Housekeeper let them in the wrong unit

So, we have a duplex unit next to some long time friends that own the other half in an island beach community. They have been on AirBnB and VRBO before that and have coached us a lot as we are still new to hosting. We both host by remote as we both live about 2-1/2 hours away. We share a cleaning lady that takes care of both units when renters turn over.

So we both had renters coming in the other day, and the cleaning lady was there finishing up cleaning both sides when guests showed up. She thought nothing of it and let them in, but into the wrong unit- ours, when they were there for the other side. Our bud’s renters had arranged an early check-in, so a few hours later our renters showed up to 5 cars in the driveway and a bunch of folks on the deck. After an awkward conversation, they figured out the mix-up and the folks moved their stuff to the other side. Our renter let me know, was very understanding, and it sounded like it was not a big deal.

I later let him know we had a conversation with the other owners and the housekeeper, and told him we were taking steps to ensure that would never happen again. I followed up again the next day, and he said that it appeared the other folks had taken naps in our beds upon their arrival, so they washed sheets on 3 of the beds, but again was very understanding of it all.

We feel bad about it happening, and are assured by the cleaning lady it won’t happen again, and from the other owners that they will make sure their check-in instructions are clear- left side, unit 1. Still, seems like since our guests had to wash sheets, we are thinking to refund the cleaning fee and backcharge the cleaning lady.

Thoughts? What would you do? Yeah, it was a screw up between 2 hosts, 2 sets of guests, and 1 cleaning lady. 1st guests should have checked to see which unit they were supposed to be in, and the cleaning lady should have asked to verify. Meanwhile it is our guests that were slighted.

I would refund them the cleaning fee, but I wouldn’t be passing that cost onto the housekeeper for a 1st mistake. A good working relationship with your staff is important. Just see it as the cost of doing business.


Thanks, we are still new to the situation, and she has not had to deal with cleaning both sides for long. We’ll probably just eat it.

I think that the guests deserve some sort of recompense but we prefer to give inconvenienced guests some sort of treat - if they are staying for a week or more, send them a bouquet of flowers, expensive chocolates or a basket of fruit. That’s always a lovely surprise. Or a gift card to a restaurant - preferably a chain where there will be a local branch and one in their own city or one so they can decide when to use it. Even Starbucks gift cards go down well.

I’d also want to fully investigate the cleaner’s error. I know that she’s said that it won’t happen again but how and why did it happen in the first place? Have you now got a system?

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I agree with @jaquo – they deserve a “treat” but not a refund. You two hosts really need to sit down with this cleaning person so that there is zero chance of something like this happening again.


I just had this happen! My neighbor had also opened an Airbnb and I was expecting two guests and two showed up. I should have verified their names, but I just thought it was them! I even got their tax! :rofl::rofl: chit chatted for 45 minutes schmoozing for the good review later…

Then he came up and said, I think we are in the wrong place! And they were!

My neighbor had put MY house number on his directions, sheesh. That and stealing my copy but that is another story.

My guests didn’t show up for hours and were never the wiser… so I was able to straighten the bed and clean the toilet again. Disaster averted.


I think it would be completely unreasonable for you to charge the cleaning lady for this mistake. You would in effect be making her work for free. Why would you want to start up a fairly new working relationship with her like that.

If you did that to me I would walk.

Why do you think it is her fault that the wrong guests showed up to your place and having told her they had booked, she let them in?

Sounds like you need to invest in a local co-host as well as a cleaner - unless you are paying her to also act as a co-host?

I agree that your neighbour should be paying some or all of the cleaning fee as it was his guests that showed up at the wrong place.


Refund the cleaning fee and ask the other hosts to either pay it all (they can recoup from their guests who entered wrong unit) or repay you themselves. I don’t see how any of this is your fault.

Name the units and put up the names on the wall - people can then see where ch is theres


We went ahead and refunded the cleaning fee since they had to wash sheets. No guest should ever have to do that upon arrival. If they beds had not been disturbed, the idea of sending a gift would be very appropriate. We won’t back charge the housekeeper either, even though she knew the other unit had an early check-in and she let them in early to the wrong place. We do believe it was an honest mistake, but it’s not our first issue with her. We’ll be looking for other alternatives.

We haven’t yet told the neighbor owners about beds being slept in or refunding the cleaning fee either as we are still fairly new to the situation and trying to not stir the pot. We’ll bring that up the next time we are both there and having a beverage together.

Thanks for the suggestions!