Reviews just don't seem entirely credible, or am I being too cautious?

I have had a request from a group of 7 from China. Their photo is a graphic instead of a photo.
They have two reviews and verified offline ID.

One of the two reviews was of a stay with a Swiss couple (established airbnbrs) and simply read “Nice House”. The Swiss couple reviewed them back simply as “Nice guests”. Given that they would not have seen each other’s reviews before writing this seems like an unlikely coincidence. And “Nice guests.” was not typical of the Swiss couple’s reviews of their other guests.

Their original email to me included their direct contact details (edited out by Airbnb), although I find that is not entirely unusual.

Am I just being over suspicious? If it is a fake reference, how and why?

Follow your instincts, which appear already to say ‘warning’. Unusual ‘reviews’, in the sense that they say absolutely nothing really.

Addendum: Good suggestion @Barthelemy, I bet @Jon will hear an earful.

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You could contact the Swiss host and ask about his/her experience with these guests. That’s what I did once when a prospective guest had a neutral review.

They say nothing - but it is the similarity of the nothing reviews which is suspicious to me.

Good call. I was thinking about this but not sure how to do it?

Absolutely, both are really eerily non-committal.


I wouldn’t worry too much about the lack of photograph. I get this often - some people are just shy about having their photograph on the internet - look at Facebook or Twitter and so many people have a graphic or cartoon.

As for the reviews, my current guest arrived late last night so we haven’t met yet. The only ‘review’ he has is from last year and it says ‘Thank you for staying with us’.

Yet from the pre-stay communication he seems fine. However, I have yet to meet him, of course :slight_smile:

The only way to do this is to use the “contact host” link on his/her listing. You would have to enter dates for a stay.

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Just decline. Neither host recommends this group and their next review will likely be the same. Decline.

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OK. I’ve done this (contacted other host). I’ll let you know how I get on!

OK - host has replied that they don’t remember all their guests. They have about 300 reviews so fair enough - but it was only in July…

Decline. I thought Air required a photograph, not an icon or cartoon image. I would never accept from anyone who refuses to post a ‘real’ photograph (even if it’s a 20 year old fake picture). I will never relate to a cartoon or icon. A number of websites, including two that I’m a moderator of, are now requiring real photos of real people.


I know I was required to post a photo of myself because my FB account was an aerial photograph, and I tried to use my secondary FB account but Airbnb wouldn’t accept that account because it didn’t have enough activity on it. So Airbnb was really restrictive on me applying to be a host but rules are different for guests?

I agree with KenH, must have a photo of the guest - one where I can see their face. I would also add that, sadly, there are some hosts out there that give less than adequate reviews. I have a guest now, that only had one previous review from a host that wrote “OK” - so I looked up the host… he only ever posts one or two word reviews!

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Turns out that it is a tour operator booking for someone else. I probably would not mind if they had been open about it but don’t appreciate the pretence.