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Guest Book for 2, then emailed that 5 were coming!

Yesterday, we got a booking request for 2 people. It was last minute, to stay last night. We accepted the reservation. Then 2 minutes after we accepted the reservation, the guy emailed stating that he was also bringing 3 kids. Our room really does not accommodate 5 guests. I asked him to cancel the reservation because we could not fit that many people. He refused and stated that he would lose half of his money. I told him we only accepted his reservation because he stated that he would be 2 guests only.

We called AirBnB and customer service said she would manually cancel it and that he would have to pay the 50% penalty. My Mother (the business owner) felt bad and did not want him to have to lose half of his money. We called AirBnB back and said we would be willing to let them stay, but that they would have to pay the $10 extra per person per night. It would be $30, and with state tax and fees, we sent them a resolution (AirBnB’s instructions) to have them pay the extra $35. The guy wrote back and stated he felt “trapped” because he knew he could get a room elsewhere for cheaper.

My Mother, feeling bad for him, called him and told his wife that we would mail him a check as soon as we get the money from AirBnB. I have a very bad feeling about this transaction. Not only did it take up 3 hours of our time (calling AirBnB and dealing with him), but now I am concerned that he will give us a negative review. I am afraid he will write that we were not accommodating, would not allow his kids, etc.

We did make the acception to allow his kids, but we asked him to pay for it. When he refused, we further said that we would not cancel the reservation, but instead, would send him his money. In the end, he did not stay with us. But on paper, it shows he stayed with us.

Have any of you had this happen? How did you handle it or what would you have done if in this situation? If it were up to me, I would’ve had AirBnB cancel it so we did not get penalized. But my Mother felt bad. What a mistake I feel that we’ve made!

So he didn’t cancell but didn’t stay? And lost all of his money?? That’s really strange. I hope I understood correctly.
I would definitely not let him stay with all the kids. And go with airbnb canceling. You did nothing wrong, it’s him who made a mistake. It was very nice of you to try to accommodate him but I am curious you would accommodate 3 more people I’d your room doesn’t fit so many?
I hear these stories often when people show up with a child or extra child. I don’t allow children, I never had this problem out of 40 plus guests.
I personally don’t think that kids younger than 10 and a Airbnb go together.

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We were willing to accommodate him (despite it being a room with a queen size bed). He told us the 1 year old would sleep in the bed with them and the 2 other kids would sleep on the floor.

We would never normally allow this, but my Mother (the business owner) felt bad for him and didn’t want him to lose his money. I don’t agree with her decision. So, we sent him a resolution for him to pay for the extra 3 guests. He responded that he felt “trapped,” because he could get a motel room elsewhere for cheaper. He is correct in saying this, but this was all his fault. He clearly and knowingly booked a room that fits 2 people. So, since he was unwilling to pay the extra $35 on top of the $80 we already were charging for the room, my Mother (again, I don’t agree with what she did) called him and told him she would send him the money she makes from the transaction to him by personal check.

In order to get rid of this particular guest I would have just asked Airbnb if they could waive the cancellation fee and that way the guy only loses his booking fee when he cancels. I would think Airbnb would allow that - don’t see why not. I would not want someone like that staying because he is bound to leave a negative review.

When a guest is bringing more guests than originally stated and you approve then you can edit the reservation to reflect the new pricing. This is done in your dashboard. No need to get Airbnb involved. Guest must accept the change and click on this. Make a guest do this and log into their account as soon as they arrive. Don’t even let them unpack or bring in their belongings. It’s actually a pretty quick process. I used it once.

With this guy - I was livid just reading this. He was fully trying to play you and whine and cry about feeling “trapped,” He purposely stated two guests to avoid paying the extra $30.

This is common with guests. I screen carefully. I never go by the number they select, nor go by what they happen to mention in their message. In this case if he had stated he and his wife, I would have asked if it would only be the two of them staying.

If his message didn’t include any info about his wife, then you can say “I see the reservation is for 2 guests, could you tell me your relation to the other member of your party, and will anyone else be joining you?”

