New Instant Book Settings

In desperation I turned on Instant Book settings for my listings. Yet if you select "guests must provide Government Issued ID or guest must have previous host recommendations the listings disappear again. Is this because I myself have no government issued ID or previous host reviews so I can’t see them? How do I add my Government Issued ID to the site or is that only something guests need to do?

What kind of guest wouldn’t have a Government Issued ID, anyway?

Yes, when you activate IB, the IB option (and your listing if IB is enabled as a search filter) is visible only to logged-in guests who fit your requirements . For instance, I have Verified ID + recommendation as requirements for my listing, and when I search for my listing incognito, the IB option is not visible.

Re. ID verification, guests aren’t usually ID verified unless they once booked a listing requiring ID verification.

You can your profile ID verified at

I believe there are countries without ID cards (UK I think ?). Guests may also feel uncomfortable uploading an identity document by fear of identity theft.

To clarify what you are doing - are you searching the site with the instant book filter on? Note: when you are searching the site and looking at listings you are a ‘guest’ regardless if you also have your own listing and are a host. So, if you are doing a search and using the instant book filter = YES then listings which require a government ID won’t show up for you as you don’t have one uploaded. You will only see listings that require the minimum level of verification. If you do NOT have the instant book filter on those listing should show up for you but you will need to request to book as you don’t meet their criteria for instant book. Does that make sense?

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Hi @cs2015,

Why are you desperate? Just curious. And aren’t you the host with the terrifying list of rules?

Adding/uploading an ID to the site is reasonable, unless you’re concerned that it might be misused. But I think such concerns are not worth worrying about. I think people typically already have their ID information in lots of different places, probably most of which they don’t know anything about.

As to why it’s reasonable - well, if you want a guest to have verified ID, it’s reasonable for you to have verified ID as well. Trust goes both ways. It’s an example of the Golden Rule. :slight_smile:

But I’d still verify guest ID myself. Don’t trust Airbnb and their machines. Plus, they may have the ID, but it’s useless to you unless you have it as well.

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True (there was a big debate over this some years ago), but I’m assuming a Passport will do instead. I think that’s what I used. Of course, it’s just feasible that some UK citizens may not have a passport and I guess they could use a European driving licence (for now, anyway!)

A driving licence is a “Government ID”. Although I live in the UK I have a government ID from another country and I used that; also my LinkedIn profile. Speaking of which, although LinkedIn (or Facebook) profiles of a proposed guest are not directly accessible, sometimes I can find them from the information given.

In the UK and Ireland it’s true that many people have neither a passport nor a driving licence and ID cards don’t exist (except for some non-EU foreign residents). My son once opened a bank account using his library card: I’m sure that can’t happen these days.

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Hi faheem,
I’ve gotten desperate since this one host who started after me has gone and leased about 15 houses like mine around the city and turned them into full-time low-rent Airbnbs. I find practically no one booking here now (because honestly,. who the hell wants to live with their “host”) and any guests who can’t get Instant Book don’t even see my listing. Argh! It’s particularly grating since I heard from one of my guests that this guy doesn’t even own his own homes. All his houses have smartlocks so guests can check-in anytime they want and each room allows 2 people so you have 10 people sharing 2 bathroom houses. Everyone gets 1 towel and he charges extra for a 2nd towel or a room key. They get to use the kitchen and washer dryer…they are in decent locations …they are run down but updated in that way where each room has nice bedding even if they are small. I tried to gloat about the “safety” of my house compared to an Instant Book place, but if no one can even see my place since it’s not on Instant Book what is the point? I’ve been run into the ground business-wise. It’s like Amazon taking over the old mom-pop bookstores around here. I keep reading reviews from his places - each with a different “co-host” who is never there, hoping to see something terrible but everyone’s generally happy with what he offers. This guy only moved to the city a few years ago and in the space of two years he has dominated all listings under $50 in the city. I feel sick thinking about it, but who am I to judge since I rent out my own home to short-term guests too? The difference is he is the kind of host who is destroying long-term affordable housing for everyone in the city and every single guest he has doesn’t give a damn. I feel sort of like a cab driver watching Uber take off, but who am I to judge after all. If anything it has probably just driven up the price of my home should I ever need to sell it.


