Friends / Family Guests

Hi everyone!

I often have friends and family stay in my guest room that I have on Airbnb. Of course, I don’t charge them to stay, but I still need to deal with blocking the dates my calendar on Airbnb, contact our housekeeping service, providing wifi information, letting them know where to leave the keys, restaurant recommendations, and all of the tasks that we do to prepare for our next guests.

I know these tasks are minor, but as most of you know, details like these end up taking time. Does anyone use any automated tools to handle these types of bookings for friends and family? Thanks!


Your house manual (you do have a house manual, don’t you?) should have all the info any guests need to know about house rules, wifi codes, restaurants, local attractions, where to leave keys, etc.

Setup is the same as for paying guests – and is done exactly the same way – cleaning, restocking wine/chocolate/half & half/coffee/tea. Our place is always ready for the next guest even if it’s days or weeks between visitors.

The only other thing I have to do is block the dates. I don’t see how any of that could be automated…


Honestly, no - you have to manage this yourself. Just block out the dates that family/friends want to stay. It’s not hard to do.
It’s nice that you allow your place to be used so freely. Me - I need the money! I’m tired of people saying “can we stay, only if you’re not booked of course”. They don’t get the fact that I’m only “not booked” if I actually block the dates.

If you offer your place for free…well, the work comes with that.


Hi Ken, I hear you. A good amount of info is on the house manual. I can come up with some things that need to passed along to the guest prior to arrival and it’d be nice if that task were automated, but I get your point.

I think I’ve figured out a way to automatically block the dates. I’ll see what I can do. Thanks for your feedback!

Hi Magwitch, I agree with you. I’d much rather have paying guests stay too! Thanks for your feedback.

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Most of the time I require family and friends to book through Air and send them a special offer of a minimum of $100. My work is the same whether the room is occupied by family or real Air guests. Actually more with family. The only difference is that I lose money on their visits and they gain! They are all great about buying food and beverages and taking me out to eat so it’s really not a big deal. I started doing it this way when I noticed a substantial drop in both my listing placement and views after blocking my calendar for personal reasons.


My brother just visited for 5 days. Since he let me stay for free at his Air room at his home in Mexico, of course he got a deal here. I asked him to send a query for his dates and then made him a special offer for the Air minimum of $10 per night. The room he was in is my most expensive and had the fewest reviews, including several from Kiwis who gave me 4 stars because they are used to paying $30 per night in NZ and have no clue how expensive it is to own and operate a house in Alaska, so I was happy to get a 5 star review for the room.

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It’s a difficult one! My home has been a meeting place for various factions of my dysfunctional family for many years. But I can’t do that any more. I really need the income from the rentals and cannot accommodate family unless they commit and book ahead. I don’t charge them but it’s a source of tension - some of them just don’t get it. They don’t understand that it’s a business and that if they stay for a weekend it costs me $xxx. Cooking a meal and buying a bottle of wine really doesn’t cover it.


The only thing that’s different is blocking the dates. The rest of the things you are already doing for regular guests and they still have to be done for friends and family. On top of that, you said it’s your guest room, so you are an on-site host, right?

I’ve noticed the same and it’s been commented on and analyzed here. Things do seem to slow down when you have blocked days.

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Do blocked dates show up as blocked or just booked on our listings? I blocked a week or so when I went on vacation recently & my bookings have really gone down.

Hi Brian, I’m often on the road, so I’m not always there to handle some of the tasks.

Show to whom? Airbnb knows and you know which are which. To a guest looking at your calendar, they are the same.

Many of us have noticed that. The busier you are the busier you will be. Every time I’ve blocked dates for remodeling, repair, my own travel, friends or cash clients staying it’s slowed my business.

Thanks for getting back to me. So if blocked days look like booked days to guests then we must look busy, right? Unless Airbnb does something?

Any relatives more distant than my parents and my kids pay, with a friends and family discount. I explain in accountant-ese that I must do this in order to preserve my expense deductibility on my tax filings.


Blocked days don’t look busy to Airbnb, they look like you aren’t hosting those days.


Before Air, my relatives viewed staying at my home as a free for all. Now (sometimes) read the rules, and it has made a difference in terms of cleanliness and attitude!

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During my vacation in Europe, we invited pretty much all of my wife’s family/friends to come stay at our listing and I expect one or two will take us up on it over the next year. We originally bought the place primarily for my in-laws but also for other friends/family to stay. We only started renting it when it was clear my in-laws would not return, so the money isn’t a primary concern.

We asked everyone to let us know 3 months ahead of time to guarantee the dates, but what is the best way to deal with reserving those dates? I can block days which may lower my listing’s search ranking. Alternatively, I can have the friends/family send an inquiry and then respond with a special offer for the minimum rate of $10/night, which should help the search ranking. Would that be worth it? I really don’t want friends and family to actually pay anything for their stay. I’m also concerned that low special offer pricing may negatively impact Airbnb’s pricing algorithm for the area.

If it’s for more than just a few days I’d go with that option. However, you don’t have to do it for the full period. Careful positioning of the booked days, along with an increased minimum stay should be fine, e.g. book out the weekends and make mid week days seven nights minimum.

We’re booked solid until September, and only a couple of those bookings are Airbnb. Keep getting the naggy “searches are up for this date or the other” messages, suggesting we unblock dates. Dates that are actually bookings, just not on Airbnb.

I know for a fact this has affected our positioning within the search rankings.

When doing a dateless search one apartment was always page one and the other page two. This has always been the case since not long after opening the doors, until we started getting BDC and direct bookings.

Now its page three and four/five.

Fortunately, we have free car parking and when that filter is applied we go back to page one and two.

We’re planning a trip in January (our dead month) and currently the dates are blocked. When I get the time I intend to get one of our daughters to book a couple of weekends then I’ll increase the minimum stays.


I come from a long and noble line of drunks and scalliwags. Ordinarily they did whatever they pleased. I can’t say wby, but they tend to mind their manners if I book them through Air. Also, they are often here on business. Which means full price. So