This forum is dedicated to connecting hosts with other hosts. Sign up to get the latest updates and news just for AirBnb hosts! Note that we are not affiliated with Airbnb - we are just passionate hosts!
Normally this wouldn’t raise any huge red flags, but a little back story…
Guests originally found our listing on VRBO and I told them they needed to get their ID verified. That went back and forth for a day and a half, cancelling and trying, multiple calls to customer service, and then a second booker (the woman’s son) also trying. He left off with “you can cancel us after we book if it doesn’t show up”. I insisted it should show up before I accept and therefor cannot accept their booking unless that takes place. I finally said ‘I’m afraid this isn’t meant to be and I’ve honestly considered taking our listing off this platform because of lack of customer support and I fear this was the straw that broke the camel’s back’. I declined their stay and hid out listing.
Queue a third person associated to the previous two finding us on AirBNB - which I was honestly flattered by; she had already had her ID verified so I quickly accepted and sent my usual ‘We look forward to hosting you, here are a few things that often get overlooked…if you think any of these things will put a wrench in your plans we invite you to take advantage of AirBNBs 48 hour penalty free cancellation policy’. Pretty quickly after the guest messaged that she’d like to speak on the phone and provided her phone number.
What’s rubbing me the wrong way is that they were VERY persistent in booking our home, without much of an explanation or even a “we just love your home so much and can see ourselves relaxing by your pool”. We also live in an area where there are a lot of weddings and other events (we do not allow events or even visitors), and they already admitted they’re coming into town for a wedding.
Anyway, I responded, saying I prefer to keep communication on the AirBNB platform for both of our protection, and also asked what it was regarding? Thinking if they responded with “We want to have an event” or “We want to have visitors” I could at least qualify both, ask further questions, etc.
Maybe it’s the skeptic in me, but if I end up having to cancel on this person I want AirBNB to see what was said. Anywho - it’s now been 14 hours and they have not responded.
I’m afraid that I’ve never used VRBO so I don’t understand that part of it but I gather than group that was having problems booking your place on their platform then tried to book via Airbnb?
I don’t think I’d have a problem with hosting these guests, going on the information given above. And like you, I don’t allow events or weddings but I’ve had plenty of people staying here who have been attending weddings and I can’t see a problem with that.
I’ve often had people who have wanted to have a phone call but I’ve simply declined. I’ll only speak on the phone to guests on arrival day. This is in case of emergencies en route.
Maybe I’m misunderstanding but I don’t see a problem here.
Thanks, appreciate your thoughts as always If I hear back from them soon with further information I won’t see a problem, but it does seem strange that they went silent after I asked what they wanted to talk about. That’s kind of where I’m stuck (and they’re on the same time zone as me where it’s currently 9:30am – plenty of time to have responded).
We do not, mostly for liability reasons. We also host remotely (but do have a local part-time property manager) and our house is far from neighbors so we’d have a hard time knowing how many visitors there actually were. I’m just worried about people turning “visitors” into a pool party, which our small house just isn’t set up for.
To add clarity here in case anyone is curious, VRBO has a[n unknown] process where after a guest enters personal info (name, birthday, address) they somehow verify the person. I definitely prefer AirBNBs process of uploading and reviewing government IDs.
Regardless, their customer service was terrible - couldn’t help me or the guest and for something as important as “ID verification” this was enough for me to leave the platform. That and I’ve only ever gotten 3 bookings (between two listings) within the last few years
So the Airbnb booking is by a third party? Is that guest actually going to be coming to stay?
I don’t know if I have red flags. Even a detailed exposition of the issue probably wouldn’t be enough. I probably would have permitted a phone call because I’d be dying to get more info. And then I would follow up on the platform with “the purpose of this message is to enter a record of our phone call regarding this stay.” And if there was anything hinky or anything they disputed in your record they would have plenty of time to correct it.
If someone is typing on a phone or has multiple questions they want answers to so they can ask a follow up question then a phone call is the way to go.
Just communicate clearly with guests. I see a lot of hosts who have no problem communicating here but then don’t know how to communicate with the guest!
“Dear guest, given the issues with getting this booking done I have some concerns. I need to reiterate that no events are allowed at my home and the pool is off limits. Blah de blah… If I don’t get these concerns cleared up by [date] I will have to cancel your reservation for my own peace of mind. Thank you for your understanding.”
I think you are right to ask them to keep communications on the platform @MelissaMH
What I tend to do is send them a link to my guest-book in these situations, ask them to read through the information there (it also covers public transport, attractions, local amenities, as well as house related stuff) and say if they have any additional questions relating to my listing, not covered in my guide book, to contact me via the platform and I will be happy to see if I can help.
I also link them to the local tourist board, airport and public transport websites for non listing related inquiries.
I like these ideas! I guess what’s weird to me in my situation is instead of being like “we have some questions about wineries, can we talk on the phone” it was just “Would you have a second to jump on a call heres my number”. And when I said “I want to keep communication here, what is it about?” they went silent. If it was a harmless topic, I would think they would say so. But maybe I’m reading into it too much ;).
I should also mention this is for a stay that’s for the 4th of July weekend, so I can’t imagine anyone needing local winery or restaurant recommendations just yet…
I’ve been surprised and dismayed at how long it takes people to reply at times, especially when I’m a guest (but that’s a different thread). One known problem is that people don’t have the notifications enabled even if they use the app. And the app often has a big lag.
Perhaps since this isn’t until July there’s no rush. Also, if it’s in the first 48 hours of penalty free cancelation I might not invest much time in them until it’s truly a confirmed reservation.
Definitely curious… Since when? I make the guests send me a copy of their ID on VRBO. I was told when I created the account (c. March 2019) that they did no ID verification and it’s on me to get ID from the guest (which I prefer). So until they smack my hand and tell me to stop…
Well what I learned was that it’s not a verification of their Government ID vs. them as a person. They instead try to verify that the person provided enough information to prove they are a real person (by a database check? I dunno). But after learning all that I quickly removed our listing. I suppose I could have collected IDs, but honestly I was spending more time managing two calendar (ABB and VRBO) when it resulted in a very very low booking number. It’s easier for me to just focus on one platform.
Update: crisis averted, the guest cancelled without any further communication. Thanks to this group for the idea of sending a booking confirmation message that includes hot topics that often get overlooked on our listing (we charge for spa/pool heating, we don’t allow events or visitors, the number of guests must match the booking, etc.) and advise they cancel within 48 hours to get 100% of their money back if any of those things don’t jive. So, I guess that’s what they did? haha. Anyway, thanks as always for everyone’s ideas and input