Guest request to "See Place" before booking

I would really appreciate reading about any thoughts or recommendations that experienced hosts may have about this.

I began hosting a private room in my home last November and never thought it would be this successful, its been fun and I’ve learned a lot. However, the inquiry below in quotes seems fishy to me. First, it was sent under an account name of Scott who just joined this month, March 2020, with no reviews on file. My settings require a government ID, email and phone number. However, this inquiry was sent with just a phone number which is concern number one. How does that happen?

My second concern is that someone claiming to be a Paul, not Scott, wrote the following. “Im Paul I wanted to know if it would be possible for me to check out the place maybe later today and i would book it for the Friday until Monday” My listening details, house rules and pictures are very clear and my reviews are all excellent leaving nothing to be “checked out”. Is this a possible 3rd party booking scam with intent to case my house out?

Thanks everyone, this forum has been very helpful.

just say no, do not explain yourself.



100% on target
Follow your gut instinct on this one.


I’ve said “no” before and will continue to say no. However, don’t let first-time users scare you…just ask more questions until you are satisfied. I get 99% first-timers. And if Paul is booking for Scott just tell him that 3rd party bookings are not allowed and you’d love to have him once the profile matches the person booking.


Don’t say no. Tell him he can come see it for the cost of a one night room rental and that he can book his preview on Airbnb. LOL.

Also, the name switch can be worked out with a conversation on the platform.

Nope this type of request to an in-home host sets off a mental film reel of true crime stories.

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If you want to reply say what information are they looking for that they don’t feel is available through your listing? If not just reply and say that all the information they need to make a decision about whether they want to book is contained within your listing.


I’ve never understood what these people expect that current guests will make of us showing potential guests around whilst they are still in bed or happily eating their breakfast. So I tell them that. They are welcome to look from the outside and I’ll go and talk to them if I’m available but obviously I can’t show them inside the accommodation.

Have you asked ‘Scott’ why he signs himself as Paul? It could be an unwitting third party booking (i.e. the guest doesn’t realise that some hosts object) or it may be that his legal name on his ID is Scott Paul Surname, his given name at birth, but he’s always used Paul. I know plenty of people who do that so it is possible.


Had one just like this our last guest. The notice came through that John instant booked, and he signed his intro message “Paul”. Name was John Paul Jones. Obviously not the real name.:wink:

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If something were to happen to guest while “checking out” the STR you are not covered. I tell guests that the pictures represent the STR and is very descriptive. If they say that they are sensitive to smells, mold, etc. tell them that this is not the place for them.

Also, I’m usually booked so the opportunity to view the place is very limited.

Never hold a booking for a guest either. While you are waiting for this guy to look at the place, it could get booked.

I have been doing this for 4 years and only once did I say yes because it was during my slow season and the person had a mold allergy.

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I think that this will vary from host to host depending on what their insurance policy stipulates?

Yes to both questions. Air tells hosts that they should NOT, for their own safety, allow guests to view properties before booking. They tell guests “We encourage all guests to complete their bookings through our website before meeting in person to best ensure their safety and privacy.” Do a search for “visit before” in Air help to find both host and guest pages on this.

I would never allow any potential guest to view before booking. I’d have every junky in town casing my place.

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FYI, INQUIRES can be sent even if they don’t fit your criteria (gov’t ID, email, phone #). However, they cannot REQUEST TO BOOK or INSTANT BOOK until they have provided those details…

@bigappledude Incorrect. Any guest can send a Request to Book. They don’t need to have any verified ID on file, or email, or anything. They do need to have a profile photo if the host has checked that (it’s the only requirement a Request to Book host who doesn’t use IB can check) It’s then up to the host to tell the guest that they won’t accept a booking from them unless they add this info to their profile.

@muddy, I can only tell you about how Instant Book works, which I am on.

A Guest CANNOT send me a REQUEST TO BOOK until they have the three items I checked; Gov’t ID, email address, and telephone number. This I know for certain.

I cannot say how it works if you are not on IB.

First—if something feels off then decline & move on. Almost every time I’ve gone against that uncertain feeling, I should’ve paid attention. Now I really try to.

2nd—my rental is different from the OPs so I allow some previews.

It is a full condo rental. Getting a request to view my condo before renting it for 30-90 days next year off-season is not uncommon. As long as it doesn’t interfere with an existing booking I allow it.

Before folks get rowdy about LTRs, I get a separate LTR agreement. My LTRs are either retirees looking for retirement real estate or snowbirds wanting to play golf while their homes are covered with snow.

So why would they send a Request to Book instead of IBing? My understanding is guests have to send a request for a place which is on IB if they don’t meet the criteria the host has set.

I also have one additional criteria checked, In order for a guest to IB, they must have “Recommendation from other hosts”. A guest brand new to Airbnb, or, a guest that has no reviews, or, a guest that has a negative review in their profile, MUST send a Request To Book.

I get at least 10 of these every year.

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My understanding (perhaps misunderstanding) came from reading many many host posts on various forums where IB hosts asked how guests were able to send a Booking Request, when they had no verified ID- nothing more than a phone number. And the answer from other IB hosts was always that anyone can send a request, no matter what criteria you have checked for IB. Is it possible that you’ve just happened never to have gotten a request from anyone who didn’t have verified ID, and only didn’t qualify because of the recommendation requirement? But that other hosts might? I’ve certainly read that they have.

I just had a similar inquiry. “Heathcliff” is really Phil, with one prior review. He wants his pal “Chris” to stay for 3 months at my place.

“Chris” is having great difficulty with this and can’t load in anything but a phone number. He also claims to have multiple back injuries that sound quite serious. Way out of my league.

After suggesting everything from CS to YouTube, he doesn’t get it. This savvy host concludes after 48 hours of trying that this won’t work.