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Advice please: very long distance booking with no reviews


Something seems odd about a request I just got but maybe I’m imagining it. People travel the world to big and small places all the time so why does this feel weird to me?

A gentleman from South Africa wants to book a weekend at my house for 5 adults. That’s 10K miles to my very rural out of the way US town for 2 days. Yes we are known for world class wines as is South Africa but still I feel I need to know why he’s coming so far for only 2 days. Is that wrong to want to know? Perhaps he will be in a big city in my state for a while and this is a side trip. I’d like to know that but is it really pertinent or my right to know?

He has 6 verifications and no reviews. Been an Air member since 2016.

The rental is a whole house rental on my farm adjacent to my home.

I might add that I have a business FB page for my farm where I post info about area events and the crops that I grow. I’ve rec’d quite a few likes from people in Africa which I find odd and is probably why this has me a bit on edge as I’ve never understood how people in Africa have found me or why they would like my page as I’m only a small farm that sells locally. My Air listing can be found on my business FB page.



Why would you think it odd to ask your guest about reasons for their stay. I ask all my guests and don’t accept bookings that don’t provide a reason.


He stated why he was coming, a relaxing weekend, asking for further detail seems nosy but I’m feeling nosy. :nose:


Just ask.
Most guests have no problems with the host being interested in them.
Just be honest and tell them they have no reviews so you want to be sure the place is a good fit for them.

A guest with bad intentions will be alerted and avoid you.


I think you may be overthinking this one. To me, it seems perfectly natural for (a family?) people to want a relaxing weekend, a break from touring or visiting a big city. I have a lot of people who want to come here, after a week in London that has exhausted them.

I’m not sure why you feel on edge. Africa is a huge continent, of many countries, with many impoverished people who dream of a better life. Mobile phones and social media, like FB, allow people to explore the world without the means to travel: and to hope. These people are from South Africa and have the means to travel. Despite the very real, dire problems in S. Africa today, many people live lives that mirror our own. That includes rural weekends away to relax!


How do you know where he lives now?


Bunny, I have a family coming just for two nights from France. The person booking the reservation told me they’re touring the USA for a month and staying two or three nights in several cities. That might be the case for your South African guests. Perhaps they too are visiting several cities.


I’m with the group. Ask them the what is bringing them to your area. You mentioned your area is known for wines. If you want your inquiry to be softer, you could offer to provide them with additional information about local attractions if you knew more about the purpose of their trip


I often have guests from Russia, France, Australia, Germany, Britain, Sweden — all over the world — and often it’s a stay of less than a week because they are going on a cruise or on a road trip. I love meeting people from all over the world. It’s a part of the job that I enjoy.


We had a conversation and I accepted the booking. He is traveling with friends to a large city 5 hrs from me and making a side trip.

I’m not uneducated or provincial and like meeting people too it’s just that I’ve had some FB issues (rec’d notification of someone spoofing my page from FB - why?) so I just wanted to be sure. The people who have “liked” my FB from different countries in Africa seem suspect as they have little information/pictures on them so coupled with warning notices I’ve rec’d from FB I was guarded about this request.

Thanks for the replies. Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!


I am in Australia and I sometimes get bookings from overseas (Europe, America and Asia) and I wonder why they are staying here which is mostly just farms rather than the big city 50km away or the holiday island 35km away. I figure there are three reasons (1) they want somewhere quiet to recover from jet lag, (2) I am towards the start of their long road trip and only a couple of miles off the highway, or (3) they are real cheapskates and happy to pay 1/2 city rates and then travel 1.5 hours to get into town. I’ve even had people visiting Australia for the first time and said they normally live in a big city (Singapore or HK) and wanted to stay somewhere rural where they could see koalas and kangaroos and was less than 2 hours from the airport. Well that’s me! Never had a problem with any of them.


I don’t ask any of my guests (on IB) and in over 200 bookings I have never had a problem. Each to their own of course but I think someone who was truly dodgy would spoof you anyway. Like the people booking a $3.5m house in Melbourne and having an unauthorised party and trashing it. They were known to police for using fake IDs and asked if there was a baby’s cot to make it look like they were a family.


Yes sometimes my rural place is just in the right spot (and price) for them to stop for a day on their tour.


What are you expecting them to say though? “Don’t worry we will just stay put and sell meth and oxy to the local dealers. You’ll hardly know we were here except for the increase in the overdose rate” :japanese_goblin: I guess if they said they heard the night life was pumping you could suggest they might have the wrong place.

I wonder if anyone here has some examples of where the person said “we plan to do X” and they declined their booking as a result. Or is it just they want the assurance of knowing a bit more about the people staying.


Wasn’t expecting a specific statement from him just wanted to see if it all made sense. I think we’ve all had instances where things just don’t add up for a variety of reasons. Anyway, as I said I made the booking. My prior history with strange activity on my FB page from several African countries put me on edge. So much internet BS going on it’s hard to know what’s legit and what’s not and no one wants to be the victim of a scam so caution is the word, at least for me.


G: “We are coming (x 6) for a wedding locally. We plan to arrive at 12.30 pm, leave the car with you and take a taxi to the venue.”


Because why: wedding party? leaving car? taking taxi? All three?


Having said that I can see if someone’s plans involve breaking the rules which they clearly haven’t read properly then yes it would be good to know in advance so as to set them to rights or reject them.


And I have encountered that in which case I declined the request. During the course of messaging with her to make sure my place was a good fit it became than obvious that the person attempting to make the reservation was planning on slipping in additional guests. College kids coming for a wedding and trying to stay as cheap as possible.


Troublesome wedding parties seem to be a theme. Perhaps “Events” could be defined to include wedding parties.

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