I’ve been hosting for over two years. I’m a woman who lives alone, and I rent out a spare bedroom in my house. Overall, the experience has been positive, but I’ve just had an unnerving experience.
tl; dr: guest showed up 1 day before reservation
The guest booked a stay starting on a Tuesday. I messaged him on Monday morning, asking “what time do you plan to check in tomorrow?” and seeing if he had any last minute questions. He never responded.
A little after 3 that afternoon, I got notification on my phone that someone had tried ringing my doorbell multiple times. I make it clear in the listing that my check-in window starts at 5pm because I work away from home during the day.
Half an hour later, the guest messaged me saying that no one was home and could I please contact him soon. I called AirBnb for advice because I was really unnerved that he was trying to get into my house a day early. The rep brushed totally past my personal safety concerns and focused on if I could accommodate him Monday night. I said “No” and the rep said they could call him to make sure he had arrangements. The rep also followed up with a message stating that a Case Manager would contact me shortly. I felt relief, believing that they would help me through an awkward situation. I did not hear back from them that day.
After getting off the phone, I messaged the guest back and re-stated that his reservation wasn’t until Tuesday but to expect a call from AirBnB. An hour later, he apologized for messing up the dates and asked if I could accommodate that night - so I’m pretty sure AirBnB never contacted him. I said “no” and advised him to work through AirBnB if he needed help finding a place to stay.
I finally got a message from a Case Manager on Tuesday morning asking AGAIN if I could accommodate - for the previous night! ALL communications with the guest are through AirBnB messaging, and it was obvious the CM hadn’t looked at those at all.
I was actually strongly considering quitting hosting for other reasons, but my experience with how AirBnB handled this situation has put the final nail in the coffin.
So I’m wondering -
Has anyone else had a guest show up a day (or more) early? This is what baffled me - it seems like the reservation dates are everywhere - on emails, in the app, on the website.
If so, did you contact AirBnB? And what did their attitude seem to be?
Sounds like he just got his days mixed up. Not sure why you got unnerved? You had already accepted this person to stay in your accommodation. Perhaps it was a headache for him being a little clueless as to his reservation.
Not show up but accidentally book the wrong days, yes. We’ve always been able to get on the same page and I usually can keep the booking. It does seem in this case like the dude isn’t checking his messages which is always annoying.
How far in advance did he make the reservation?
Hi. I think you did very well. After all it is the guest’s fault for mixing up the dates. Imagining going overseas and showing up at the airport a day earlier!
I had something similar happening to me when a guest booked me for a Tuesday lets say buy said they will arrive late at night cuz he couldn’t find a decent plane tix. I have no pr with that. he then asked if can check in earlier. I thought they changed the plane tickets. I said yes. And the day before their arrival I sent an email just like you asking when will they arrive on Tue. They said what Tuesday? We are arriving tonight, you said we can check in earlier! I told them I can;t accept a day earlier and give them a night for free. I contacted CS and I have no idea what they did. I simply took the key from the lock-box. I told them there was no way to enter the house until the next day at 3 PM per their reservation. I think they went to a hotel. People will try to take advantage of you.
I forgot to include that the doorbell is a video camera (disclosed on the listing), so all I saw at first was a strange man (guest’s photo is not super clear, so I didn’t recognize it as him) on my front porch, repeatedly trying the door handle and lifting up my mat, clearly trying to find a way inside. That’s what really unsettled me at first. And it’s always worrisome when a guest doesn’t respond to messages. After hosting for a couple of years, I’ve never had someone show up on the entirely wrong day. I’m probably a little hyper on-edge to begin with, as a female hosting in her own home.
Yeah, I’ve had folks book wrong days before but previously, they’ve always caught it and corrected at least a week in advance.
He reserved about two months in advance and called himself an experienced traveler who wanted to stay as part of a trek across several states.
I get a lot of those. The other thing you might try given the situation is to text guests on their phone when you don’t hear from them…only because it’s important that you do so. Good luck and I hope the guest turns out ok.
I remember standing in a queue to check in for a flight at Belfast City Airport, and the woman of the couple in front of me was giving her partner hell because he was in charge of the travel arrangements and they’d turned up the day after the flight. Having said that my wife got all dressed up for a fairly senior job interview, and when she arrived at the venue it was the right time but a day late! It’s easily done…!
Thanks! Though an added twist for this guest is he’s an international traveler who has a temporary U.S. phone number for his trip, and he didn’t provide the U.S. number until the Monday afternoon “no one answered the door” message.
