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An influx of enquiries from guests with no verifications!

Hi - I don’t know if anyone else is experiencing this too, but I’ve started getting what I would consider dodgy enquiries. Surely, if someone has access to a computer to create their profile, and are able to upload a profile picture, they can complete the verification process. OK, so it doesn’t really affect me as I simply say I can’t accept a booking until they’ve properly ID’s themselves. BUT how many of us actually check that there are verifications in place? I would say that 90% of my guests are first time Airbnb’ers. Many of them don’t have photos, and some of them have photos which aren’t actually them (as I discover when they arrive). This doesn’t concern me so long as they’ve got their ID verified. So, my question is really this: Why does Airbnb allow guests to send enquiries without having completed the verification process? How many trusting hosts have been stung by people who aren’t who they say they are? Should Airbnb not allow people to send enquiries or access information on potential properties until they’ve proven who they are. I’m just wondering aloud if this wonderful brave new World of opening doors to strangers will become targeted by the Nigerian scammers. 'Hello dear AirBnb Host. I am a rich prince who has sadly had to leave his country. If you provide me your bank account details and just send me a small fee to cover paperwork at my end, I will transfer you millions of dollars that I need out of my country…
Any thoughts fellow bnb’ers??

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Totally agree, last year I had several instances when non verified people booked but then couldn’t complete the payment process due to not having been verified and asking me to accept them for cash. Also even when I refused my calendar was blocked out for anyone else. I don’t think anyone should be able to send a booking enquiry without having been verified.

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I just have my account set up so that people who are verified cannot book. I always respond even if they’re not verified and then it is up to them to jump through the hoops if they want to book. I also ask for a photo before I pre-approve. Scanning in your passport etc. is a hassle so I an see why Airbnb allow them to browse and contact people without being verified (to lure them in!) but they also put in the facility to notr allow bookings from unverified people, so it works out fine,

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Much of the time they are newbies who just decided to travel and have only signed up minutes before. I cannot tell you HOW MANY great guests I have had come through with profiles like this. By turning them down or making them do extra steps before you accept could fee a little discouraging and they will move on to the next one that’s easier to book.

I find when they get here ‘sometimes’ they are not experienced travelers or haven’t read my house rules or info sheet. But for the most part they are fine, and some have been among my best guests!

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While you could have your account set up so that people who are verified cannot book… I don’t do that.

Here is what I do and it works almost every time:

  • they’re usually new, so I ask them to do their verification process and make sure they fully read my house rules (phrasing it as “rules” makes them uber curious, which gets them reading my listing)
  • 95% of the time, they do their verifications and then book through me! (when they don’t, they’re usually older folks who say they don’t want their information on the Internet…)

And I’ve never had any problem with those guests. In fact, they are grateful I took the time to inform them that hosts are going to ask them for this and it’s for safety purposes.

We can’t just reject new Airbnb members because they aren’t familiar with the processes, we can help them and then they can become amazing guests.

http://TheAbundantHost.com

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You’re right. I just realised I could not accept unverified guests, which is what I have chosen to do. If they wish to book then they can after going through the process. Interestingly, none of them have which probably is good considering two of them also mentioned not having a credit card or ability to pay, but would arrange payment through a friend. Seriously, if you’re travelling to Australia for a holiday, a credit card is probably a bit of a criteria!
Anyway, thanks for the info.

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I always respond to the inquiry in a friendly, welcoming way, but keep it brief, and always say “be sure to complete the verification process, and provide a bit of information about yourself before you book!”

On the other hand, my first booking was like this, and he was a wonderful guest (a young guy and two young women from France).

I just had a booking from a woman who had to use a translator and wanted to pay her reservation with a Diner’s Club Card…fortunately her son helped her out and she did book -which was a relief because it took a lot of back-and-forth and I was sure it would be for nothing.

But oh, do I love those that inquire that are fully verified and HAVE REVIEWS!!! Sometimes I offer them a discount right off the bat to encourage them to seal the deal.

I’ve heard that airbnb has now stopped allowing unverified guests to book, though they can inquire. My setting requires the ID verification - so I don’t know.

Oh, and your calendar is not blocked until the reservation is made. An inquiry or preapproval does NOT block your calendar.

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I just had an unverified guest, new to the platform (June 2016) inquire for one night this weekend. He asked what my price was but since there’s clearly a language problem in his inquiry I think he’s asking for a discount. I just replied that the price is in the listing. Two questions, do you spend much time with inquiries from unverified guests and do you know what Airbnb currently requires for verification?

I noticed there are 2 types of these guests:

  1. Small “booking agencies”, I these mainly coming from Arab countries. A person that does speak a little english tries to setup a business for people not speaking english. I get many of these google translated messages, cut&pasted in my message box: “Does room have kitchen privat and toilet privat”.

I answer them, and depending on my mood and occupancy rate I will or will not accept booking.

  1. New users, very insecure, and have no clue what they are getting in to.

I answer all their questions, but try undersell. I try to keep their expectations low, what you see is what you get. And I make clear we are not a 5 star hotel.
If they do not book, I am happy with that, and if they do book they now what to expect.

Many of my replies are saved, so I only need to clicks to answer most common newbie questions.

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At least half the people who have made inquiries, in my short time doing this, have been unverified. I could give you an exact count of you care.

And Airbnb criteria for verification seem to be fairly low. For example, it seems in India, a PAN card suffices for verification. But this isn’t a very strong identity proof - they’re quite easy to forge, and indeed commonly forged. An Indian passport is much harder to forge, but Airbnb does not require them, perhaps because not everyone has them.

In any case, this probably varies from country to country. I think in most countries, a drivers license will also work.

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I thought it needed to be more than one piece of identity? Thanks for your help!

I believe verifications consist of the email, ph. no., driver’s license or passport or similar gov. issued photo I.D., social media connections…that’s all I can recall. Either the host or guest can get by with providing only two in their profile but if the host wants the traveler to complete their verification and provide more or the rest of it, the host’s verifications must also be similarly completed.

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I only book verified guests. I may have lost out on a few bookings, not sure, but I don’t care.

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I require only verified guests as well. I am a verified host. Just wondered how many things they provide to be verified.

One ID will certainly suffice if it is a passport. The problem I have is when it is something else, which may not be so reliable. Passports are important documents, so even in places like India they are careful about issuing them. But you should ask AIrbnb what their standards are. They should have them published somewhere, but may not.

The more the better, because it cuts down on the chances that they will be able to slip through if they keep making new accounts after every negative review.

I have instant booking and only accept verified guests. Any unverified guests that have made enquiries usually don’t book when I ask them to make sure they’re verified. It tells me something.

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I have an American friend who emigrated to New Zealand and she has a Kiwi passport. But she is living in China where she is a professor at a university. She has travelled the world, been a fellow at prestigious science institutions, won international awards in her field, blah, blah, blah… but she couldn’t get verified in part because she has no social media accounts. She gave up after hours of trying. I’m sure she’s a glaring exception though.

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@KKC
Does Airbnb require a social media account? And which qualify? Your friend couldn’t get one or does it have to be in existence for a period of time or??

I don’t think it was “social media” per se. The term I think she used was “internet presence.” But her webpage at the university wouldn’t count. She’d not on facebook, linkedin, instagram, etc.

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