Only women and couples and instant booking

I live in a small 2 bedroom appartment with my 5 year old son, and renting out 1 of these bedrooms. I share my bathroom and toilet with my guests, and therefore i decided to only host couples and/or women.

Because of the shared sanitary this is allowed by Airbnb. (By the way, this was HUGE discussion with air bnb, because initially they wanted to force me to also host single men, because its not allowed to discriminate on gender. Only when they discovered the sanitary is shared, they allowed me to maintain this rule).

In my listing andcalso in my houserules this rule is clearly described. But as you all know, most guests dont read AT ALL. So every now and then there are single men making a booking (im using instant booking). My cancellation policy is strict and i receive a lot of last minute bookings (arrival within days).

If i see that a single man or 2 men who are not a couple have booked, i send them a message in which i explain about my houserules, that they must agree with these houserules when they confirmed their booking, and that i am not able to host him/them.

What happens next is that the guests want me to cancel their booking, which i never do because its going to cost me money (100 dollars i guess), a negatieve message at my reviews (“host has cancelled this booking XX days before arrival”) and it negatively effects my overall air bnb rating.

And besides that, its not my fault that they obviously didnt read my listing or/and houserules at all, so why would i make their problem mine.

Off course they also dont want to cancel themselves because they will lose their money because of the cancellation policy.

They often ask me if i can refund them, but there is nothing i can refund before the booking because i always receive the money 1 day after arrival. If i would refund them by that time, the dates will stay blocked and i cant sell the room, so i will lose money then too.

Is there anybody who can relate to this problem or has a solution?

I would not use instant book in your situation. Will solve a lot of problems.


I have thought about that, but there are 3 reasons why im using instant booking:

  1. instant booking gave a huge boost to my bookings. Im fully booked almost 100% the time since im using it.

  2. manually accepting bookings costs me too much time. I have a lot of 1 night stay bookings and dont want to go to this process of manually accepting 20 times a month, every month.

  3. I have been hosting for years now, and according to my experience, guests who dont use instant booking are asking 100 questions before booking, which i answer, and then i never hear from them again. Again, this costs me too much time.


Use Instant Book. I always have and never had guest problems. If you have this agreement with Airbnb and a single male books, can’t you cancel penalty-free as it’s against your rules and you’re ‘uncomfortable’ with the guest?


I wholeheartedly agree with @Brandt. It doesn’t seem like instant book is the best avenue for you with such a restriction on your booking. I am a single woman, living alone in my home, and rent my spare room and private bath to offset my home ownership expenses (and I LOVE hosting, of course!). I am not comfortable using instant booking as it doesn’t allow me a hand in the screening. To me, it’s worth the extra time to make sure the fit is comfortable for me, and for my guests.

For instance, if a new guest has no picture, no profile info, and no reviews, I take the time to message them. First, I use a “It looks like you’re new to Airbnb - welcome!” . . . before I am clear about my expectations. I’ll often follow with “It looks like you may be in the process of completing your profile” and explain my position (without opening up fully; telling them I’m a single woman, living solo). Nine times out of ten the guests add a picture and profile info, and if they have no reviews, I ask them to “tell me a bit about yourself and what brings you to the area.”

Does this take a little more time? Yes, it does. Is it worth it, and do I generally have a very good fit for both myself and my guest? Yes! Do I feel safe and comfortable with the the guests I book? Yes! Is my booking rate good? Yes, it’s excellent! In August, for instance, my occupancy rate was 92% (and I don’t live on the lake, oceanfront, or any remarkable location). Do I answer a lot of questions? No. I have a saved, standard message that outlines the space and answers many of the questions that could arise as to location, directions, shared spaces, etc.

I hope this helps to at least see the other option to instant book, and how it could work for you. I am glad to see other singles supplementing one income by offering Airbnb within their homes (my friends think I’m a little nuts!), and finding ways around the balance of privacy/safety and making money/providing a positive experience to their guests. My best to you! :slight_smile:


If you want to continue using IB, then I think the only solution is to make it crystal clear in your listing that you will not host men, even if they book.

You should also mention that you have cleared it with Airbnb and do not HAVE to host men because of the shared bathroom. This will hopefully prevent a certain kind of contrary person from booking. I’m talking about people who argue for the sake of arguing and do things just to prove some point…or men’s rights activists.

Put it in the title of the listing if you have to. Put it in the photos, people look at those. (Maybe a shot of a the ladies restroom symbol, with an explanation in the text.) Put it in the first couple of lines of the listing, and then again in the rules they have to agree to.

