Help me write a delicately worded review for problem guest

Hi everyone… We are seasoned hosts (been superhosts for about two years) and we have been so lucky that we have had almost no problems with our guests (and we run about 70%+ occupancy so we’ve had a lot of them). This last situation was so strange though, and I really want to help the The guest and future hosts out with the right review.

The issues:

  1. The renter did not indicate to us that she was local and was renting on behalf of family traveling in for her son’s graduation. When she requested to book, she simply said it was for “graduation.” I guess I should have noticed that she was local, but I didn’t. We only found out she was the “middle man” about 10 days before the stay started and I was checking in with her on arrival, etc., (and even then it was only when I read between the lines).
  2. About a week out, she asked to come by the house to check out the kitchen so she would know what she needed to provide “her guests.” Considering we had other guests, this was an easy no. I offered to verify what items we had if she told me what she was concerned about; she never followed up. She also asked about outside seating for eating, which I told her about. I’m starting to get nervous at this point, but she’s “just asking,” so I go with it.
  3. About five days out, she asked if she could come by early to bring food. Again, I said I could not give her early access due to other guests, but that I would be happy to put her food out for her when I was switching over the house. Again, no followup.
  4. Three days out, she asks if she can come over to string lights outside. OK, now I’m like what the hell is she planning here? I again tell her no because of other guests and because we were expecting bad storms the two nights before her stay started. (Sure enough, we had tornadic winds the day before their stay.) BTW – we say on our listing we don’t allow events at our guest house. But I’m getting the feel at this point that she is just an over-anxious “host.”
  5. The day before she pulls the “since it’s a BnB, do you provide food”? question. I tell her no. She again says she’ll have to come by early to bring snacks. I tell her that I can meet her at home the next morning and again set up for them while the cleaning service was preparing the house. She never follows up, and I only find out she is not coming when I check in at 11 a.m. the day of her stay.
  6. My husband (bless him) checks them in. It turns out it is her dad, stepmom and some other random relatives. And a dog we don’t know about. The REAL guests say to my husband “we were told it was a three-bedroom.” We have in writing from the renter that she acknowledged the sleeping arrangements (I always do this when it is going to be six adults because we have a queen bed, full bed and sofa bed in a small two-bedroom guest house). When she mentions that a dog is on the way, my husband is clearly surprised and explains that we do allow dogs, but for a small fee. This is clear in our listing. Luckily the actual guests seem fine and like they will go with it.
  7. Thirty minutes after we check them in, the renter texts me because the wireless bar for the Wii is missing. It fell behind the TV (shocking!). Not a big grievance but I include only because at this point, I’m thinking "how many more random questions/requests, etc. are going to come up?
  8. We have another tornado watch their first night. I text the renter to let them know the power has gone out. No response.
  9. I send a nice text to the renter inquiring about their stay, saying I hope they had a wonderful graduation and then reminding of a few checkout procedures. No response.

Sorry for such a long post. I realize it could have been worse, but I’m a bit at a loss for how to word her review. She clearly is a complete newb and a horrible communicator. I’m a bit worried that I’ll get my first bad review in two years as well, but I truly tried to accommodate her as reasonably as I could. She just never followed through on any of the requests.

Lesson learned: I will ever work with a “middle man” again.

As the person who booked didn’t stay; she is not eligible to write a review.

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Oh really? Do I need to report this to Airbnb? I’ve never had to contact Airbnb before with any problems…

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When I had a guest who immediately left, I called Airbnb to say that as they didn’t stay they weren’t eligible to write a review. The representative told me that if they wrote a review I could have it removed. As all of us have experienced, different representatives will give different answers so you might as well call.

Indeed when I had guests that didnt stay they were allowed to leave a review as if they had. No amount of requesting Airbnb to remove the review would work.

In theory if this woman leaves a review it shouldn’t be allowed to stand. That is, assuming Airbnb remember their own rules.

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Just talked to Airbnb. They made a note on the case in the event of a bad review; however, they made no promises. :slight_smile:

Any takers on helping me craft a review for this “guest”?

No offense intended…but with all these issues, I wonder if the communication from your end could be tightened up.
In my pre arrival communications I am totally clear that there can be no gatherings- and also I send a Provisioning list. The penalty fee for a surprise dog is rather steep. I have a contract they must sign.
Some of this does seem preventable.
Middle man is not allowed on abb either.

