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Setting a lower bound on guest age

Hi,

I’m a prospective Airbnb first time host. I’m located in India, though that is probably not
relevant to this question. I’m a little nervous about things.

I’ve read various discussions on the net that it might be a good idea to put a lower bound
on guest ages. This seems like a good idea to me. 25 seems like a reasonable lower bound to use to start with. The idea, obviously, is that people above that age are less likely, statistically, to be problem guests.

So, I have some questions:

  1. If you have done this, what age did you set, and how did it work out for you? After setting the age limit, have you changed it?

  2. Where should I specify this requirement? In House Rules, or somewhere else? I didn’t see a specific field for this.

  3. Is there any way to verify guest ages before guest arrival?

Apart from saying that the place isn’t suitable for children, I don’t set an age limit. I have seen many listings that state over 21 or over 25 though. If I were to guess, because I don’t ask for any ID, I would say that this year I have had two sets of guests who were definitely under 25 and by their looks, under 21.

In both cases, they were lovely people and they left the apartment in fabulous condition.

I wonder if younger guests have a harder time booking because of limits? I recently had a request, even though I use Instant Book, from a nineteen year old who is coming with her boyfriend of the same age. She booked immediately after I’d agreed to host them which suggests to me that she’d had a hard time due to the couple being teenagers. Hopefully they will be fine!

Let’s hope I’m not posting here in a couple of months complaining about them :slight_smile:

Hi jaquo,

Thank you for your comment.

It now makes me wonder if I am being discriminatory in considering whether to exclude younger people. Youthism, perhaps. :slightly_smiling:

If I was to set an age limit, would that mean people below that limit would simply not contact me?

Would it make sense to state an age preference, instead? Would there be any point?

Welcome, faheem! What part of India are you from? It’s nice to know where our fellow hosts are.

You’ll see me and other hosts say this - some of my best guests have been wonderful. My first booking was a very young guy from France coming with two girls - no reviews - I was nervous. He was beautiful, took out the trash, cleaned up, left me a nice thank-you note. Even let me know immediately when one of the girls had an accident - what a gentleman. Right now I have 4 very young people from Malaysia. They are so sweet. They worked in Utah at a ski resort as seasonal help washing dishes and cleaning rooms. Almost slave-labor, I would imagine. They saved up all their money and are now on a tour of the US.

I had a mature family from Mumbai who were lovely people and I hope to see them again, but I would never want to host them. Very loud (by our standards) left food out all day (cultural?) washed laundry frequently (also cultural?) and left the towels and bedding in disgusting shape, and the cooking smells were very difficult to get rid of - I had to wipe the entire kitchen down, inside and out, and wash all the linens in that room. (It was delicious, and they cooked us dinner, but it was stressful to have our home overpowered by the smells of the spices every early morning.)

So, which would I rather have? Both, really. All guests have their good and bad points. Well, almost entirely good so far, and it doesn’t depend on age.

1 Like

Hi there @faheem - you’ll find a lot of discussions here about which age groups are good and bad guests and there has been no real consensus! Some hosts prefer younger, some prefer older.

I think a lot depends on each host’s type of accommodation, how much they charge and where they are located - every host is different as are guests. (Maybe the host’s attitude to certain age groups is a factor too? I don’t know…)

I think that your location is an interesting one. Do you expect most guests to from other countries? For example, the nineteen year old couple I am hosting in May are coming from Scandinavia. My thinking is that if they are mature enough to organise their travel all the way to the US, then they are likely to be mature enough to be good guests.

Your price could also be an issue. We are mid-range and if teenagers can afford us, then my logic is that they are more respectful than those who are travelling on a very restricted budget.

As you’re new to hosting, my suggestion would be to wait until you’ve had a few guests and have your own experiences before adding an age restriction. Remember that you can change your listing at any time.

Hi dcmooney,

Thanks for the welcome and the comment. I’m located in Bombay,
now commonly called Mumbai (hate that name).
If there are other people from India here, they’re not very visible.
I’m hoping for international guests.
I haven’t actually posted my listing yet - still working out the kinks.

