Airbnb altered my listing- lessons learned but BEWARE!

As some already know, my B&B has two listings, one a suite of two double bedrooms with Jack and Jill bathroom. Throughout both listings I am clear this is our home, run as a B&B, and both have a slew of (good) reviews confirming this. Imagine my horror when a recent three day IB arrives yesterday afternoon, almost immediately waving her i-phone app under my nose to “prove” my inaccurancy; this shows “Guest Suite in cosy, rural B&B, near…” followed by “Guest suite - entire home/flat * 2 Guests”. I have the photo in front of me. They had a look round, then left saying they would cancel because they wanted a place to themselves.They were polite, gushed about the house, felt I should not be out of pocket as this appeared to be Air’s fault, etc etc. More on this bit later.

I immediately called Air and had what I can only describe as a truly delightful conversation, and have received FULL compensation, minus cleaning fee, but only after a full on discussion where I stuck to my guns about this being their fault and asking why they have the temerity to alter my listing, making it inaccurate and losing me income; it’s my listing, my responsibility for authorship so what are they doing? I was initially given cosmetic guff about platform trials and tribulations, but eventually received an admission that they knew about this fault. I learned that they have a fund available to compensate unsuspecting victims but they will only pay up if you are utterly persistent and don’t fall for their corporate speak of “how would you like Airbnb to help you with this matter?”. I pushed this back by saying it was not for me to ask them: it was for Air to tell me what they were going to do to compensate me for their mess. Result!

The guests: with hindsight, this is all quite odd. Although an IB, she messaged me with queries about the guest space available, and my response was enough to make it absolutely clear that we live here, that check-in was from 5 pm, that Satnavs are sending people to a nearby school so here are accurate directions, and that we would be out for the afternoon on a clay pigeon shoot but in the vicinity if needed. Two hours before check-in she asks if they could arrive earlier than 5 pm and we agreed 3.30 pm. I would not usually countenance an early arrival but I was freezing in the field next door by now and glad of any excuse to wimp out. Then a call to say their Satnav has sent them to a school… Then, with her i-phone under my nose and my saying this must be Airbnb messing with their algorithms, she made an odd comment along the lines of “that’s interesting. I’m thinking of setting an alternative Airbnb up.”

I would welcome people’s thoughts. My own range from she had no intention of staying, but then who would waste their time, to perhaps she was a journalist. Grrrr.

I am glad you posted it because at one point I thought I was going crazy.
One day one of my listings became IB. I know I never do IB on my pool house as I need to screen my guests there. Someone booked for the same day but then it was a fraud and it was cancelled .

I am not sure about your guests . Seems like they did know about it not being entire house but then the obvious lower price didn’t make them thinking?

They definitely knew it was not the entire house, and given the upcoming holiday over NY, the price is definitelynot cheap either before, during or just after!

I don’t think they had no intention to stay but may be some emergency happened.

Sounds like you were lucky, they were weird, did not stay but you were paid.

One thing I do not understand how did the issue of you not getting paid arise? Last minute guest cancellation and you should be auto paid.

Thanks for responding Como. Our cancellation is flexible, so we would ordinarily only have been paid for the first night. I expected a fight on my hands with Airbnb, given their hardball reputation with hosts, even though they were responsible for altering my listing to “entire home”. I was pleasantly surprised that they agreed, admitted a technical glitch and paid me in full, minus cleaning fee.

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Thanks, now I understand.

Wait - did Airbnb admit they changed your listing to “Entire Home”? Is done by algorithm? Surely, they didn’t do it manually.

Yes, they admitted to doing so. They have been playing with converting data/changing classifications via their algorithms and getting it wrong, or a"technical glitch". They have set aside a specific fund to compensate people who lose out from this.


There is a reason that AirBNB is doing this sort of testing. There are many listings in places like New York City that are being listed as a Private Bedroom but are in fact, whole apartment listings. The reasons for this listing designation are easy to figure out… there is a ban on short term, whole house listings.

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Was your listing actually changed when you viewed your listing?

Our current guests are claiming that, when the place was booked, it was listed as an entire home and the location was somewhere else in the city.

I have checked our listing and it is still listed as a private room in the correct location. I’m not sure if this was a result of the same ‘technical glitch’ or if the guests are just mistaken.

As things happen, they seem fine with not having an entire home to themselves and they will still be staying.

The guests IB’d, then sent an enquiry asking if about a TV/DVD and whether anyone else was staying. I assumed they either hadn’t read the listing properly, or had spotted our other listing as well, obviously in the same house. My response included that we live here, have our own sitting/dining room, and at that point, no one else had booked to stay whilst they were here for 3 days. They arrived with the App on an i-phone showing their booking as an entire home/flat, under the bolder large print stating B&B. When I checked our listing, the entire home bit did not show, until I opened their itinerary where it was stated as per the App. I checked another bunch who stayed before Christmas and found the same thing, i.e. it’s only on the itinerary, not the original listing.

Hope this helps; do check. At least your guests are happy to stay! Mind you, I’ve had such a deluge of irritating, emotionally blackmailing for a good reveiw emails from this person since, that I’m well glad they didn’t!

I’ve checked my itinerary and it says private room, so these guests unfortunately paid no attention to the listing. They are still adamant that it said entire home and unfortunately for us our guests have decided that they want the place to themselves and are no longer happy.

In less than 4 hours they changed their mind? They must have found another place to stay in their budget and are now angling for a refund. Contact Airbnb immediately.

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Also carry out an anonymous search on the app/google chrome just in case it’s up there as entire home. Air have admitted to me, in writing, they have a technical glitch and a compensation fund.