Airbnb Lesson for the week: Never communicate outside of Airbnb

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People have different ways they prefer to communicate and I can appreciate that.

Personally my preferred mode changes with how well we know each other: If we do know each other then I like to Skype or talk on the phone, next would be texting and then emailing. If we don’t know each other then it I prefer email or text.

Maybe it’s just me but I have found it can be challenging to relay emotion through the written word whether you know the person you are communicating with or not. Especially if  you don’t want to add a superfluous amount of emojis.

When you are using the services provided by Airbnb whether it be as a host or a guest, it is recommended by Airbnb to never communicate outside of their program. It states it right on their website.  I’ve included a snap shot of it for the picture in this post 🙂

As a host, documenting all the communication that happens between you and the guest is imperative.  If you find yourself in the position of needing support from Airbnb, it only helps your cause to have followed their guidelines.

Conversations that happen between two people are considered hearsay by law. If you can’t prove it then you don’t have a leg to stand on.

Yes, of course there is going to be interactions between you and your guests that don’t get documented because they happen in person.  You can’t record every word ever said.  You just have to hope that nothing goes awry or it will be hard to have that verbal communication included.

Frequently guests include their emails and phone numbers during their initial communications as a way to get ahold of them “if I have any questions”.  They also  include the emails and phone numbers of their guests.

I always respond with ” I prefer to speak through Airbnb since it is a liability issue for me”

Most people are understanding! As you can imagine not everyone gets it.

Listen up world.  Listen up future Airbnb guests. Once the texting lines of communication happen, people tend to stay in that lane. Regardless, I won’t be calling you, texting you, emailing you or communicating with you in any other way besides through Airbnb. Not with the person who made the reservation and not with the other guests.  It makes no difference to me if they are your partner, spouse, best friend or a family member.


I recently had a guest who cancelled last-minute because I refused to let him text me the day of his arrival time.

After we said our hello’s, I asked for his check in time and confirmation the house rules have been read. He replied with a time frame and confirmation of the rules.  Then he said that he would be driving down and could give me an ETA while on the road.  He provided a phone number (which was blocked by Airbnb). There is usually a number attached to the profile anyways.  If that isn’t the correct one then people need to be responsible and update their profile.

As you know by now,  I replied with my ” I prefer to speak through Airbnb since it is a liability issue for me” to which he responded Okay but I won’t be able to contact you through Airbnb please expect a phone call. I asked what the reason was he couldn’t use Airbnb to which he replied he would be driving and only had his cell phone. What’s the problem with calling you?  ( He DOESN’T get it)

My message: “Like I said before speaking outside of Airbnb creates a liability issue for me. I prefer to only use Airbnb. You can download the app for your phone and we can continue to speak through Airbnb. Thank you for understanding. ” I also included the photo that is in this blog to show the exact language on the Airbnb website.

His Message: “The host is unwilling to allow me to contact her by phone to arrange entry on the date of my reservation, and I will not have internet access. This is ridiculous and I expect a full refund.” Full refund for cancelling the day before because you don’t want to follow the rules?! I don’t think so.

He did cancel his reservation and proceeded to keep sending me vent session messages.

The first one: “Nope, you fail as a host, please cancel my reservation. I have no time to deal with someone who is unable or unwilling to use a simple telephone. I run three rental properties myself, I know all about customer service and this is ridiculous. I need to be able to contact you to arrange entry into the house. Cancel my reservation.” Hosts are penalized for canceling reservations. There are fees for cancelling that can range from $50-$100 so nope I won’t be the one to cancel a reservation. If a guest wants to cancel – they can initiate it. What does running 3 properties have to do with the rules for hosts set by Airbnb??

The second one: “I have used Airbnb many times and this have never been an issue. There is absolutely no reason why I should not be able to contact you via phone on the day of my arrival. This is completely unprofessional, please refund my entire amount. I was simply trying to arrange contact with you so that I can be sure to find and get into the room that I had reserved. I can’t believe this would be an issue, it is ridiculous.”  It makes no difference to me if he has spoken with other hosts over the phone and it hasn’t been a problem for him in the past.
Every place works different. Every host has a right to set up their situation that works for them. Just because other people have chosen to disregard the language on the Airbnb site doesn’t mean I have to.

He made a request for the full refund.  I declined.


The next day I received a message from an Airbnb case manager. I have a strict cancellation policy.  You get 50% back.  The guest wanted back part of that 50% and she was hoping I would reconsider. She claimed the guest said he was uncomfortable with my language so she was going to mediate this!

I am so happy that all our communication was documented!!! I explained my position which included my response to his second message along with this –

He mentioned he would only have his cell phone and wouldn’t be able to contact me any other way. Does his cell phone have the Navigation feature on it, like 99% of people do? Then he has access to the internet. He can download the app or access the internet and go the long way to get to the Airbnb website.

I have Self Check In. We could have made arrangements for him to utilize this option. This way he has access to the space when arriving with no need to communicate via cell phone, unless he is going to say he wouldn’t be able to access this information from his phone. Then I would counter with that he could prepare himself with the available information while he had access to Airbnb.

I plan to be home to greet guests when I can. I work during the week which makes it challenging however he was arriving on Saturday- the weekend, which meant I could plan for his arrival time. I told him in one of those earlier messages his time frame would be fine.

It is frustrating for guests not to take responsibility for themselves when they have been given the information necessary to be self sufficient or to be flexible and respectful of the hosts preferred communication method (which has been set by Airbnb).

I do my best to be flexible with guests. The one area I will not flexible with is the area that can create a liability issue for me.


I won. He did not get a refund and he was reminded of the communication rules set forth by Airbnb.

Thank you Airbnb.

2 thoughts on “Airbnb Lesson for the week: Never communicate outside of Airbnb

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