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I am a female host and I had a potential male guest contact me to ask if he could book some particular dates to stay at my apartment (I lease out my spare bedroom). I messaged him mentioning that the dates were available, however, he did not book in quick enough and these dates were then taken by someone else. He then made a booking for different dates and then asked me if I would meet him for coffee before his booking because he is shy. I felt a bit uncomfortable and felt this was an odd request but I figured maybe I could just meet him during the day and bring along a male friend of mine. After speaking to a few friends I changed my mind and decided against this idea as it was making me feel uncomfortable. I then called Airbnb and discussed the situation and asked that they cancel the booking without any penalties to my rating. They transferred me to a manager and she agreed that she would cancel the booking without penalties but asked that I would message the guest first and make up a reason as to why I can no longer proceed with the booking so that I “don’t anger him”. I thought this was quite odd but went along with it, I told the guest that I had a family member who was unwell and I needed to fly out to see them during this time period. The guest immediately responded with empathy and wished me and my family well - but then mentioned that he would book my place again on my return. He also sent me a text mentioning that he had saved my number and mentioned he was sorry to hear about the circumstance with my family member being unwell. I now feel very uncomfortable that this individual has my full name, address and mobile number and I feel Airbnb wasn’t very tactful in their approach at dealing with this issue. I also felt as though it was clear that to them their first priority was the guest even if it meant my comfort and safety was put at risk.
How should we as hosts deal with these situations? Also, did Airbnb handle this in the right manner?
Airbnb says if we feel uncomfortable with a guest we can cancel a booking.
Why would someone who is shy ask to meet for coffee in advance of staying with someone. This is definitely a red flag - I can understand why you wanted to cancel.
Did this guest have a photo on his profile and a completed profile? Did they have previous reviews? Did they tell you why they chose your place and plans for their stay? Did they have verified ID. These are always things I check off before I have anyone stay in my home. If you have Instant Book turned on, I would remove this, so you review guests, if necessary asking for additional information, before deciding if there is a good fit.
It is unbelievable that Airbnb asked you to make an excuse to the guest, this was a ludicrous suggestion as it has now put you in an even more difficult situation.
Why on earth would this guest change his travel arrangement so he can stay with you, it all sounds so strange.
I always ask Airbnb to put any advice in writing and confirm any actions they are taking or asking me to talk. Did they do this for you?
I would call them back and explain that their advice has put you in an even more difficult position as now the guest is saying he will change his travel plans so he can stay with you. They need to reach out to him and sort this out.
In your situation, I would tell him through the Airbnb messaging system that you are not comfortable with him staying with you and that it would be better if he found another host to stay with. Confirm that you number was only shared with him for business reasons associated with his booking accommodation through Airbnb and that he shouldn’t be using it to contact you or saving it for personal use.
This fellow must be local or nearby to have that kind of flexibility. You also have his full name and number and I’d be googling to try to find out more about him. He might be harmless but hoping to “make a friend.” But knowledge is power. If he contacts you again just decline and inform airbnb.
Super bad advice from Air to lie. Sometimes you really have to watch these CSRs. I wouldn’t have followed that bad advice. Are you on IB? If not, then it’s easy enough to just turn down this guest every time he attempts to book.
I know what you mean about now they have your contact info after a cancellation. I had a guest book here for next week and decide I was too far from everything, then cancel, even though he had never been to this island before, so he really didn’t know what he was talking about. He demanded I return all his money and the Air fees too, and we got into a bit of as scuffle because he began to accuse me of ripping him off (I’m on strict). I agreed to give some money back minus a cancellation fee, but I am still concerned because he’s got all my contact info. I didn’t want him coming around here trying to get more of his money back.
I agree with K9. Google the hell out of his name and try to find out if he local, etc.
If he is local, is there any chance you think he already knows something about your personal life? If he doesn’t them I would tell hiim that after speaking with your boyfriend, your boyfriend has become very uncomfortable and suspicious of the guest’s request to have you meet him for coffee. And therefore, you and your boyfriend have decided that he is better off renting another place.
You did the right thing. Add to your profile a partner who is a policeman or in the army, his hobbies is martial arts and so is yours, really weird request. There is no way that you would meet a guest beforehand.
