Red flags or Paranoid Host?

Am I being paranoid? A guest messaged that she and her husband wanted to book for 7 nights, visiting family and being tourists. I sent a pre-approval. Then she wanted a discount (no). Then she wanted to use the kitchen (sorry. Clearly stated in listing no kitchen use)
I removed the pre-approval and declined her request.

She messaged again saying she and her boyfriend still wanted to book. I had her confirm that she understood the house rules, had read the listing, and accepted that there would be no use of kitchen. She confirmed all that and booked. She then booked another stay with a two-day break in between it and her first stay.

She messaged that she wanted to alter both reservations. I accepted her change requests.

Red flags waving. I called Airbnb to ask how I could cancel. No way to cancel without host penalty. I decided to let the two bookings stand, as long as Air confirmed that today’s conversation could be easily pulled up if an issue arose during her stay.

The guest messaged to acknowledge the altered booking. I replied asking her to please read the entire listing, our profile, and the houserules. Especially the no kitchen and no guests bit, the we are always here as we work from home bit. I pointed out that we have dogs and cats in the house. I asked for the name of the second guest on the booking. She replied that she had reread everything.

I still don’t know if she’s coming with her husband or with her boyfriend, or what his name is. Oh, and she changed her last name on the booking to what I assume is a nickname.

You’re not being paranoid at all. This guest has given you many signs that she will be high maintenance and will feign ignorance of your house rules.


Thank you! Sometimes I don’t trust that I know the difference between a red flag and needless worry.

Sometimes guests are just - you know- goofy, stumbling humans. I hope it all works out. I think it’s important (I’m preaching to myself as I always struggle with this) to try to put all of this behind you and be ready to greet them warmly. You don’t have anything to lose by assuming it will all be ok from now on. If you stay on edge, anything they do will frustrate you.

Best wishes for a happy hosting experience!


I think you have covered your basis for stupidity. Can I still happen? Yes. Will it? You let us know.

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Yes, you are right, of course!

I will definitely do that.

99% of the time when I worry, it is for nothing. I just had a couple here Saturday that booked 6 weeks ago. He asked several questions before booking and at one point it was obvious he had confused my listing with another one on his “wishlist.” As the holiday weekend approached and I had 10 dogs here I was really nervous that they would be picky or needy. They messaged that they’d be arriving in town at 1pm and my check in is at 3pm. I told him it was no problem to come by if the room was ready but that was another “red flag.” It turned out to be just fine, they were “no maintenance” guests, the dogs stayed quiet when needed and the couple seemed perfectly happy on checkout, explicitly stating they would be leaving me a nice review.

Don’t worry… it doesn’t change a thing.


We get mainly couples and it’s rare that guests let us know the name of the second person. (Sometimes this is because they are a gay or lesbian couple and don’t want to be subjected to discrimination).

The discount thing is just someone trying it on to see what they can get and the kitchen usage may just be a case of them not reading the listing. I wouldn’t assume that they were guests to be worried about.


…and sometimes we don’t worry and it turns out to be a flat, or unhappy experience.

Hope for the best, @Superhostess!


Hi @Superhostess,

Every bad thing that has happened in my life (as far as I can remember) was unexpected. This included the problem guests I’ve had - one in particular. So, at least from my point of view, bad guests are inherently unpredictable. @dcmooney, for example, had said similar things. Though rejecting reservations because of red flags is reasonable, assuming you get plenty of bookings, because it tilts the odds in your favor.

Certainly asking for a discount, and wanting to use the kitchen where no kitchen use is clearly stated are red flags, but not major ones. The problem guests I’ve had never said anything like that.

