Ideas to head a bad review from cranky guests off at the pass?

I’m here to ask if any of you have ideas or suggestions, or experience with salvaging a guest’s stay that seems to be headed in the wrong direction from the beginning. These guests have been rude/inconsiderate, unfriendly and passive-aggressive, and they’ve only been here for 12 hours our of their 3 day stay.

This is the story so far. S and her boyfriend M first told me they would arrive around 6:30 PM. This is fine, but I arranged my day around this, putting off a shopping trip to buy supplies so as to be home to greet them. At 6:15 they updated their arrival time to 7:30. Had I known this, I wouldn’t have put off my shopping. At 7:20 they let me know they’d taken the scenic route and would be arriving around 8:30. My husband and I had a dinner date with his family at 8:00 PM, which I bowed out of so I could be home to greet these guests. This is my problem more than theirs, but I still think this behavior is a bit rude.

This is the 24th set of guests I’ve welcomed. Usually at check in, guests are very polite and friendly, and let me take the lead. S was different. She really just kind of barged into my foyer after saying a curt hello and made a beeline for the refrigerator. While I held the door open for her boyfriend to bring in their luggage, S was already in the refrigerator and asking me if I could make room for her two 6-packs of beer. I explained there was a private frige in her room, and she headed in that direction. At this point I was already taken aback and off my game. I didn’t get a chance to show the shared spaces of the house or explain that there would be coffee in the morning.

While showing them the room, they were just, well, unimpressed, which is not the way guests typically react. She expressed a “whatever” attitude and claimed they just wanted a comfortable place to sleep. As this was happening, one of my 2 cats started to wander into the room and I stopped it. S and G claimed they LOVE cats and were fine with the cat being in the room. I warned them that if the cat got on the bed, there would be hair.

They wanted to go out to eat. I asked what kind of food they wanted and they said seafood, but they already knew where they were going. Okay, good! They left and I went to bed.

This morning, I set out continental breakfast, which is not advertised. Guests are usually pleasantly surprised and say thank you. The boyfriend came out to get coffee. Before I had a chance to even ask, he complained about how busy it was in town last night, and how that was NOT what they were looking for. S didn’t say a word about the food provided and just started toasting bagels. I asked how she’d slept and she complained that the cat had woken her up at 4:00 AM. She’d locked it in her room with her and it wanted to get out. I apologized and promised it wouldn’t happen again, but she wouldn’t let it drop. She told me 3 times how annoying it was to be woken up at 4 in the morning and mentioned that, “boy, that cat has a LOT of fur!”.

These guests are just very upsetting and making me feel powerless. I have no idea what to do to make them happy. Every question I ask about their stay is met with a complaint that I can’t control or is not my fault, of if it is, they played a part in it.

Has anyone here been able to turn something like this around mid stay? Should I offer them a discount?

Maybe you could give them a comment card to fill out. Then they can put all of their bad emotions and thoughts into the card and won’t want to repeat everything in a review. Don’t review them unless they review you.

Alternatively, if you could figure out a way to flip the script, so that they felt they needed to please you instead of the other way around…

I thought of something else. It sounds like most of the negativity is coming from the woman rather than the man. Is this correct?

Reading between the lines, it seems like she wants a hands-off host and little to no interaction. Are they in the same age range as you? This is an odd question, but are you more attractive than the woman? There are some women who get really protective of their boyfriends when there is another, possibly better looking woman around.

I’ve seen women do this when they are interacting with a pretty waitress. They get paranoid that the waitress will flirt with their boyfriend/husband, or that he is ogling her. Then they become very curt, bossy and businesslike with the waitress, as a way of “putting her in her place.”

If you think this might be what’s going on in her head, I’d say the best thing is to keep a distance and stop trying to interact with them, unless she makes the first move.

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I certainly wouldn’t give a discount. And I also wouldn’t be worried about a bad review. It seems that you and the guests just didn’t gel. It happens :slight_smile:

Great response, @Garden1Gnome.

It’s clear they aren’t suited to the Airbnb community and I’ve had a number of guests similarly ill-suited.

If they are upsetting you, I would simply throw away the cost of their first night, offer them a full refund through Airbnb for their stay and ask them to leave immediately. I would also stay close while they are doing that, much like fired employees are stood over and escorted out of the office tower.

If you don’t want to do that and think you can just chalk this up to “their problem, not mine, thanks for the money,” I’d just avoid them at all costs for the rest of their stay. We’ve had people whose company we don’t enjoy and we don’t mind going hungry for an hour to avoid them in the kitchen… I would also just stop with any of the little perks, like free breakfast, and let them have their experience of “just a cheap place to stay.”

@Garden1Gnome, you’re insight is impressive. Your thought never occurred to me, but now that you mention it… Yes, the majority of the bad vibes are coming from the woman. Yes, she is in my age range and yes, I feel confident in saying that most people would judge me to be more attractive. When reading the reviews other hosts have left for this guest, I did notice that she’s brought 3 different men to 3 different airbnb’s in the past year, so she may have difficulty holding on to them, and that lends credence to your theory. Bottom line, I feel better, it’s probably her issue, there’s probably nothing I can really do.

@Perezo, they are not upsetting me so badly that they have to go this minute. I think I will take all this good advice and simply limit my contact with them as much as possible and stop falling all over myself to be nice. I’ve made it clear I can be reached at any time via text message if they need anything. And like you, it won’t be a huge problem to avoid them while they’re in the house.

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Were these bagels that you provided, that she just started toasting without acknowledging your kind offer??

