How to book local guests

I have hosted over 3,000 guests. And my experience booking locals has only lead to problems and big $$$ costs.

I was getting last min bookings around 6pm and Mrs. Meth and Mr. Crack show up to tweak all night. Stolen towels, pillows and up all night.

Here is how I book locals.

First make each listing avail in 24 hours.

  1. Meth or Crack heads do not think ahead.

  2. If a local is getting their home treated for bed bugs they will come stay with you! Yep we got bed bugs from a local . It cost us over $3000.

  3. Unless you aspire to be on the next episode of Cops or Cheaters ignore the value of 24 hour notice. People who cheat will book your place but usually do not plan a head.

  4. Locals will bring in their friends and in most cases more people will know the contents of your home. That way they can come back later and steal from you. We lost or bikes this way.

  5. Locals will become that friend that you may not want to live that close to after they check out. They will expect more… like storage or cooking up a storm.

  6. The city investigators may book your room to see if you are compliant with city regulations.

Hopefully this is an interesting topic. And I can say all of the above has happened to us.


I have a cut off for “day of” reservations at 9am. Seems to work well. That, and my two-night minimum stay. :grin:


I don’t understand. You mean you don’t take same day bookings? It must be at least 24 hours ahead?

I take same day bookings. The cut off time varies depending on my schedule that day but I’ve gotten good bookings as late as 8 pm. Recently about 40% of my business has been same day or day before.

I also get locals but haven’t had issues. Some are young people who don’t seem to have their own place and want to get away for the night. Some are guys in the military who want to get out of the barracks or who have a SO visiting.

I don’t have city regulations that I have to comply with.

Given the security cameras, nightly price and that I live right here next to the Airbnb room, I can’t imagine that bad actors will choose my place. There are motels with lower prices and more privacy.


Oh do not get me wrong. You can book all you want same day. But the likelihood of bed bugs, and addicts wanting a night out of the cold will be an issue eventually. Also we had a last min booking and Airbnb called us and said do not let the person in she is now in prison I looked her up by name and found newspaper art9on her drug related crimes? We also had a local registered sex offender staying with us until Airbnb verified he was a sex offender and had to “extract” him from our home. That was the term Airbnb used “extract”.

Well, those sound like dreadful experiences. But for the sake of lurkers who are new or potential hosts, I just want to point out that I’ve had a lot of local guests and yet never had a problem with any of them. (And I have no idea how many guests I’ve had over the years but certainly more than 3000). Every host is different.


I’ve only hosted 700 or so guests over a period of 5 years. Based on your experience, how much longer do you think I’ll have to host before I experience this?

For reference I live in a mid sized town in the US West, El Paso, TX. We are right on the border with Mexico which is a corridor for rapists, criminals and drugs, if our dear leader is to be believed. (He’s not but that’s another topic.)


I have good experiences with locals. 2 of my apartments have well-equipped kitchens so we get people that are having home renovations done and want to have a semi-normal life during them. We also have a nice studio apartment that university students have rented during finals so as to escape their roommates and concentrate. And we get quite a lot of people who live within 30 minutes of us stay for the night after a concert because we’re convenient to downtown.

There was a really nice couple who stayed in March that we’ve become great friends with them. We’re still fairly new in our city and it’s hard to make new friends as grown-ups so we are so grateful to have met them. They actually ended up helping us finish putting together our 3rd apartment and they have certainly invited us over to their house and cooked up a storm for us on many occasions now!

Surely it must depend on where you are and how you screen your guests and your prices and such.


Actually there is a great benefit to hosting locals. We had a guy and his family stay while their floors were re-done. They live 3 blocks away from us and he gave us our only ever 4-star location rating. Doh.
I ran into them at the grocery store soon after and got to glare at him from behind a stack of cereal. I don’t get that opportunity with other guests who take a star off for something stupid like that.


Welcome, James! I’m certain your city, neighborhood, and the price and type of your listing(s) play a huge part in your problems with locals. You really should share that information too, because as you can see from many other hosts’ responses, locals aren’t necessarily a problem. Hosts in similar location with a similar listing type might benefit from your advice, though.


I usually have a 5 night min. so I hope that keeps away all the Mr. and Mrs. Crack heads. Sorry you had to deal with those low lifes.

We have had many guests from towns in the 45 minute to 2 hours away areas. We use 24 hour advance booking setting and allow one nights. Our “locals” are just as great as non locals!

Yep, I do that. My issue is pimps and drug dealing with locals. So I cut off early in morning. if I do get someone who seems sketchy, when I send a message I remind them that I live below and work from home. That usually gets them to cancel but I had to learn the hard way.

I just have had some crazy experiences. They all have a few things in common.

  1. Locals
  2. last min bookings

Just make sure you ask why are they coming?
The bed bug thing is real. Matter of fact when bedbug exterminator came he says most people need to leave home when they treat and 90% go to an Airbnb for the night.
Note no one is going to reserve your room and tell you they need a night out because they are having home treated for bed bugs. It cost us over $3000.

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I wonder if the exterminator is the one who suggests they go to an Airbnb while he treats their home. Business must be good ,)


I actually don’t ask my guests anything. The questions are there on my instant book but if they don’t answer them I don’t hound them about it.

I’ve decided I have a magical aura of protection over my Airbnb room. It’s as good an explanation as any for why I don’t have the problems some hosts have.


I have that aura too. Weird, really.


@Jcaff12002 some contrary responses to your post here: over the years, I’ve always got the impression that everyone recommends NO LOCALS, but here we are. Obviously there’s locals for a $40 one night sex stay, and there’s locals who genuinely need to stay local whilst house works are done, it’s not a hard and fast opinion.


I had druggies and I had cheaters several times The rest I didn’t …but to add to your list I had twice people who sneaked into the house for free after their initial.stay before I figured out how to erase old code from electronic lock.

I host locals only now …but not with Air. I have 7 rooms all together between 2 houses and now 5 are occupied and all men are professional…very nice busy guests who are never home and very clean too .
I like them much better than vacationers .
The reason for them renting from me is various: 1 waiting for appartment approval, one just got a good job and was eager to leave bas neighborhood and looks for a permanent place , another is being transferred to another state , one stay with me for 2 years now, one just got divorced and need temporary room before he figures out what to do next.

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Yes I need to add that to the list. Locals have come back and stayed the night without paying. Happened once to me. The list is growing.

How do they get in? You are lacking even the most basic of controls over your.own property?