Awkward guest situation

I’m renting occasionally my extra room for short periods and have had only positive experiences, until my guests arrived yesterday…
We didn’t really have a common language and had to do some google translating to understand each other but the thing was that they were not apparently familiar with airbnb at all and had thought my place was a normal hotel!
They were very upset when they realized I actually live here and that they had to share the kitchen and bathroom. They told me that they can’t stand cats (I have two) and they feel uncomfortable to not be albe to lock their bedroom door (I have original late 19th century glass doors which you can’t lock. And it is only me and the guests in the house, so I see no point ruining the beautiful doors with a lock - am I wrong?).
My house description is absolutely realistic, it is clearly stated that the apartment is shared and there are two cats. I can’t understand how the guests arrived to their conclusion…

After all they are staying but I can tell they are not feeling comfortable and now as a host I feel really uncomfortable for giving them bad experience (even if it’s not my fault!)
I’m also expecting a bad review which is irritating.

Is there something I can do?

I would suggest calling AirBNB. Have them contact the guests, using their language, and offer to re-home them to a whole house space. This assumes that you can afford to not get payment for these days and they are willing to pay more for what will undoubtedly be a more expensive option.

As to the locks, there are a variety of opinions on that in this forum. Me? I don’t have locks and have no plans to add them. I have original doors, and I am not going to destroy them. Since I do not select this option for my listing, I feel no obligation to provide them.


Hi @FayeRubye

It is not your fault that the guest booked your listing expecting a place to themselves.

They would have had to go into Airbnb when they booked and deliberately ticked the option to have a room rather than a whole place.

Their comment about a hotel doesn’t make sense if they are expecting to have a place to themselves.

I presume you have photos of cats in the listing in your listing and mention it in your description so hard to see how they could have missed this.

In your situation I would contact Airbnb explain what has happened and see if they can find them somewhere else. If they want a place to themselves though, they will need to be prepared to pay the going rate.

Make sure it is the guests or Airbnb who cancel and not you.


Thank you for the answers!
I really wanted to avoid losing the clients, since they are supposed to stay for a week and here is off season. But I also want everyone to be happy on their holidays… I will contact Airbnb and see what they suggest.


I would ask Airbnb to explore the situation with your guests, who did indeed choose your listing for themselves. Ask them to put forward all of the issues raised here by experienced hosts and to explore their inconsistencies. I really don’t see that you should have to lose out.

I had a really good experience of Air’s customer support last night. A late afternoon enquiry to book for the night, with a mere message of “when can we drop our bags off and how do we get there”, all of which is quite clear on the listing. I pre-approved but asked her where she was, was she in a car or using public transport. She then accepted, asking how much a cab would cost from the station. Five minutes later, half an hour before check-in, she asked me to cancel as “we tried to book but the system said the room was no longer available” followed by “please can you cancel for us as we booked somewhere else first”… I told her to cancel and that I had her booking as accepted in front of me. Then she sent a text to my mobile, asking me to call her. I didn’t. Airbnb called me about 20 minutes later as she was asking them to get her a refund, having given them a pack of lies. They fully supported my stance and even followed up with an email praising me for how well I’d handled the situation. Blimey!!!


Even if there is a language barrier, AirBnB has a very good “translation” feature. I have used it several times in the last few days as I am trying to book some accommodation for myself in Mexico for an upcoming get away.
Your guest has no excuse unless they are illiterate in their own language as well. !?
Here’s hoping AirBnB helps you sort it out. Shame you have to miss out on the income though.


print off the bits of your listing, that mentions ‘sharing’ and ‘cats’, and staple it to their foreheads as they sleep. Hope this helps.


Good on you!!! You are getting it!!

I find myself back in mode of an NHS /SS cynic, sorry, manager. I’m fine and funny if you are fine and do your job, but if you lie to me, go. Now.


Isn’t that just Google Translate? Which handles simple things fine, but flounders when asked to deal with text that actual humans might write. At least in my experience.

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This happened to me once, when a guy booked for his mum and aunt to stay a weekend, and they had imagined it was a hotel. Absolute nightmare.

Do you have pictures of your cats on the listing? Maybe even include the cat in the main pic - it might help attract more cat-lover guests as a bonus!

I’m not sure how you can reasonably depict the fact that it is shared though!

And keep some Scotch handy for facing that review!

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Airbnb was able to help with a Spanish speaking Customer Service rep to call my guests from Puerto Rico. The young CS I contacted for assistance, originally said, “I can’t help, I don’t speak Spanish either.” I had to put on my patient, let’s pretend I’m your mother cap and say, “That’s ok. Talk to your supervisor. I’m sure they know one of the other reps who could help you get this resolved…” Airbnb called my guest & worked out the details in Spanish then emailed me the info I needed in English. (Guest had voice only communication; no internet).

Meaning Airbnb has the customer service staff with the correct language skills to help. You may need to guide the CS on how to get the correct resources.

…that’s one of the major reasons why I don’t take third party bookings !!


Hi @FayeRubye

Be good to have an update on how you manage to resolve this with Airbnb and your guests?

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" I had to put on my patient, let’s pretend I’m your mother cap "
What a great attitude! :family_woman_girl: Assuming I can keep the “What were you thinking!!!” tone out of my voice :roll_eyes:


I feel for you @FayeRubye - I had exactly the same situation a few months ago. Guests didn’t say anything during their stay but the bad vibes were palpable. Here was their review and my response:


Great response @suzehamling


Hi Suze!!! Love to see you posting again!


I note that the title of your listing says ‘perfect for pet lovers’, what a douchebag guest. I personally don’t respond to guest reviews but I think yours was spot on.

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I have had a few Japanese, Chinese, and Korean guests that remarked " Oh, you live here too?" Wow, it is awkward. I wonder if something got lost in translation, but then again I’ve also had people from the afore mentioned countries be fully aware that they booked a room in our house. It tells me that people don’t read no matter what country they are from.

I also have a space under the house, with 6ft ceilings. I have had a few people put in the private remarks " I think you should tell people the ceilings are 6ft." Ummm HELLOO it is in the listing multiple places, almost everyone mentions it in their review, and it is part of the house rules they have to APPROVE before continuing to book. SMH reading comprehension, people.

I wouldn’t worry about it and just try to be pleasant or keep to yourself.