I'm SUCH an Idiot! Totally Embarrassed in Front of Great Guest

We have about one black guest stay with us every couple of years. Literally. No more than that. I have no idea why.

So, last month we got a booking for this month from a black man hailing from Africa. So, he’s not African American… just African. And we get even fewer bookings from Africa. I could only think of two from the past. One was a black African and the other one was a white family from South Africa.

This guest’s first message was a little confusing. He said, “Hi Jon it’s Philippe (name changed) i will be back to yours on february.”

Hmm, I thought… whatever, I guess we’ll see him in February! When he said, “I will be back to yours on february” he had booked twice - once for two days this week and again for a few more days next week. So when I read that I wondered for half a second what he meant but figured he meant ‘he will be back’ again a week later. Anyway, I got distracted by something more pressing and moved on without giving it another thought. It just seemed like some kind of broken English talk that I’d never figure out.

The funny thing was, when I looked at his picture, I remember thinking - he’s gonna be a great guest. I could tell - even though he wasn’t smiling in his photo - you could tell he had that warm big-smile African personality.

A few hours before he arrived, I even told my wife - we’re really going to enjoy our next guest… I have a good feeling.

So, he showed up yesterday and I welcomed him in and just like I had predicted, he had the biggest warmest smile - even though he didn’t have one in his Airbnb profile photo!

Whenever a new guest arrives, my wife and I always have a 15-second argument right after they buzz us about who is going to welcome them. Sometimes we both do it, but usually just one of us does. Whoever is most burnt out on welcoming guests stays hidden back in our living area while the other goes out for what we call ‘show time’.

This time, I immediately volunteered to do it because I was looking forward to meeting him.

After I welcomed him in I started showing him how the lock works on the front door. And he gave me a look like, ‘Umm hmmm… you think I’m stupid.’ I was a little confused and didn’t understand why he seemed somewhat impatient with me showing him how to get in and out of the door! Most guests like to see that when they first arrive.

After I finished showing him how the locks work, I started telling him, as we do with all guests, how to get to Manhattan from our place. He had the most bored look on his face I’ve ever seen. So much so that I said, “You are going to Manhattan, right?” And he said, “Yep, but I’ve been here before so I know how to get there.” I said, “Okay, no problem”. And I stopped telling him.

Then he said, “So where’s your wife?” Which was a little weird. Even though we’re both pictured in our profile, no one ever asks to see the other one when they arrive! But, I said, oh, she’s back in our room and then I called for her to come out. She comes bouncing out and the minute she saw him she said, “I feel like I’ve seen you before!” I thought she meant because she had seen his profile photo a few weeks earlier when he first booked.

Then he said, “YES! You have!” I just looked at both of them and thought, what in the world is going on here? Then he said, “I stayed with you guys back in May!”

OMG! I thought. You’re kidding! Suddenly I started to remember! Now it made sense why he was so bored with my welcome routine. And then I realized it made sense why I had had such a strong impression that he would have a big warm smile - I had a very faint subconscious memory of him.

He then reminded me of how I had taken him to the airport (JFK - the farthest of the three New York airports from our place) on the day he left. I NEVER take anyone to the airport - and especially not to JFK. I would only do that for a very special guest. When he said that, I finally remembered everything. I remembered everything about our conversations, about his personality - but I just didn’t remember his look.

Anyway, I was so embarrassed by that. And I’m a little upset with Airbnb for not indicating in any way to us that he had stayed with us before - although he made the reservation under the same profile he had used previously.

But on his first message to us with this booking - there was no indication he had ever talked to us before. I had always thought that if a guest re-booked, we would see all the past messages between us and them when their new booking came in. But no. This was like a whole new message thread.

I’m even more embarrassed because you’d think out of our one black guest of the year - I’d at least remember what he looked like! But no… not even a clue.

Oh and the one black guest I had been able to think of who we had previously hosted form Africa - before he arrived - was HIM!

It’s really hard though. We host something like 400-500 people a year. They literally begin slipping out of memory a few minutes after they leave. The minute they’re gone we’re thinking about the next guest who is usually arriving a few hours later.

I wish Air would do something better to identify and make us aware of repeat guests - rather than starting an entirely new message thread with absolutely no clue the guest has ever stayed with you before.


I can certainly sympathize though I haven’t had this bad of an incident, my memory is crap.

