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How to reply back to requests with very vague information?

100% of our Airbnb guests supply sufficient information with their request to visit with us (why they are coming, who is included in the request, etc.). However, 75% of our VRBO and Flipkey requests provide nothing and there is no way we can accept people without giving us information about why they are coming and who is coming with them.

Can you all tell me the best way to reply seeking more info so that I can at least give them a chance to have a discussion before I deny?

I just received a request for July 8-10, with “travel dates flexible” from a group of 6 adults. I don’t know what that means but those are 2 of the last dates we have left in July and I got a weird feeling about it.


Just ask what brings them to town and if they are traveling with family or friends. That usually gets them talking.

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Thank you!! I wanted to make sure I didn’t come across as rude or intrusive!

So they wrote back to answer my questions… but I am not sure its going to work ? ?

They said that they live in the state next to mine, and were coming with 2 other couples. (3 couples). My guest house sleeps 6, but there are only 2 queen beds, a cot and a sofa. They said they are in the IT field.

I am not sure what to do from here.

Trust your instincts. That’s always the best policy.

HomeAway/VRBO do give a bit more information about guests than Air, actually.

Send me a PM and I can give you some advising on how to further your research if you want to pursue this booking.

Private message sent! Thanks very much

My instincts don’t work. I envy those of you who have well functioning ones. LOL


Haha! Mine are usually good but its always reassuring when people chime in and give advice.


You indicated your instincts in your op which was when you said
before I deny?
So that’s what you should do. You’ll get another booking which will be better!

I was in the process of denying it when I saw your reply pop up… I explained to them that there was only 2 queen beds, a cot and sofa and they replied asking for photos of the sofa which they should have already seen in the listing, and then asked what the price per night is, which is also in the listing. To me that says that they didn’t even read anything I said, including my rules so I am going to deny.

This is the 3rd request I have had to deny in 2 days, but the good thing is that we are 80% booked for July, and already going into August. I didn’t even fathom when we started this that we would get so many requests so I am not complaining!!


Even my gut knows there are people to be avoided. Sounds like they sent a bunch of requests and don’t even know who they are talking to.

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We got this all the time on Flipkey, almost every inquiry. Most were scammers or wanted dates that I had blocked out on the calendar. I would typically do exactly what you did, write back asking what dates they actually wanted and get some info about the group. Most of the time the inquiry fizzled out. We never had a successful Flipkey booking accepted, and after 2 years I quit every service except Air.

This behavior is a total red flag. If they didn’t read this simple stuff, it is dollars to donuts they won’t obey your house rules. This booking has all the red flag signs of a major PITA. Smoking inside? Sure it’s allowed!!! 10 extra people? Why not!


You are so right! I went with my gut on it and they didn’t even reply to my email telling them no. Oh well!


Your “vetting” will vary depending on if you care if they bring little ones for free, or if you count all breathing bodies as a guest. Also, do you care if they have anyone visiting. Most people do not disclose unless directly asked. I weed out plenty of inquiries by just asking directly. I also tell them they need to change their guest count if they didn’t include the babies/children. This is how I reply to someone who submitted a booking request (not an inquiry) for 6 adults.

Hi Guest,

Thanks for your interest in reserving the cabin. The dates are currently available. Please let me know the relation of the adults in your group, and the ages of any infants/children. Also, will there be any visitors during your stay?

Let me know if you have any questions about the cabin or the area. Also, please confirm you have read the entire listing description, cancellation policy, check in/check out times…as once I accept the booking request, I am unable to cancel it.

Thank you.


We absolutely don’t accept babies and prefer not to have kids. That said, we have an amazing family here now for 5 days with 2 kids who are extremely polite and behaved. We do charge extra for the kids. They put the same amount of wear and tear (if not more) on a home as adults do, and they use the same amount of utilities.

I like how you ask them if they read and agree to the rules. I have not done that but haven’t had any issues. I will start doing that from now on! Thanks.

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In my experience it is the ones under the age of two that guests will choose not to mention. It is only revealed when I ask for the ages of any infants/children that they will say “oh sorry…I didn’t think to mention it because the baby/toddler will not need an extra bed” or they just don’t even give a reason at all; however, they do cooperate with providing the age.

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I was mentioning earlier that I have had to turn down 3 requests in the last few days and they were all from people who have kids. I don’t understand why they keep asking even though my listing says no. Do they think that their kids don’t apply? Lol. There are so many hazards on our farm… a lake, honeybees, heavy machinery, goats with horns, electric fencing, etc… Nothing against kids, but its just not an appropriate place for children.

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