Help needed with a review (again)

Admittedly, I am one of those hosts that has a pretty generic, one size fits most review that I leave for many of my guests: “X was a good guest, followed rules, communicated well, etc.” unless they’ve done something that I feel other hosts need to know about (I think the last guest I had an issue with everyone here assisted me in the review-writing process. Thanks!)

So, here I am again in need of assistance. The background:
Guest booked for he and his wife for a weekend to attend a nearby concert. He said there was a small chance she would not attend “I’ve put two guests because i’m going to try and bring my wife. Otherwise, I plan to travel alone” is the exact quote.
Between day of booking and day of arrival, I sent 4 messages, all unanswered. On the day of arrival I had a small window of availability (about an hour) that I could meet him (I was heading out of town for the weekend myself). Not a big deal as I do allow self check-in, but I prefer to meet my guests. I just asked (as I do with all my guests) that I be informed of his arrival time so I can send him self check-in info if needed. Nothing. I waited around until I had to go, then sent him the needed code, etc. About 2 hours later I received a text saying they made it in. Yay.

As I was out of town for the weekend, I didn’t return to the flat until about 24 hours after the guest checked out. I found every light in the house on, smoking materials on the coffee table, the batteries removed from all the the remotes, the kitchen with a fine layer of grease on everything (the smoke alarm did go off during their stay) and the back door unlocked and open. Needless to say, I was unhappy.

After a little bit of meditative breathing (and a toddy or two) I have calmed down, and decided that most of these items may not need mentioning, but I want other hosts opinions on that…

  1. Yes, all the lights were on. But the only thing I specifically mention in my checkout list is to turn off the heaters/AC if used. This was done.
  2. It does not seem that anyone actually smoked in the house. And leaving their smoking materials is not against house rules
  3. The batteries in one remote may have died, and they were simply trying to find/switch out good batteries for bad. Just a guess here…
  4. my checkout list does day to clean the stove if used. They gave it a cursory wipe-down, but it wasn’t my definition of “clean”
  5. The back door left open will have to be mentioned, but I’m not sure if I should do that publicly or privately.

This guest has all glowing reviews so all of this surprises me. I don’t want to excoriate him, but I really do think that some of this should be mentioned. I’ll definitely mark him down on communication and cleanliness.

Your thoughts/suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Oh, one more thing. The cameras show that he brought a guy friend, not his wife, who clearly slept on the couch. They used extra pillows and blankets that were put back as if nobody used them. Thankfully they put them back on the wrong shelf so I was able to catch this and wash everything.

How about something like

'I was rather disappointed that in the lead up to his arrival X didn’t respond to my four sets of communications regarding check in.

When I arrived to check the listing after his stay I found the back door unlocked and open, leaving my property vulnerable and all the lights were left on.

The guest also didn’t tell me that a friend rather than his wife would be staying. The friend slept on our couch and used additional bedding which needed to be washed.

Unfortunately because of this I wouldn’t be able to recommend XXX as a guest’.


We need to be warned and he needs to be tutored. I’d mark way down on communication stars, some on cleanliness stars. Leaving a door unlocked and open can be a major thing in some places. What if your home had been burglarized as a result? That alone would cause me to mark “can’t recommend” for some rentals. He should have told you those linens had been used or they should have been left on the couch.


Thanks for your wording @Helsi This helps me a lot.

@KKC I couldn’t agree more. My first thought when I walked in was that someone was still in the flat and that scared the heck out of me. I had no idea what I was walking into - alone. I do need to mention it, I just don’t want to make it too harsh - since his previous reviews were glowing, maybe he was just in a hurry to catch a flight or something and all this was just a one-off. I’m trying to draw that fine line between going easy and bashing :slight_smile: your use of the word “tutoring” is spot on.

What parts should I mention in public feedback, and what can be left to the private feedback?

I wouldn’t see a need to separate the issues. They should all go into the review.
Poor communication
Left your house open with lights on.
The extra guest thing - may not be a major issue just because it wasn’t his wife but a “buddy” even though he appeared to be hiding it.
Regardless of his glowing reviews he deserves this one and Hosts deserve the truth.


Sorry but These wouldn’t be an issue to me at all. Looks like he just forgot lights and doors. It happens. I sometimes forget it in my own house. Some people think that wiping out stove is clean enough.
It doesn’t sound like he was a bad guest at all and the fact that he brought his friend instead of his wife: does it really matter to you? He booked for 2 and there were 2.

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Public is what we need to know, private is what he needs to know. For example I need to know he leaves doors open when he checks out. I don’t need to know he came with a buddy instead of his wife as long as he paid for two people he can bring two people.

