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Difficult guest/s, reviews and airbnb support



Hi - I had a guest stay with me recently, and she had expectations that I could not match. I was going away on the day she arrived, but she was hoping for a host that she could make friends with and her could help her out in person with the local area (I had a written guidebook on hand.)

This then led to her making a slue of other complaints, which I tried to appease (even with a discount) but ultimately she left the apartment. On airbnbs intervention, they refunded her the money for nights she did not stay at the apartment.

I would have left it there, but she has since left a review. I have the chance to leave one too and my draft is below. What do you guys think?

Hosting was a disappointing experience. She had high expectations; e.g. hoping for a friend and local guide as well as host. She made many complaints, which initially I empathised with and tried to find a solution for, even offering a discount. By the end, she was making up (frankly bizarre) issues and it became clear that I could not satisfy her. My assessment is she is high maintenance and dependent upon her host.

Also, what are your general thoughts on dealing with airbnb in such situations? Im a superhost with four years experience, but have had two issues recently (different in nature) and airbnb appears to default to siding with a guest.

In the other instance, my guest did not arrive at the apartment and said it was because she had a serious illness had occurred in the family. I raised it with airbnb, who asked her to cancel the booking, but she refused and said she might come later. She didnt - and ended up cancelling on day 7 of a 9 day booking. Then she showed a medical certificate that said she had anxiety (no validation of when the illness in the family) and airbnb decided that it was an extenuating circumstance and I was made to refund all the money.

Im left pretty disappointed by airbnbs apparent lack of support and belief in long time hosts, and that strict cancellation clauses can be overruled so quickly.

Any advice from the forum is appreciated!


This happened to me at Christmas and I lost thousands. Even though the guest was outside of the deadline to submit her documents for medical reasons. I became her trip insurance, as did you. Super disappointing.

As for your review, just add “cannot recommend xx guest” to the opening or the end.


Thanks a lot. Good to know Im not the only one!


I would take out the part about offering a discount.


To be honest your review is a little confusing.

If she didn’t stay why offer her a discount? You say she is high maintenance but don’t specify why. You don’t say what complaints she made and why that made you offer her a discount. You don’t say what issues she made up.

You don’t have to write war and piece but I think a little detail would help.

More importantly if she didn’t stay, my understanding is neither of you should be able to leave a review. Have you spoken to Airbnb about this?


Yes all the billions Airbnb make, they should be insuring trips not us.


They are two separate incidents. The review is for the guest who stayed.


So Air said it is fine for a guest to not cancel, say she might want to come, and then after 7 days…she can get a full refund. Curious as to Air’s justification of not just allowing her the 8th and 9th nights as a refund.

Are they saying a guest can book for a month, ask you to hold the dates the entire period…then on day 30, submit a doctor’s note claiming anxiety, and now you have to refund an entire month? Something is very wrong here.

And curious as to the communication after guest didn’t show up the 1st night, 2nd night, 3rd night, etc?



She contacted me a day after she booked, two days before she was due to arrive - directly via a text message, not via airbnb - asking me if Id relax my strict cancellation policy. I said no and took the conversation back to airbnb messaging. She then said she couldn;t come because of a family emergency, and if she couldnt cancel, could she she move the date? I said she could do , with a small fee and as long as she committed to a later date. But she wouldnt commit to a date, and said shed think about it.

When she didnt arrive, I contacted airbnb (not her) and asked them to cancel. They contacted her, and she indicated she was thinking of coming a week later (day 7 of the 9 day booking). They wouldnt cancel the booking, unless I did it and took the hit on the money.

She then cancelled on day 7. All of this is in airbnb messaging, and its documented that its because of a sudden illness in the family.

When she later submitted evidence, it was for her own medical certificate stating she had anxiety and was unable to work. They indicated some of this was due to work stress, some due to a family illness, but the illness was not evidenced.

So, the reason she gave me was for a family illness. The medical certificate she showed was for her own anxiety.

In spite of all this, airbnb chose to refund her the money, whilst 7 nights of mine - over easter - remained booked. There was no compensation for me.

It makes my blood absolutely boil.


In these instances, airbnb are using the hosts as THEIR insurance against bad press, or repeat business from certain guests.


It sounds like somewhere, somehow…the Air reps. completely screwed this up. When you had already indicated to them that she wanted you to relax the policy, then she showed interest in paying a small fee to move her dates, and still did not show - they should have told her that she will be charged full price since she is refusing to cancel.

You are supposed to cancel, then later submit your extenuating circumstances evidence in order to get a refund. I would hypothetically ask them about a month long reservation and have them answer if a guest can hold the dates for close to a month, and then cancel on day 28…and get a refund for the entire month. I’d love to hear the response, and if they say that isn’t allowed, then they need to do an override. Sorry to hear this. Makes my blood boil too.


This is truly infuriating. With no cancellation in advance there is zero opportunity to get a replacement booking.

I think I’d be looking into how the arbitration process works. In addition you absolutely have to get your own website and use other platforms as well. Promote your rental yourself and cut out Airbnb as much as possible.


Yup, had this pain… and my blood is still boiling months later. Forced me to cancel Christmas plans and return some gifts. Scramble to pay scheduled expenses which had been delivered the previous 8 years by Air bookings during those very lucrative two weeks.

But yeah, glad SHE got to save her trip while I ate it hard.

UNIMPRESSED, and will never ever ever happen again for my Christmas and NY weeks. By then I shall have direct booking in place. They will be signing a rental agreement and in part will agree that those two weeks are NOT REFUNDABLE, so trip insurance is strongly recommended!!!

Air needs to do something to protect hosts in these circumstances.


Regarding trip insurance…most bookings on Airbnb are made on credit card…all my credit cards have travel insurance …I am in Australia…is this true in the rest of the world?


Its probably similar, but if a guest gets their money back via airbnb, they dont put a mnote or blemish on their travel insurance record. Plus its a much longer process. Of course, if they dont have travel insurance at all, this gives them a free pass.


Unreasonable guests will occur in spite all that a host may do. I had a guest who gave a bad review over things which the host cannot control, for example my unit is in an apartment complex and the bedroom window is alongside an outside walkway. No host would be able to control noises by children excited to go to WDW as they past the window and they cannot control salespeople who try to sell new condo’s to guests yet those were the complaints. In another job I have, I do taxes for major Tax prep company, a client was issued a cash back check and gave my services a 2 because the ink on the check was too light and the bank refused to cash it. I have no control over the issuing of cash back checks. It is like I said, unreasonable people will complain in spite all that a host may do. Let it fall off your back and ignore it.


Regarding the 2nd guest, suggest you Tweet AirBNB to the effect of:

“Can you please help with reinstating payment for at least 7 days of reservation where I had room fully prepared for guest who did not commit to canceling and thus did not free my calendar?”

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