Guest cancelled because she thought she was renting the whole house, not just a room

My listing says “PRIVATE ROOM IN HOUSE” , and in my description I indicate that the bed and bath are private, but full use of a shared kitchen is available. And there’s a resident dog. And the picture of the house clearly shows a large house. I had a guest book two nights, and after 4 emails to her asking what time she expected to arrive over the space of a week prior to arrival, so I could be sure to be home, on the day of arrival she finally answered: “wait—are you in the house too?” I explained that the description was clear, and she cancelled, saying she needed privacy. I’m fairly new to hosting, but I’ve never dealt with someone so clueless before. A whole house for $50/night? Two questions: should I emphasize in my description that I am in residence as well, and should I review the guest (even thought she never came)?


Rule 1, guests don’t read.
Rule 2, see rule 1

I always send a message immediately on receiving the booking, confirming guest numbers, etc
If I don’t hear from them, then I call to confirm details.
2 days before I confirm again…


Yeah, it seems some guests just look at the photos and price- they don’t think reading is required.

If you have an exterior shot of the whole house, remove it. (It’s also a security risk to make the house easily findable from a photo)

Yes, you need wording in your listing to the effect that you live there.
“Please note: this is a home-share listing. I live in the house and share common areas with guests. Your room and bathroom are your private spaces.”

Or whatever the arrangement may be. I list my kitchen and outdoor areas as shared, but not my living room.

Of course, with a guest like this, it wouldn’t likely make a difference. She didn’t bother to read anything, including your messages.

As far as reviewing, yes, leave a review that says what happened. Despite the listing being clearly described as a private room, the guest thought she would get the whole house, never responded to your many pre-arrival messages, and cancelled day of check in when she finally realized this was not an entire house to herself for $50/night.


We used to hear more about this happening. I only had it happen once in over 800 bookings though.

Don’t overreact to one ditzty person. If you’re sure it’s clear what’s in your description then don’t change it. Make sure “entire place” isn’t check marked on your settings.

I disagree that having a picture of your house is a security risk (at least in the US and similar nations.) I want guests to easily find my house and knowing what it looks like is helpful.

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Occasionally when searching on Airbnb I get home share when I think I’m searching for a whole house or apartment. If the first picture is a bedroom I take that as a clue and read the listing carefully. I’m not sure why they show up in my search, maybe it defaults to both?

I haven’t accidentally booked a home share, but I could see it happening if folks are trying to do it from a phone.


This really needs to be to emphasized. There were two instances where some Airbnb software changes/glitches modified my listing details to indicate spaces where shared. I had a couple of confused guests, but it was easily fixed. Hosts need to be diligent about going through their listing details frequently both to keep up with Airbnb’s constant changes and to fix the glitches those changes occasionally introduce.


I do send an email immediately after the booking, and I reiterate that there’s a dog on premises. All my guests with the exception of her, responded to the email telling me they love dogs, or it’s ok, or something like that. This person never responded. My error was not following up immediately. I’ll be sure to do that. Thanks for the tip.


You can’t fix clueless or inconsiderate. Thankfully these instances are balanced out by some delightful guests.


Ditto. I have pictures of my condo neighborhood sign & of the front of my building. My neighborhood has 20 buildings. Two are very different in appearance. Mine is one of them so having a picture makes it easier to find

If your after-reservation email doesn’t specifically say something like “I’ll be glad to welcome you to my home-share listing,” I would add that. I think it’s the first sentence in my follow-up message.

And my message ends with “I’ll be here with my Greyhounds to welcome you when you arrive.”

Can’t be too careful about making sure that they understand it is a home share and that there is a dog.


I have read of hosts having people show up at the house, with the intention of trying to make a deal outside of the platform when they were able to find the place via a photo.

Also there are thieves that target Airbnbs.

I understand providing a photo so guests can easily find it, but that photo can be sent to confirmed guests, it doesn’t have to be on public view.


Your argument relies on the online stories you’ve read of things gone awry. Mine relies on the thousands of listings that have pictures of the outside of the rental and nothing bad has happened.

I have no reason to think a picture of the home is related to this. That would be like saying don’t put a picture of the TV or the Nespresso machine because that will make thieves want to book your place.

I don’t have a picture of the house in the listing, not because I’m worried about security, but because I want to manage expectations. I don’t want them thinking that this is what they are renting.

I do include a photo of the front in the check in instructions

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Every situation is different.

  1. My building is shown, not the unit number. I am one of 8 ground level units

  2. I’m not on premises so no way to knock on my door and negotiate off platform

  3. I’m in an area with thousands of part-time homes & rentals. Every off season, thieves target empty homes. They don’t have to look long or hard to find one. A property thief who scopes out the target property on Airbnb is extraordinarily ambitious.

My gated community isn’t necessarily going to stop someone from rolling in with a truck but it makes my neighborhood less appealing

  1. I have nothing of real value in my condo. All is insured.

  2. I’ve got a couple of sketchy neighbors with sketchy grandkids (every neighborhood has them) who concern me more than total strangers.

Each host manages their homes to fit their needs. Each must decide what is correct for them and the risks they are willing to take.

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Here I go repeating myself again but, yes, it’s well established that people are more likely to be victimized by someone known to them than by strangers.

This is more true with bodily crimes than property crimes. The idea that someone is going to make an airbnb profile and send messages to the owner to case the property or to assault the owner has been given a lot of credibility but isn’t based on substantial evidence.


We had the same problem. I changed my listing title to read “Hill House - Private Entry Suite” and in ALL CAPS stated “WE LIVE IN THE BACK OF THE HOUSE, YOU GET THE FRONT SUITE WITH A DOOR BETWEEN US” This pretty much took care of it.

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I agree with KKC re. including pictures of the exterior of the house and street. If your neighborhood is an asset, the street looks quiet, residential, and the house, landscaping and entry are inviting that’s a big plus in your favor.

When I’m travelling I always look for exteriors pics and try to get a sense if the STR is next door to a gas station.

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