I’ve had several repeat guests, maybe 20, and so far all of them are in the same message thread when they contact me. So Airbnb doesn’t need to create a system they already have. You need to find out why your guest didn’t show up in that system.

I don’t usually remember them clearly until they get her. Once I see them and I know they’ve been here other bits start coming back.


Embarrassed for you. On SO many levels.

Hmm… definitely not the case here. Thanks for letting me know that. I’ll ask Air about it in that case.

I always appreciate your kind words and understanding.

1 Like

Did he create another profile? Does he have a lot of reviews? Is your review of him there? Asking because I always look at the guest’s reviews if I have time. Once you saw your review it would jar your memory.

1 Like

I get lots of repeat guests and they’ve always showed up in the same message thread. I would never remember otherwise. I feel badly for you but I’m sure he understands. May was almost a year ago!!


So… my reply was just removed? It would be a courtesy to state that, eg. “Post removed by moderators for -insert reason-”. Is that too much to ask?

1 Like

Yeah, I thought of that. I don’t know if I even looked at his profile when he booked this time. I probably didn’t. But I’ve looked now and there are no reviews on it. Not one from me or anyone else.

But I don’t know if I left a review for him. I can’t remember. I normally don’t leave a review unless the guest leaves one. So if he didn’t write a review for us - I probably wouldn’t have written one for him. So the fact there’s no review from me - doesn’t really tell me anything.

His profile was created in April of last year though - just a month before he stayed with us. That’s typical for most of our guests. They joined Airbnb usually the same month they make a reservation with us.

I just asked Air about it and they said:

Thanks for asking, Jon. We completely understand the desire to be able to view previous correspondence with guests, especially being a Superhost with a lot of guests.

Although you will typically be able to see these messages, sometimes various factors can affect the message history, such as: changes to a guest’s account, a guest creates a new account, etc. We hope this clarifies things and encourage you to contact us if you ever encounter this again.

It’s hard to imagine he’s using a different account - although that would account for the lack of previous correspondence. But, that would mean that back last April he would have had to have created two accounts - and who does that?

I don’t know. Maybe he did. Maybe he has one for business and one for personal. No idea.

Ah! I figured out what happened. Thanks to my Excel file. I NEVER would have been able to find this on Airbnb’s site.

A friend of his in Boston booked his first reservation with us back in May. I remember now. She called us on the phone and told us she had booked it for him and I made a note of that along with his name in my Excel file.

I never would have been able to find that through Airbnb because you can’t search through the text of messages. And it wasn’t in an Airbnb message anyway.

So, I take back my complaint about Airbnb. They didn’t fail on this one.


Again I ask - why are posts being deleted without any explanation?
It’s rather rude. At least could we have an explanation why they were deleted?

Oh, I feel for you. (And I would be thinking to myself, oh damnation, I bet now my guest thinks all black people look alike to me.)
Cut yourself some slack and move on. While we want to treat guests well, they are not as important as our families, nor our good friends.
I often have substantial conversations on the elevator at work with co-workers who obviously know me, and I get off the elevator thinking, who the heck was that? Some people have astounding recall for names and faces, not me.


Even a PM would help perhaps? I think we’d all like to understand why one of our posts has been removed. If mods feel we’ve made an inappropriate comment, I’d certainly like to be given the opportunity to learn from it, and I suspect others would too.

Post removed by moderators for Copyright reasons.

1 Like

Ok, thank you for that explanation - appreciated. I guess this is a new policy as many of us have posted all kinds of copyrighted photos and videos before now. Will bear it in mind!

Soooo tempted to post a pic of Trump saying “Believe me” but will resist :smile:

I don’t remember seeing many before yours? Nothing has been flagged

I’ve posted lots of pics and links to videos etc. Ahh, maybe that’s the difference - links are ok but pics not.
This is my best link :slight_smile:

Yeah I mean it’s linked through to the original poster / source

Ok, I understand… I think. Seeing as links are allowed, please can I share this:

Got to love the Danes. I will have this in my head when next guests arrive,
PS. seriously, watch until 03.40. It’s brilliant.

Hi @JonYork,

You should save all your Airbnb correspondence in a folder. Then you would be easily able to search that folder.

And I expect you already know this, but you should probably not accept third party booking. There tends to be significant scope for confusion. And Airbnb says it’s not ok, anyway. Though apparently there is some kind of business exception.

1 Like