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How to make people read the listing properly?

I’ve rented out a small room in the city center since a couple of years and I’ve received positive feedback from guests. However, recently I had some guests who had obviously hadn’t read the listing description at all.

Although the listing says check in from 3 pm they arrived at 7 am in the morning without notifying me in advance . I was quite surprised to see they were three people instead of two people. They were very surprised they couldn’t use the kitchen, despite the fact it’s clearly stated in the listing description there is no access to kitchen.

I explained them in a friendly way they needed to read the listing description properly before booking and to be nice I gave them an extra mattress and access to my private kitchen. Still, they awarded me with a 2 star review (!!) after check out and wrote the room was small and uncomfortable and they didn’t like the fact that one person had to sleep on a matress. Of course it get’s small and uncomfortable when you want to squeeze another person into a room for maximum two people!

I contacted Airbnb regarding this issue, but they say they don’t alter or remove any reviews.

This is an extreme case, but I experience far too often that people don’t read the listing description properly before booking and when they arrive they expect a lot of things which I cannot provide

Any advice on how to make people read the listing description?

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I put a lot of pertinent information below the photos. People always look at photos. That said, I rent out an entire place, so there is less opportunity for error…still, one way of doing it would be to put “rules” underneath photos, although pleasantly stated.

Another thing I think I will start doing, though, is that I am going to say when someone doesn’t read the listing. Just saying, “This person did not read the listing very carefully,” is relatively neutral, but gets the point across.

Some people write a “key word” at the end of their message. If that word isn’t in their communication the host knows the guest didn’t read the description.


You don’t it’s the nature of the business. I’ve had this experience before with a third person turning up and they had to sleep on the floor. We have no extra bedding etc. I learnt from my experience and will never allow this again no matter how awkward. You won’t be insured through Air if you allow this.

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Don’t allow them in when they break every rule. If only 2 and they show with 3 - say “no”. If they come in the morning tell them they must come back later. Then have your rules printed again and make them initial the rules sheet upon arrival.


With the “key word” are you referring to when someone writes in their listing - "please confirm you have read the entire listing description and understand house rules, check in/check out time by replying with “I am a superhero” in your inquiry?

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The only way to make sure they read the listing is to ask a lot of questions. Now if you are on instant book then that is a problem.

But if you don’t have instant book always confirm the number of guests. If someone books for two people then ask what the relation is to the other person. If the person says “my boyfriend and I would like to stay” then ask “will anyone else be joining you or is it only you and your boyfriend” - that way if they planned on showing up with a kid or baby, or extra person hopefully that will come out then. If they mention their children then ask “please let me know the ages of all children including babies”

Also, you should say "I want to be sure you have read all house rules/check in time, and the listing description of what is provided. Please confirm you have as once I accept your booking, it is confirmed, and your traveler fees, etc. cannot be refunded by Airbnb.

A lot of guests are also just playing stupid. For some strange reason they can find the address no problem. But for some strange reason they just never read the check in time. I do not believe this. Many feel that you won’t say anything once they just show up on the door step, And that you won’t turn them away. Basically the 3rd person got away with not having to rent their own room.

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I have been thinking of requiring guests to cut and paste house rules and email them to me to verify that they have read them.
What is an example of a “key word”… that might be easier.

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I think hosts make a big mistake of acommodating guests like these 3 you had.

I had an incident for Christmas stay. Guests on their way to my house where they rented a room for 4 days asked me if i have extra blankets. I became suspicious right away, and asked them why they need extra blankets. And asked if they are bringing more than 2 people. The answer was, yes, there is a 3rd person, for whom they are bringing an airbed, but they forgot a sleeping bag.
“Besides the fact that i can not acommodate more than 2 people, you only paid for 2 and brining the 3rd person that you did not pay for”, i said. the reply was :" But it says no extra charge for additional person".
But it does not mean you can bring unlimited amount of people with you. Did you not see that the space is only allowing max of 2 people?
He said, he will pay 10$ for extra person. Because its a standard charge on Airbnb for additional guests. I told him i am going to cancel his stay because he cant stay in my house with 3 people in that room.
I called Airbnb and they cancelled him immediately. I agreed to only charge him for that one night, and then i rented it immediately for the next 3 days. Accoding to my cancelation policy i could have been paid everything, if i did not agree to refund him for 3 nights.

When rules are broken by both party:guest or host, Airbnb is very good of enforcing cancelation policy. Anarchy is not favored at all.


Check out this story, but put in a code phrase that they need to repeat at the beginning of their message to prove they read it: nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/11/how-to-be-the-highest-rated-airbnb-host-in-town.html

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I’ve hosted over 300 guests and surprisingly, a good chunk of the time, guests don’t read the descriptions in photos or in the listing. I always get messages asking the size of the beds, how many beds are in the apartment, are cooking utensils suppled, etc. when those are all answered in the listing.

For important information like check in/out times, etc. I suggest sending a message to your guests close to the check-in date (I send it a week before their arrival) and I write that an early check in/late check out has to be pre-approved.

Also, if you have Instant Book turned on, there’s a small section you can write some important details. I always include the check in/out times and tell the guests that they must read all House Rules.

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When I am getting ready to approve someone’s booking request, I ask them to confirm with me that they have read and understood the entire listing, especially the ‘House Rules’ and ‘Other Things to Note’ Section. Once they confirm that, I go ahead and accept their booking. I feel like most people probably still don’t read it, but at least if there are issues I have on record that they confirmed that they did indeed read everything and that they understood it. So far so good.


I find potential guests are put off by too many instructions (who isn’t!).

About half of my guests read the house manual, about half do not… Unfortunately that’s human nature, especially with first time Airbnb’ers who just don’t yet know how it works.

So I send them the full house manual a week before they travel. This mitigates most…

But then you still get the odd chump who hasn’t read their emails and I have to field crazy panicked calls late at night. I always smile, ask them if they read the instructions I sent (they didn’t) and help… Because I guess that’s part of what being a good host is about right!?

but they should or else they will be landed with a bad review. I’m in this situation at the moment, guests did not read my house rules about the kitchen and on top of that they left it in a state. … so in there review i’m going to add on the end ’ X needs to make sure he reads the house rules of every airbnb host, as each host has different rules’

We just have to put up with it don’t we! or else, WE will be the ones left with a bad review even though they didn’t read the instructions sent directly to them after the booked!!

I agree somewhat with all your points Kirsty but think that as we get the benefit of being paid to have people stay we do indeed have to put up with some inconveniences.

And, as a fairly new Airbnb host it does also fall to us to ensure first time Airbnb’ers have a positive experience - even if they don’t quite read the house manual to a t.

Yes it’s annoying if they leave the kitchen in a state but then can’t we just change them an extra cleaning fee from their deposit? Which at least means the guest knows they made a mistake and we are compensated (rather than a bad review which is bad for them AND bad for your property).

I think that making th decision to enter into the hospitality market (in a small way!) means that we have to put up with these occasional frustrations and inconveniences.

If you don’t need the cash, and your place always pristine, then don’t put it in Airbnb OR as others council in this thread be really picky about the guests you let stay, which is in itself an art and something that takes skill and time to spot the tricky ones but the more experienced you are, the easier it becomes.

I Air out our spare room so I don’t have a deposit in place. It’s a totally different experience having your spare room on Air as opposed to an entire place. I’ve been doing this since last June with almost 50 guests now so… yes it is important that first time guests have a positive experience but if they don’t read your listing probably then they are going to continue not reading others properly. Its really important to give honest reviews.

I think you will feel differently after your first couple of bad guests!

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Is this still true today?

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