Guest booking for someone else

I have instant book on and last night I received a reservation saying that they have a student who wants to stay in my property for 5 nights. I replied back saying that airbnb has a policy where guests have to book in their own name and sent them a link to

This morning I received the following reply:

I am the person that makes all the arrangements for travel. I have a
of my booking…

Thank you for all your help

What do you suggest I do? The only thing I know about the student is a name, the person doing the booking has an empty profile, has only just joined, no references and only an email address and phone number that are verified. They are based in Canada and I am in the UK. Ideally I’d like to keep the booking as the money would be useful but am I putting myself in danger/a legal grey area here? Will airbnb refuse to pay out if there are any problems as I’ve accepted a different guest?

My current thinking is that I should get a photocopy of the student’s passport on arrival.

3rd party booking is against TOS so don’t do it. It is allowed for business bookings but this does not seem to be the case. You should require verification of all guests at the very least. I would decline this request!

It is instant book so I can’t really decline it (I understand that I can decline 3 bookings per year but I’d rather keep those for when I really need them not use them up for the mistakes of others).

I would contact Air and have them cancel. This is why I only allow “recommended guests” on my IB, brand new users can’t IB me.

Businesses can book for their employees, but that’s a special verification you have to go through. I have always declined requests for 3rd parties and thankfully haven’t had any IB requests for these.

But at a minimum for a 3rd party check in I’d tell the person booking that any issues will be reflected on their profile in my review, and that I need contact info for the person staying and message them directly before arrival. At check-in the guest will not be able to enter the apartment until I verify their ID and write down contact info, so obviously no self check-in.

@etmpaar, if you call Air and tell them the circumstances, they can cancel it without it affecting your ratings/numbers.

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Let Air know, they will cancel it w/o penalty. Can you require verification in the future?. I don’t like IB for this reason.

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An update on this - I decided to leave the booking as it was quite a lot of money for me, the student arrived, was very quiet and well behaved and has since booked and stayed another 8 days. A bit of a gamble on my part but I took the risk and it paid off. It’s the 4th instant booking I’ve had on behalf of someone else in the last couple of months so seems to be a common thing.


Simply add to your house rules that you do not allow third party or gift bookings. When they show up, deny entry for not following your house rules and make airbnb enforce the cancellation policy.

@etmpaar …or, continue as you’re doing and accept IB 3rd party bookings and take your chances. You obviously chose to disregard the sage advice offered by the hosts here three more times and came through unscathed.

And what have we learned today, class?

Glad it went I know on This occasion. Just to warn you third party bookings invalidate the host guarantee etc so had anything gone wrong … you’d have been out of pocket.

You need to tell the person who booked that they need to cancel and help the person who is planning to stay with you to get their own account and book with it. Airbnb will stand behind your not allowing a third party booking.

I did email the person that booked telling them that that the person staying needed to book in person but they just replied saying they had a reservation confirmation. I cannot force them to cancel. If they cancelled then they would still end up paying all of airbnb’s service charges which for a week long booking could be quite a lot of money so they wouldn’t be keen to do that. I could phone airbnb myself to get it cancelled but then I not only lose the booking but I’m also paying for the phone call. Maybe airbnb need to find a way to allow bookings on behalf of someone else (eg a button confirming whether you are the person staying)?

Yes, that’s what I was concerned about but from what I’ve been reading it’s very hard to get airbnb to stand by their host guarantee without going to the press and makng a big fuss about it so I’m not sure it’s that much help.

This is not true. If you receive a third party booking. Call BNB and they will cancel it.

Personally I would not be happy to take this risk. It’s not just about the guarantee. You would be unable to claim on your deposit (which hopefully you have in place). And if something goes wrong BNB will be unable to help you remove the guest from your property.

It sounds like you have agents who are taking a commission on your listing booking your place.

It sounds like this is a school doing bookings. I’d get in touch with them to facilitate future bookings. Sometimes there are barriers that we can’t know of. I’ve not done much verifying of guests on instant book, so far only one minor issue. Mind you, in Canada, things aren’t so fraught with fear.

The big question for me is who is going to be a worse guest, someone booking in their own name or someone who has booked via a friend or university? Letting a friend or university down and getting them a bad reputation would be worse to me then getting a bad review for myself. From hearing about other people trying to claim on the host guarantee many didn’t get anywhere until they involved the press or consumer groups. If I had contacted airbnb to cancel all of these bookings for others I would have lost 1000 USD worth of bookings in the last 2 months plus had the added cost, hassle and stress of phone calls to cancel them. That could be 6000 USD per year in lost revenue.

If one person in a university is responsible for booking accommodation for all of their students is it reasonable for them to create separate accounts for each of their students with verified id? Is the airbnb corporate scheme for booking others easy and cheap to join?

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If it is a school booking for students they just have to register as a business.

Just on a small point, Air has changed their policy so that guests who cancel DO get the service fee refunded (I think on the same scale as they get the rental fee refunded). I don’t know when this change happened.

Thanks for that info Maureen, that’s not what their own help pages say so I’m confused by that, this is what their help page says for the most flexible cancellation policy:

Flexible: Full refund 1 day prior to arrival, except fees

Cleaning fees are always refunded if the guest did not check in.
The Airbnb service fee is non-refundable.
Accommodation fees (the total nightly rate you’re charged) are refundable in certain circumstances as outlined below.
If there is a complaint from either party, notice must be given to Airbnb within 24 hours of check-in.
Airbnb will mediate when necessary, and has the final say in all disputes.
A reservation is officially cancelled when the guest clicks the cancellation button on the cancellation confirmation page, which they can find in Dashboard > Your Trips > Change or Cancel.
Cancellation policies may be superseded by the Guest Refund Policy, extenuating circumstances, or cancellations by Airbnb for any other reason permitted under the Terms of Service. Please review these exceptions.
Applicable taxes will be retained and remitted.

This is the full help page:

Maybe it’s an experiment that Air is doing? I went in as a guest and looked at many listings, the cancellation policy with each all clearly stated that everything would be refunded, including fees. In fact, I just cancelled one of my reservations and got all the money back. I think it says that a guest can only cancel a certain number a year to get the full refund, maybe it’s three.