When guests booked in on 29 December, I tried to get in touch with Julia via Facebook but couldn’t. She was off the grid in the South Island somewhere.
I got the key off her friend, and let two Irishmen and a Kiwi guy into the house. They were on their way north for NYE, and just wanted a quiet night. When I came to clean the house in the morning, there was a case of empty beers and a few empty spirit bottles, which they had kindly left outside.
In any case I got the house ready for the Belgian family who was arriving that day. I can't think of anything worse than traveling with a 1 year-old and 4 year-old, so I figured I'd be doing them a favour by giving them somewhere to stay.
I met them at the house at 5.30pm and showed them round them around. Heidi was upset that there was no internet (Julia hadn't wanted to give me the password, and Heidi wanted to do some work) or sofa. I offered to take them to the supermarket to get food, but they declined. I left, promising to try and get in touch with Julia for the internet password.
However 6pm I got a call in the car and came back to the house. The landlords, Karen and Tim had gone to the house to 'water plants', and had found a discontented Belgian family standing on the street. Karen was livid that Airbnb guests were in the house without permission. Fair enough.
Coincidentally at exactly this time Julia came back on the grid, and was understandably worried that she might end up being evicted from her house.
Anyway, Karen explained that her and Tim weren't bad people, but that the Belgians weren't allowed to stay. I started looking for alternative accommodation for the Belgians. The Belgians insisted they'd paid for $450 for three nights and I should deliver three nights. "I'll see what I can do..."
I was about to booked them into a $400/night hotel. However at 7.15pm Karen called to offer them a friend’s BnB down the road. "What's your budget?," Karen asked. I was delighted that there might be a better solution than $400/night. "Sky is the limit!' I said, before correcting myself. 'No! Sky is not the limit. How about $600 for three nights?' Karen suggested $750, and I drive tot he cash machine, and tried to cancel the hotel booking.
When Karen arrived I gave her a bottle of Moet that I had found in Julia's house, to thank her for re-homing the Belgians. And to persuade Karen not to evict Julia.
This really pissed Julia off. She txt'd later that she has never drunk Moet before, and was really looking forward to it. I told her that the landlords didn't seem that unhappy by the end of it — they'd got a booking for their friend's BnB after all. They'd managed to get the guests $$ and my money. Julia's house was spotlessly clean. And I had a story to tell.
Julia demanded that I send an email report of what happened. The report mentioned that she would get $150 from the Irish guests. This seemed to brighten her mood. Julia said, 'I hope there's no bad air between us.' No, just some bad Airbnb.
This was the Jef's review of the experience: