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First enquiry - what should I say?

First, let me apologise for this babysitting request, but this user https://www.airbnb.co.in/z/q/192200624 just wrote to me as follows:

Hello, is your room available from tomorrow for 5 to 6 nights. I need your room with a European friend of mine.

That’s the message in total. I thought of writing:


Hi Baba,

Who will be booking the room? And who will be staying in it? And could you tell me
more about your friend? And when will whoever it is be checking in? More details,


Actually, this person does not seem to have any actual verified id (just email + Facebook), so maybe that’s a good reason in itself for declining? And, while I’m thinking about it, is there a good way to say up front on the site that I require verified ID? I don’t have a statement about that yet.

Also, presumably the person who is planning to stay would need to do the booking, right?

The listing says:

Check in 20/4/2016
Check out 25/4/2016
Guests 1

Thanks in advance, everyone.

After mulling this over a little bit, I wrote as follows:


It isn’t clear from your query, but it sounds like you are trying to make a booking on behalf of someone else. If you are requesting a booking for someone else, please ask that person to make a booking request directly. See https://www.airbnb.co.in/help/article/427/can-i-book-on-behalf-of-a-friend-or-family-member

If I am misunderstanding your request, please clarify. Thanks.

Sincerely, Faheem Mitha

I haven’t formally declined the request. Should I do that?

I would prefer to sound less suspicious :slight_smile:

I’d write something like ‘Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, the accommodation is available for the date you required. Could you let me know a little bit about yourselves and your travel plans? Please note that check in is at 4pm - I hope this is convenient for you. Please let me have a few details so that I can pre-approve you’.

Mind you, that’s just my way of doing things :slightly_smiling:

I don’t think he is booking for another people - I suspect that he just didn’t check the correct number of guests? I’ve had that happen before.


You should ask the guests true name and the ID, if not they can destroy your room by breaking the bath, burn the house, change your lock, so that they steal your things or go to check if you are rich or not, if yes they will steal your things later.

@faheem - do you have ‘accept only verified guests’ checked?

Hi @jaquo,

I didn’t. I do now. Thanks for the tip. But what does this setting mean, exactly?

The Airbnb page, namely https://www.airbnb.co.in/help/article/272/can-i-require-guests-to-be-verified-before-booking, is less than clear how this works.

Does that mean they can’t make a booking request if they aren’t verified first, but can still contact me? I’m hazy on the difference between a booking and an enquiry.

I think (others please correct me if I’m wrong) that they can inquire about your place but can’t complete their booking until they are verified. (I think they have a certain time window in which to do it).

1 Like

Faheem what it means is that the guest must sumit a photo id like a driver license or passport. Airbnb keeps it on file for that user. What it means for me is that if something happens there is a record of the user’s personal identification.

You will a lot of newbies that are not familiar and I always put on my listing I only accept verified id guests and link them to how to do it.

Ask as many questions as you like to make sure if it is for someone else then your response was fine or if it is for two guests.

1 Like

Hi @jaquo,

I’m new at this, so a little paranoia is understandable. And the poster had basically no information on his page, and wrote one sentence, so it wasn’t exactly reassuring. But maybe this is not uncommon? I don’t have any relevant experience.

Well, I’d prefer a clarification of who exactly the guests are going to be first.

Does it default to 1? That’s possible, but people really should check these things. And if he had bothered to write a proper message, it would have been clear, regardless.

I guess there are different ways of approaching these things. I’ll have to figure it out as I go along. Thanks for the feedback, jaquo.

Hi @Carmen,

Ok. I’ll add that to my listing now. Where do you put it? Oh, and is https://www.airbnb.co.in/help/article/272/can-i-require-guests-to-be-verified-before-booking a suitable link? Or maybe https://www.airbnb.co.in/verify is better?

I’ve added

I accept only guests who have verified id. See https://www.airbnb.co.in/help/article/272/can-i-require-guests-to-be-verified-before-booking and https://www.airbnb.co.in/verify.

to the “Other Things to Note” section.

Hi @jaquo,

A belated followup.

He’s a local - that’s actually the only information on his page. His location is given as Mumbai, and the locations he mentions are all in South Mumbai, and actually really close to us. Why would he be wanting to stay in someone else’s place in his own city? That seems… odd.

