Why do so many guests assume it is "entire house" rental?

I have changed my wording and checked my settings. I am still getting about 40% of inquiries or booking requests thinking it is an “entire house” rental. It is becoming time consuming to ask them to withdraw their booking request (then they do not know how!) Two weeks ago, I think my guests assumed it was an entire house when they arrived because they seemed a little shocked but I didn’t ask. I have this stated on my summary, the first thing they should see after the title:
“We live in our home (this is not an entire home rental), so we can offer sightseeing tips or help you plan your days.”
I have a picture of our foyer with the caption, “Main entrance of our home (guests enter here). Guest rooms are on 2nd floor.”
I state that there is no kitchen or first floor access under details. I have a picture of the front of my home, which is a 5000 sq. foot home (raised 5 kids here!) so how could they assume an entire, large house rental is $65 a night?
Am I missing something or is there a secret to making sure they understand this?

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I would lose the picture of the big house and replace it with a picture of a guest room.



As RR said, get rid of the picture of the entire house. They don’t get the entire house so don’t picture it.

Next, every booking message the guest to get them to verbally confirm they know they are just getting rooms on the second floor and that you live there. I know it’s annoying but it’s what you have to do. If they don’t reply to your airbnb message about it text or call their number. If you can’t confirm they understand contact Airbnb and tell them you can’t host a guest who won’t communicate with you.

I had a guest recently book and and ask about cooking in her first message and I replied back that there was no cooking and no kitchen access. She said that was ok but the next day she cancelled.


It’s an English saying - ‘it does what it says on the tin’. RRR is correct - if the photograph shows the entire house, then people will think that’s what they’re getting. I despair these days (at the risk of sounding like someone’s old granny) that people’s attention span seems to be minuscule so the photographs are very important indeed.

I agree that it’s crazy that guests think they are getting an entire house for a stupidly low price but there are many people who think that the whole purpose of Airbnb is to offer bargain-priced accommodation for hosts who are doing it for the fun of making omlets with their guests.

Which it isn’t.


Every once in awhile I have “justify” the cost of the listing ($95 per night in season, $65 per night now in off season). I just explain that the breakfast I will be making them is a $20 per person breakfast at the local brekkie joint. Sorry, NO, the listing only comes with brekkie, it’s not cheaper if you don’t order…

I agree with the others-- lose the whole house photos, just show the room. You don’t want a “driveway” shot anyway – helps keep ‘lookie loos’ from knocking on your door and wanting a tour…


Ugh, I emphathize! I just had a guest leave us five stars but in the private message say they were “surprised” the stairwell was open between the first and second floors and recommended we put a door at the bottom (oh and also put a separate heating/air unit for the downstairs – basically cut our home in two for a separate apartment.) This is a “private room in a home” listing and the description said there was a stairwell and we live upstairs so you may hear us but won’t see us.

I’ve gone back and edited copy now to make it more obvious but if anyone has suggestions I’m open. We’ve only had two guests in 60 not understand what they were getting so this isn’t a trend. What may be confusing is that I describe it as a suite with a separate entrance to the first floor of our home – not a separate apartment or dwelling but to ensure they know they don’t come into the top floor where we live.

Anything else I should do?

I guess I will take the whole house picture down. I did that after looking at other private rooms, not entire homes, in my area (they have pics of the front of their home) because it gives a feel of the neighborhood/trees/feel of the area.
I did message this last guest when he messaged me about a longer than usual stay because I was wondering how he planned to eat since I clearly stated “no kitchen access” and that is when he realized.

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The Airbnb app, lets you create responses, for future guests. I would create a little statement saying it is not the whole house. That way you just have to click on your saved response and send it in the message.
I have about 10 which includes directions, WiFi and network PW, parking, keypad code. It’s a huge timesaver. Just a suggestion


Do you have it listed as one of your rules? The guests don’t always read the rules - but if you have it listed as a rule, they accepted the rules before they hit “book”, so it is their responsibility to have actually read them.
–This listing is for exactly one bedroom and one bathroom on the second floor of my house. You will have no access to the first floor except to walk through to access the stairs. You will have no access to a kitchen. You will have no access to a livingroom.


l understood your listing quite well so I can’t speculate what may have confused both of those guests…unless it’s the new breed of non-readers but 2 out of 60 is not worrisome.

