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A little advice please

Over the 16 months I’ve been hosting I’ve had a majority of Asian guests - from China & Korea. On their profile they always had a name that I could use (even if it wasn’t their real name).

Now I know we shouldn’t need to anglicise everything to make it easy for us English speakers, but suddenly I’ve got a lot of guests both booked and enquiring with just Taiwanese symbols. For instance this is my next guest.


Male? Female? In the photo it isn’t immediately obvious.

I’d really like a name. Do you think it would be offensive to ask if they have an English version of their name. I could ask them how to pronounce it, but it will probably just elicit more symbols… Thoughts anyone?

I put the symbols in your post in Google translate and got this: Chun Meng. To answer the larger question; the country I have hosted the most people from is Mainland China. Many of them choose American names as Chinese names are unpronounceable to us. I can’t imagine that it would cause offense for you to ask your potential guests for the pronunciation of their names in the English alphabet. If they’ve chosen an American name, they will probably tell it to you.

Yes, I’m sure that’s true, but if they’d chosen an anglo name I would have thought they’d put it on their profile. Most of these guests don’t seem to speak any English - their questions are unintelligible and they’re booking through IB so it will all be quite comic no doubt as I take them through the introductions. Anyway, thanks for your response. Chun Meng it is for the first one:slight_smile:

We’ve had this exact situation with South Korean guests. While at first it seems a little weird to, in effect, not know the name of your guest it’s never actually caused any problems. Any written messages just begin with a simple “Hi”. As for the lack of English - this happens so infrequently that the charades style of communication can be quite good fun!


Just thought I’d update you… I received this email from Airbnb this morning. No further explanation.

Hello Georgie and 春萌,
We monitor all reservations and user interactions on Airbnb very closely. We’ve noticed this reservation 2PM3KZ doesn’t appear to be legitimate. As a result we have cancelled the reservation and refunded the payment. If you feel this was done in error, please let us know. Otherwise we hope you understand that we do this to preserve the integrity of our marketplace.
The Airbnb Team


For next time, you can ask them to write their name in pin yin, which will give you a head start. Then you can ask “do you have an English name?”

Many years ago I saw a significant shift, from one summer to the next. I’d say that in 2009 all the students I hosted from China had English names, in 2010, none did. I do want to call them by their actual name, but it is very difficult.

Huh. And yet their messenger system has weird delays. Today we received 5 copies of the same message. I bet it was just flagged because of the symbols in their name…

Yes agreed. So far they’ve all had English names and then when they arrive I ask the if that’s what they’d like me to call them. Often they’ll correct me and give me their Chinese name. If they tell me, then I can do my best to pronounce it. I have a Chinese guest at the moment (Shirley is her profile name). She is just such a delightful and easy guest and has been here for over 10 days now and isn’t leaving until the end of the month. She keeps telling me negative stuff about Chinese guests and how the average Chinese Airbnb guest has made it difficult for her to get accepted by other hosts because she is Chinese. I feel the same way about loud Australians travelling overseas too! :grinning:

I don’t think that’s why it was flagged. I’ve got two other ‘symbol only’ guests booked in to stay with me. Unless they’re about to get cancelled too…

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I agree that the symbol only is not the reason the reservation was flagged. I’ve had several “symbol only” guests from China and Korea.


I’m confused. You had Air cancel a reservation because you didn’t like that someone wrote their name in their own language? What am I missing here? I’ve had a ton of guests book with the Chinese or Korean names and it’s all been fine. They give an English name (usually Doris, Joyce, Kevin, Happy, Moonshine or something) and it’s all been fine.

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You need to read the thread Magwitch. I didn’t cancel anything!


Maybe it was because of the short messages. Maybe they contacted several other hosts similarity,

Was there anything else in the original request other than the name characters?

Woops, sorry. I should go in the Bad Guest lounge for not reading everything properly :frowning:


The only message they wrote was this. 'May I make a reservation at this time, if I have to pay for tomorrow?'
I simply replied 'Unfortunately Airbnb requires payment at the time of reservation.'
And then they booked. I didn’t mind and they wouldn’t be the first guest to ask.

Yesterday I went back to the original booking email and tried to click on the profile and it just came up with 'Oops! It appears this guest hasn’t completed our online verification process.'
So, I guess that explains it.

PS. I hate being in a different time zone - it would be nice to have these exchanges with you all in real time!

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Ooh. Is there such a place? Who hangs out there?? :grin:

I just wanted to update about this guest that Airbnb eventually didn’t let book.

A few days later, another guest also with only Taiwanese symbols in their name, booked the same dates. A week later the original guest who got knocked back by Airbnb wrote to say it was in fact her booking but she was now coming under her husband’s account as they would get a discount through that one.

OK. So they were real people and they booked.

A week before their stay, they request to leave luggage as their flight arrives early. No problems I say and I wait for them.

And then they never showed up. I was home all day worrying about these two apparently non-English speaking foreigners being lost somewhere. I tried to call them, message them etc without response. Then Airbnb got involved - they also tried the phone numbers from both the husband and the wife’s profile. No response. I left a note and keys in the letterbox. By day 2, I’d realised there was very little likelihood they would show.

Later I saw that the guest was verified through LinkedIn but I checked and he has no profile on LinkedIn with that name… I have recruiter on LinkedIn and conducted a really thorough search.

Hmmmm. How accurate is the verification process?

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A local pimp booked my condo and he had full verifications(fake LinkedIn, DL, Facebook) and two positive reviews from previous hosts.
I only caught him when he called me from a local phone number ,(he initially said he didnt have a reachable phone number because he is on business trip from the US.)
The whole system is a joke.


It isn’t. Do your own verification. (Maybe I should add that sentence to my profile.) Ask for ID when your guests arrive. Passports are hard things to fake. And make sure your guests know that you will be checking ID when they arrive, of course.

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