Guests with no reviews

Hi all, I have been renting out my lake house (whole house) for almost a year. I have listed on AirBnb and VRBO and have had an overall good experience. (On AirBnB I have had 18 five star reviews and 1 One star review (don’t ask-lol). Most guest I have accepted had positive reviews from other host but I did have a few with no reviews who were fine until one guest (actually from VRBO). I communicated with that guest and she seemed fine. It was for her, her husband, two children and a “small Dog”. I have no contact check in, but do have a disclosed Ring camera showing the drive way and front of the house. The guest arrived with a large muscular pit bull; within six hours of their arrival, I saw the police arrive at the house and I have a full video tape of the encounter. The dog was allowed to roam and entered one of my neighbors yards. The guest then got into a verbal confrontation with the neighbor and threatened him (apparently saying he would be back with a gun). I will not go into all the details, but I will say that the police were called by neighbors three times in less than 18 hours, when I was able to get the guest to leave. My neighbors were upset with me, and asked, how I vetted my guest. Since then, I have, amount other things refused guest who have no reviews/ recommendations. I have also stooped using VRBO because they provide far less information in guest reviews.

As I read through other post, there seems to be some discussion that Airbnb make penalize me for doing this. Am I right? Any suggestions?.

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Sorry about the bad guest. Seems like just bad luck. Really, what kind of jerk “lets a pitball roam around”, unless the area is fenced in? Or any dog for that matter, regardless of breed?

I suppose that you could ask for breed and age. We don’t allow pets - but some here will certainly have great language to share with you for a questionnaire.

Some insurance policies do have limits against some breeds and/or #s of dogs. So, you may wish to double-check your STR policy. Technically, the dog’s owner should hold all liability but this would not stop an attorney from filing against any/all parties. It is what it is.

Perhaps also good luck that this was via vrbo. So, you can’t get blasted with an Air review.

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If you believe it will help, you can simply change your Booking Settings/Guest Requirements to enable “Recommendation from other hosts”. There is no penalty if you enable this. However there is a penalty if you don’t enable it, but you decline guests for not having reviews.


It would be really nice if they would split that. We are fine with “new guests” or “guests who have stayed places but have no reviews”.

We would like to exclude IB for guests who have say one or more reviews below 4 stars, and any where the host rated “would not host again”.

Unfortunately, Air doesn’t want us to dial-in what we want for IB.

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Reviews aren’t worth a thing no matter which site they come from. To prevent issues have an airtight contract with fines for violations. For a “small dog” list the breed and weight on the contract.

I have the prior reviews/ recommendations enabled for IB; the issue arises when those guest then request to book; I have been denying all such requests, that come from guests with no reviews. To me doing this in all cases is objective where doing it on a case by case basis would leave me open to more criticism.

I just want to be able to vet my guest and weed out some of the more problematic

A contract with “fines for violations?” Do you have some contract language you could share?

While I require reviews from prior guest I do provide a caveat for those without that allows me to vet them and importantly document their intentions on the app. On the app before accepting an inquiry I ask the guest to confirm that they’ve read the house rules and will comply. Some verbiage from my house rules.

With that said, I can say some of my BEST guests have had no reviews; some were new to AirBNB and some had other reasons for lacking them.

I’ll also note that my two WORST guests had only 5 star reviews; after one of them (an IB w/ four 5star reviews) had a photo shoot onsite without permission (w 10 additional guests) I added the following verbiage (at the suggestion of AirBNB CS)

I can’t comment on whether the fees are enforceable, because so far it seems to have deterred those considering violating the rules.


When travelling, any property that has “fines” listed never makes the short list, ever.



Mission Accomplished! :wink:





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As I would say:… "Wonderful! You are not a good match to my property. I wish you the best. Thank you. " You betcha i have fines. Fees for holding an event, Fees for sneaking in animals, Fees for unannounced extra people. And because everything is laid out…in 12 years of renting 2 large houses, I have almost never had any problems nor infractions. Communication with clear expectations, all detailed in the contract, is the key. Thank you for your input.


I would love to require Government ID and recommendation from other hosts, but I refuse to use the Instant Book…I believe that since AirBNB has this information, it should be available to all hosts.
I should be able to partially vet my potential guests before hand.

Hosts who use IB seem to think that guests with no reviews are to be avoided. That’s simply not true. And keep in mind that all hosts started out with no reviews- how would you have liked it if no one ever booked your place because you had no reviews yet?

Those of us who don’t use IB have developed ways to vet guests to ensure they have read the listing info, understand how Airbnb works, and communicate well.

I’ve accepted plenty of guests with no reviews and they all turned out to be fine guests. Some didn’t even have verified ID. In fact, the guest who left his room and bathroom the most immaculate showed that he had been a member for several years, yet had no reviews. Turned out when I asked that he’d joined planing to take a trip, but then couldn’t travel because of work commitments.

All that verified stuff, and recommended by other hosts, I can see is a good idea for IB, as you don’t have a chance to communicate with guests before they book, but for requests, it’s just a matter of exchanging a message or two with them to determine if they are someone you feel will be an okay guest. And the ones who’ve bothered to write up a nice little blurb about themselves on their profile are a good bet- it shows they get that hosts prefer guests who understand that we don’t feel comfortable renting to people who just want to be anonymous.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t like being able to read some reviews of a guest, it’s just that I don’t consider no reviews to be a deal breaker.


I’m guessing here but I’d estimate that over the last few Airbnb years, at least 50% of my guests have had no reviews and are new to the platform. I use IB, with no restrictions, and have never had a really terrible guest.

Weird guests, yes. Peculiar people, certainly. But never a terrible guest. And that goes for the pre-Airbnb years too.

I’ve never understood why no reviews is such a bad thing. I imagine we’ve all had mediocre guests who have had 5 star reviews because hosts all have different standards. And remember that it is up to hosts to manage their guests - we can’t just let them run loose willy-nilly.

So very true. Anyone, host or guest, who starts using Airbnb has no reviews at the beginning.


About 1/3 of our guests are new or have no reviews. All of them were fine guests. We would happily host all of them again.

And we used IB with no other criteria. But … this was before Cov - and today are not sure we would do it the same way.

I like IB personally. My very best guests have all been newbies with no prior reviews/recommendations - this is in my homeshare listing - I think they really are on their best behavior! Having said that I’ve only had one group of bad guests. Just awful… Guess what? She had a ton of 5-star reviews. Go figure.

You can still require the ID be uploaded before you accept the request. Just check out their profile, it will say “Identity Verified” if they have done so.

The only requirement I have set for IB is Govt. ID. I had a guest recently request to stay but did not accept him until he uploaded ID to his profile. About 30 minutes later Airbnb cancelled the reservation because of something that came up on whatever kind of “background check” that they run…I consider that a bullet dodged.


No reviews is better than a negative review. Mosts hosts do review, but not many want to leave a negative review. I would perhaps look at

  1. How easy was check in
  2. Did you follow the house rules
  3. Did you leave the place in a clean state. Of course the hosts may have forgotten to review, but if this continues consider the above
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I don’t understand your post at all.

Thank you so much for your comments on Guests with no reviews. Right now I am changing my house rules to incorporate the paragraphs you listed regarding unauthorized visitors etc.

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