Help with not-great Guest review

UPDATE: I’ve come up with the following response and will drop the private feedback. I will give them a 4 on cleanliness and communication, 5 house rules and a thumbs up.

“X and her family of five stayed with us for two nights; they were fine and quiet guests. With more attention to details at checkout they would be great guests (lights off, AC turned back up, a little more tidying, timely communications).”

Hi all,
I know this topic comes up a lot. I’ve spent hours on this forum the past few days reading about others’ experiences and suggested reviews. I was hoping I could get some guidance as well. We’ve been lucky enough to have super guests the majority of the time. However we recently had a family of 5 stay with us for two nights. The original message with their booking request was simply a statement about using the floor mattress. Ok fine, not the usual nice message about why they are visiting or looking forward to their trip. Four days prior, I send our check-in email asking for arrival time; check-in is anytime after 3pm. 12pm on the day of arrival, she sends a message that they will arrive between 3-3:30pm. They arrived at 2:50pm. I had literally JUST finished prepping (this is an in-law addition on our main house, only connected by one door).

Check out reveals many lights left on, all 3 AC mini splits turned down to 64 degrees (I’m located just outside of Washington, DC, it was not that hot, but to each their own) apartment was freezing, a few game pieces left out, coffee maker on, crumbs all over table (only noting this because it was like, a lot), laminate floors had to be all wiped down, no “we’ve checked out” message (per House Manual), two bags of trash, very new container of make-up wipes gone (probably half of a 60-pk). On Airbnb since 2016 but no reviews. They did run the dishwasher and were quiet.

With the amount of clean-up that was required, I would have been hard pressed if we had a back-to-back situation.

What I’ve come up with so far:
"Astrid and her family of five stayed with us for two nights; they were quiet guests. The apartment required more clean-up than usual; many lights left on and AC units left running at 64 degrees upon check-out; arrival time communicated a few hours before arrival. I’ve left some private feedback as to how they can be even better for their future stays. "

To be fair, I did not have a checkout checklist (I do now!); except for texting when a guest leaves and turning lights off when not in the apartment - both mentioned in our House Manual. Each those items mentioned on their own aren’t so much a big deal, but all of them together and the overall feeling is that our home just wasn’t respected left me feeling a bit irritated. I was going to also give private feedback but not 100% convinced:

“We hope you enjoyed your visit. I noticed that you have no prior reviews so I’m assuming that maybe this was maybe your first Airbnb stay(?), so I wanted to provide some feedback that may be helpful for future bookings. While we don’t have a rule about the AC, we were surprised to find it left at 64 degrees and lots of lights left on when you departed. We’ve since created a checkout list for our future guests so that there will be no question about what is expected. In addition, we like to know when guests will be arriving at our home, which I asked you in the pre-arrival email. However, you didn’t let us know until a few hours before you actually arrived. Staying at Airbnbs is a great way to travel, but it’s definitely different than staying at a hotel in terms of what hosts generally expect from guests (since it is usually someone’s home), at least from what we’ve learned and experienced. Thanks again for staying with us.”

I was planning to give them 4s on everything and a thumbs down. My feeling is that they just didn’t respect me or our home and I don’t need that kind of business.

Thoughts and suggestions are appreciated :slight_smile:

First question- do you charge a cleaning fee?


I think the public review is fine: it’s factual, you’re not being overly critical, just reporting what you found, though I probably wouldn’t mention the arrival time, since that was very close to your stated check-in time. Maybe you could give a bit more detail (crumbs etc) about the cleaning.

The private feedback sounds very condescending to me and I don’t think it’s necessary since you’ve mentioned most of it in the public review.

To be honest, as a host reading this review, I would accept these guests because these seem like minor annoyances but there are hosts who would be put off - and that’s fine because this is the purpose of writing a guest review, after all!


We do, $40. Which I’ve honestly been back and forth over due to things I’ve read on this forum.

We do, $40. Which I’ve been back and forth over due to reading this forum.

I wasn’t going to mention the arrival time either, it was included to give the overall picture of what happened. Maybe something more along the lines of “Fine Guests. Required a bit more clean up than usual”.

To each their own, and you are the boss of your rental! I personally would not thumbs down nor downrate these guests, unless I had these requirements specifically stated in my house rules in the listing: You must notify the host of arrival time at least x hours prior to arrival, you must turn off AC and lights when leaving. Many guests don’t read a manual. (They don’t read the rules either, but they do certify that they will follow the rules by booking.)
You don’t mention ages, but if there were young kids, I’d rather have wipes used to clean their dirty faces and hands than the white towels!
Leaving a coffeepot and AC on, forgetting a lights off on a checkout list, and leaving some crumbs, again especially if the kids were young would not be a dealbreaker for me. Unless they were obnoxious when arriving early and demanding to get in immediately, I would not be bothered with them hanging about for 10 minutes.
My bright line for a 4 on cleanliness is a sink full of dirty dishes, or garbage such as food containers left out and not bagged, or leaving without telling me about significantly stained floor, furniture, towels or sheets. (If they did all the above, it would probably drop to a 3!) Anything else is expected cleaning or wear and tear to me. Again though, your house, your rules.

