Eating and having friends over while guest is booked

Hi, all. We have a downstairs guest room and private bath for guests and our bedroom is upstairs. But our kitchen, dining room and living room is downstairs. We make it clear in our description that this is a shared space (with us) but guests are welcome to hang out in front of the wood stove, use the microwave and refrig etc.

Usually whenever my husband and I sit down to dinner, that’s when the guests arrive. They are always very apologetic and we reassure them and usually offer them a bite to eat. This hasn’t been a big problem but I’m sure it makes some feel a little intrusive.

Then we will occasionally have friends stop by for a bite. We try to block out the airbnb nights but occasionally forget.

I’m trying to think what it would be like for me as a guest if I were in their situations.

I will say that our cost is one of the lowest in the area and that we are superheats.

Any thoughts on this? All suggestions or opinions are welcome.

We have a similar set up. It does seem guests mostly arrive when it’s dinnertime. My wife insists we don’t eat in front of our guests. So we grab something quick or get take out and eat in another room not available to our guests. Same with the TV. We’re fortunate enough to have a couple private rooms to do that. I’m not sure how important it is not to eat in front of guests.but I guess it could make some feel like their intruding. If you have a group of friends over, I’d suggest letting the guests know ahead of time if you can so they know what they’re walking into.

1 Like


I would never be sitting down to eat a full meal when guests firsts arrive. I think it would make them feel awkward. I know what time they are due so either hold off or eat before. I wouldn’t offer to share my food.

When I show them around I normally mention what time I use the bathroom when I am going to work and let them know what time I normally use the kitchen in the evening.

If I was having friends over, I would just let them know. If I liked them and thought they would get on with my friends, I might ask them to join us. They are sharing my home, so I continue to have friends and family around as I would normally.

If your price is one of the lowest in the area and you are an established host put your prices up.


We often have guests arrive during our dinnertime. It’s not a problem for us or for the guests. One of us gives them the five minute house tour while the other guards the dinner table so the dogs don’t perceive it as a buffet. I have entertained friends many times while I’ve had Airbnb guests. It’s never been a problem.


As a guest, it would be a horrible first impression knowing that this is how I started my first interaction with the people I’m leaving with - interrupting dinner. No matter how many times you can tell them they didn’t - still it’s just very strange. Also, remember that different cultures sees this in different ways. So for some it would make them feel VERY uncomfortable.

Guests needs to feel positive and effortless (emotionally too) when they check-in, staying and check-out of our place. It should be an experience that is flawless. Opening the door to see my landlords eating dinner… not so much.

1 Like

As a host how do you manage to not have guests arriving while you are having dinner? Many guests give a two hour window of time when they will arrive and/or change their arrival time repeatedly or don’t tell us when they will arrive. Do you expect that hosts will wait to eat until the guests have arrived and are settled in no matter how late?

1 Like

I;m appreciating all these points of view. Maybe I can just do the best I can. That is, if they say they’ll be arriving at around 6, we plan dinner for 7. If they arrive at 7, I’ll excuse myself from the table (as I do now), show them the room, and resume supper. If they say they are coming around 7, we try to eat earlier or later.

We aren’t about to eat upstairs in our bedroom obviously. :grinning:

Another thing we can do – when we think there’s a chance they’ll arrive at dinner - is make a habit of inviting them to join us.

Too bad we can’t cordon off the dining room but it’s plunk in the middle of things.


Don’t “make a habit of inviting them to join” you for dinner. Too costly and too many hassles with food allergies and such… “we’d love to join you but only eat yak butter and marmalade on spelt toast”.


Good point! I think that makes sense.

It hasn’t been a problem since they don’t have full kitchen privileges.

I never worry about this, I have to eat. If people arrive at dinner time, I will be eating :slight_smile:
When I have friends over however, I do let my guests know and more often than not they join in.

1 Like

That makes sense. About half the time that we know we are having guess I am able to block out the room.Play not huge entertainers. I think my original question was more about how I had it is for people to walk into a home where folks are having dinner right in the middle of the shared space. But I don’t see a perfect solution. Thanks everyone for your responses.

I always agree a specific time with my guests. I rarely have guests who change their arrival time unless there are flight or motorway delays. Normally guests arrive within 15 minutes of their agreed time so it’s easy to work out whether to eat before or after.