Ah, fair enough. It just really caught me off-guard.
I agree with @brandt : The guest just mixed up his days.
We have had people tell us they would be arriving 2am. I thought “late checkin”, they were thinking “early checkin”. So yes, they arrived 24 hours earlier than expected. This was clearly with the intention to get a free night. We made them pay for an extra night and let them in. I must admit, they did prove to be lousy guests.
I don’t think this has to be the case with your guest.
One of the reasons I decided to post was I came across a ton of “guests arrived an hour (or several hours) early,” but far fewer of the “day(s) early” variety, other than one on another hosting forum that described guests trying to get into a key box two days early. The forum won’t let me post the link, but if you want to search, the title is “Guests arrived two days early at 12 noon, check-in is 4 pm - did not allow entry.”
Some of the replies there indicated that the whole reservation should be cancelled, which I didn’t do as it seemed to be just a mistake on his part.
There’s also a lot of talk about trusting one’s gut in host forums. When you’re in a new situation with a stranger, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between “mistake” and “someone hiding ill intentions.”
Same in the dog boarding groups I’m in. I think I’m one of the few who doesn’t believe in that at all. Some people like to think it works because it gives them a feeling of control. And maybe they really do have good gut instincts. But for someone with gut instincts to tell someone else to follow theirs is silly imo. That would be like saying “I can eat anything I want without gaining weight and so can you! Go ahead and trust your gut.” LOL.
I’m a single female and used to host in my home. Then I spent $15000 adding a separate entrance and bathroom and locking them out of my house. It’s worked out great. That might not be an option for you (for example the lay out of my house made it fairly easy to do this) but food for thought.
Yes that is very unnerving when it happens. We had 4 guests who mentioned they would be late and would arrive at 2am. Sure enough it was 13 hours early instead of check in night. My husband woke up to guests in the house he was not expecting! We had a last minute cancellation otherwise their room would have been occupied!
About 6 months later our neighbor came driving up to our property when he saw us hooking up our camper. He said ,” Hey do you have a Bnb 4 people ended up on our doorstep at 2 am back in February.” So of course we looked back and that was the only 4 person booking. We ended up adding lots of pictures to the check in instructions to guide people to the right home.
You’re not alone. I’ve been doing this forever (seemingly) and if I don’t have the famous gut instinct then I just don’t see how anyone can
I’ve quite often had guests who are muddled up about exactly when they have booked for (and recently someone who not only had the times wrong but also had booked the wrong apartment - long story). I find that not treating them like idiots usually sorts it all out so no one has ever actually shown up with the wrong expectations, thank goodness.
LOL, I just had someone book in the wrong city! I thought it was BS, but she explained that she wanted to surprise her bf with a trip to watch the Portland Timbers soccer game. Only they were playing in Vancouver BC, not Seattle. I think she just got mixed up. I actually didn’t give her a full refund though because I had scrambled to hire a cleaner I’d only used once before and I didn’t want to cancel. I refunded all but the cleaning fee. That being said I think it would weird me out a bit if I saw someone looking under the mat for a key!!
My gut is terrible. I am such a poor judge of character.
We had a man show up one week early. I was shocked when a car pulled up when I was not expecting someone to find our guest for the following week. I showed him his reservation. He was rather embarrassed. I let him use the bathroom, gave him a bottle of water and helped cancel his reservation. Thankfully he had family in Santa Fe an hour away to go stay with.
This so reminds of a young girl who booked a room a week later than she thought. She arrived and looked at all the white boards not finding her name checked her reservation only to find she booked the wrong day. The poor thing was in tears, it was midnight she had driven hours and was exhausted. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an open room but I did offer the couch since she would be leaving by 6 a.m and she grateful accepted. She didn’t ask for a refund and I didn’t offer. It was just a case of oops… Also in the case of international travel it can be confusing what exact day you will be arriving if you are not used to it.
A bit off topic …
Got one coming in Saturday for a 2 month stay arriving 7 hours early (all night flight) The room will be ready, but I won’t (not a morning person), so it’s self check in.
It’s a man’s room. However she said it was the only affordable room left, and now she is expressing concerns about the other guests “keeping to themselves”.
A bit testy for someone with six positive reviews.
I told her if she didn’t like it that she didn’t have to check in. No fees, no regrets. Then they would find her another place.
But they don’t price match!