Recent experience as guests

My wife and I went on a 5 night trip last week, staying in two separate Airbnb listings. The first was a 1 night stop before the flight the next morning and the second for 4 nights in Berlin.

We were pleased in advance with the first place we booked: a Superhost with 30+ five star reviews. When we checked ourself in it was immediately apparent that the accomodation had recently been vacated and hadn’t been cleaned; rubbish in the kitchen, dirt on the flooring, unmade/slept in beds and a well used bathroom (with several wet towels on the floor). We were taken aback by this. We contacted the host through Airbnb messaging who responded quickly asking us to phone him back. He was somewhat apologetic and advises his accomodation manager must have “missed the booking”. Essentially though, he was hoping we’d be able to put up with the mess and remake a bed for our stay. I advised we were not happy to do this and would be leaving and advising Airbnb. The Airbnb rep we spoke to on the phone was understanding but not definitive on what would happen (we sent photos live to her for consideration through the chat). She was unable to make contact with the host. We left and booked a hotel a couple of miles away (we told the rep we were doing this). The hosts property manager then made contact (message and phone call) extremely apologetic - it was entirely his fault (he thought it was a free night) and apologised sincerely. He offered to come a day clean the place but we’d already left and that would have been 1.5 hours after we’d arrived.

The booking still was open however. The next day I nudged Airbnb for a response; they wished the host to agree cancellation and a refund. I disputed this given that it was clear the accomodation being provided was not usable. A refund quickly followed. To his credit, the property manager provided a refund for out (modestly priced) hotel stay, too. This was unnecessary stress to the start of our trip but ultimately resolved. As we didn’t actually stay and ownership was taken we are not inclined to leave a review - a very unfortunate incident nonetheless.

The stay in Berlin was a lovely studio apartment in an excellent location. This was a Superhost with 40+ 5 star reviews. If anything it was underpriced which in hindsight was perhaps a clue. The stay in the accomodation itself was great and could not fault it. However, the host was quite economic with the truth in presenting the listing. In communication in advance she was stressing good neighbourliness with the following request:

3. We have a bit of problems with Airbnb in Berlin, so please always stay friendly to neighbors and say short “hallo”. You are friends of mine and you just visit Berlin.

We only happened across neighbours once a day we did simply say good morning (in German).

She also had it listed with an incorrect address; we were advised before check-in that it was the next building down (I.e. number 10 not 12). It is apparent that what she means is that, as a whole place, she needs to be licensed to offer STR and she wasn’t (from the outside it was being presented as her home address and she asks guests to advice neighbours we are friends of hers). Perhaps it was being sub-let. Her instructions for checking out also stressed that she did not wish to be reviewed:

4. Please do not write me an official star rating, evaluation or feedback at the end of your stay, because I´m already a super host and I don´t need any more feedbacks. Just write me a private message, if something was not ok. On this way I can lern better hosting. Thank you

I’m convinced therfore that we were part of a deception which makes us feel a little uneasy. We also don’t like being requested not to exercise our right to review the host, which we think is important.

So two quite different experiences but both with with their issues. It won’t put us off but it was interesting to see this from the other side. It focuses us to be as organised and clear in our communication for our listing.


Wow… that was some hosts. Its hard to imagine that first host expected you to actually do the work yourselves. I had once a situation where the room and bathroom was totally cleaned but sheets were still in dryer. My guests did it himself and all was fine.i gave breakfast in a morning.
But second host is funny. She still needs a minimum reviews anyway. I saw quite a bit of hosts notes that ask their guests not to say they are staying in Airbnb.

1 Like

Yeah, the first host was clearly not an actual host - he was the property owner who relies on his property manager. Customer service was not his forte. I should have added that we only arrived at the accomodation at 21:15 so it would have only been cleaned at 22:45 at the earliest. Not ideal when we were departing at 06:00.

For the second host I did remark to my wife a couple of times that her reviews were fairly static from when we booked (37) to when we stayed 3 months later (41). We now know why!

I would review the first just saying they forgot to get the room ready but gave you a full refund.
With the second I would review in the interests of openness. I cannot stand the secrecy, subterfuge, lying and potential law breaking of the second host. It gives us all a bad name.


@Jamjsco - we had a similar experience to your first. (Although nothing like as bad). We arrived at an Airbnb because we’d had to evacuate due to mandatory evacuation orders because of a hurricane, The apartment was sort of ready but could have been much better. For example, there was no crockery or cutlery in the kitchen. I know that’s a strange omission but pretty important if you’re trapped due to the weather, have brought plenty of groceries but are unable to find even a knife or a cup.

There were other issues but that was the oddest.

I’ve also hosted guests who have arrived here by plane and found that their accommodation hasn’t been turned over (like your experience, beds unmade, kitchen dirty etc.). In these cases, Airbnb called me because I had a spare night and the guests wouldn’t stay in the places they booked so stayed with us.

