Guest Expectations


Im looking for some help, Ill be honest, Ive just used airbnb for the first time as a guest. I now need to leave a review but Im not sure which ‘experiences’ I should base my review on. Im looking for some help and guidance, as airbnb dont seem to offer any and I cant find anything on google, my apologies if this isnt the right forum.

I rented a 2 bed apartment in a capital city in Europe for 7 nights, so expensive, it has 21 reviews with a 5 star rating. The few concerns that I have are…
I emailed the host roughly a week in advance to say my arrival time, they replied, which was fine but I did think it odd that I had to contact them first. I arrived at the time I said I would, found the place no problems, but none of the houses were clearly labeled with buzzers(and mostly broken), so I couldnt ring a bell. I received a message saying to let them know when i arrived, I replied back, saying I was there…received a message saying they were out and about and would be there when they could be and to enjoy the sunshine, 15 mins later they show up… So I was waiting out in the street for 15 mins with my luggage, is this normal?!?
It was obviously a rental apartment for airbnb etc and not someones home, which is fine, ikea heaven but there wasnt handsoap and only 1 roll of toilet paper, so I bought more, is that something the guest should be doing or should there be supplies?
None of the beds were made when we arrived, we were told the sheets were at the cleaners and would be made later when the sheets arrived. We arrived back 3 hours later and asked a question about opening the windows and were given our sheets, offered to have the beds made but we werent bothered at that point, however, it kind of irritated me that they said it would be taken care of but wasnt…
The faucet on the sink was loose in the bathroom, like really loose, when you touched it came forward a few cms, I was afraid it would break when I used it. (Should the cleaner/owner have seen this when they cleaned it or did spot checks?) I got a message on tues asking about my stay I replied saying it was ‘its ok and did you know the faucet is loose?’ he replied asking if I wanted him to fix it? I said yes please as Im afraid it will break… I left today (sat) and it wasnt fixed… Also the shower was blocked and you’d end up standing in your shower water and discovered you had leave it at least an hour between showers as to not flood the bathroom floor, I was going to mention this to him when he fixed the faucet but because he didnt fix the faucet, I didnt want to feel like I was just messaging him about broken things. Equally shouldnt he know things arent right? In my mind, the cleaner should have noticed it when they cleaned the shower, as the water starts to pool instantly.
To get into the apartment the listing says ‘some stairs’ it really turns out to be 72 (very narrow) in total with no elevator, should this not be mentioned in the listing? Carrying luggage up and down it was an experience…
On the notes I was sent prior to my stay and when I sent a message about check out, I was also asked to remove all the linens from the bed and put them in the bathroom. Is this normal? I feel like because I pay a cleaning fee (airbbnb show you this on the page), should I be putting on the linens in addition to taking them off as a guest?
Also, given its in a capital city and clearly a rental, should there not be some sort of guest book of ‘things you may want to know or will help with your stay’? Ie how to use the washing machine, what buttons to push on the dishwasher, how to close the windows and the wifi password is…
I cant decide if Im being overly picky or if it really wasnt a great experience? Based on the issues I had I honesty dont understand why people have rated them 5 stars… Id say 3 at the best but again am I basing my experience on all of my experiences/issues or on the expectation of what Id get a hotel and thats clearly what it isnt.

Thank you in advance for your help/knowledge with this query.

Oh I think it’s a bit of both. It’s a home, not a hotel, so it’s not out of the question to expect to need to make your own bed (not the way I do it, but we’re all different). But I hope the place had been cleaned before you arrived. I would say the meet & greet was a little unprofessional but put firstly, we’re not all professionals. And secondly, put yourself in the host’s shoes, I would estimate that 50% of guests miss the time they say they’ll turn up by at least an hour. We do have other commitments… but they really could have asked you to text them half an hour before or something.

The bathroom well… I’ve also stayed in a place that sounds like this :frowning: ancient plumbing that blocks the moment you look at it. Whether they should have known is less of an issue to me because they simply may not have had the money to have it fixed urgently anyway. And when cleaning it’s entirely possible not to run the shower long enough to see that it’s flooding. I spray, squeegy, and mop, and never run the shower during a clean.

They’re not obligated to supply anything not in the listing. Including toilet paper sadly. And if they didn’t mention shampoo, that’s why it’s not there.

Cleaning fee yes. You can be charged one and still be asked to do things. It’s not the host’s fault. It’s the only way we can charge for fixed costs such as the laundry etc. AirBnB doesn’t give us a “service fee” option, “cleaning” is all we have.

