Proposal to pay via Airbnb one night, with cash other nights - how would you respond?

A recent inquiry said:

Is it possible to avail some discounts for this place, this is just a bit expensive?

I said no. She then said

Then in that case is it possible we book it outside airbnb? The charges by airbnb adds up much more.

I said no - violation of Terms of Service. She then said

How about this: I book for a day and then pay rest of the amount in cash to you? I mean for the next two days…

I haven’t replied to this, because I’m not sure what to say.

The inquirer is Indian (apparently a grad student), and doesn’t seem like a lunatic. She has a certain amount of net presence, but nothing substantial. A slightly odd blog - I’m not sure what it’s about. She has one review, which is positive. Incidentally, she also asked about cooking, though my listing clearly says no cooking. So she either chose to ignore it, or is not as good at reading as a grad student should be.

And this is for a booking in December, 9th Dec to 12th Dec.

I’m got mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, there’s nothing actually wrong with what she proposes. And I certainly have no burning desire to send more cash Airbnb-wards. I actually tried to book for those three days myself (Airbnb allows one to form a request to ones own site, though I don’t know if they would allow you to complete it), and was surprised how much the guest pays in fees. The amount I account for is:

7491 (2497 x 3) (daily rate for 2 guests for 3 nights) + 468 (cleaning fee) = 7959

The portion Airbnb account for is

1003 (service fee) + 669 (occupancy taxes) = 1672

As a percentage of the original amount, it works out to be:

12.6% + 8.4% = 21%

Not peanuts. I think the occupancy tax supposedly is an Indian tax, but who knows what actually happens to the money. Is anyone keeping track?

On the other hand, depending on strangers to hand over cash on arrival is intrinsically risky. Airbnb takes the risk out of it. Plus of course I don’t get Airbnb’s “protections”, which, however, I am coming to think are largely imaginary.

I guess if I had my own website and booking system (which I don’t), I could tell them to book the two remaining days on my site, but then they’d have to trust me not to shaft them.

This booking one day and pay in cash thing is actually something I would expect to come up more frequently than it does. In my case, it hasn’t come up before, though I did have some Indians back in May/June who wanted to pay in cash on a return trip. At the time I said no. I am now sufficiently jaded (and my trust in Airbnb has sunk sufficiently) that it no longer seems like an unreasonable idea.


Oh Faheem… you know what we are going to say. Don’t be tempted by this offer. Guests who try this stunt are never good guests. Just decline her. If she cannot afford to travel on Airbnb in India, she should get a hostel! Taking a guest like this is begging for trouble. Decline!


Hi @konacoconutz,

Sure. My question is at least partly about whether it’s worth trying to work around Airbnb in this slightly dodgy but still legal way. As you can see from her post, she does have a point about the Airbnb fees. They work out to be quite high - I was surprised. I thought it was closer to 12%, but I guess I forgot about the tax.

No… It’s not your responsibility that the fees are high. They can either accept the rate or not.
For the customer, remember… they do get a little peace of mind in exchange for the fees and the convenience of charging by credit card.

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Bear in mind that you will not be able to use the resolution center should the guest stiff you, break something, violate your house rules, etc. She has said that your place is “just a bit expensive” and is willing to stiff Airbnb. Why do you believe that she won’t also stiff you?


Hmm. A good point, @EllenN. Although Airbnb’s resolution center is. by all accounts, less than perfect. But perhaps the fact that it exists is an incentive for good behavior.

And is booking for one night and paying the rest in cash actually a violation of the Terms of Service? It seems like a gray area.

True. And they have some assurance the host won’t screw them over in turn.

I’m not seriously tempted by this offer. And I don’t feel any pressure to accept a booking so far away. I’m just offering it as a case study. And a 20% surcharge really does seem a lot, if one thinks about it.

I would only accept that sort of thing from a guest who had stayed before and been a great guest. Although they wouldn’t contact me via Airbnb because I make sure that they leave with my business card :slight_smile:

But a stranger with one review? No thanks.


Yes, payments outside of Airbnb are against the Terms of Service. It they weren’t, there would only be one day stays. That’s not my point though. My point is that she’s shown you that she is willing to cheat Airbnb which means that she cheats which means that she will cheat you. This is like listening to someone gossip about others, then being shocked that they are also gossiping about you or when people are shocked that the person who had an affair with them when they were married is now cheating on them.


Again a good point.

True. Though if people followed your logical path, that would mean that neither gossip nor affairs would happen. :slight_smile:


Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

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I really need to get some cards made. We should have a “show off your listings card” thread. :slight_smile:

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Cue up “Imagine”.

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Or as Eliza Doolittle would have said ‘Wouldn’t it be luvverly?’

No grey area. Very clear. Not allowed.

How you meet 'em is how you lose 'em. :slight_smile:

Or put another way… “When a man marries his mistress it leaves a job opening.” :smile:


@konacoconutz and @EllenN,

Clearly you are women of the world. I bow before your sophisticated and possibly superior understanding of the wicked ways of the human heart.


I won’t accept cash and hold the dates - only because I have nothing to hold their dates with.

But you are in a different situation. Technically, yes you can allow a one night stay and she can pay cash for the other dates. But…to have that convo in the Air messaging system - I wouldn’t want it.

I would gladly take any guest who is willing to pay me directly. Then they need to sign my contract and there are no silly cancellation clauses that allow them to cancel for any reason.

If you are not set up for this, then there lies the problem. I accept credit/debit card through PayPal business account. Guests don’t need to have a PayPal account. I just booked the next three nights on my own with this process. Guests found my listing through VRBO, emailed me for a quote. Then they called me and said they are ready to book. Done deal.

But I do add the lodging tax to my invoices, and I turn it into the state. I am confused as to your comments about tax in India. What do you mean you don’t understand what happens to the tax money?

The more intelligent the average traveler becomes, the more they will try to google your property and pics, and book directly. No need to pay a middleman when most likely they are protected by their own credit card. I had Thanksgiving guests book who paid a $171 booking fee to Air. All for what?? Just for one transaction because they weren’t savvy enough to google me.


In over 200 sets of guests I’ve had 2 who paid cash for an extended stay and I limited it to one night.

I would NEVER accept a part cash arrangement at the time of booking. In both cases, they were already here, things went pear-shaped with their flights and they needed to stay an extra night. Neither set had planned on it (airport strikes) so I trusted that they weren’t out to get a bargain - and in any case, neither set could have known I’d definitely have the following night free. Intentions matter to me.

The reason I limited it to one night is you have 48 hours to submit a damages thing. Be very careful.

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They ARE high. …

And about the person wanting to make a deal. Don’t do it. The deal breaker is the cooking, which would be a huge pain in the rear having another person using your kitchen. Indians don’t just slap a sandwich together :slight_smile:

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