Request from guest with no reviews and no profile - penalized to decline?

Hi all. I am new and fielding reservations requests… a woman wrote a one line request and her profile shows only her first name and that Airbnb has her phone number. I sent a message saying we’d love to have her, and would she kindly complete her profile, including a link to an Airbnb page that describes why that is important. I have 10 hours left in the 24 and no reply… I want to protect my “performance rating” or whatever the heck it is, with Airbnb… does this delay, or a possible decline, hurt me in any way? I have gotten two others like this… feels uneasy.

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Was this a Request to Book? Or just an Inquiry? Inquiries are not on a timer. Request to Book must be Accepted or Declined within 24 hours.

Profiles don’t show photos until a Guest books; that’s standard Airbnb protocol. Or at least they haven’t for some time. Air could have changed that and not told us…

The delay doesn’t hurt you in any way. You responded within the 24 hours (over-and-above by including the air link!), so the ball is in the Guest’s court. It may take her time to read your message and find time to fluff out her information.

However, if she does NOT respond within the 24 hrs, and she originally made a Request to Book, you must Accept or Decline within the 24 hrs. If you Decline, you are asked why. Standard response is Not comfortable with this Guest. Why not comfortable? Guest didn’t follow my rules.

YOU need to put in your House Rules that Guests MUST have complete Profile including personal full face photo (not a pet or anything else) and verification including “government ID” (which includes driver’s license or passport). That way, if a guest registers and does not have that, you can cancel without penalty because they didn’t follow your House Rules.


Hi - Thanks so much for your response. It was a Request to Book. I understand that the photo doesn’t show, that’s no problem, it’s just that there is nothing else except her phone number (verifications, little intro paragraph, reviews, nada).

I had no idea that I could avoid penalty via House Rules. So if I simply HAND-TYPE (vs. editing a field) a requirement into my House Rules, and a guest doesn’t meet it, Airbnb won’t ding me for declining the Request to Book? There’s an actual human being that makes these decisions, it’s not a computer thing? I don’t have Instant Book right now, and so I can’t fill int he field that says “Require Government ID”. So I added it to my House Rules, below.

Appreciate your help greatly, thank you!

••• Please have a Verified profile with Airbnb. For an example, take a look at our profile!
••• Enjoy your tunes, but please make sure they can only be heard inside the cottage.
••• We are a shoe-free house so you can enjoy smooth, clean floors under your feet!
••• We ask that you care for this special place as if it were your own.

So what. It makes 0 difference anyway because Air does not share the ID with you. Either you are willing to host anyone or you are willing to host no one. As long as there are no bad reviews, or bad reviews written by guest for a host I would just accept.



The use of the word “please” make these things sound optional, IMO. Be sure it is clearly stated that guests must be verified (and specify exactly what that means), must refrain from making noise or playing music that can be heard outside, must remove shoes, etc.

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Sometimes guests, especially new users have not turned on “notifications” so they don’t know you’ve sent them a message. If a few hours go by and I haven’t heard back, I will send them an email to their airbnb email address (from a gmail account I have for just this purpose) letting them know I’ve sent them a message on airbnb and to cue them to log-in to see it. You could also text them this cue. It’s important to just cue them back to the message stream on airbnb to avoid having the conversation off-platform. Also, send them a message on-platform that says you’ve also sent them an email or text, to have that noted.

If there’s no luck, call in and ask to have it cancelled penalty free because they won’t complete their profile or respond for that matter.

When I was first starting out, the common wisdom I got was that as a new host I shouldn’t use Instant Book and I do understand why I was told that. However, in hindsight, hosting got a whole lot easier once I started using Instant Book. The profile information/phone/email/ payment info/agreement to house rules will be required and then you can tick the box to require Govt ID, photo, reviews from past hosts/no negative reviews and Guest Trip Information (that they have to answer your ‘welcome questions’).

It was easier because I started getting more information right away and when I didn’t get it, it was easier to ask for it because it was technically compulsory. And when I had to deal with someone who I was uncomfortable with, it was much easier to “get rid of them” by cancelling without penalty because they didn’t meet my instant book requirements. E.g. even if they don’t answer your guest trip information questions, you can cancel on them if needed.

Without Instant Book, I was always dealing with Requests that didn’t give any information or have any reviews and I couldn’t decline them because, as a new host, declining a request would wreck my statistics because I had not accepted enough yet for the numbers to work out. Now I can decline a request because I’ve accepted so many reservations that it’s easy to stay above the 88% but I felt stuck as a new host.

Ultimately, I think you are actually more protected with Instant Book on, not less because you have more protections as an IB host.

It’s kind of a hot-topic and many will disagree with me but that’s been my experience. I can’t imagine going without IB for so many reasons but mainly that I know I can cancel on someone that is presenting as an issue.