You would be surprised what they question will reveal. At least in my case with renting out a whole home, guests feel they can bring however many they want. They will not disclose more info unless asked. And even then some will still be vague. And then I re-ask until I am satisfied that they have answered me clearly.

We have all been there. When I was brand new I had one guest enter in 6 and then when I sent the preapproval he changed it to 5. I called him for some reason and at the same time asked about the number of guests and he said it was a baby (really toddler) and we went back and forth about how I should not count this “baby.” And he was in the middle of a wedding reception and I was more or less bothering him. I decided to waive it because I was new and didn’t want the bad review. Then he needed a place to park his trailer so we found a place next door for him. So things lightened up. He never did leave a review. But he prob. would have left a bad one even with me waiving the fee if it wasn’t for us helping him with his trailer. Now today - that would be a totally different story. My recent guest did this and when he arrived I told him to cough up the $50 cash if he wanted his baby to stay. Of course I say it nicely. And then he of course didn’t understand why a baby would be charged same rate as adult. And then I have to explain that I charge per person no matter the age. You’ll get better and better with screening.


I understood the rest, but he didn’t stay at all? And now he lost all the money he paid bcs he never cancelled?
Feeling bad in situation like this is not very businesslike and after all it’s business.if everyone did what they wanted imagine the haos​:blush:. Next time take charge :blush:

Thank you for your excellent advice. You sound very experienced in all of this! We called AirBnB three times, asked them to waive the fees and they said no. We even said he made an error in his booking number of guests (which he clearly did not do). You are right, he tried to deceive us and methodically did this AFTER the booking was complete.

So, now what should we do? I feel that we should leave an honest review of him. We could also wait the 14 day review period and see what he says, and then send his money back if we see that he either left no review or not a negative one. If he leaves us a negative review, we should not send him a check.

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Basically, he wanted to get out of the situation and my Mother allowed it. Essentially she catered to him which I thought was ridiculous. He refused to stay if he had to pay the extra charge for the 3 guests, so my Mother (and I COMPLETELY DISAGREE with her!) felt bad for him. She told him that she would send him a check for whatever she gets paid by AirBnB.

I am angry with the way she handled this situation. She is older and completely clueless. She does not understand the impact of a negative review. So, she basically told him, don’t stay with us, we won’t cancel it and he won’t cancel it, so nobody incurs any fees. So, now he is going to be paid. I don’t agree with her decision, but her philosophy is “he may burn down our business now that he knows where we are.”

So, now we are at the mercy of his review. I have no idea what he is going to say. He said things like “this shouldn’t be a big deal, we bring our kids all the time, they sleep on the floor.”

Airbnb won’t waive the traveler booking fee, he will still have to pay that. But you are saying that Airbnb would not allow you to waive your cancellation policy? If that’s the case then maybe because Airbnb didn’t want to lose their 3%?

I hope you are able to get your mother to allow you to manage and make the decisions.

I go through this with my partner all the time. He is the “owner” and I am the manager. He doesn’t know anything about the booking process, etc. All he does is give the guests a tour of the house. He tries to sometimes make a decision that I know is not good for the rental. But he doesn’t understand the business like I do. We go back and forth and he screams “but I am the owner” but I don’t back down. Your mother feeling bad for this guest who was trying to advantage of her was not a wise decision. I’m not knocking your mother - she sounds very sweet.

I would not want this guy having a copy of my personal check. Your checking/routing number is written on the bottom of every check and he isn’t a trustworthy guy. And then he may claim he never received it blah blah and try to get you to send another one. Or he may just sit on the check and your mother will be worried.

I would try Airbnb one last time before your payout is sent withing the 24 hrs. - and see if they can just edit the reservation back to the original number. Can you see in your dashboard if you have access to edit it?


Also if you must send him the remainder then I would only do so by money order and I would have clear communication with him about it. Tell him you need him to confirm when he receives it in the mail, and when he cashes it. Make sure you keep a copy and can track it with the post office.

It’s so strange that he didn’t stay.

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We did try to adjust the number of guests, but because our listing showed a maximum occupancy of 2, it would not allow us to set it at 5.

