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How should I respond to this inquiry?

Hello everyone,

I just received an inquiry. It appears to be from a Chinese person. It says CN, at any rate. Of course, people can use any label. But the picture shows a young Chinese looking man. He wrote

Hello sir
What time can I check in or check out?

My response

Please tell me a little about yourself, and what brings you to Mumbai. Thank you.

His reply

Hi sir,
I will get to Mumbai by train from udupi. According to the schedule, I will arrive Mumbai Cst at about 10.33.

But I still want to know the time I can check out. It will decide how many nights I stay in your house.

So he ignored my question.

My instinct is to decline, or simply ignore. But maybe I’m being too judgmental. He has no reviews or other information. It says email and phone number verified. And the inquiry is for two days, 11th Sep to 13th Sep.

What do you think?

Is the person a new member of the Airbnb community? We sometimes get such truncated messages from new members and respond with- ‘I see that you are new to the Airbnb community. The community is built upon trust. You can see who we are from our profile and reviews. Please tell me more about yourself and the reason you are visiting our area.’ We then paste in the Airbnb profile information from the Help site.

Hi @farmhost,

I’m not sure what that is, exactly. Do you mean https://www.airbnb.co.in/help/article/280/how-do-i-edit-my-profile-or-profile-photo and/or https://www.airbnb.co.in/help/article/67/why-do-i-need-to-have-an-airbnb-profile-or-profile-photo ?

My concern is that this guy might be more trouble that he is worth. My experience is that people who aren’t good at communication at the outset continue to not be good at communication. And I don’t need the hassle. But I might just be having a bad day. So I’m sanity checking with you folks.


I’d say
"as per my listing check in/out times are x
Please be sure to read my listing description in full (especially the house rules) before booking.

As requested:

You definitely cannot tell, as sometimes people are typing fast on their phone, etc.

But, i would go with your gut on this one. I don’t like that he ignored your question (could be innocent) and he also said your check out time will decide his length of stay. He already is displaying hotel mentality, as he doesn’t seem to understand that you will decide whether or not he stays :smile:


Good points, @cabinhost. I’m inclined to go with @farmhost’s suggestion and send him a couple of links. He quite likely won’t reply. Most inquiries don’t pan out, anyway.

Hi @Australia,

Are you suggesting I quote my original post back to him? :slight_smile:

Yesiree :blush: after, of course, you have answered his question… Then reply as I said, he may think, "mmm didn’t he already say that?, oh, I never answered him… How rude"

Especially when English is not their first language, messages can come across as weird. I accept more or less everyone (and I never get the ‘gut feeling’ that others do) so I’d be inclined to answer his questions in order to get him into more of a dialogue. Because it’s only a two day stay, I wouldn’t worry too much.

It might be that he’s being considerate. When he says that checkout time will determine the length of his stay, it may be because he has travel plans that involve him leaving Mumbai in the evening so he would book an extra night with you if (for instance) checkout is 2 pm and his flight / train isn’t until 9 in the evening.


@faheem, this perspective coming from a host who has had no real problem guests yet. I would just answer the persons questions, then ask your own. Some people, and some cultures simply don’t communicate in the ways we would prefer they did, i.e. friendly. This person may simply really want to get his questions answered so he can make his travel plans and doesn’t understand the need for small talk.

No sense in being obtuse. Answer all his questions and then ask your own. If at that point he still won’t give you enough information to make you comfortable, then by all means decline.

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I see this as firstly answering the question that is obviously front and centre of his mind. Then, you are guiding him what to do next. If he does that all his questions are answered before he pings you another annoying question.
I don’t see the point in this case to send him off track to a link to learn the history of Airbnb.
Just get him sorted to meet your immediate needs, which is do you even want him.
He’ll figure the rest out as he needs.

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I would lose the part about “tell me a little about yourself” - I loathed that question during interviews and still do to this day. I know this is unsolicited advice - but if you really want to know their reason for travel, I would just ask “please let me know your reason for travel” etc.

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Hi @cabinhost,

Hmm, “tell me a little about yourself” sounds harmless to me. I, at least, wouldn’t take offense if I got that from someone. That’s also in my listing, so I’m not sure whether you are referring to that, or to my message.

Does anyone else feel the same way about “tell me a little about yourself”?

It might just be my personal loathing thing from interviews. But still today, I do not know how to answer that question. Yes, it is harmless. But what does someone want to know about me? I would prefer to answer something like that.

Hi @cabinhost,

It literally just means you want to know a little about the person. A more explicit/honest version might be something like: tell me something about yourself, so I have some reassurance you’re aren’t a psycho or an ax murderer. If you tell me you’re a student or a professional, that would go some way to reassuring me.

Though It’s questionable how useful this exercise actually is. I’ve read that actual serial killers were often quite personable; e.g. Ted Bundy. Popular/successful with the ladies and so on. And I know plenty of perfectly reasonable people who come across as weird/unpleasant/unattractive etc.

I think it is also weird to define yourself by occupation, marital status, etc. too. So even to reply back saying “I am a student at blah blah blah” really says nothing about myself.

It’s just me Faheem…

I had a few like this, probably a language issue, but I think it’s possible that he will continue to be poor at communication. I have declined requests like this and it seems your gut is telling you to do the same. Since it’s an inquiry I’d just ignore it. You could write back asking the reason for his question, I guess.

Hi @Maggieroni,

Yes, my gut is telling me to do that. I generally go with my gut…

Which question is that?

Thanks, @Maggieroni.

I also think he is subtly wanting you to be flexible with his check in/check out times. If he truly wanted to know the times he could look at the listing.

I find that often with people looking for a discount but not wanting to come right out and ask for it. “What is the total I would pay?” - As if they have no idea in the world. Obviously they are looking at my place because they saw the rate before they clicked on it.

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His concerns about check in and check out

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