Now PLEASE NOTE that this is not a rant against managers because I manage Airbnbs myself. But I have had, or known of, several occasions where the rentals have not been ready and in every case, this has been due to the manager. This has NOT necessarily been his or her fault. But it happens.

These days, I’ll only stay in Airbnbs that have the host or manager on site. And I prefer a host or manager who will meet and greet. Not because I’m especially sociable but because I can point out problems, if necessary, at check in - and to a real person.

I know that so many remote hosts do a fantastic job. I know that many managers do a fantastic job. It’s just my preference and only because I’ve been bitten and have known people who also have.


I don’t think I could put my listings in a managers hands. My father is looking after my listings whilst I’m on holidays and today forgot to leave guests towels I almost had a meltdown and I’m not a superhost.
I’m staying at an Airbnb in the next few days for the first time but I think it’s a hotel

I am minded to review the second. They can’t decide to hide and it’s not like we would be reporting them to the Berlin authorities.

The listing for the first accomodation advised the host lived in the same complex, which was reassuring. They might just have happened to be out of town but I got the impression from what he said that he works away from the city. The manager just dropped the ball on this one.

1 Like

I’ve used Airbnb as a guest and I’m very particular about who I stay with. I’ve posted here previously that I search first for SH and IB. I know Superhost is not everything, but it’s certainly something and it helps sift out more chaff than wheat. I also look for the places that have a lot of reviews and to me, 30 or 40 is not a lot. At this point most of the properties I look at have over 70 reviews. I know everyone starts somewhere but I’m not willing to take a chance unless I have very good reason to.

I usually won’t book with people with multiple properties with managers. I might make an exception for a few cases. For example I stayed in a whole home hosted by the owner. He has 3 properties but manages them himself and meets guests personally whenever possible. He met us and stayed and worked in the front yard a couple of hours after we checked in.

I think most of us underestimate how many truly bad Airbnbs there are out there.


Karma, I would agree about the experience thing. The first stay was chosen because of a very limited selection (we only decided to stay the night before the flight at fairly short notice). I was wary at the limited number of reviews for the Berlin host and that’s why I was remarking on it to my wife. I now know why that could be and I also wonder how many non-reviews would not be positive.

Our next stay will be a Superhost with a stellar reputation and ideally owner hosted.

1 Like

On the back of your other thread, to ensure you’re not marked down for these little things could you perhaps leave a checklist for your dad to follow?


@jaquo. I’m curious about this. I was under the impression you needed instant book and no turnover days for Airbnb to contact you as a replacement stay. Is this true? Did you sign-up somewhere that you would take a fill-in stay? Is your minimum stay 1 night?

No, our minimum stay is 2 or 3 nights depending on the time of year. We do use Instant Book. We don’t have a turnover day set between guests for that apartment because it’s small (490 square feet) and thanks to having lots of extras of everything (duvet, towels etc.) I can usually handle a same day turnover in three hours.

The apartment didn’t have a booking that evening but at about 3 pm Airbnb called. They said that they had a guest - a lady travelling alone - had gone to the place she’d rented and it wasn’t turned over. She called Airbnb who put her somewhere else but that wasn’t ready either!

I told Airbnb that yes, I’d accept her but that I wouldn’t be able to have her check in until about 7 pm. She was fine with that.

I’m 99.9% certain that I didn’t sign up for it, ever. I rather like having a day off :slight_smile:

1 Like

Since July I am hosting from far away. I was terrified at first but then found solutions. Not everything went smoothly. Guests complained . Lights are not working, there is a big black spot on ceiling but the worst was sheets were not cleaned. I questioned new house cleaner because unfortunately my very good previous cleaner left and she swore she did all perfectly. But then i had another 2 guests complaining and I had to find another. And she is amazing.
Then through Thumbtack I found few maintenance guys and electrician and plumber. If anything happens I call them and they are there right away.
The most important is to find good responsible cleaner


I do the same and I also look for places that are a solid 5 star in overall and ideally solid in all the categories too.

1 Like

Hear! Hear! We are nothing without our cleaners.

1 Like

What a crazy trip you had. The first stay sounds like an honest mistake, albeit frustrating. At least they made good on their end with a refund plus extra!

That second host, though… I honestly would report them to AirBnB and/or leave them a very honest review stating exactly what they asked of you. They are scamming the Air review system at best, and hosting illegally at worst. I wouldn’t be comfortable staying in a place where I had to lie to the neighbors and pretend to be someone else if people saw me there. That’s a bummer for them that they can’t do a STR legally, but it’s not cool to ask your guests to lie for you.


Yeah, we felt conflicted about it during our stay too. We got the bulk of the communication about what to do and where to go the day before and the day of check-in. After the stress the night before we didn’t really want to challenge it and find somewhere else to stay. We will be leaving a review though and will do this with honest feedback to the host.


Here’s some info about the short-term rental situation in Berlin:

1 Like