Guest cancelled reservation based on "incorrect" listing information

Hi @JJD,

Yes, I suppose you are right. So I can’t even mention that she got 4 days out of 5 refunded because of the beach front thing?

OK. Thank you.

Yes, I realise I need it to Airbnb. I mean, send it via what method? Email? Via a message in the Airbnb Messaging system? Though I am not sure how to initiate a conversation there. Perhaps
Contact us | Airbnb Help Centre ? Though I don’t see an option there to attach a file.

That’s not the full bit. You’re taking it out of context. That line specifically refers to " in ways unrelated to their stay, or that compromise the quality of their stay". Talking with a guest on the phone for a possible booking is not that.

Those rules are about not spamming or misusing guest contact info and primarily about not taking the booking off of the platform. It is not about talking on the phone for a request. I’ve had as many hosts ask for a phone call before booking as not. It’s not uncommon.

I would not mention the refund at all if you don’t want the chance of the review being removed. And, as a host, if you include the line about checking out 4-days early, I would know.

Perhaps add the word “demanded” to be clearer: Demanded to check out the next morning 4-days early because she was hoping for a beachfront property.

I would do the messaging system, chat or whatever they call it.

Hi @JJD,

Well, in the contact, it’s ambiguous. So @Rolf’s interpretation could be correct. It’s hard to know what is meant.

It is an unconditional ban on a conversation before booking? Is it only prohibited if the intent is to move the booking off Airbnb? (Which makes no sense. Why annoy the people who you are getting your referrals from? But I suppose people do try it.)

On a second read, the second part is thoroughly confusing, so I don’t know what is going on. You can’t ask guests for their email address after a booking? What?

Hi @JJD,

I’m not sure how to start a conversation with Airbnb “Support” there. I never have. But I’ll take another look. If anyone wants to offer a tip, that would be nice. Usually I just call them, and then they send me a text message later.

So, go to top right, Menu, then Explore hosting resources; then, top right “help” then lower bottom right Contact us (for SuperHost).

Your message should be brief.

RE; Reservation [#, Name, check-in date: ] this reservation was cancelled by guest/Airbnb due to an inaccurate listing ( ‘beach’ as an amenity). However, this inaccuracy was not caused by me; I believe that my amenity listing was changed due to an Airbnb bug (see attached what another Host received). Accordingly, I believe you should . . . [I don’t know how to finish this sentence because I don’t know what remedy you want and that others here think you might reasonably hope to get.]


Hi @muddy,

Well, it’s just a lot faster and more efficient. And with a 24 hour deadline, and possibly different time zones, it’s just more efficient to cover everything at once. Also, my experience is that people don’t like to do much correspondence over text message.

Though I suppose I could consider doing the phone call after the booking. But that would then make it impossible to refuse the booking if the guest seems like a psycho on the phone. Which isn’t common, but it’s happened.

Hi @HostAirbnbVRBO,

Thank you for the tip. I’ll try to find time to give that a try tomorrow.

Also, with regard to your earlier message about being unfair to the guest, the main thing was the cancellation with almost full refund, of course. I would have let the rest slide if that is all it was. Guests do little annoying things all the time. You can’t keep track of everything, or even mention it on a review. It’s not practical. Though randomly bringing along an extra person to stay at the last minute is very unusual. I don’t recall it happening it before. And I’d get very stressed if it happened regularly. And changing check-in times multiple times is also quite unusual. Mostly people just turn up roughly when they say they will turn up. Maybe 1/2 hour late, or something.

A guest who seems like a psycho over the phone is likely to send up red flags through messaging as well.

Yes, it’s much more convenient to communicate by phone or whatsapp messages and I do that a lot after the booking is paid for and confirmed. The disadvantage is that there is no record of a conversation to show Airbnb, in case there is some contention with a bad guest. (They could claim, for instance, that you told them they could check in outside the stated times, when you didn’t, and Airbnb unfortunately chooses most often to believe the guests) So I use the phone or whatsapp to communicate about non-potentially contentious things, like guests phoning me when their bus gets in, so I can go pick them up, or conveying bus location and schedule info.

No issue with asking guests for email addresses and giving them yours after the booking is confirmed. I do it all the time, as I email a map to my hard-to-find house.

Hi @muddy,

Well, I don’t use the phone to state policy. I try to make sure any relevant conversation goes to Airbnb Messaging, though most of the time all this carefulness is redundant, of course. And I don’t actually know if a phone conversation is better at rooting out a potential psycho guest. There is just something comforting about talking to a human on the phone.

Yes, I use email to send files as well. PDFs, which Airbnb Messaging won’t let me send.

Is it?

Could you make it simpler for the guest by having more of the information that you convey/gather in the phone call be in your listing and/or ‘confirming interest email.’

I could imagine a call that follows a written communication that outlines the basics but then previews what needs to be agreed to during the call, in addition to any questions they have. Then you could write a short email after the call, summarizing what was agreed.

That written communication will give both you and the guest a written record you can each refer to to jog memory.

Yes, you can and I do if they don’t have one listed because I often send customized lists by pdf. It is, again, it is the context. You can ask them for their email but it must be related to their stay. You can’t use it to solicit them or to take the booking or future bookings off-platform.

