Guests asking for a viewing before booking

Hi there
We have noticed recently that there are quite a few guests requesting viewings of our home before booking. We do not have instant book but have an enquiry booking request which suits us. Our good quality photographs are a true reflection of our property, so not quite sure what the motives are here?
Airbnb strongly warn hosts to not allow unbooked guests sneak peaks.
We also strongly warn hosts from doing this, mainly for security reasons. It is also a time waster if the prospective guest does not turn up for the viewing.
Anyone had similar requests?

The reason Airbnb doesn’t want showings is so they don’t miss out on their fees. Not to protect hosts.

I would consider showings for more lucrative longer-term off season bookings. It could be a time waster, but you never know.


I figured I’d give you some of the many prior takes on your question:


Just tell them that AirBnB’s rules don’t allow it.

Thieves do this to look for stuff worth stealing. I never rent to locals for the same reason, except for the New Year.

What @NordlingHouse said! DO NOT ALLOW VIEWINGS for ANY reason.


If someone is just staying a few days to a week, tell them that the photos are accurate and reviews speak for themselves. You’re likely dodging a nervous or high-maintenance guest.

For longer stays or landmark events that have a higher emotional or financial investment, it’s understandable they’d want to see the place. One host came up with a solution I think was fabulous; he had a separate “Viewing Only” listing.

He’d charge something like $30 for the viewing, scheduled between guests. Since it’s still through Airbnb the security and “off platform” issues were resolved. The moderate fee ensured he was paid for his time if they no-showed. He refunded the viewing fee if they booked; which is nice but perhaps unnecessary.


I had such a request last year from a lady from california who wanted to book me for a week and said she was an VRBO host for 15 years. She sent her sister to see my house. Her sister was a bit snotty; she looked at my house like a buyer, trying to find faults, opened everything, wanted me to unlock my linen cabinet, inquired why I keep it locked, inspected the fridge, the oven etc. Just pissed me off. I ended up telling the guest who inquired that I am not comfortable with them and look to book someplace else. i will never ever do this again.


I have no problem with people asking. Some people are just like that. It’s unusual for guests to be in the area months before their stay with me anyway.

I have no objection to them looking at the place from the outside, if what they want is to see what the place is like as regards seating outside or where the nearby restaurants are etc. but I tell them that obviously they can’t see inside as it would disturb the current guests. After all, they wouldn’t like it if they were having dinner or watching TV and I traipsed in with a potential guest in tow.

This is what I think as I’m telling them they can look from the outside. I’m not going to say this to a potential customer but my feeling is that they are calling my listing a lie and my photographs fake so they know where they can stick their questions. But I’m too nice to say that… :blush:

This is where my lack of retail experience shows. ha ha. I’m kind but almost obtusely straightforward. I got the award for “most honest negotiator” in my MBA class. That’s probably not a complement. :rofl:

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It does seem to be a trend to do a walk through before agreeing to stay, even after their booking is confirmed on the platform. I’ve also received requests of “If your place is free, can we check it out…” Ah, nope. It’s my home. The Comfort Inn is 8 miles away.

My last 3 guests (couples) had gone through the booking process (answered all questions, sent IDs, etc), been approved, arrived, left their luggage in the car and said “We need to check it out first” and then toured the house and said “We’ll take it.” All 3 of these were late arrivals and I nicely said “Well I hope so, you paid for it!” hoping they’d get the hint that they wouldn’t get a refund. All 3 left me fewer than 5 stars even though they raved about the house, location, cleanliness, pool, hospitality, and the Bengal cat.

It seems guests are getting weirder…

@alkira if the booking is for a longer period (over a week) and the listing is not occupied, I allow potential guests to visit the property and see no problem with doing so…