Don’t Make These 12 Common Airbnb Mistakes

There’s nothing worse than a four-star review.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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Your rating matters on Airbnb, even as a renter. Hosts will accept or reject your booking inquiry based on your rating and past reviews, and anything less than five stars is usually looked at with a raised eyebrow.

From not communicating with the host to trying to take the booking off the platform, there are several ways you can start your booking off on the wrong foot with the host and possibly set yourself up for a poor review.

If you want to up your travel game and ensure you get a five-star review, here are the Airbnb mistakes you need to stop making.

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Not reading the description

Daniel Krasoń/Adobe Woman is installing Airbnb application on Lenovo tablet

If you don’t read the description of the listing you’re booking, you could end up disappointed and frustrated, causing a headache for the host. 

Assuming every waterfront property has a dock, then arriving to discover they don’t, puts you and the host in an awkward situation.

Not replying to communication from the host

fizkes/Adobe confused african woman holding cellphone

Not every message your host sends merits a response. Sometimes they just want to check in and let you know they’re available if you need them. 

But if you haven’t responded to a single message since booking, that’s a problem. Your host wants to know you’re a real person, so reply to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Asking to go off platform

brizmaker/Adobe mature couple buying online

If you ask to go off platform while you’re messaging on the Airbnb platform, that’s a huge red flag for an Airbnb host. Moving a booking to direct booking can get them kicked off the platform if they entertain the idea, so they may ignore you if you even ask. 

Google the name of the property and try to find their website or Instagram if you want to ask about direct booking.

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Haggling the price

Flamingo Images/Adobe woman checking her computer

Your host sets a price, and that’s what they want to get for the booking. They are not expecting people on a booking platform to haggle, and it often seems like a scam when people try to haggle for a lower price. 

Also, Airbnb sets the fees, and the government sets the taxes, so, no, your host definitely cannot haggle on those.

Not telling the host something broke

New Africa/Adobe broken ceramic vase on floor

Things break! That’s expected for an Airbnb host. But when things break, and they don’t realize it, that’s an issue. They can’t replace items if they don’t realize they’re broken, and that’s their main concern, more so than charging you for breaking something by accident.

Checking in early without asking

rh2010/Adobe male and female professional cleaners mopping floor and dusting couch

It’s not a big deal to ask about an early check-in, and many hosts will accommodate that whenever possible. But where they get frustrated is when people try to check in early without asking. 

The cleaning team may still be there, and the door code may not work yet. But the moral of the story is to ask for an early check-in.

Asking the morning-of for a late checkout

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe people near suitcases in airport

In the same vein, asking the morning of for a late checkout can be difficult to accommodate. 

Often, a cleaning team shows up as soon as you check out, and if you decide an hour before checkout that you’d like a late checkout, that can become a logistical nightmare.

Skipping the guidebook

Syda Productions/Adobe woman reading book at home

Most hosts spend a lot of time on their guidebooks, which contain the answers to most of your questions. 

Whether it’s how to use the coffee maker or where the closest grocery store is, you can probably find these answers in the guidebook. But, of course, reach out to the host whenever you have other questions.

Rearranging furniture

AntonioDiaz/Adobe couple moving furniture and doing home improvements

When you rearrange furniture at an Airbnb, you risk scratching the floor, damaging the furniture, and adding significant time to the cleaning crew’s job when they have to put the place back together. 

So refrain from rearranging furniture. While it feels like a home, it isn’t your home.

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Expecting problems to be fixed immediately

Eakrin/Adobe repairing water pipe using wrench

Hotels have maintenance staff on-site 24/7, so when a toilet gets clogged at 2 a.m., they can be up there to fix it. 

In an Airbnb, your host has the extra step of calling the plumber, hoping they’re nearby, scheduling them, and then keeping their fingers crossed it’s a quick repair. A little patience goes a long way.

Not understanding regional differences

Antonioguillem/Adobe Woman with worried expression holding a credit card

Look into the area where you’re going when you book an Airbnb, and try to get a basic understanding of how the region is different or similar to your hometown. This means that if you go to a rural Airbnb, then don’t get mad at your host when taxis aren’t available.

Bringing an undisclosed pet

Valerii Apetroaiei/Adobe family driving with a dog

Bringing along your pet can get expensive but those fees are present because pets can cause major shedding that leads to paying the cleaning crew an extra percentage. 

If you try to dodge the pet fee, your host won’t know to give the cleaning crew a heads up to allocate more time. This could delay their work for the day and make subsequent check-ins tricky.

Bottom line

AlesiaKan/Adobe This image features the Airbnb logo and a city in the background, inviting you to travel the world with Airbnb.

Any rating below 4.2 could put you in a situation to get kicked off the Airbnb platform, so these five-star ratings aren’t just for your ego — they’re for your ability to continue to use Airbnb and get ahead financially by keeping more options open.

While you don’t need to clean the home and leave it spotless, treating your host’s property with respect can go a long way toward a good rating and experience.

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Author Details

Heather Bien

Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.