Your rental suite looks sooo welcoming, the amenities are wonderful and more than sufficient for the $$$, and the environment is idyllic!

(Just a couple of corrections: “lifevests” should be two words, and where it mentions your master suite can be made available “in another bedroom is needed,” it should read “if” another bedroom is needed.")

Also, earlier in the text, after the reference to “spices other than salt and pepper”, it says “(Website hidden by Airbnb)”…you might correct whatever caused it to be deleted.

I show a picture of the whole house but first line says “Ground floor apartment overlooking the sea”. I’ve only had one person ask after they booked if they got the whole house or not. Me: “No just the ground floor”, Him: “Oh I told the kids about the great sunset they’d see from the first floor”, Me: “You see the same sunset from the ground floor as you do from the first floor”.

I think AirBnB advertising must give some noobs the idea they can get an entire house for less than the price of a motel room.

or maybe they can move the designated master bedroom around so it should be: “in another bedroom if needed”.

Thanks for taking the time to read the listing, provide feedback and find my typos! That website note is strange…I can’t figure out what is causing that to appear – and it doesn’t appear on all devices as I’ve looked on laptop, mobile and ipad. There’s some random code there and so I deleted all the blank spaces between the two paragraphs to try and get rid of it.

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I think (hope…) I have just about got on top of this problem. It didn’t matter how much I edited my listing, titled the separate rooms as in a “B&B”, mentioned the cats all over the shop, including photos, that we live here etc etc etc ad nauseam. I now send any type of IB, request or enquiry a list of questions about their understanding of what they are booking and ask them to cancel if we’re not what they were looking for. It has resulted in a couple of cancellations but I prefer this to people rocking up, staying, and then complaining in their review.

I now also have a very cute photo of Sophie Cat, encaptioned " Hi, I’m the Head Housekeeper. My staff live here too (the owners…). They will serve you breakfast but only after I have had mine". As it’s the second photo in, it catches the eye, and I’ve had no idiots since it’s been up.

The last idiots were extraordinary. I thought they had read the listing well, as they said they adored cats and were looking forward to meeting them. Four young women, all geneticists and proud of it. They were surprised we lived here too.


Perhaps part of the problem is the way Airbnb is adverstising. Anyone else seeing what I see in the ad link the OP posted? Name of listing followed by “HOUSES for rent in”

I’ve had the same problem with some people thinking they are getting my entire 5BR/3BA house for $90/Night, LOL! My listing is for a private room and bath for 2 guests. It’s very clear, if you just take the time to read the first 3 lines of the description. Most people do, but on occasion, people ask prebooking if they get the whole house, and I’ve had 2 sets of guests show up that were surprised.

I do have a picture of my house in the listing, but it’s one of the last ones.

If it thinks it is a popular competitor, it it will also remove it. Such as… flipkey, vrbo, google, or a phone number or addresss. Also if you try to put 123 square feet, it removes that too.

Another vote to remove the house pic. I had one whole house pic buried in my photo stack (to show the driveway parking), and one guest flagged my listing as inaccurate to Airbnb. Although all the previous guests apparently did read and weren’t confused. As a side note, I found an old article by an Air employee that said there were more clicks on listings that showed an attractively set up bed as the first photo than any others photo subject

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Shortly after I did my remodel of the Airbnb room a professional photographer stayed with me and took some pictures and gave them to me to use on my listing. He had done Airbnb jobs before so he knew what they were looking for but he was in town for something else. His suggested first photo (of the bed, though there’s not much else to the listing) is still my first one.


I suppose it depends on the selling point of the listing. Our rentals have very nice, attractive beds. But our real selling point, and we attract people like painters and photographers, is the view. So I wouldn’t change it for bed shots.

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Of course the Air stats would be “on average” that views of the bed got more clicks. If you’ve got a great feature, flaunting it makes sense.