Guest wants compensation for imperfect pool

My current guest is demanding compensation because since they arrived the pool has not been perfect. The water was clear and blue and safe, but the sides needed a scrub. It is really hard to get people out for that kind of work over Christmas, but I managed it early on day 4 of their stay. By the end of day 4, all looked pretty good on photos, but I am going round personally on day 5 with a pool expert to check.

I can understand that the family feels really sad about not having this amenity (it is summer here), and I am willing to compensate, but how much? In terms of percentages, I see it this way: accommodation 50%, utilities 25%, amenities 25%. The latter includes wifi, pool, and a large tranquil garden with barbeque area, trampoline, jungle gym and toys. If any of those three amenities failed, someone would complain, even if it was not my fault (e.g. there could be a plague of pests in the garden). So my offer would start at 1/3*25% for the days inconvenienced, but I’d round it up.

The guest in charge has business acumen, so I feel that approaching compensation logically has a chance. Nevertheless, I suspect she is looking for complete refund of all days when the pool was not perfect. Note: I would have swum in it.

Does anyone have experience of this kind of thing? To my mind it is equivalent to wifi going down, which can also happen and would also be difficult to fix over a weekend between Christmas and New year. Many thanks for any advice.

I don’t have an opinion on how much to reimburse, but I have to ask: How did the pool get to the point of looking dirty without you (or whoever oversees the property or the pool for you) noticing that ahead of time? Shouldn’t that be on the regular schedule to be checked and attended to?

I have an indoor pool that basically never gets dirty. But I have had an outdoor pool in the past. I know they can get dingy if they’re not attended to. I remember that happening only once with my outdoor pool, when we were gone for weeks. But with regular maintenance, that shouldn’t happen, should it?

If you can’t get regular maintenance for the pool, don’t include it as an amenity in your listing! That way if they give you a bad review for the pool, you can ask Air to remove it (and maybe they will) since the pool is not an included amenity.

But as you already know, you really need to get your pool an a regular maintenance schedule. If you can’t find someone to do it, you probably need to learn how to do all the pool maintenance yourself.

The pool is maintained, but there was lots of rain, which resulted in algae on the walls. Outdoor pools are very temperamental. As soon as I noticed a problem, I added chemicals, but brushing was required, which took longer to organize off schedule. We could have a thread on maintaining pools, but this one is on compensation.

Are you saying that compensation should be higher if the host (me) could have worked harder at the issue? I did my utmost, and communicated constantly with the guest. She will no doubt feel that I should have moved mountains.

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I travel a log and have experienced hotel pools that are unusable. I have not thought to ask for compensation. Where does this mindset of compensation in AirBnB come from?

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@Redjay, that’s an excellent point! I’ve had the same experience! My husband and I once stayed at an actual resort whose pool was inoperable. Never thought of asking for compensation.

From AirBnB themselves. Since they are the arbiter of any disputes and are making the refund from our pockets and not theirs, they can afford to be generous with the refund so they keep the guest happy and AirBnB looks good. Unfortunately, this has been posted online as advice for guests so a certain portion of guests are using this to get free or heavily-discounted stays.

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In my case, I have a day or so to decide on a figure of between 10%-100% for the affected days before the guest leaves. I would like to reach an accommodation with her that she is happy with, but that is fair. I just do not know where to start. These are her words: “Compensation for the days lost needs to be addressed; adequate pool accessibility is critical when renting accommodation during this time of year.”

50% of those days, and you still may get a bad review



When I’ve stayed at hotels where the pool was expected to be an amenity but unusable usually that information was sent in an email to me before I checked in, so if it was important I could make other arrangements. If I did chose to stay I was either charged less or given a free upgrade.

I’ve stayed in quite a few places where the pool was closed because it was out of season. That may have been disclosed in the booking info, but since I wasn’t looking for a pool I didn’t notice.

We have an outdoor pool as an amenity and I agree, sometimes I wonder if it is too much trouble. However our co-host points out it is rented out much more than his other properties, and we do make a lot of money off that property.

Thanks RR, thanks Charmed, great food for thought. As soon as the pool is guaranteed perfect (hopefully this morning), then I think I shall go the 50% route for four days. Clean and simple.

I suggest asking the guest what they think is fair, and point out your willingness to make them feel good. You might be surprised at how little they want. Plus if they ask for a lot, eventually you’ll have a negotiating point to start with, and airbnb will see how possibly unrealistic they are.

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Nah, Air will give them 1/2 for a missing amenity.



I think some people specifically search for a listing with a pool, and for these people it really does affect the price they are willing to pay. I think they deserve some sort of compensation.

In fact, under Airbnb’s Guest Refund Policy

they explicitly mention pools under Eligible Travel Issues:

Key amenities are missing

Amenities that were the central focus of the listing are missing, making the purpose of the stay impossible.


Pool is in disrepair during the summer months
Kitchen is under construction
Furnace is broken during the winter


You could ask the guests what they want. Maybe comes in low. If not you can still offer something. Maybe 10-25% off for nights not useable.

Tough situation. I hope that you took photos before the pool was cleaned.

Keep us in the loop as to what happens - it is useful for everyone to share the good and the bad.

But the pool wasn’t in disrepair, and it sounds as if it was usable, too, just that the sides weren’t sparkling.

I reckon that our pool takes up as much time and energy and money as the whole of the rest of the listing put together. Our pool is particularly troublesome as we are surrounded by tall pine trees and the minute there is a breath of wind the pool is filled with needles. We literally have to skim every day and we clean the pool twice a week. Also because of the plant materiall algae forms very quickly.

We are upfront about this in our listing description and one of our few house rules is “Skim before you Swim!” Guests don’t seem to mind at all, and several of them (particularly the men!) have said they quite enjoy scooping up the needles.

In the OP’s case, this doesn’t seem to have been foreseeable, and it sounds as if the pool was safe and swimmable. I think 50% is generous, but the guest sounds quite demanding, so you might not get a great review however much you reimburse them.


I did not say the pool was in disrepair. I just quoted Airbnb’s examples of “eligible travel issues” as including one that had to do with a pool. Basically, Airbnb is likely to force a partial refund anyway, so why not offer it up front and gain the goodwill?

Wait … what?
Do they expect a 5*+ resort with lackeys scrubbing the pool every night?

Was the pool usable, the problem was just aesthetical?

Keep the money and tell the guest to go **** *********

You will not get a 5* review anyway, at least you will have his money.


I think @Redjay could argue that the “24 hours within check in” policy applies here. The guests alerted her to the issue but chose to stay anyways. I don’t think they get a full refund if they choose to stay. e.g. if your power goes out due to a storm, guests will be refunded if they move to a hotel, but they don’t get to decide to stay and get a full refund. That’s how I’m interpreting the refund policies.

I think in contrast that the the 50% refund is for “non” key amenities like Wifi or a washer/dryer.

However, if I understand correctly, the pool was usable, just not up to the guest’s cleanliness standard. The guests chose to stay anyways. I don’t think offering a refund will help your review, so I probably would not volunteer to offer one unless AirBnB forced it.