I have to agree with @RiverRock. It really doesn’t make any difference what the guest’s profile is like or what’s verified. RRR is probably like me in that over the years, many guests have arrived with a huge variety of ‘verifications’, photographs, profiles - and there’s no way that these indicate what sort of guest they’ll be.

It also depends what sort of time allowance you have bargained for to run your business. For me anyway, the whole malarkey of accepting or denying, messaging guests within a certain time, worrying about the distinctions between ‘request to book’ and an inquiry etc. etc. etc. is far too time consuming to be a worthwhile business decision. So you might want to consider using instant book. As a beginner you’ll get more business that way and save a lot of time.


If the guest does not meet your booking requirements (whatever they are), then ask them to complete the specific items you require before the request expires or you will decline. This is what I do.

I personally think its unfair of Airbnb to allow a guest to submit a reservation request when the guest doesn’t meet the host’s booking requirements. Accepting will allow the guest to book without meeting the requirement, and not accepting will hurt the host’s acceptance rate. Airbnb should provide a “conditionally approve” option for hosts.


I totally agree about IB making things run more smoothly. I was in a similar position to the OP last week where someone requested with just a phone number on file. I asked a few questions to make SURE that they had read the listing and understood the layout and that we were on the same page expectation-wise. I then said I would be happy to approve the request as soon as she finished verifying her profile. She did it in a matter of minutes and it I felt much better. I’m still newish and learning to make better decisions as I go. I felt like accepted another reservation for a big festival weekend too quickly and have a guest who isn’t responding to messages. Once I thought it through I decided on a few new practices with regards to requests. I’ve only declined one because of schedule conflicts, but it didn’t seem to have a negative affect in any way.


I have tried both ways and I agree with you: The requests to book are prequalified now. When I did not have IB on, all I got was requests to book from Suga B. Bee and Miss Anthropy with only an email address. (Not those actual names, okay, but equally fake looking profiles.)

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I just got told again by Airbnb as long as I respond and then Decline they won’t give my a bad mark. I have gotten just a few words and there were no references or information. I right away request they complete their profile and also ask questions. Most people have respond within a few hours. I think if they are new they just don’t know and some of the responds have very informative. One man wrote so much information about his situation I Declined him! Otherwise if all I have is a few words, they don’t respond to my quests, I declined and the reason is basically they aren’t following the rules or giving me the information I requested.

What great information from all of you. Thank you. IB seemed really scary to me somehow initially, and now that I am getting a ton of requests from folks with little to no profiles, what some of you are saying about it being easier/a better business choice/more protective makes perfect sense. I’m going to do it.

And, she wrote back and said she’d completed her profile. Government ID was added but that’s it. Accepted her anyway.


Totally with @RiverRock and @jaquo, if they’ve got a valid credit card and a pulse they are welcome.

TBH, so often the airbnb guest with four thousand five star reviews turns out to be a complete dick, whereas the BDC guest with nowt other than a CC number is the one you’d have back in a heartbeat!



Hey JJD - I took your advice and turned the dang thing on. Can you tell me where to add in Guest Trip Information/welcome questions? I don’t see that anywhere.

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Listings --> Booking Settings --> Guest Requirements --> Guest Trip Information.

One of the things that I have found helpful to add to my ‘welcome message’ on there is:
“please consider turning on “Notifications” for easy communication”. Some people still don’t but there has been a noticeable difference. One of the main complaints is guests who don’t respond to follow-up questions and check-in information and it’s often because they don’t know you’ve messaged them because they don’t have notification settings to alert them that they have a message on airbnb. And they aren’t on the platform all the freaking time like we are (lucky bastards ,) New users probably don’t even realize it’s a setting that is available so I think it’s helping quite a bit actually.

I had an IB where the guest refused to answer my questions, and some other issues with the reservation. It’s in my rules that they have to give me certain information about their trip and I gave them multiple opportunities to answer the questions in follow up messages. I called support and they cancelled it for me because it didn’t meet my booking requirements. No questions asked, they reviewed my listing, saw it’s in my rules, saw that I repeatedly asked and didn’t get the information, done. Calendar opened right back up and it booked the same day for the same dates.

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I have IB but got a pending reservation because the guest joined moments before and had no information about himself.
I wrote a reply telling him what I needed and declined.
Meanwhile I’ve now done this twice it doesn’t seem to go through and even though I hit decline and said why, nothing happens.
Meanwhile the calendar is blocked for next weekend.
Anyone had this happen? I haven’t read through all the old threads.

@zillacop I don’t know why your declines didn’t register, but why did you decline him without giving him a chance to provide more information?

IB requirements offered to hosts are there because you don’t have a chance to communicate with guests or see their profile before accepting.

With requests, you are supposed to communicate with guests, look at their profile, to decide if you feel okay about accepting.

If you are going to decline all requests that don’t meet your IB criteria, you’ll soon see your acceptance rate plummet and Airbnb will suspend your listing.

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