Fine, I’m paranoid. Nobody’s perfect.

Don’t worry - this is your first time so you’re bound to be apprehensive :slightly_smiling:

I know that there are some hosts who don’t like to have guests who are local but I’m fine with it as long as there’s a good reason. We have stayed in a local Airbnb (our property was being painted) and have also stayed in local hotels. I’ve also had people here whose local homes have been under repair or renovation.

1 Like

Is it Ok to ask the reason? :slightly_smiling:
I don’t want to come across as overly nosy. And yes, I’d prefer not to have locals, on balance.

You’re the boss :slightly_smiling:
Yes, it’s fine to ask questions, especially in your case as they are going to be in your home, rather than a separate rental. I always try to ask as nicely as possible.

I don’t ask for any details about the other guest. (Our rental sleeps two and there are almost always two guests). If I remember correctly, the person who books is responsible for everyone who stays in an Airbnb that they book. As long as I know that Airbnb has that person’s verified ID then I’m OK with that.

Great. Thank you for the clarifications…

Hmm, I’d find it hard not to ask.

I’ll study to improve. :slightly_smiling:

@faheem - every host has their own style and I’m just telling you mine :slightly_smiling:

I see every inquiry or booking as a marketing opportunity for the future so I always try to be as polite as possible. At least the guest can then think ‘OK, this place isn’t a good fit more me but when Aunty Mary is looking for a place three months down the line, it might be right for her’. (As a daft example!)

Hotels, restaurants and a lot of other businesses call their clients ‘guests’ but at the end of the day, they are customers. Even if they don’t stay with us they might recommend us or stay at a later date.

Jusy my take on the situation :wink:

Yes, and you’ve been very kind and helpful. Thank you for your patience.

I do have a few more questions, in case you or anyone else feels like answering.

  1. I did not hear back from the person who made the enquiry. What further do I need to do, if anything? I just sent him one message, which he did not reply to. He made the original enquiry at 10.30 pm Indian Standard Time, so it will expire tonight at 10.30 pm IST. Should I decline the request before then, or just do nothing? As I write, it is coming up to 5 pm the following day here.

  2. Is it normal or common to have people request bookings at such short notice? In this case, 10.30 pm for the following day? I was quite surprised. Maybe some existing plans fell through, but in that case, it would have been good for him to mention that, imo.

  3. Which leads me to the next question. Is it normal or common for people to make such abbreviated booking requests? This request was 22 words in total. Personally, I’d write a rather longer message. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think people find extremely short messages reassuring.

  4. My gut feeling is that renting to local people may be problematic. What do others think? This could be a separate topic.

This is correct. It will be a bit frustrating while you wait because it’s not always clear that’s what you’re waiting for. Your calendar will still look available, so if you ‘pre-approve’ again out of panic you’ll get a message that will say ‘you can’t preapprove because you’re already booked’ - but you’re not, you’re waiting for them to verify their ID.

Has always worked out, though, just a bit puzzling until you understand.

My first booking was a bit like this, too. The ‘photo’ was a picture of pineapple with a glasses. He was a young kid from France.

It all worked out ok.

I’m like you, Faheem - when I joined airbnb I put a few photos and a lot of info about my family - especially since people may be reluctant to rent to a family. I was stunned to see profiles with nothing.

But it doesn’t mean they won’t be great guests - they just have a different style than you and I.

But absolutely, make sure that the guest booking IS the guests staying. Also verify the number of people.

Maybe it is a local guy needing a place for a friend from Europe?

Does he have a local phone number and you can call him?

Once you respond with questions you have done your part. They sometimes won’t write back. You’ll never know what happened. Possibly he sent a request to several hosts and grabbed the first one to write back - or something - who knows.

Just respond with a light sense of humor. I always start by saying “thank you so much for asking about our room! We’d love to have you and your family stay with us in October” (or whatever).

In your case “thanks so much…Love to have you…I just have a few questions so I can make sure we are a good fit as you will be sharing my home…”

Hang in there! Congratulations and let us know how it goes!!

And don’t worry about asking. My first booking request I immediately called my muse, my first airbnb host, and asked her what I should do! I didn’t have this forum then.

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