Yes I am the host with the terrifying rules and the high security deposit, and I also have a conscience. It has taken me a long time to recognize that being unregulated allows people to opportunistically rent out what they don’t even own and screw people over all the time. I’m old-fashioned and small-town that way. I think being and honest and up front is good and lying through omission is bad.


You are in Seattle correct? I think you mentioned this in another post. The type of listing you mention above will soon only be allowed 90 days STR occupancy in Seattle. If you occupy your home and are renting space in it you are exempt from these rules and can rent full time. There are some additional requirements for home owners such as business license (already a requirement but mostly not enforced), proof of the correct type of insurance etc. It will take some time but Seattle is very serious about regulating commercial STR while allowing homeowners some flexibility to rent space in owner-occupied dwellings…

Thanks for your replies. I used to have full time housemates, Airbnb was a way to make money without having to rent half house out full time. I have CBIZ insurance which is 3 times the cost of my homeowner’s insurance which was cancelled. Today I looked into going back to renting to full-time housemates since the amount possible to be made from Airbnb is not as much anymore due to all the unscrupulous and illegal competition. It’s funny, the only reason I started an Airbnb in the first place is because my neighbor has one and I always used to wonder why the house generated so many loud parties and garbage and blocked parking on the street. They were the neighbor from hell and I thought if they are going to be bad neighbors I might as well try it out too…and 15 minutes later I had a booking. It’s insane what people will rent.

Hi @cs2015,

Sorry to hear about the competition. But 15 places doesn’t sound like a big addition in a city. I’m surprised it’s making that much of a difference. What is your location? For example, Bombay has a ton of Airbnb listings. I don’t know how much, but I estimate 1200, and more are being added daily. As is the case elsewhere, I imagine.

If you think that this other host is doing illegal stuff, you could report him to Airbnb and/or your city/county/state.

Personally, I’d never use Instant Book, even if I trusted Airbnb, which I don’t. It’s just giving up too much control. There are all sorts of fun ways it can cause trouble for you. Based on my limited experience with Airbnb, I’m really surprised anyone uses it.

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Now I’m desperate! Please tell me more about the terrifying list of rules, I’m procrastinating about doing some uni work and I simply must know???

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LOL. Ask @cs2015. It’s her list of rules. I’ve seen her listing, but I don’t know the link off-hand. Personally, she could stand to modify them a bit - it’s probably driving people away.

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If people feel a listing will involve lots of tiptoeing around, there’s no reason for people to want to book. Holidays are meant to be somewhat fun after all …

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I know right!- curious minds want to know…

Well, this is my current listing, but I sit around editing it practically every day (and I have modified the house rules!)

Another reason why I’m not making as much anymore is because occupancy taxes were started in Oct 2015 and Airbnb takes $2 instead of just $1 of my total. It used to be I could rent the room for $41 and get $40, now I rent it for $41 and get $39, and the poor guest instead of paying $45 pays $60!

The listing I looked at had no pics of bedroom. It’s also a little less than attractive as its a single bed, in basement sharing bathroom with other Airnb guests. You Might do better to somehow list the bedrooms and bathroom as a unit then people who are traveling together can stay. There isn’t any way for folks to know what might be possible.

Also blurry pics of menu aren’t going to improve your situation. You need pic of outside of home, bedroom and bathroom.

You charge pretty much the same as I do for a double bed in zone 2 in London :slight_smile:

I wonder who is your target guest? Students ? Young people ? Anyone?

It sounds like if this guy is a renter doing this in violation of his lease you might be able to find the owner of the home through property tax records and inform the owner. In the meantime, work on your own listing and fix some of the things forum members have mentioned.

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