Not mentioning 72 stairs is hideous. I’d mention that in the review, along with the fact that the place is not very well-organised in general, the host kept you waiting, the room was not ready for your stay and the bathroom was unsatisfactory. It can be tempting to add every single detail you think of but in the end it will be lost in a wall of text (like my wall right here).


I think that a 15 minutes waiting time, especially on a sunny summer day, is reasonable. Keep in mind hosts have a life outside Airbnb !

72 stairs (3rd floor european or 4th floor American, that’s it?) does not seem unreasonable either, as long as the listing does not mention a lift, it’s expected that buildings in inner neighborhoods of a European city don’t have a lift. I think that a wise traveler should not take more luggage than he/she can comfortably carry.

From my experience, stripping the beds is an usual house rule in many vacation rentals in continental Europe. I always do it as a guest (I am French) even if I am not instructed to do so.

But the lack of maintenance, instructions and touristic information is absolutely NOT normal and is worth mentioning in a review and ratings. Everything should be in perfect working condition in a vacation rental.


My take is totally different than eliel’s. My comments are assuming that you paid a decent amount for this rental in a major capital city, and didn’t choose one of the lowest priced options for the neighborhood.

By definition, this host is a professional. They are renting out an apartment on AirBNB that is not their home. Unless mentioned in the listing, the room should be ready at check-in time. That includes having clean linens and made beds. Faucets should not be loose. Showers should work properly, though in some old buildings there isn’t much you can do except plunge regularly [which is what I would have done assuming there was a plunger.] Self-catering apartments in Europe don’t generally have any supplies. You are lucky to have one roll of toilet paper, some salt/pepper and a bit of oil. Materials about the area are a really nice feature, but don’t expect that in Europe unless the listing specifically mentions them. As to the 72 stairs, yea, I have done this routine and it gets old fast. I learned to always ask how many stairs are there or is there an elevator as I planned my visit. I am willing to pay more, it turns out, for an elevator.

As you write your review, I would think about how you felt after you booked. Was it a “wow, we got a deal” or “That was a splurge, it will be great” or “seems like a place we can sleep at a fair price.” The price you paid vs the value you received is really what a review is all about after all.

In the future look for the clues that signal an invested host. There should be information in the listing indicating that there is a house manual, a list of special restaurants, where services in the neighborhood are located, etc. If there is no elevator, ask what floor is it on and how many stairs?

Wow. Turns out eliel and I fundamentally agree!


Made me laugh! :slight_smile:

The reason I struggle with whether something’s a ripoff or not is, it’s subjective. The amount I would expect to pay for budget accommodation (being from an expensive city myself) is an amount others would expect gold-plated kitchenware from.


What city, how much per night? It’s up to travelers to ask things like what floor is it on, elevator etc. As a host, I list what I supply ie shampoo etc. you don’t say where you ar from, but when you travel to another continent, it’s unreasonable to expect things to be the same as home. As a traveler, I check out these things, with the Internet it’s very easy. You can do a google earth search. When I travel to Europe both pre and post Internet, I do my research to ensure my comfort and don’t sound like your trip was ruined, some surprises and exposure to slightly wonky plumbing. But you were able to shower. If it said some stairs, that’s a huge flag that I would have followed up. Re the instructions for appliances, how many languages do you think the host should translate them into. I would mark a 3 if the shower didn’t work or if I was lef waiting to an hour. Booking an apartment IMO means you are going to be self-sufficient, if you want more support, stay in an hotel.


My first questions also. Where you coming from the US @cemme ?

I don’t contact guests until the day prior to check in. This has never been a problem.

Truly, reading your post, I think you are picky. But how much were you paying per night and where?


Ha, yes – we Americans can tend to be a bit pickier. I had pretty much the same experience in Minturn, Colorado (right next to Vail). For the nightly rent we were paying, and the fact that the host’s description included his 12+ years in the hospitality business, I was expecting way more than he provided – 1 1/2 rolls of toilet paper for 3 people for three nights (and no Kleenex), no hand soap anywhere, sheets were cleaned but badly stained, no coffee (but a nice coffee maker). Granted, the host did not list toilet paper, Kleenex, or coffee but I think that should be the bare minimum for $300/night. Also, it was clean in the middle but not around the edges, which was full of hair, dust bunnies and spider webs. The appliance handles were gunky with food – yuck. I expected it to be spotless for a $150 cleaning fee. The shower temperature was tepid – not what you want after a day of skiing. No welcome letter, what-so-ever, even when I contacted him prior to our stay. I messaged him about the shower temp and our need of more toilet paper during our stay. No response. Other than him accepting our reservation – crickets. My review was a mix of the good and bad, with full disclosure that I am a host. I received no review from him.