If they book despite all of this, can’t you use the “I’m uncomfortable with this guest” reason? I thought that with IB you got a certain number of free cancellations, anyway.

See below for an idea for one of your photos:



If self sex ID comes into force in the UK, all a man will have to do is to self identify as a woman on an online form then will be able to book as a woman. It will become impossible for women to keep female only spaces, even in refuges.
The consultation on the gender recognition act ends on the 19th October. Check out Fairplay for women.


Since your reason for cancelling is because your guest is not meeting your house rules and Airbnb determined it is non-discriminatory because of the shared bathroom; you can cancel and not have a penalty. See the info below.

How do penalty-free cancellations work for Instant Book hosts?

Instant Book hosts can cancel 100% penalty-free under certain circumstances. Learn more about Instant Book

Unlimited cancellations

Hosts never have to host a reservation they’re uncomfortable with.

Some examples of when a host can cancel penalty-free include:

  • The guest has several unfavorable reviews that concern the host
  • The guest hasn’t responded to questions the host needs to know about their trip
  • The guest makes it clear they’ll likely break one of the host’s house rules, like bringing a pet or smoking

100% penalty-free

Penalty-free means:

  • No cancellation fee
  • No automated cancellation review
  • No loss of Superhost eligibility
  • No permanently blocked dates

Remember, you can’t cancel for any reason that violates Airbnb’s Nondiscrimination Policy.

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Wait a second. You accept women (couples or singles) and male-male couples but not single men? That seems like you’re setting yourself up for a sexual orientation discrimination law suit.

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AirBnB is not stopping you from only hosting women and couples they are saying they won’t advertise or automatically and explicitly enable your restrictions on their website, which is the bit they control and totally withing your rights. You can still advertise elsewhere. Your concerns are understandable but what do you want them to do? Require guests to tick a box saying they are a single man and have IB reject their booking if they do? Allow you a rejection reason: “Guest is a single male and I do not allow single males to stay”? Given that single women host single male guests all the time and this is not a problem do you think they should reduce their revenue because of your preferences to make it easier to reject single men? I say this because sometimes the answer is right in front of you. Switch to manual bookings and put up with the inconvenience and reduced bookings. It’s called Cost/Benefit. There are many things to criticise AirBnB about but not allowing hosts to reject guests on the basis of their gender, race, ethnicity, age, gender expression or sexuality is not one of them.

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They are not forcing her to host single men. They are just saying they won’t allow her to advertise her property on their website if she wants to restrict guests based on gender. Not the same thing.

How does a single man booking a room without a partner (male or female) tell you anything about their sexual orientation? It would only lead to a lawsuit if she allowed, say, single gay men to book, but not single straight men, or visa versa, which she has not mentioned. It would I think be classed as a vexatious lawsuit and thrown out very quickly.

Actually the OP is not interested in gender (the social expression of masculinity or femininity) or sexual orientation. She is interested in not having lone members of the male sex to stay. This is because biologically and historically males present more of a threat to lone females and young children. Females are a protected class under the equalities act in the UK for this reason.

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Only lone women can comment on feelings of safety and whether it is a problem for them to host lone males. It would almost certainly be a problem for female survivors of male abuse, or those with an awareness of this problem. Are we to discriminate against abuse survivors/females who wish to host, and need a female domestic space to feel safe? We also have a young child to consider here. If that child were abused the first thing people would say is what on earth was the mother doing allowing a stream of single men into the home.


Use Annet’s advice. Everytime you get a booking like that just cancel using the feel uncomfortable reason. Make sure you do it within 24 hrs of the booking. Maybe leave the message to guest blank when you cancelling so they dont go to airbnb and cry about being cancelled for being male.


If you have strict cancellation, the guest has 48 hours to cancel the booking without penalty. I would send them a message immediately after they have booked reminding them of this house rule. This will show that you acted in good faith and they can cancel without penalty.


I would put the women only thing quite high up on the description. It might be worth considering making it female guests only, this would be simpler, clearer and could provide a USP.
I am not female only but have been told several times that I provide a really safe space for lone females. Over the 3 and a half years I have had a couple of male guests I have needed to evict and it is scary as a lone female. Thankfully that isn’t very often, most men are fine, but then my children are much older.

They dont have that grace period if its a last minute booking. I think they dont have it if the reservation is 7 days away

Yes, you are correct.

I agree with @GardenGnome . Why not just list your title description as ‘Female/Couples only’. If the title description is not allowed for discrimination reasons, then you can put it in the short description in bold, and again in the long description. Make sure this is the first line all people read.

Something like this: