Airbnb User’s Guide: When Your Airbnb Reservation Isn’t Right

Wall ruins in Morocco
Medina wall ruins in Essaouria, Morocco

Nothing in the world is perfect, including Airbnb.

The majority of the listings will be just as they should be, but sometimes your Airbnb reservation isn’t right. It might be because of an unscrupulous host, a less than clean booking, a miscommunication or a misunderstanding. Whatever the issue occasionally a reservation won’t be right when you show up.

We’ve used Airbnb over 23 times; three of the reservations didn’t work out. One was a cancellation and the other two were just plain unscrupulous hosts.

One in Tamraght, Morroco was not only filthy when we arrived, but it wasn’t even the listing we booked. Nor did it have the majority of the listed amenities. 45 minutes after arriving, we had booked a hotel and contacted Airbnb because the host refused to communicate with us on solving the issue.

Always give your reservation a good look over right when you arrive, preferably while your host is still on site. Turn on the water, check the heat or air conditioning if provided, make sure the internet works or that everything promised is provided. The sooner you find problems and report them the better.

So what do you do when your Airbnb reservation isn’t right, is not what you expected or is uninhabitable?

Abandoned Building Lisboa, Portugal: Airbnb reservation isn't right
Abandoned Building Lisboa, Portugal

Our Recommended Steps When Your Airbnb Reservation isn’t Right

1. Take a deep breath.

A few deep breaths to put things into perspective always help before doing anything.

2. Assess the situation.

Is the reservation habitable or uninhabitable? Is the problem easily fixable? Do this in the first hour or so of arriving. Or as soon as the situation warrants it. Don’t wait around because you might be asking for your money back and need to find a new place to stay.Things do happen after all, nowhere or nobody is perfect every time.

3. Contact the host/host’s assigned manager.

Always contact the host or host’s assigned manager IMMEDIATELY upon finding a problem. Communication is key to solving any issue. Preferably, make your contact through the Airbnb messaging system, because it makes it easier for Airbnb to investigate if you have to contact them. If you use another source of communication, use one that allows you to keep a record such as email, What’s App or text. Keep records of all contact between you and the host.

4. Document the problem.

Document the issue through lots of photos, communication records, even receipts if you have to pay for something. Documenting proves your case if you need to make a report to Airbnb. Without any proof of the problem, there is little they can do.

4. Give the host time to solve the issue.

Unless the problem is excessive filth, lack of heating, hot water or something else that puts you in danger or not the listing you booked, give the host time to resolve the problem. Things do happen at times that are out of a host’s control, such as that of our second listing in Tamraght, Morroco. The wi-fi wasn’t working upon arrival. We notified the host and he went right to work on it. It took five days for the phone company to fix it but the host communicated throughout the process.

5. If the problem is excessive or a danger to your health, leave immediately.

If the booking is uninhabitable, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY. Find a hotel or book another listing. Don’t forget to take photos before you leave.You’ll need them to make an Airbnb claim in order to get your money returned.

6. If the issue is unsolvable or your host is unresponsive, it’s time to contact Airbnb.

Contact Airbnb through their resolution center. Airbnb offers both an email or call option. Calls are reserved for emergencies such as you need to leave immediately. Email is used for lesser issues that are not endangering your help.

We’ve used both options and had very good service.

Airbnb will act as the mediator between you and the host, helping you receive a workable resolution.

Following these steps for when your Airbnb reservation isn’t right will not only help reduce your stress, but it will help you end up with a good resolution for when you

If you need help with finding the perfect Airbnb booking, read the first part of our series, The Complete Beginners Guide to Airbnb Booking: The Booking Checklist.

Oh, a quick disclaimer before we go. Airbnb did not ask us to write this post, nor are we receiving any compensation for writing this. We just enjoy using Airbnb and hope to help you have a great experience if you choose to use them. If you would like to help out our travels, you can signup for Airbnb using our referral link and we will receive a credit on our future reservations.

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