Do you pre-screen guests?

I’m sure I read a thread on here where someone asked potential guests some questions before s/he considered them.

Now that airbnb won’t show you guest reviews unless you switch on instant book (which in my mind is just evil!) and since we are pretty fully booked, I would like to try and choose guests who aren’t going to be a complete pain. I have some lovely guests (they tend to be the younger ones tbh) and would love to just have them.

Who pre-screens? And what questions do you ask?

If they provide a full name, I google them and look at their social media. If I see the person likes to party, I will declined the reservation. I don’t allow parties or events.

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You can’t see reviews?

We won’t be able to see Reviews? Really? OM, that is Not Good… Our Homes are huge expenses and how are people to protect themselves from all kind of deviant folks…

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I have instant book so can’t see what you see. I don’t understand this? I don’t believe there has been any change.

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Are you sure you can’t see reviews? I was under the impression you just couldn’t see their star ratings unless you were IB.


I can still click on their profile and see reviews.

Screening: I always ask new Airbnb users to confirm they have read the listing. I look for red flags (asking for discounts, weird requests, assuming–rather than asking for–early check-in). If their tone is in any way unfriendly or unhelpful, I ask more questions after that. Oftentimes they reply to the auto-message with the time of arrival and no other info. I always follow up with those guests – “what brings you to our area?” My main thing is to ensure they understand we live on the property and have dogs.

If they are not new and they have reviews, I also look at the reviews they leave for past hosts.

I am much happier to decline a booking than put up with a bad guest, so yes, I do screen.

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I may be mistaken, but I tried to look at someone’s profile - this is before they book and are just requesting to book - and there was a message saying: you can’t access their reviews (about them) unless you turn on IB. I might ring airbnb and ask them about this. Maybe they’re just trialling this in the UK?

Good idea annsavannah about looking at the reviews they leave past hosts.

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They absolutely do test things on hosts and don’t tell us. I don’t know about this particular tweak but I can assure you they are going to do everything they can to push hosts to adopt instant booking, no photos beforehand and flexible cancellation policies.

If you can’t see the reviews BEFORE they book - that totally obviates the point of reviews! The point is for safety. Since we’re hosting strangers, the review system was setup so we could get at least some glimpse into each guest’s character - before inviting them to stay in our homes. That glimpse comes from the reviews of other hosts.

What if a terrible guest has a review saying they were a terrible guest who broke and stole things? Future hosts are supposed to be able to see that BEFORE they accept a reservation from this person. It protects the hosts. (And vice versa for guests too, with host reviews). But if the host can’t see this until after they accept the reservation - then there is no protection at all! They may as well throw out the whole review system.

When you guys see something like this you need to let your voice be heard by Airbnb in the form of a very disgruntled complaint. If they are testing it out on hosts in one city and get a lot of negative feedback, they’ll drop it. But if they don’t get negative feedback, they’ll roll it out to the world.


Welcome to the hotel model that Airbnb is evolving into.

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Yes! You’re absolutely right. But guess what? We aren’t hotels!

But there is no doubt that’s what Airbnb is working toward moving to. When they started their new Airbnb Plus and all those new things last year - it was obvious they want to move to something more like a hotel.

They better hope all their hosts don’t drop off before they’re able to get there.


The sort of questions you need to ask will depend on the type of listing you have.

I ask:

  1. Why they chose my place
  2. Who is in their party
  3. Plans for their stay
  4. If they haven’t completed their profile to tell me a little about themselves.
  5. To acknowledge my location.

Oh, they’d probably like to, but only for guests, not hosts. Not very many businesses have reviews of the customer.

I cancelled on a woman who had numerous bad reviews and yet kept finding hosts to host her.

I don’t know. It seems that for everything they drop or delay there are two they implement anyway.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t protest if they object but it seems to me that Airbnb has been clear in their future direction and intent.

They already have more hosts than they need.

@KKC Not very many businesses are run by having customers live in their homes with them either…


Your responses, @KKC are true and depressing.

That’s true but I don’t think it matters to Airbnb. I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer I’m just trying to prepare hosts for what I think is coming. Instant book, no pre-booking photos, and flexible cancellation policies. And even if they don’t require it they will rank the hosts who have policies that conform to their wishes higher. Eventually hosts who can’t or won’t drop off the platform.

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Another thing that you can do to screen guests is simply to pay attention to the way that they’re communicating. If your guest is avoiding answering certain questions, this is usually a sign of bad things to come. The tone is also crucial. Politeness is key!


Hi @iGMS

Are you talking from personal experience of being a host as well as working for AirGMS?

I’m not sure I agree many who contact me don’t have English as a first language and therefore won’t necessarily come across well in written English, but have been delightful guests.

It’s from both personal experience and working for AirGMS. Your comment is 100% correct. The reality is that at times second-language speakers might come across as rude. Though, if it’s clear to you that English is in fact the guest’s first language and the guest’s tone of communication is not that great, it could be a warning sign. At the end of the day when you’re screening guests, you should look at a combination of factors. For instance, a guest might come across as friendly, yet doesn’t want to communicate via the Airbnb platform which could also be a warning sign.