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$300 a night + $150 cleaning fee. I would consider that a sloppy, penny-pinching, greedy host who is out for the money and could care less about anything else. I trust you left the him a ‘smashing’ review Sandy. :wink:


Where is @taratree when you need him/her?


First, I contact my international travelers 2-3 days prior to check-in, domestic travelers the day before. I would never get in touch a week prior to check-in but I would not mind at all if guests contacted me that early.

Personally, I believe this host needs a better check-in process and a better housekeeping process. I don’t believe a guest should be arriving to an unmade bed and putting down their own sheets hours after arrival unless there’s something in the listing that indicates that the unit is very DIY and priced accordingly. If a guest routinely will have to wait 15 min for a host to show up for check-in, at least letting the guest know to expect this would do a lot (“text when you arrive and I’ll be there within 15 min” or better yet, “text when you are 15 min away so I can meet you when you arrive”).

Some plumbing is old and can be part of the drawback of an otherwise very charming European accommodation but your shower drain sounds like it was clogged. You ought to have contacted them and asked if this was normal or a clog since no host wants water flooding the floors. I dislike standing in 2 inches of soapy water when I’m taking a shower and I don’t think that’s picky. (I dislike it enough that I would have called and asked if there was some product I could easily buy and use to resolve this). I don’t expect a host to cater to me and rush over to unclog it – I just want some guidance about how to solve the problem.

The host sounds too “casual” for someone charging serious money for an entire apt and I would leave them with private feedback indicating that they need a better housekeeping process and that their apt could be more traveler-friendly (instructions on how to use appliances, etc). My cleaner always tells me, “bathroom sink drain slow” or “kitchen bulb is out” – because these things make it harder for her to clean. If a bulb is out and I can’t replace it before a guest arrives, I say "I’m so sorry this bulb went out today but I can have it replaced during your 7 night stay.) The supplies were totally normal and I wouldn’t expect an accommodation to keep me stocked for an entire week with toilet paper and kleenex and paper towels. (Although I do stock all those things for my guests, I consider it an extra I’m willing to do, not required).


I cannot add to this as I think Chicago’s response is SPOT ON.

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@anon67190644 & @ cemme
I’m here! How sweet to be mentioned (I’m a “her”) I felt sorry for Cemme - to have to make beds on arrival, also having to deal with nearly broken faucet or substandard shower, etc.) An Airbnb destination should be exceptionally clean, well maintained, and have instructions for equipment/wifi if the host isn’t available to show you how to use items…a simple notebook is a good idea for this. Toilet paper is a must! I can’t imagine arriving and having no toilet paper or soap --these items are not expensive. Cemme–you are not picky if you are a reasonable person having reasonable expectations for cleanliness, basic supplies, and working everything! If something is NOT working, a responsible host will disclose the fact BEFORE you book or at the very least before you arrive! Key word here is RESPONSIBLE! Bottom line: No guest should have to wait for the host(s) or for the apartment to be prepared for them–that’s not good hosting! .
Happy Travels and Happy Hosting…

My first take was that perhaps the OP was being a tad picky, ~perhaps~; considering it ~sounded~ like an old place, in an old European city and price still hasn’t been stated I believe.

Yes, no doubt the host does come across very sloppy regardless and awfully lackadaisical. Would be interesting to know where the OP comes from (expectations), what city we are talking about and what was the price; these facts perhaps would help put the event on some further perspective.

The central question was: are these things ‘normal’? Yes and no, depending what one expects, where one is indeed going, and what one is actually paying.


Paper products are much more expensive in Europe. Again, we need to know city and price.

Besides, you haven’t “lived like a local,” until you’ve purchased toilet paper in foreign currency!


I don’t know – the only place i can think of where you’re given sheets and make your own bed after check-in might be in prison. I don’t think it’s normal. The exception would be if the guest had asked for an early-check in and was told that due to this early accommodation, the beds wouldn’t be ready (since as we all know, laundry takes the longest and can’t be rushed).

Yes, the bed scene was very abnormal, to say the least. Last time I had to make my own bed was in the military, way, way before ‘share hosting’ started. :rolling_eyes:

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Even in the dorm, there’s your mom to make the bed for you, because, let’s face it, the twin XL mattress size is difficult to get a fitted sheet around, and mom makes beds best after all. :kissing_heart:

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