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Guest left 5 minutes after checking in saying it was too small and not good value


I had last minute guests check in at 6pm last night for two nights. They paid $225 a night, that is a low price as it is $360 on weekends and I had dropped the price to get a booking.

It has 117 5* reviews and 117 5* for accuracy. It is very large and beautiful, bordering on luxury. It was a 2 bedroom unit and it has been renovated for only a couple, so it’s huge. With a large alfresco dining, BBQ, spa area. A separate bedroom, a gym room full of equipment, a couch that seats 8, a full kitchen with an island bench that seats 5, a separate large laundry, a huge garage for the guests to park in. How much space do two people need?

She messaged me and this is the exact message: We just arrived at the unit and unfortunately it is not what we were expecting for the high price we paid. It is nice, but certainly not the 5 star experience we thought we were getting nor worth $600. It is incredibly small and offers little privacy. I understand this is an inconvenience for you but we are not wanting to stay here tonight and would like a full refund please.

I phoned Air straight away as she followed up with: We were under the impression from the title of the listing that it was an entire home/apt. We have just left the property. I have cancelled the booking. I will request a full refund through Airbnb during the week.

It is an entire full home, no shared communal areas and totally private.

I was given to a case manager who said she would contact the guest and MEDIATE! I said I don’t see there’s anything to mediate on, I have provided everything I promised. I am a Superhost with 550 reviews and a rating of 4.9*. You can see from the photos that it’s large and beautiful.

I will keep you posted!

This forum exhausts me

Why does she think it’s not an entire home?

What sort of house is it?


It’s an Australian Villa which is seemingly a duplex or townhome or 2 family in the US.

@Poppy, I have a couple of guesses here. This is based on them being unhappy with the neighborhood which you’ve previously said isn’t the greatest. The outside is ho-hum and most people are wowed by the interior, but not this couple. And/or the other thing is that they had a fight on the way down, or one person in the couple booked this and the other was unhappy from the beginning and they came in looking for any excuse. So you have to deal with it now.


I don’t know what she means by not an entire home, it doesn’t make sense.

What the home is called depends on what country you are from (we have had a lengthy discussion on this in other posts). In Australia it would be classified as a unit or when a unit is renovated it’s often called a villa. Some people would call it a two bedroom apartment but in Australia an apartment usually means it’s in a high rise building, these are all on ground level. There are four units/villas in the block, I manage the two middle ones they are separated by two garages, one for each place. The far wall is shared with the villa on the other side but it is double brick and we paid to put in sound proofing so that we have a good relationship with our neighbours.

The alfresco, spa, BBQ dining area is the old courtyard renovated, roofed, with four walls, all soundproofed, nobody can see in, 100% private.

None of this makes sense. I am thinking there is something else is going on as why would your risk all that money? And it’s pretty late at night to find new accommodation in a small country town. There wouldn’t be many hosts in the area that would respond to 6.30pm booking for that night.
She has been unfailing polite and professional in all her communication which makes me think she has done this before or has a plan. She has 1 good previous review. She booked via instant book, we didn’t have any conversation before she booked.


The neighbourhood is wonderful! We are in walking distance to a fantastic main street full or restaurants, cafes, shops and and a lovely beach. There is nothing wrong with the neigbourhood, it is the most popular tourist town in a 60km radius.

In Australia a townhouse is on more than one level.

However I do agree with you that there is something else going on.


I thought in the last discussion we had about this it was established that it’s what here in our area we’d call a guest cottage - a sort converted shed in the back yard.


Definitely not a guest’s cottage or a converted shed! We would call that a granny flat or a bungalow.


I’m not going to go search for it but you said in a previous post that the exteriors are not that great and that people are frequently underwhelmed on arrival when seeing the exterior of the building. I’m just searching for answers because really, what is your question here? I thought it was “what is going on?”

No apparently not. It’s four homes in a row on a single level with garages. In newer areas of the US this might be a quadaplex. In an older area, a rowhouse.

In any case it seems like this woman rolled up expecting a stand alone home and now that she she’s shared walls she thinks it lacks privacy. Maybe she had previously had complaints about her high pitched scream?


You are right about the exteriors, even though they have been rendered and updated, they do not reflect what you find when you open the door (this is not a reflection on the neighbourhood though). However, the photos accurately show the inside.

You did make me smile about high pitched screaming but the bedroom is on the brick wall that has a double garage on the other side, so I think she would be pretty safe!

I wasn’t aware I had to ask a question to post on the forum. I thought it was an interesting scenario and people might be interested to hear how it pans out. $600 is a lot of money to just close the door, walk out and jeopardise not knowing if you are going to get a refund.


Is it possible she thought it was going to be a single family, stand alone house, i.e not attached to any other units?

Are the guests also Australian? If not, maybe they thought villa meant what it does in some other countries…(a large, expensive house with multiple levels and fancy landscaping.)


Maybe she is one of those who knows how to play the system. In any case, good luck.


Was it a couple? Could be a situation where one person booked and kept telling the other person how great the place was and got their expectations up, but they were imagining something different and were disappointed because they dont’ like the same things as their spouse.


I think she’d alteady booked another place at a cheaper price, probably not through Airbnb. I think she came to see if it was so magnificent she should keep the booking.


Some people are just high maintenance. However, I also think there should be less ambiguity about exactly what this structure is. It sounds like the use of the word ‘villa’ is problematic for some people unfamiliar with the idiosyncratic way in which it is used in Australia. Is this guest Australian?

Why not have the the descriptions and pictures make crystal clear that there is a shared wall and it is not a stand alone house?

I wouldn’t assume this guest is gaming you. I think for her - for whatever reason - a stand alone structure was what she thought she booked. And like @K9KarmaCasa said - there may be some other subtext between her and her partner totally not related to you or even the property. I don’t think this is a reflection on the true quality of the property, but that magic space between guest ears.

I am very curious to see what the twenty-something year old Airbnb Customer Support associate “mediates.”


Yes she is Australian, I don’t think it’s necessary to spell the description out anymore for just one guest in about 150 that has a problem.

I am very curious to see what the twenty-something year old Airbnb Customer Support associate “mediates.”

And you are right, that’s why I posted as I thought other hosts might be interested in seeing how it unfolds with “mediation”.


Yes a couple, we all it a romantic, couple’s home for a special occasion.


Let us know the outcome. I know airbnb rarely sides with the host, so I’ll be interested to see how low Airbnb will go this time.


I agree that she must have been expecting a stand alone house but is that a good enough reason to walk away from all that money over a 2 night stay? It’s not like she booked to stay for a month. And saying it was too small and not an entire home is just wrong. It’s much bigger than the other one that I manage next door which is only a studio and is more popular as it has 300+ 5* reviews because it’s been rented for longer.

It’s all quite strange, we will wait and see what Airbnb decide. As I said to owner, at the end of the day Air is like a judge in the court system, they make the decision and there’s nothing we can do about it. However I don’t see that she has a leg to stand on, but then I could be wrong!


Just wondering…in your description do you use words like unit? attached? townhouse? multiple? amongst 4? Is there any way they could have misread?


Are you sure they have indeed left the building?

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