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Hi @Yana
Thank you for your perspective. This is what I’m struggling with. Every host is different, and I don’t want to “punish” him if he was just in a hurry. You are right, he wasn’t a bad guest, just not a very considerate one. But leaving the back door open and unlocked while I was out of town is kind of a big deal. And while I do understand that everyone has their own definition of “clean” and he did at least wipe the stove down, even the walls and floor had a greasy film on them, which took me a lot of extra time to clean. And while it may not be a huge deal that he brought a friend instead of his wife, I would have appreciated being notified of the change so I could make up the couch, or offered the air mattress. My rules do state no guests other than those on the reservation, so he technically broke a rule there…

So a question to you: while these specific issues are not a big deal to you, would you want to know as a host that he did break another hosts rules?

I couldn’t agree with you more. Although we live in a neighbourhood regarded as fairly safe, there has been a spate of burglaries both here and in nearby villages. I am having to be more vigilant that normal about locking doors, having been, if honest, quite complacent until now.

I noticed you mentioned smoking materials in your first post. Do you have no smoking in your house rules?

Hi @Joan
Yes, no smoking is in my house rules. I’m pretty sure they didn’t smoke in the house, though. I have a pretty good nose, and would have known if they did. I just think they were in a hurry and forgot to grab them. There were a few butts outside (yuck) so I assume they did their smoking out there.

Leaving the lights on and the back door open may seem like petty things to some people, but to me those are signs of a careless guest. I absolutely do not want a careless guest in my home! ‘Oops, I left all the lights on’, can quickly turn into ‘oops, I bashed my suitcase against the wall and took a chunk out’ (yes, this one has happened) or even ‘oops, I left the heater on all day and the curtains caught fire and your house burned down’. Yes, that’s extreme but that’s what goes through my head when I encounter a guest who just does not use their brain. I NEED my guests to have basic common sense and courtesy. So please mention it in your review!


OK, I’ve been working on a review, and this is what I’ve come up with so far…

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to meet B due to conflicting schedules. Communication was spotty and I was not given his arrival time, but once he arrived he did let me know that he made it into the flat with no problem.
The flat was left in overall good condition. My only concern was that the back door was left unlocked and partially open. Many lights in the flat were on, giving me a brief panic until I was able to confirm the flat was empty.
A friend joined him, rather than his wife on this trip. I wish he had let me know in advance so I could have offered them use of the air mattress.
Private feedback:
Hi B, A few things I noticed that seem to be a one-off, as you have so many great reviews….
It looks like you had a friend join you rather than your wife. That’s no problem, but had you notified me I would have put linens out for the couch, and offered to set up the air mattress for you. Also, leaving used pillows/blankets out rather than returning them to the closet is preferred, so I know that they need to be washed.
_The lights being left on is not a huge deal (although I try to conserve energy when I can and would have preferred them off when you left), but combined with the door in the kitchen being left unlocked and open gave me quite a scare. _
It looks like you two were in a hurry when you left, and the only thing of real consequence was the door. Please make sure all doors are closed and locked on your next AirBnB stay.

I didn’t mention the greasy kitchen, because as @Yana points out, he probably thought wiping it down was clean enough. And it felt like nitpicking.

Does it seem fair to both hosts and the guest?

Sounds good to me!

Forgive me, but too wordy and apologetic. I would go back to what Helsi said earlier in this thread.


I don’t want this person staying with me. Be honest. You didn’t care for them as a guest and they weren’t careful at your house.

Think about it. If he did one thing, you could let it go. But I go by the three strikes you are out rule. He’s way over three strikes.

I wouldn’t be worried about being fair to the guest. I have plenty of reviews that were not fair to,the host.

If you would recommend that us, your forum friends, book this guest, then leave the wish washy review. If not, consider something like…

Unfortunately xxx wasn’t as careful as he could have been at my home. Communication was non existent. He left all the lights on and the doors wide open upon check out. He also left his smoking discards on the coffee table, but I’m not sure he smoked in the flat. The stove was left greasy despite my instructions to clean the stove if it’s used. Finally, xx had a friend stay over instead of his wife, without telling me, and used clean linens for the couch. He apparently tried to hide that fact by putting them back in the closet, where I would not have realized they were soiled. Can’t recommend.


Definitely preferable in my book.

The only suggestion I have is to end the sentence at “table” (“He also left his smoking discards on the coffee table.”) and omit “but I’m not sure he smoked in the flat.”


Yes :rofl::rofl: you are right. The comment about possibly smoking is not needed.

This is why I come here for help :slight_smile: I tend to be neutral, or too nice in my reviews. But I’ve been reading a lot here on the forum that leaving a more detailed honest review is what’s needed (instead of my usual generic response).

Its not easy, but I’m trying. Thanks!

I’m in the process of preparing the flat for my weekend guest (a fellow host! Wish me luck). But I’ll work on re-wording my review tonight, and post the revisions.