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It might be high maintenance guests but it might not be.
When I meet high maintenance people it’s never fun but I learned how to deal with them: I spend more time with them , I explain more and I insist on my house rules nicely but firmly.
I look at it as part of my job working with us people. Percentage wise people are less likely to be high maintenance in general.
I just had an Airbnb guest who did not read a word of rules. Nothing not even directions on how to move around the house , how to enter , wifi info , just nothing.
On top of that his phone could not read text messages fully.
He texts me standing at the door while I am on a beach in Mexico : Yana, how do I get in the house? This is when I knew that the dude read nothing.
So I tell him how to get in. And my work began. Before we got pass wifi I go he already was making steak on my kitchen.:grinning:
I spent good 2 hours not enjoying my little vacation but texting back and forth with clueless guest. There were a lot “I am so sorry, Yana, it will never happen again”, " no I did not read the part of no animal products being cooked “, " I skipped on house rules, I was so busy and distracted”.

Then next day my long term guest from upstairs texts me that the dude walks around in his underwear, blasts TV, and it’s not a good environment for her 9 year old and she wants to move. I am on my way to ruins, it’s a beautiful day to enjoy, instead I spend another 2 hours scolding my clueless guest. Again he is being a sweetheart apologizing to me, another guest, he even bought ice cream for a little girl.
I reassure guest from upstairs that it won’t happen again and I am home in couple of days and it will be like it was before.
Now he wants to stay another week. He is a geeky computer programmer and a bachelor in his 40s so you get a picture. I let him. I know my work as a host with him will have few bumps here and there but still I will host him. At least he is cooperative and sweet in his efforts to make things work


Sometimes the ‘flakes’ make for extra work, true, but are the nicest people.

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We get a lot of inquiries from Asian travelers, and they always ask for a discount. It’s the mentality, “If you don’t ask; you don’t get.” It’s fine. They’re fine when they’re declined. Quite a few travel articles encourage people to ask for discounts to save on travel.

This site has also made me more paranoid as a host. :slight_smile:

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Nothing to add to the excellent reassurances here that probably, all will turn out well. But while you’re waiting for this guest to arrive, decide on your limits for the next idiot-guest who does this during the booking process.

For me, it’s your first paragraph. You were 100% correct to decline it. So next time, stick to that instinct and don’t undo it and sabotage yourself, because you were right in suspecting this guest might cause headaches (either with worry on your part, or actually being a bumbling idiot-guest). :slight_smile:


I dated an Air Force service member for a couple of years. They always asked everywhere if there was a “military discount,” even places where it didn’t feel appropriate to me. Her view was, if one is offended by someone asking for a discount that’s their problem, not hers.

I worried for weeks about a couple that was here Saturday. For nothing! They were great guests and gave me 5 stars across the board. I was a little worried because they were talking about how great their Airbnb in ABQ was and I thought I might get downgraded in comparison.

Also @Yana I have my first week long stay with someone here for work. I have a limit of 5 days but he wrote me and said he needed 7 and might have to add on a couple of days. If not for your posts here I probably would have turned him down but I accepted. It’s only been one night but he seems like he is going to be a great guest. He said he wouldn’t be needing to come into my part of the house except to do some laundry late in the week. He said he comes here several times a year so this could turn out to be a good deal for both of us. So, thank you to you!


Of course! I am glad I convinced at least you to try to host working person. You will like it


Ohmigosh, you have more patience than I would have!!!

I’ve also had clueless but sweet single male guests before. One was the chap from Ireland here for a big sales meeting. He booked my place for a week to work before the conference started at the resorts.

Now one of my main house rules is: ONLY YOUR APPROVED AND REGISTERED PARTY IN THE APARTMENT OR ON PROPERTY. NO PARTIES OR EVENTS. This rule is everywhere… In my listing, rules, house guideline, inside posted rules!!

How much more clear could that be? Yet this guest, who was a million dollar sales performer, tells me, “I’ll be having the lads over for some beers and a BBQ sometime this week.”

I couldn’t bring myself to remind him of the house rule!!! And fortunately the party never happened.

But I sometimes wonder if guys like this are momma’s boys who have always had their every need met and catered to.

He was also THE messiest guest I have ever hosted and it took me hours extra to clean up after him. Yet… He was soooooo sweet and nice!!!

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I don’t know yet if he is a mama’s boy but he is such a talker.
I think I like to give people second chance if they cooperate. Shower guy was just so unpleasant that I could not wait for him to leave though he stuck around for 2 months.