We are very new to AirBnB and my Mother is afraid of causing waves. She does need to be more business minded, rather than trying to please everyone.

Here’s another questions I have for you guys: What happens if they show up with 5 and booked for 2? This guy emailed ahead of time and said he had 5. But what if he never said anything and then showed up? If we refused him unless he paid extra, that could lead to another negative review such as “they wouldn’t allow my kids to stay, etc.”

And AirBnB definitely just wanted to make their 3% commission, that’s why they would not waive anything.

Sorry, I forgot that he might have to accept the changes if you edit the reservation. So not sure what to do but I would call and maybe you will get a better rep who can help. And if he really wants his $30 then he should accept the change right away if that is possible.

Oh I see why you can’t edit it. Thanks

Actually, we both agreed that he would not stay. The reason being is that he had the 3 extra kids and did not want to pay for them. So, rather than just cancelling (as he said he would lose 1/2 of his money), my Mother told him, just keep the reservation and we’ll send you a check for what AirBnB pays us. So he is getting most of his money back.

We were afraid of what would happen if he arrived and she didn’t let him in because he would not pay, then later leave a review that says “these people would not allow us into the place we rented.”

It’s too late at this point. He booked yesterday and the stay was for last night.

He never paid the extra $35 dollars. If he had, we would’ve allowed him and his kids to stay.

In my view, we should’ve had the attitude of “too bad,” and then made him either pay or we have AirBnB cancel it for him and he loses half of his money.

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At this point, what do you think we should do? Should we contact him and tell him that his receiving his money back is dependent on him leaving no review, or just risk it?

Also, should we leave an honest review of him?

It is still at the original amount of $80. He never paid the extra for the 3 people, so there was a verbal agreement that he would NOT stay and we would refund him all the payment we received.

Lindsey, I would not contact him anymore. You did plenty. Do what’s feel right for you and I have a feeling you want to leave a review. It’s not ok for a guest to book for 2 and show up with 3 more anyway you look at it. I would not refund money also. It was not your " mistake".

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Lindsey, Cabin has been really helpful I see, the only things to do are what she suggests, which is to call Airbnb again and see if you get a better rep this time. It’s amazing, but one time you’ll call and get a total bonehead that won’t help you one bit, and another time an empathetic person that will go with you the full distance. I see you got the former. I’ve sometimes had one of each on the same case, coming to two totally different conclusions, both claiming that they are following Airbnb policies (when they won’t help you they love saying their policies won’t allow them to help you!!).

Anyway, in this case, I feel very uncomfortable about you refunding these guests, whether you said you would or not. You can’t go outside of the Airbnb system when using Airbnb, and if your mother is worried about new business mistakes, she should be more concerned about losing her ability to use Airbnb than annoying one obviously unscrupulous guest. You absolutely have to work within Airbnb systems, and you can’t be sending payments outside of it to skirt around policies. If Airbnb finds out (and they will because they can see your messages), then you can be removed from the site, immediately with no recourse. This is the worst case scenario, but be aware, we do have to follow their policies to use the system.

So I HIGHLY suggest seeking help from customer service with a call at this point. The customer has manipulated your mother into saying she will refund this way (and of course she shouldn’t have to pay for the cancellation with penalties as she did nothing wrong). Airbnb will not hold your mother to this refund. If the guest did not turn up, they won’t get a refund. Also, booking a room that only holds two and then saying you’re bringing five is clearly not right. These guests knew what they were doing to you.

Who makes kids sleep on the floor? No, what they mean is that they know no host will allow kids to be so uncomfortable and they will go out of their way to provide or buy extra bedding for them. Unbelievable.

Please report these ‘guests’, and please do not refund. I suspect you may not have to review because Airbnb will cancel them properly, as they should have been. But if you do, I hope you leave an honest review. There is nothing they can say about you, as they never saw your home. Not accepting a whole family in a room for two is nothing bad, so no worries there!

In future, a guests cancellation fees are their own problem, especially when they so blatantly tried to play you like these guests (I know you know this, but this is for your mom). Don’t let other people put their own self made problems on you, because they will try!

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