Guests assuming whole apartment of a shared flat

I have been hosting a room in my flat for almost a year, and just recently got a few reservations from guests who thought that they’ll get the whole apartment, even when my text makes it very clear that I’ll also be living in the apartment.
Has the site design changed recently to make this mistake more common? Have others experienced this more lately?

It is still pretty clear and at the top of each listing… Private Room vs Entire home/apt. Also appears in the search results, line 1. I have not yet had this confusion, though I believe that Zandra has.

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Despite the listing being for a “private room”, I also make sure I explain this in my listing to as to avoid an uncomfortable situation… Many guests only look at pictures - so should they complain that they thought it was for a whole house, it is easier to refer them to the listing heading, and body of the listing, which clearing explains that I also live in the house.

I have always made it very clear in many places in the text, and until last week I have only had one guest who didin’t realize it. That’s why I was wondering if something about the search interface has changed. Now I’ve added “shared flat” in the headline and mention it also in the pre-booking text.
It’s usually people new to Airbnb, people in a hurry, and people with very limited english skills that get confused.
Ofcourse I don’t know if more of my guests have been suprised about it if they just haven’t complained. :slight_smile:

I had it only once happened long ago. Most Airbnb guests know what they are booking. But its a different story with Craigs list readers. They for some reason think that the price I put there is per month not per week though its clearly says per week. They seriously think that they can rent a room for less than 300$ a month. :sob:

One thing I do to help avoid confusion is to caption all the photos in my listing. For example, the guest room and bath are labeled as private. The photos showing the kitchen, dining room and so on, all have captions stating guests are welcome to use these shared spaces.


As @smtucker rightly states; I have indeed had this problem on numerous occasions though notably all have been this year. I don’t think air has changed the way it’s displayed, after all you need to select private room in order to find my listing.

I believe that there’s a new breed of guest that really doesn’t bother to read listings. As such, I’ve had three guests this year who claimed they thought they were booking the whole flat.

After it happened a second time I started messaging guests reiterating what was on offer so I have no idea how the third guest was confused about what they were getting.

The worst was a guest who claimed my listing was misleading, gave me 1 star across the board and opened a resolution claim for a full refund. Air did not refund the guest however the guests ridiculous review was allowed to stay. The other guest who didn’t read also rated me badly and dinged me on accuracy (amusing given it was all in the listing.) again Air insisted the review should remain.

I have expressed concern to Airbnb about this given these guests are likely to review badly though no fault of my own. Each time Air tell me it’s unlikely to happen again but three guests in 4 months is a pretty high occurrence rate.

When the third guest said they didn’t understand what they had booked I called Airbnb immediately and they mediated with the guest.

My rate is between £29 and £32 per night. No idea how you can expect a whole flat for that price.

PS two of the three guests who professed to be confused live in this country. So I can’t say it’s a language barrier.


I guess many people new to airbnb assume it’s about whole apartments only.
Adding captions to the pics is a good idea.
Thanks all for your comments! Nice forum. :kissing_smiling_eyes:

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This is true, noticed this getting more and more common every year. They just look at the photos and don’t bother to read.

Not quite on point but similar experience. I had one guest (out of my 10 first guests) confused, who complained (in the private feedback, fortunately but then they also really dinged me on the stars) that my listing was inaccurate and misleading. I was gobsmacked. I have an efficiency attached to the back of the house, separate entrance, no shared space, so it is in the “whole house/apt” category. But I guess they were expecting literally the whole house (for that price? so near to the city?) I can only conclude they didn’t look at pictures or read the description. So I actually replied publicly to their not-bad bland public comment (“Small, easy stay”), saying, thanks for the feedback, sorry the description wasn’t clear and you did not have the experience you expected, and due to your input I’ve changed my description from “bed/bath unit in cozy colonial” to “300 sq. foot separate guest suite behind the house” I noticed airbnb seems to have updated the descriptors you can use for type of space, so I was able to select “guest suite.”

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I hate thosr guests, who don’t read then blame you! But why would you reply publicly to something that was said in private?

Um, I confess it was sort of accidental as I was a newbie, but I think it turned out for the best as my other reviews were all lovely and so my public reply actually ended up (indirectly) addressing the average star dip. This was when I was just starting out so one review had a big weight. I was quite polite and good-humored in the total reply, so hopefully it reflected well on me. Oh well it’s all a learning experience.

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I’ve replied to private feedback too; it hasn’t hurt me. Like you say early on aloof review makes you look far worse than you really are.