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Maybe all of this just means I need a break, LOL! They didn’t wait around for 10 minutes, they proceeded to get the key, unload luggage and (self) check-in. And it wasn’t some crumbs, my significant other who helps me clean sometimes and who is more lenient with our guests cleanliness, even commented on it - the entire table was literally covered, almost laughable. Easy clean up for that, but again, each thing on it’s own wouldn’t even had made the radar. And it was almost every light left on. While we don’t have house rules about the AC or lights, it is a common courtesy to turn things off or put back as you found it. I don’t think they are 5-star guests based on the majority of other people we’ve hosted. They did not leave me feeling as if they treated our home respectfully. If they had 5-star ratings from other hosts and left our place like they did, I wouldn’t be happy. So I want to make sure we’re accurate for future hosts many of whom would be ok with these folks, but some who may not be.

Thank you. They are definitely not 5 star guests. And if you wouldn’t host them again, say so.

If you need to know the arrival time in advance, tell them the deadline. Some hosts want to know it a week in advance so they can schedule cleaners. Some want it the day before so they can schedule their day. Some just want the Google maps ETA a few hours before arrival. I’d leave that section off the review.

I get what you mean about lack of attention at checkout, and the resulting feeling of being disrespected. They sound like a 4* on cleanliness. Having your checkout check-list for future guests should help! Without one, some guests will clean of their own volition and others will figure “I paid $40 for cleaning”.

I’d drop the private feedback. It comes off condescending. I’d replace the last sentence of the review with “With more attention to details at checkout they would be great guests”.

They do not seem that bad to me, the AC is the only thing I would care about but I usually go into my listing AT checkout time so I would turn it off anyway.

Your review seems fine.


I’d replace the last sentence of the review with “With more attention to details at checkout they would be great guests”.

I like this! Thank you. And will drop private feedback, it was something someone else had suggested in another thread and tone can get misinterpreted so better just to leave it out.

Also I did ask 4 days ahead of time when they would be arriving, but I could have given a reminder. I guess it’s a constant learning process and tweaking of things as you go. We don’t mind the cleaning and expect it, but I only have so much time when I have back-to-back bookings.

All of the stress I had over writing their review and she wrote:



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I guess I don’t understand why a host should give a pass to people who ‘don’t read the manual’ or ‘don’t read the house rules’??? They are adults, right? Aren’t they responsible for this totally? And to comply or find something that is more to 'their taste and behavior"???

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Because nobody reads the manual, as a guest I do not want to be bothered with hosts rules and house manuals, I will be respectful and leave the place reasonably clean and that should be enough.

Exactly, therefore we should not be treating them like children.

I think that some hosts are just control freaks and really should not be hosting if they cannot deal with “rule breakers” 99% of guests are fine, some cleaner some less so. If a guest brings a dog in my no dog listing or is having a party I would promptly evict them. Why do so many hosts make this harder than it needs to be? Control.

PS, none of what I wrote applies to shared spaces, I host a whole house listing. Sharing your space is a whole different ball game.


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Got ya. To clarify, what I meant was I wouldn’t ding a guest for when they notified me they were coming, or not turning off AC upon departure, for example, UNLESS those requirements were specifically stated in the House Rules, which Airbnb provides they are agreeing to by booking (and therefore readily defined as cause to downgrade).
My rules are fairly detailed and not short, but they do focus on what for me are are “big ticket” items – such as no smoking and no extra guests.
I wouldn’t rely on my perception of “common courtesy,” as that varies from person to person.
My house welcome book (manual) is a pretty big notebook (your situation may vary), with everything from entertainment and restaurant recommendations to maps to a copy of the rules to instructions on the washing machine, and my experience shows that people may or may not read it.
If something is really important to me, I repeat it with signage – I have a laminated card stuck on the (high tech) washing machine that repeats the instructions, a No Smoking sign, an emergency sign with instruction to call 911 in a couple languages, a sign to use make up wipes instead of the white towels, etc.

This attitude in a guest pisses me off.

Even the host of a whole-house rental should be able to lay out some guidelines. Guests read my listing and view my pictures and expect a certain experience. House rules are the only spot for me as a host to say “And here’s what I expect of you.”

In my case, I’ve boiled it down to 4 rules. If you can’t take a minute to read them and make sure you can abide by them, you have no business booking that home.


I choose not to be pissed off, I cannot change people only my reactions are in my control.

4 rules, nice:)

I have rules, I have a house manual and I hope people read it, I just cannot expect them to.



I bet I would not break them even not knowing what they are, even if I did not read them. If they are commonly broken then that would be interesting to know.