Clearly if you have say someone due at 9 or 10 pm. you would just eat before.

I wouldn’t accept a booking from guests who refuse to tell me when they are arriving.

It all has to do with how you manage your listing I guess.

Of course not. But in a perfect world, yes :slight_smile:

Again, for me the idea is to give the guest a flawless experience and not one who starts with an interruption.

How about this… ask your guests to let you know half an hour or an hour before arrival (if possible) so you can prepare for them. That way you might know when they are getting there.

I have tried every method known to humans to get guests to let me know when they are arriving to no avail. Here is a sample of the excuses I’ve gotten:

“I’m sorry I didn’t get your message asking for my flight information. I was in Shanghai where everything is censored.” This is from my current guests.

“Our ride to the airport didn’t pick us up on time, then when we landed we were hungry so we stopped for something to eat.” These guest arrived four hours later than they said they would.

“I was at a virtual reality video game parlor and I lost track of time.” These guests said they’d arrive in the “early afternoon”. They arrived at 6:00 P.M. which meant I spent all day waiting for them.

Also, guests often truly have no idea when they will be departing from the airport as they have to clear customs. One of our guests took three hours to clear customs. This was due to the long line, not because customs officials targeted her for additional screening.

Many of our guests don’t want to pay for internet access while they are traveling, so they can’t contact us unless they are someplace with WiFi.

Add to this, people can’t seem to wrap their heads around how sprawled Los Angeles, CA is, how much traffic we have and how inefficient our public transportation is.


I’m reading all these comments I’m starting to feel that I don’t actually have much of a problem. The people who come sing to have a fairly good idea of what our set up is and are generally so appreciative. We’re so lucky that we’ve discovered Airbnb, it’s given us so much. I know we can improve this house and that’s why this discussion list is so helpful, but it feels good to know we’re doing a pretty good job.

1 Like

It’s a good point. I feel that there’s a lot to experience with this in order to achieve a good solution. I’m sure people here have creative ideas on how to work it.

What if there was a small box with a sign next to the door that saying something like “Staying Here? Open First!” and it will have a little clear note in it with their instructions? Could that work? Would that eliminate maybe an additional 25% of the issues?

It appears that you believe that additional communication will solve most problems with guests. The problem generally is not that we don’t communicate with the guests. It is that the guests don’t read what we’ve sent them or that they believe that they are the exception. Examples:

I had a couple stay here. I sent them several messages asking what time they would arrive. When they arrived one of them explained why they hadn’t answered my messages, “It’s not that kind of trip where we know what time we’ll be doing things. It’s the kind of trip where we do what we want when we want.”

I had a guest park on the street completely blocking my neighbor’s driveway. I asked her repeatedly to move her car, pointing out that her car could be towed. She refused to move her car because, “I’m only staying a few minutes.” Yes, I told her that in the U.S. you aren’t permitted to block someone’s car in even for a few minutes.

I had a guest who borrowed our bicycles. I told him to leave them in our driveway when he returned. I explained that this was because I didn’t want him to open the gate to our backyard as our dogs could get out. He came home, reached over the gate to access the latch (he was tall) and was in the process of opening the gate when thankfully I saw him and screamed at him to stop as our dog was in the yard. He was German. I’ve had many guests from Germany tell me that in Germany dogs aren’t permitted in the yard unsupervised. Apparently, even though I told him that I let our dogs in the yard by themselves he couldn’t fathom that it was true.

I could spend all day regaling you with stories of how my guests didn’t read/listen to my instructions.


You’re absolutely right! They don’t read and I understand why. Vacation mode - we get it. And it makes sense, I might be the same who knows (minus the car blocking probably).

I’m sure you communicate it to them but they have a point there. How would they know when they are back home?

The parking story as well as the backyard incident are cultural issues. If it was me, I’d give her 1 warning and let her get her car towed. What can you do? We’re not here to be their parents, we’re here to host in the highest standards we can. If one chooses to neglect the rules after being asked not to - it’s on him/her to carry with the consequences.

Maybe a small plastic sign for the back yard would do where the latch is? I’m not saying that I believe that through additional communication we can eliminate 100% of the problems. I’m saying that we could reduce it a bit. There’s got to be a way - that’s my belief.

It’s the kind of trip where we do what we want when we want.”


1 Like