When I first started using Airbnb as a guest, long before I was a host, every host I requested to book with required a phone call. At one point it must’ve been ‘normal’. I’ve had hosts even in the last few years want a phone call before booking but they had been hosting a long time so it was perhaps out of habit.

There is nothing that forbids phone calls outright but the rules for communication are very restrictive. The reason for them (despite the other reasons they give) is that Airbnb does not want hosts to find guests on Airbnb and then book them directly (and have themselves cut-out of the money). So I imagine there is still some risk at “getting in trouble” for it because it is Airbnb (and they work in unreasonable ways, lol) but it is not explicitly against the TOS as you are using it.

[They, are obviously quite successfully, trying to scare hosts out of taking business off of the platform].

@HostAirbnbVRBO 's instruction and proposed message was spot on for this question (and this question only, not the other stuff he’s spewing). I suggest the same.

Hi @HostAirbnbVRBO,

Well, the call is just an informal thing to try to get a sense of the other person. Occasionally, we chat a bit. Usually I start by asking them if they have any questions. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. This is something that just seems easier over the phone. I also give them my list of reasons why they might do want to stay here. Though not being on the beach isn’t among them.:slight_smile: I’ve literally never met anyone who cares about this before, at least in Bombay. Bombay beaches are not very nice. People don’t usually care about them.

Anyway, it’s not the way you describe it, which sounds more a corporate type meeting. Though I do keep track of things like check-in times and special requests, and try to remind the guest as necessary. Most people aren’t good at keeping track of stuff.

I somehow missed it, thanks. Best of luck to you.

Yeah, but the amenity list was incorrect. Your quarrel, if any, is with Airbnb and/or periodically review listing as this will not be the last time that your listing will change without your doing it.

On adding the extra person, it would have been better if they told you the day before. But they might ask themselves, ‘What’s the big deal?’ Plus you didn’t object at the 5:51 pm communication. If you don’t want to accept additional guests after booking or some other timeframe, say that in your rules. But if you do decide to accept it then you cannot justifiably complain afterwards.

I get that multiple things happened with this reservation, the biggest being the cancellation, but also the other little things that the guest did. I would let those go OR put in procedures communications to prevent/make less likely in future.

You’re a very experienced and successful Host, so you can decide whether it’s worth your time to refine your communications and procedures that have generally worked well for you.

Yes, it is. I ask my guests to phone or text me when they get through customs and immigration at the airport, so I have a heads-up as to when they will likely arrive here (about an hour or two later) and again when they get to the bus station. If they do it by Airbnb message, I have to open my account to read the message, type out a response, wait for any reply. A phone call or whatsapp message exchange is instantaneous.

Also, whatsapp is the method most people use to communicate in general, in many countries. A lot of Mexicans don’t even have a phone plan activated and I can’t call them or vice-versa, whereas all they need for a whatsapp is a wifi connection.

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Hi @HostAirbnbVRBO,

Sure, but in the context, cancelling over this was nuts, as I tried to explain in my earlier message. Perhaps in a different context, somewhere where guests would expect or want to be on a beach, it might be reasonable. Perhaps somewhere that is famous for its beaches? But that isn’t the case here.

Yes, I realise the amenity list was incorrect, but from my POV it’s just a technicality, because the guest must have known that it wasn’t the case. Because my road has a railway line on the other side, not the Arabian Sea, and there is no beach there. And she must have known that. She’s lived in this area before, as I said. It’s mostly about intentional dishonesty.

And neither a very experienced or very successful host, unfortunately. And these days, more than a little fed up. But I already said that.

Hi @muddy,

Yes, WA is very popular, though I still prefer email. And certainly for longer stuff email is preferable. But I generally find using WA and Airbnb Messaging somewhat comparable. They both have phone apps, and you can use both on the net. I’m not sure why you find WA faster. They’re both messaging systems.

And I’m still not a fan of WA, though I admit it is very convenient. For a long time I refused to use it. It doesn’t help that it’s owned by Facebook.

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I understand.

Make it how you’d like it to go.

Maybe you say in your email something like (edit appropriately):

"As a host sharing my home and you as my guest it makes sense for each of us to talk briefly to get a sense of each other, make sure we’re each comfortable with the plan and accommodations, and I can answer any questions you have about the place, getting here or around.

So I’d like to call you in the next few minutes but first I’d ask you to review the listing and the subjects below to see what questions you might have. Also, by the end of the call you and I should agree on:

  1. When you’ll check in between 4 pm and 9 pm,
  2. Whether you’d like complementary breakfast, and
  3. Confirm the basic house rules and timeframe of your stay.

Things to Make Sure You Understand:
o Getting here: Location, Transportation, Stairs
o Getting around
o Shared spaces: Entrance Hall, Kitchen (microwave convection only for cooking)
o Listing: Room, Bathroom, Laundry
o House Rules: No: pets/smoking (outside ok?)/parties/events, unregistered guests, luggage storage. Two guest max.
o Checking in (schedule one hour window between 4 pm - 9 pm /checking out (by 11 am)


Hi @HostAirbnbVRBO,

Wow, that sounds amazingly thorough, not to mention eloquent. :slight_smile: I’m afraid I’m not that professional. But perhaps I should borrow some of that. The only thing is that it will make the email even longer than it already is. And it’s already quite long. And as discussed here, and in many other places, people don’t like to read.

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