Oh Airbnb WTF - a guest with a 3.5 rating with 3 reviews is considered Instant Book Candidate

I just got an instant book guest who only has a 3.5 rating. When did airbnb consider a guest with a 3.5 a good guest? As hosts, we would be getting warning letters.

I’ve asked him to explain and also to answer my normal questions but my spider sense is that I’m probably going to have to call customer service and cancel this reservation.


I’d do that regardless and ask how someone like this guest can do IB.


They don’t say a guest has to be a “good guest” to IB, the wording is “no negative reviews”. As far as I’m aware, Airbnb has never clarified what “no negative reviews” means.


Well, a 3.5 average of 3 reviews is pretty bad.

When I asked the guest to explain, his answer was he was unaware because he has two accounts and he doesn’t want to send me the normal info I request when you book (and clearly shown as a requirement for IB) unless I confirm that I will accept him.


I said to send me the info and then I will decide. One concern is his profile picture is not of his face (required) another red flag.

Pretty sure this booking is going to get cancelled.


Guy sounds super shady.


Oh that’s irony, right there. He doesn’t trust you enough to send his information but you should trust him with poor reviews and in your home? hahahahahahahahahah


Where can I set that? I thought I did see that requirement as an option that the guest has to have a profile picture but can’t find it anymore.

That the profile picture has to be of their face, where did you specify that? In your house rules or the pre-booking message?

Thanks in advance for clarifying.

We had guests with super questionable profile names that had nothing to do with their real name. This is also quite frustrating that Airbnb ‘confirmed their ID’ but their name is ‘Mr S.’ or something along those lines.

Besides, the guests are not forced to enter their residential address into their guest profile so in the worst case scenario we hosted ‘ghosts’. Thank god that in our area we are legally required to collect all the guests’s details including a copy of their ID.

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Well, the guy sent me some of the questions, would change his profile photo but send a text of it, wouldn’t agree to my rules and then surprise I woke up and discovered he cancelled the reservation.

Note - I was planning on cancelling. Too many red flags.

Oddly, he changed his name from his full name to just an Initial.

I really feel I dodge a bullet on this one.


Nothing to add at this point.

Glad it ‘worked out’.

Bear in mind that some years ago, Airbnb felt that showing a guest’s photograph and name before booking might mean that some hosts could determine the guest’s racial origins.

Although these days, I’m pretty sure that there are very few hosts - if any - who would take a guest’s ethnic origins into account when deciding to accept or reject.

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You might be surprised. There are a lot of bigoted people out there, judging from the rhetoric coming from the concerning upswing in right-wing governments worldwide.

Of course you can’t assume anyone’s race or nationality from their name, as people give their babies all kinds of names that don’t reflect that. For instance, Arabic names are popular in Mexico. Lots of Mexicans named Omar, and other Arabic-sounding names.

But bigots make a lot of false assumptions about others- that’s sort of the basis for bigotry.

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I request that their profile picture is a picture of their face. I know I don’t see it until after they are booked but I want to make sure the person who books is the person showing up. (I live below).

I also require any guest to have their photo sent via messenger.

Both of these requirements are listed in my house rules and in my instant book message.

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I remember two instances when seeing the guest’s face was completely misleading. One was a girl who looked very sweet and pretty ordinary. When she arrived, I could see it was the same girl but by now, she had pink hair, multiple tats and several facial piercings.

Another time, a girl looked really scary in her photograph. She looked very mean and sneaky - almost as if she was in Halloween garb. When she arrived, she was so attractive and nice. (So much so that I blurted out “oh, you’re so pretty” when I met her.

My other half, under whose account we travel, looks like an evil-minded terrorist in his pic - so we tend to always choose IB!


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Even though most of my guests have had clear face photos, I wouldn’t recognize most of them if I passed them on the street after seeing their photo. Some people look really different in photos than in real life. There are very attractive people who aren’t at all photogenic and very plain-looking people who look like knock-outs in photos.

Early in my hosting career I had a guest who I thought, from the photo, was a hippie-type guy in his mid-30s, and the name was Elia, which I thought of as a man’s name.

Turned out to be a woman in her mid-40s. I could tell it was the same person when she arrived at my gate, it was just my perception of the photo that was off. And her real name was Elizabeth, but said she had long gone by the nickname Elia.
I told her about my false assumption and we had a laugh over it.

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so the face is a requirement? seems to me I had some that were cartoons in the past and yes the cartoon one snuck in a dog who ate my chair leg.

Airbnb does not require that a guest’s “profile photo” is of their face. That is why you see ones that are cartoons, cats, etc.

So you need to check the profile photo requirement in your settings, and additionally state in your listing info that you require that the guests’ profile photo is of their face.

Airbnb says

“ while a profile photo is recommended for all Airbnb users, it’s not mandatory for guests


If a guest’s photo doesn’t include their face, or it features something unhelpful—like a cartoon—you can contact us to cancel, penalty-free.

You can have a face requirement as part of your Instant Book and regular booking requirements. I also require a selfie of the guest checking in.

This sort of sets the tone for folks who are planning event, etc so that I discourage these types of people.

Where do you find that setting in your airbnb host listing? I can’t seem to find it… They’ve changed it around from last year and it is more difficult to navigate.