As far as a discount…no! Likely it will not matter at all in making them happy. Guests like this will still find something else to complain about. And you never know if they will leave a negative review anyway. Then you would be out money, and have a negative review. It reminds me of restaurant patrons who get their entire meal comped with an apology, and the first thing they do is go online to give a one star review. It didn’t matter that the owner refunded everything.

She is an idiot for locking the cat in the room. Try to prepare yourself for any further on the spot conversations, and turn it around on them. Politely of course, and not snarky. - “Oh…you didn’t realize the town would be busy…didn’t you know that such and such goes on here this weekend?” or “Well yeah the cat has a lot of fur…that’s why I warned you how much hair he would get on the bed” - say it lightheartedly. Or "Oh, it’s too bad you didn’t notice the cat in your room before you shut the door - go ahead and just keep the door shut and then he won’t get in there.

Have these guests used Air before? They sure seem to behave so comfortably in your home, and not like guests.

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Definitely no! And really, who cares about making them happy? They (she in particular) sounds like a grumpy person who will never be happy - so why throw away money?


Oh dear, sorry you are having a hard time with these guests. From the behavior you have described I think I know the type. People who barge in like they own the place usually lack the finer nuances of manners. Try not to take it too personally - after they leave you get to continue living in your lovely home and they go back to… wherever…

Something I have learned over the years is that sometimes people are the architect of their own misery. Any attempts to help or try to fix that will suck you into the vortex. Keep doing your nicey hosty thing as if they aren’t being jerks so you know you did your best, but realize that they have no appreciation of these things. Good luck!

I would not refund one penny. I would ask them however, if they might be more comfortable elsewhere because your place doesn’t seem like a fit. That could open their eyes a bit to the way they are acting. I would also leave a VERY honest review but don’t do it until the very last minute.

Cabinhost is right. Some people complain their way into getting free everything and are conniving about it. Others just live their lives complaining as a lifestyle.


We used to say “Some people would complain if they got hung with a new rope!”


My vote is no discount, give them a wide berth, and keep a cool business like distance. I’d also probably limit the breakfast items and avoid having coffee with them in the morning. Leave a last minute review about their late and changing arrival and anything else factual that happens. Good luck and let us know what happens.

My thoughts are along what @KKC said. Put it on ‘cold’ mode and chuck it to the fact you stumbled on a royal ‘you know what’. Remember she acted like this right off the bat, the nano-second she walked in the door. He is an enabler, temporarily no doubt.

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What he said!!!

@Artemis - a wise reply, beautifully word-crafted. Bravo!

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People really need to learn how TO NOT apologize for something they did not do or it’s not their fault. Be sympathetic yes, but not apologetic.
And absolutely NO REFUND!.
For what? That she stupidly locked your cat in her room and then claims the disturbance? That town was busy. Really? It’s a Labor Day weekend, dont the know better?
They are just unhappy people, you have nothing to do with that. Just look at it as the time to be more professional that usually and this will pass.


He he he he…I like that.

Guest: “We can’t find the bagels”

Host: “Didn’t you read the amenities included in the listing? I don’t include breakfast. You just got lucky yesterday.”


Hi @cabinhost, YES! While a few bagels and bananas, boxes of cereal and packets of oatmeal are not the end all be all, almost all guests at least say thank you! And yes, I’m always taken aback with people who are so comfortable in a complete stranger’s home.

You and @jaquo and @Artemis are right that no discount is going appease people like this. I need to stop getting so freaked out and realize sooner that if most guests are great and love us/our accommodations, the ones that don’t are the problem, not me. Thank you all for reminding me.

@kona, as I mentioned in response to another thread, I’m going to take your advice and start reviewing guests like these with more candor.

@Yana, you are completely right. I need to learn to not apologize for things I have no control over. I understand this concept on a logical level. I get tripped up emotionally because unfortunately, I do care what people think. Plus, I do genuinely want my guests to be happy. I’m working on it.

We all want geniunly our guests to be happy, but there is a limit to what we should be taking in. Otherwise we will burn out very soon.
There is an old saying “Anger comes along with fear”. I am trying to remind it to my self everytime i am dealing with someone’s anger and my own. It works sometimes… Later on, analyzing i am asking myself what was this person afraid of , what i was afraid of when i got angry?
SOme people have so much anxiety in themselves, and this is what we see on a surface and we think its us that did something wrong.


To wrap up this thread, these guests were just “off” for me and I was really glad when they left.

I didn’t offer them any discounts and I did indeed limit my contact with them for the rest of their stay. That being said, whenever I did see them, I was, as always, upbeat, cheerful and friendly. They were standoffish, chilly and unfriendly, especially in comparison to all my other 24 sets of guests.

In addition to the things I’ve already stated, they left the AC running the entire time they were checked in, whether they were here or not, even though the average daily temps were in the lows 70’s. Also, I guess this just falls under the heading of “odd” rather than bad, but they left their bedroom door open by about 8 inches while they were sleeping. This made it so I needed to be extra quiet in the morning and I had to lock up my animals in order to keep them out of their room.

Below is a draft of my review, which of course, I won’t post until the very end of the review period. Let me know what you all think.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend S and M. Though they kept in touch, they updated their time of arrival several times, which was inconvenient and caused me to put off errands and miss a family dinner. They were neat and clean, and otherwise respectful of our home, but they left the air conditioner running continuously for the duration of their 3-day stay, even while not in the house, despite average daily temps in the low 70’s. Though my listing doesn’t include it, I provide guests a continental breakfast with many choices. Everyone expresses appreciation, but S appeared to take it for granted. There were a few other issues as well, plus, overall I found S and M to be standoffish, cool, and difficult to converse with, while at the same time being a little too comfortable in my home.