This forum is dedicated to connecting hosts with other hosts. Sign up to get the latest updates and news just for AirBnb hosts! Note that we are not affiliated with Airbnb - we are just passionate hosts!
I don’t know about you all, but this was working well for us and I’m disappointed that Air has removed the pre-booking message. I can hardly think of anyone who didn’t write us answering our questions “What brings you to Seattle?” and “Who is traveling with you?”
Air’s suggestion to schedule a message is just not the same. It will just come off as a random and canned message if the guest does write to tell us with specifics about their trip. I also don’t want people to think they can instant book never having communicated with us.
I’m not happy about this either. I like to know why guests are visiting. If it’s a special occasion, bringing son or daughter to tour the university, for work, etc. Sending a separate message to garner this information requires the guests to go back in to the Airbnb again. What was wrong with the way it was?
This has interested me for a long time. I have never fully understood why hosts need to know these things.
And when I’m a guest, if a host asks, I think that really it’s none of their business. This is a client/host financial arrangement and personally, I don’t see that it’s the place of the host to know any more than the fact that they are coming between specific dates (and that their credit card is good).
If a guest volunteers information, it helps me customise the rental in some small way. These might be motorsport books for guests who are coming to races, golf leaflets for golfers, etc.
Mind you, as both my rentals are one-bedroom/one-bed apartments, I sometimes know very well why many of them are coming.
I’ve always found it to be a strange and rather invasive question, too, and always figured it was just some question hosts came up with to give some excuse to get a poorly communicating guest to engage.
In my case, it would be a ridiculous question, as I know perfectly well why guests come to a touristy beach town in Mexico. I’ve only had one guest ever who came for a different reason- he was thinking of opening a business with a friend of his who lived here. But knowing that ahead of time would not have given me any necessary info.
I understand your perspective. When people host in their home, it can be more than just a financial arrangement. I’m not in a strictly tourist destination so people visit for a variety of reasons. I want to know if I’m going to be comfortable having the guest stay on my property and if my listing is a good fit. Often I find out about additional guests not accounted for in the reservation, or that they want work colleagues to visit the property. I personally am not interested in hosting guests who want to film/photograph on location or who are locals.
When I use Airbnb as a guest, I never mind telling the host why I’m visiting. But that’s me and I recognize we all have different set ups and perspectives.
I think that there are various questions a host might feel gives them valuable information, depending on the nature of their listing, the location, and why guests might book with them. It’s not a one size fits all thing.
But I have seen new hosts ask what vetting questions they should ask, and get responses like “ask what brings them to the area”, when as I mentioned, in my case would be a dumb question and not give me any info I had reason to know.
So I think it bears some thinking about what questions are actually worth asking, depending upon the situation.
Also, anyone who was up to no good would lie anyway.
Very true. When I hosted in-home, it was many years ago and in the UK. I don’t think that the world was a particularly safer place in those days (probably quite the opposite) but it seemed so at the time.
In those days, the first thing I’d know about a guest was when they knocked on the door asking if I had a vacancy for the night. That does seem a little scary now!
As others have said, there is a big difference between when they are in your home (like Muddy and Helsi) and not. Besides you I think I’m one of the few people here who has done this business both as a true home share and as a separate space. Maybe @zillacop was home share in AZ and now separate?
I always tell the host why I’m coming, home share or not. About half of them don’t seem to care as I don’t get a response. In my rental, even though it’s now separate I did ask the questions of when guests expected to arrive and something else, I forgot what. It wasn’t answered about 70% of the time.
I’m guessing that Airbnb dropped it because it wasn’t worth the trouble. Most guests don’t do it and Airbnb has no practical way to make them do it. They probably fielded some number of contacts from hosts complaining about guests not doing it and they just decided to drop it.
A host could put something in their welcome message to let a guest know it’s to their benefit to provide this information to the host.
“Hi xxx, thanks for choosing my place. Please let me know what time you’ll arrive and what brings you to town so I can prepare the room according to your needs.” The guest who responds gets the lights left on, the ac or heat on, chocolates on the pillow and cold bottled water in the fridge. In a longer or higher priced rental, perhaps something more like chilled wine and mixed nuts. People who don’t respond get nothing.