My guest arrived very late, did not knock on the door and checked into hotel

My Halloween guest advised that he would be coming in rather late (about 11:30 pm) as he was flying in from the west coast. I was OK with that - I am a very heavy sleeper and I knew if I dozed off, the dogs would awaken me. I texted him asking him to call me when he was 15 minutes away. He texted me, I slept through it - he was running 45 minutes late. He called when he arrived at 12:15am, but unfortunately I had turned off the lights earlier to discourage the late trick or treaters at my door, but fell asleep before turning the porch light on. I did not hear his phone call either. His voicemail said “I am here, but there are no lights on.” He never knocked. I woke up 15 minutes later, he was already checked into a hotel down the street. I asked him if he could come back, and he said he was already settled into his room. I asked him about the second night here and he said he booked the hotel for 2 nights. UGH! How annoying. I called AirBnb and they said I could keep the money, my cancelation policy is “strick” - but I don’t feel right but then I am also so annoyed that he never knocked on the door. If he had knocked the dogs would have barked LOUDLY and I would’ve awoken immediately. He was very nice when I spoke to him and I said I would refund his money - but now that I am thinking about it - I know it would be inconvenient for him to change accommodations, but I should be out both nights - right? I would love some opinions! The way I left it with AirBnB is that they would talk to him and call me back today. Thanks for your input! I might just be too late since I told the guest I would refund - but I wasn’t thinking clearly. THANKS for your input!

I think you are doing the right thing in terms of refunding the guest. He booked your accommodation and kept you updated about his arrival time, and you say you didn’t have an issue with the late arrival. You should have told the guest that you sleep like the dead (it WAS Halloween after all ;-)) and that he should be sure to KNOCK. Or turn your phone up to max volume or something. It should be easy and guests shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get into their rooms.


Based on your description, I’m kind of with the guest on this one. As a guest, I’d be leery walking up to a house with no porch light on, especially after the host didn’t answer the phone.

As a host, you need to provide a more welcoming experience, not a blacked out house. If you’re not going to be able to be awake when he arrives, you need to have an earlier check-in cut off time.

I don’t think the guest did anything wrong here. He communicated that he was running late as often happens when traveling. I think he’s entitled to 100% refund, including fees.


you are right! I am returning all his money! It just stinks that he didn’t knock on the door. And you are right that I should have told him how heavy I sleep - UGH! I am so mad at myself - so this is a learning lesson for me to make sure they KNOW they have to knock. I leave my porch light on ALL night long, normally - it’s just last night I didn’t want to deal with trick or treaters coming around later than they should! Some of them come until 10:00 - it’s ridiculous!

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Live and learn. You obviously have the best of intentions, and I’m sure you won’t be in this position again.


I don’t think that it’s going to work to tell them that they have to announce their arrival in a specific manner. I always stay up (I’m a night owl) to greet guests. Even with the lights on and them being asked to knock or ring the doorbell, we’ve had guests who texted because they were concerned about making too much noise.

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How annoying!!

If this was in the city where there are street lights…I don’t know - I am thinking I still would have walked up to the door and knocked. My goodness…sometimes my phone will just randomly get set to silent mode. I think it was kind of shitty of him to keep you waiting (even though you did fall asleep) but yet the minute he shows up and there is no light on…he doesn’t even bother to get out of his vehicle. If it was really only 15 mintues later, and he was already settled in to his hotel, then he didn’t waste any time getting into that hotel. And I would not have booked a hotel for 2 nights without knowing if I could get any money back.

I know it’s too late since you said he could get a refund. But I do not believe it is “too inconvenient” for him to pack up his bag when he leaves the hotel in the morning.

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Sorry for the experience and loss of income, but the truth is we are all learning this hosting thing step-by-step. It’s the school of hard KNOCKS - ha ha pun intended!!

Thanks for doing the right thing and helping airbnb shine - it’s your loss, but overall, everyone’s gain.

Better luck next time!!

(Yes, we will have trick-or-treaters until late also. It’s funny cause as kids it was such a cardinal rule - 6-8 - and only knock on doors with lights on!! I’ll turn all my lights out and still have knockers sometimes!)

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Or leave a key somewhere, which is what I do. In the future is there any reason why she couldn’t do this for situations like this one?

It’s nice if it’s worked for you to leave a key. We’ve had many guests who can’t navigate things that we think are simple. They don’t understand what a driveway is, so they can’t figure out how to park. They can’t figure out how to work the shower despite the fact that we provide written instructions and it’s pretty simple. They can’t figure out which room of our very small house is the guest room. Etc., etc., etc. This is why we always greet our guests unless they’ve stayed with us previously.

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Hi @Cinderelle,

Sorry about the guest. I just wondered, do you not use a front door bell then? Just knocking would not travel far in most places.


LOL!!! I know just what you mean. I don’t know if I’ve posted this, but a few weeks ago I got a call from the checker at the market across the street who was calling on behalf of a tearful Korean girl who was searching for my house but couldn’t find it!

Beforehand, if the communication is fluent and I get a sense that the guest is capable and pretty “sharp”, I’ll tell them where the key is if they end up arriving late or if I’m out of town. But otherwise I try to be here or else really go overboard with instructions.

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thanks for the vote of support. If it were so dark - don’t most cellphones have flashlights? It’s not a city, we are an urban neighborhood with not many streetlights (none by my house) - but he found my house - it’s not hard to find. I think if I had said, “I’m a heavy sleeper, please just knock when you get here and the dogs will wake me”. I don’t know why I didn’t hear the phone - I usually do, but sometimes I don’t … it’s weird. And 15 minutes is pretty fast to drive at least 10 minutes to a hotel and get settled in, and you’re right about booking the second night. Maybe the Hampton Inn was cheaper? It’s ok - chalk it up to me messing up! I take the blame for not having the porch light on. He was very nice on the phone and I felt very bad that this happened. It won’t happen again - I guarantee it!

that is crazy - I know people don’t read rules or pay attention to things we say. On my listing, it says check in until 9pm. But he asked me about the late check in on the first email, I thought it would be fine - I guess not - I will have to stick to my 9:00 check in time - because as we know - things happen, people are late - and clearly I can’t stay awake! ha ha

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Maybe for some strange reason the universe planned it this way:

You fall asleep…it happens to be Halloween and you turn off the porch lights…this time you don’t happen to wake up from the phone call…the guest leaves within 30 seconds, etc. etc. There sure are a lot of coincidences happening there. Maybe something bad might have happened and the universe sent him to the Hampton Inn instead! :smile:


no door bell - but as soon as the dogs hear footsteps on my front porch - You would think some one was coming after me with a chainsaw - I have great protectors! :slight_smile:

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THANK YOU!!! I hadn’t thought of it that way - The universe has a way of taking care of us! Maybe he was a chainsaw killer or something? I just went to Universal House of Horrors Sunday night - out late - pretty tired and all those people chasing us around with chainsaws was exhausting and now it’s got my mind going in crazy directions! THANKS!!!

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That’s an incomplete sentence. Presumably you meant to say that if you had told him to knock he would have knocked. I suggest you add knocking to your instructions. Some people really shouldn’t be allowed out without a nursemaid.

How many dogs do you have? I’m not a big fan of the barking. It’s one of the few forms of noise pollution I experienced when I lived in the US. Lotsa dogs. Otherwise it was pretty quiet.

I don’t believe the universe has a plan. It simply is. But that’s just me. Recent reading - Dawkin’s “The God Delusion”. Just to make the point.


oh - OK - so you think I should put PLEASE KNOCK when you arrive on my listing? I have the most extensive rules now - every time something icky happens - I add it to my rules! HA HA HA

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