) Do you have a swimming pool in your community that I can use? If so, will the pool and hot tub be open and ready to enjoy during my stay? Are there any scheduled maintenance?

My neighborhood has a community pool open 7 days a week until 10 pm. Daily maintenance is performed. One weekday, not sure which, a man trained in deep pool cleaning techniques long kept secret from the general public, comes and does important seeming work for a few hours in the morning. He does wear shoes while performing this work.

There is not a hot tub.

14- I prefer avoiding staying at places with little kids, so could you let me know how old your daughter is?

I have a daughter in 4th grade turning 10 in May. She’s petite compared to her friends, but definitely not “little”. She prefers to avoid most adults and I’d hazard a guess she prefers this more than you prefer places without little ones.

15- Do you have questions for me?

My only question is twofold — have you always held such formidable, control freak, micromanaging tendencies and how often do these tendencies let you actually enjoy any of the activities about which you’ve inquired?



*name changed to protect the declined guest.