No offense taken (almost). :wink:

Like I said, I’ve been a superhost for two years, have never received less than a random four star review and my communication reviews are always excellent/five stars. I treat people like adults. I don’t send them a long list of house rules that are already on the listing, and I’ve never had a single problem in the two-plus years I’ve been doing this. If anything, I’ve had such great guests (more than 150 in two years on both Air and VRBO with literally no problems) that I guess I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to hosting. I guess I am happy that this “bad guest” wasn’t really that bad, and now I’ll be more vigilant.

Honestly this “guest” didn’t do anything “wrong” except for the surprise dog (which may have been a surprise to her for all I know). I should have picked up that she was a “middle man” from the get-go, but I manage so many people coming and going on top of a 60-hour a week job, that I just missed the nuance.

I just think she was a bad communicator and unreasonable and I would like to provide her feedback so she doesn’t do this again. That was the point of this post after all – to get help with that. :slight_smile:

At which point you should have contacted Airbnb at once. Third party bookings are not allowed. As you’ve been hosting for a couple of years I’m surprised that you didn’t know this and didn’t contact them as soon as you knew.

We’ve had this a couple of times (one of them quite recently) and Airbnb took over, contacted the third party, walked then through creating an account/uploading ID and then altered the reservation to be in the new guest’s name. I didn’t have to do a thing and they were lovely guests who left great reviews.


I honestly had no idea, and like I said, I’ve never had to contact Airbnb or VRBO for any problems at all before. We’ve been very, very lucky. Now I know, and I’ve just added a reminder that that is Airbnb policy and added a fee for “surprise” pets to my listing.

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I’m trying to figure out what was the issue aside from it being a third party reservation. Did they not stay? Was the place left clean? The communication imo was less than I would expect, for example, I would have asked why she wanted to string lights.

The main things I would mention in the review is that the guest was not a good communicator. She asked several times to come see the place in advance and decorate, but when you explained that it was not possible as you had other guests staying and that you don’t allow events. The only times she messaged was the next time she asked to come early, and again this wasn’t possible. That there were some issues that would have easily been prevented if she would have simply communicated clearly and responded to your questions. And then 1-2 stars on communication.

I think what I’m taking away from all of these comments is that I’ve had even more amazing guests than I thought.

And regarding the stringing of lights – I wouldn’t have minded if she strung lights in the guest house back yard if it was reasonable and I could have accommodated it (i.e. no current guests or bad storms on the way), so that’s why I didn’t ask. Like I said, I saw her just as an over-anxious host who wanted to make the place over-the-top nice for her relatives. Since I didn’t know it was against Air policy to book on behalf of someone else, that also wasn’t a red flag for me. (Just refreshed myself on Air standards and policies in the Help Center btw – this rule isn’t listed, but I found it when searching “Who can book on behalf of someone else?” so I think Air can make this clearer, too.)

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Thanks Sarah! Appreciate your response. I’ve never had to give less than a five-star review (maybe four once or twice but really can’t remember). This was really good advice.

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Assuming the guest can be reviewed (since she did not stay) I would just write something along the lines of:

Cannot recommend Guest XX. Not only did she make a third party booking, she messaged several times in advance of her stay, expecting to be accommodated with special access to the property for decorating for an event (which we don’t allow) and to “check things out.” She also brought a dog which was never mentioned (we accept dogs but do charge a fee.) When we tried to ask questions of the guest we received no response. Her lack of communication was offputting as were her assumptions regarding what could be done on our property and her lack of courtesy about guests currently occupying the rooms prior to her arrival. Pushy and disrespectful, she’s a no.


Nailed it Kona!~~~~~~


Great review. I was too exhausted from getting the yard and pool ready for the season to put anything understandable together, haha.

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I have a set of questions that I like to answer about guests when I’m reviewing them:

  • Will you host them again?
  • Were they clean?
  • Did they break any rules?
  • Was communication good or bad? Clearly, we know the answer on this one. But only because she wasn’t answering your emails.
  • You don’t know if she had a party or if she was just providing some food for her guests. Unless you know for sure that she had a party.
  • The dog was a big surprise and you can mention it on the review.
  • Just because they make a request to “check things out” etc it doesn’t mean that I have to say yes, or that they’re a bad guest. If it’s their first time renting an Airbnb they can be a bit nervous about it and what to expect.
  • Did you tell her you don’t do third party booking and try to set up an account with the person who was staying?

She was high maintenance and pushy with all the phone calls. She worried the host who thought she seemed to be preppi for a,big party! I wouldn’t want to host this person.