This would make me feel very uncomfortable. I am also a female host, so I try to be very selective about who I accept. I have seen listings which state that they only take women or only take women and couples. I suppose it would be acceptable to respond the next time by saying that you are now only accepting women or couples, however you feel comfortable wording it. I would definitely not allow this person to book or meet him for coffee. It all sounds very creepy indeed!
I also rent out my spare room in my small flat. I had this type of problem too but solved it by changing my bio to mention ‘my fiancé and I like to…’ and I added a profile photo showing me with my ‘fiancé’ where a friend of mine posed with me.
The only creepiness I’ve had since then were two separate guys who both slept with the bedroom door open, something I suspected could be a hint-hint to me that it was ok to visit them in the night. Maybe they didn’t mean that, but I felt they were somehow trying to blur boundaries between mine and their space in the flat. With the second one I just closed his door while he was in bed and he kept it closed himself the following night. Both were middle eastern, and as much as I don’t mind having men stay in my flat with me I know that these guys’ particular culture would never allow a man to share a flat with a non-family single woman, so I felt a bit ‘used’. One of them I only talked to very briefly in the hallway. After he left I got a Facebook request from him that I declined. Months later I discovered that he was following me on Facebook instead so I blocked him. I don’t know… it might all have been innocent but eh…
In the next episode of my Air hosting tales I’ll give you all the details about the guest who shat ON the toilet…
Exactly my thoughts also Helsi - a shy person would not ask to meet coffee before a booking.
He had several photos on his profile, like over 10 and he was a bit of a poser lol
He had no previous reviews and he said he was looking for permanent accommodation here so in the mean time he needed somewhere to stay until he found a place. I have since have changed my settings for instant book to only accept those who have reviews.
Thanks for the advice about getting things in writing from Airbnb I will do that from now on for sure. They did send me an email confirming that they would cancel the booking without penalty once I message him, but the email did not mention that I was to make up an excuse.
I have since not made any response to his messages and I’m assuming he has taken the hint and left it at that as I haven’t heard from him. In the case this changes I will be sure to make it clear that I am not comfortable and I wish for him to not engage with me any further.
I was on instant book and pretty much anyone could make a booking, I have since changed the settings so that only those with reviews may instant book. If I have any further troubles under these settings I will probably just turn off instant booking all together, which is sad because it will probably affect my booking frequency. It’s unfortunate that some people ruin a good thing because of situations like this!
That guest of yours sounds like a nightmare, who does he think he is trying to get you to refund his airfares for a decision he made all on his own! I swear the nerve of some people and their feelings of entitlement are just beyond me!
So true. I could tell by her tone the manager herself felt stupid and unsure of even suggesting it and like she was not confident that she was going to get a good response to such a ludicrous idea lol but I didn’t want to make waves because unfortunately I rely on this to pay my rent and they have all the power
I might end up doing that in the case I get anymore creeps. It’s unfortunate because everyone so far has made me feel really comfortable including the men and only accepting women and couples would affect my booking frequency I assume. However safety does come first!
No I meant the Airbnb fees, lol! In fact, there’s a message in my mailbox this morning from AirBnB customer service trying to get me to refund him early, after I declined his request yesterday. He’s still trying to harass me for a refund!
Yuck. I had a male guest book from australia to canada and suddenly needed to “chat and get to know eachother” before his arrival. I kept avoiding his calls and emails…Once here, he followed me around my house. Invited me to dinner and creeped me out. When i mentioned my partner who lived close by, he got visibly confused and upset…it was a terrible week but unless the guest does something obvious, being a creep doesnt seem to be a reason to cancel. Ive asked my female guests about their experiences too and it goes both ways…they have had weird or creepy hosts…i do like the idea of a photo with a male friend!! Im doing that…
And maybe have some photos of you and your “husband” in your place. And if necessary do some fake phone calls to your “husband”. Maybe even a wedding ring. Some of “his” underwear drying in the garden?
@eyeborg This is really a great idea. In case of suspecting homophobia me and my hubby could even invent some imaginary wives ! Yes, perfect idea !