Lots of detailed questions about my area and then book somewhere else

I have found recently that I am sending message after message to guests from USA asking detailed questions about the area. Places to visit, costs of guide, cost of transport, visas, transfers within the country etc etc and then after corresponding for sometime 2 weeks they book somewhere else, usually a hotel. It happened again today when I wrote and asked if they were still planning on visiting. Replied sorry we booked somewhere else. Sorry we should have let you know. Only seems to happen with guests from USA.
I like to help any guest but I want to say to them I
am not a travel agent.

When they ask questions tell them you will happy to help them with information after they book with you. Unless they are asking specific questions about your listing there is no need to answer them.


Agree with what @KKC said. You aren’t a “local guide” until after someone books with you.

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Thankyou. I get sucked in with the drip drip drip questions.
I will know for next time.


Hi @Linda_Clymo

Just direct them to your local tourism centre/bureau for questions not relating to your listing.

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Exactly right. I just say, once you are a confirmed booking I will send you much more information!

By the way, my ex husband was a travel agent, and this would happen to them all the time. Only they would have to pay the airlines a fee for each airline segment they looked up and quoted. So they would often spend a lot of time creating a complicated itinerary for someone, only to have those people have the nerve to take all the research and that itinerary and book elsewhere!!

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I’m in a highly competitive area so mostly I don’t mind answering general tourist questions if it will encourage people to book. BUT there have been times like you describe @Linda_Clymo when I feel like I’ve just been used as a free info service. So I tend to keep it simple these days. I’ve even had people asking me about flights and distances from different countries, let alone cities. You what? Europe is not a theme park, my friend.

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Gosh, I have never been asked about visa, etc. I am happy to answer questions about the house, neighborhood [are there restaurants within walking distance,] and proximity to a wedding or conference venue. How long it takes to get here from NYCity, not so much. How to get here from NYCity, I tell them the three options.

Beyond that, I am not sure how much I would know, especially about coming through immigration and the formal side of things. I have never been coming into the US without a US passport. These are questions that I would be unable to answer even after they have booked.

I suspect a lot of guests are new to AirBnB and have always booked resorts. Think back to the first time you decided to book a private home or a room in someone’s house - weren’t you a little nervous?

I just spent four hours in the last few days answering questions for a person who said they are nervous, since they have always booked resorts and hotels before. They may or may not book with me. But I’ve given them a good impression of the difference between a hotel (somewhat impersonal), and a private residence, rented out by a real individual that cares whether they have a good vacation or not. I may not reap the rewards of my work with this person, but they may take the “plunge” on their next trip because I was responsive to them this time.

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I have never actually booked a resort. I have been using STR for far more years than AirBNB has been around. But, I understand your point. Do remember, that your price point would make people nervous even it it was a resort! For that kind of money, they want more perfection and, I suspect, a bit of a guarantee that they will have a great time. [Yes, that is nuts, but humans often are.]

I like your attitude and share it. I too try to be kind and patient with new users even those who I know are probably not going to book. But, like any enquiry or booking request, there are those who present themselves politely and worthy of attention and those who… well, just don’t. The latter can go google!


@anon67190644 - I agree with that, and know I will have to work a little harder to make the sale. We are far more than just a place to sleep. Many of our guests spend a good part of their vacation at the house, enjoying the pool and the view. We have a lot of great reviews on another platform (VRBO), but I can’t point anyone in that direction if they find us over AirBnB. So I’m working hard to build up a good reputation on AirBnB. (That’s part of the reason I’m reacting carefully to our current smokers…)

@Magwitch - I agree with you 100%! introducing yourself, saying “I’m new to this and have never rented a private home before, especially not in a foreign country. How does all of this work?” goes a long way towards a really constructive conversation and a lot of patience from me.

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@PitonView , for sure. As well as nervous users, there is a difference between an enquiry like:
"Do you have safe parking? This is important for me. I will be travelling from Dublin, what is the best route? Also, does your cat have access to the room? I am allergic. "
"Hello, we are very happy your place ^^^^ How far from centre? We can laundry? We love your kitty ^^^^ "

Goodness, which one would you approve? Such a hard decision…

edit: damn, it won’t let me do those Korean kitty smilies!!

Thank you for all your comments.
I know how important it is to work hard to get bookings and I do give potential guests lots of information but usually after a couple of messages they will book and regular airbnb users will book instantly after reading reviews.
Then there are the times it drags on and I end up feeling used.
I take the point that they could be new to airbnb and are anxious. I will keep in mind I could be helping to increase the airbnb family and although I may not benefit another host will.
Holiday apartment living is so different to a hotel and it is not for some.

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Don’t go overboard! Just give them the basics. You can only imagine the questions I get about visiting Hawaii. I will help them with any information after they book. Before that they get the basics about my place and location, as it is all explained in excruciating detail in my listing. :rofl:

Yes it’s all in the attitude and politeness for me!! That is true about pretty much everything, not just tourist advice. If they are really nice and seem to understand I’m doing them a favor rather than just expecting or demanding things, I’m far more apt to help them.

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