Yes, It’s possible that age and guest quality are unrelated. So you don’t set any
lower bound on guest age? I don’t really consider myself prejudiced towards
younger people, but I’m just trying to be cautious.

BTW, you wrote “some of my best guests have been wonderful”. Did you perhaps mean
to write something like “some of my youngest guests have been wonderful”?
Not that it really matters, but just for clarity.

I have an age limit of 25 and its posted in my House Rules section. Our house is on the beach and its the whole house that is rented out. We get a lot of Spring Break, Graduation and party groups that come to our area from the big city close by. We dont want those guest at our house from horror stories we have heard so we have a strict no party policy but the only way to enforce is if we get a complaint due to us not being on property. I dont have a way to verify their age unless I search them on google. I have broke this rule for one girl and her 4 friends. They were 20-21 but I only approved after stalking them on facebook and found they were responsible kids. They left the house in great shape, she had a TON of questions but were good guests. I was a nervous wreck the whole time though lol

Hi jaquo,

Well, I’m hoping for a high proportion of international (non-Indian) guests. Partly because I think on average they will be easier to deal with, and partly because it will make a break from all India all the time.

I certainly hope that people who are doing international travel will be sufficiently mature to not cause problems, but I don’t have enough experience to have an opinion.

And I’ve set my price fairly low for now: Rs 2300 per day is my current price. This is largely to get people in to start with and get reviews, but I’m not planning to raise the price much in the near future, regardless. If I’m understanding what the Airbnb site is reporting correctly, there are approximately 20 listings at or below that price, out of 300+ listings in Bombay. (I’m not actually sure how many listings there are in Bombay - they seem to have recently dropped from saying 500+ to 300+.)

However, I think I’ll set my deposit relatively high. I was thinking Rs. 10,000, which appears to be higher than average for my area. Not because I’m planning on collecting any of it, but as a way to discourage undesirable guests.

Thanks for the thoughts. They’re appreciated.

Hi @IslandNeuk,

Thanks for the comments.

Just curious - how does one figure out how kids are responsible from Facebook? :slightly_smiling:

I detest Facebook, but I do have a nominal page, which I don’t use, but leave up. Sometimes people contact me via Facebook.

My area of Bombay is not Party Central, so I don’t think your specific reason applies to me, though… And by and large Indians aren’t great partiers, unless they are rich. I don’t know about
international travellers, though.

@faheem I checked her page, her sister and friend who I knew were coming to my house. She told me who all was coming before she booked, which made me feel better. They all worked and were in college, no mention of drugs, drinking, sex and partying on any page, they all dressed decently and posted about their life often. It only works if their page is public =)
I am in Texas so we have a lot of parties wanting to go on around the beaches out here. I am 1-2 hours from most major cities in Texas so we get many people from all around the area. Texans like to drink, dance and drink some more. =)

If you know what to look for, you can tell a lot from people on FB. My husband often tells me I should be a private investigator lol

Hi @IslandNeuk,

Thanks for the clarification. I’ll keep FB in mind. Though, as you say, it doesn’t work unless the page is public.

Yes, I think I did mean to say “some of my best guests have been young” or something.

I’m still somewhat new - about 50 groups - in my home with my family - but one thing I’ve learned is I just can’t seem to predict who we will enjoy and who not. But this is the beauty of short-term rental - they all go away!!

I have begun to be very clear with my younger guests, when booking, that we are a working family and expect respectful behavior. Then I say “Please verify with your friends that they understand this”. Honestly my current guest’s photo was like a gangsta pose. I was a bit uncomfortable. But then I friended him on facebook and all his photos of him and his friends were very charming. No drinking or lewd photos. So I was more comfortable.

But - I have an advantage as my listing makes it clear that we are a family with three children. And, we home school. I’m pretty sure this turns away folks who would be uncomfortable in this setting.

Of course, as our new Terms of Service said - we are all independent contractors, so we each get to set our own rules. Do what’s comfortable with you. It really is quite an adventure!

It’s actually against the law in Australia to discriminate against someone due to age, sex, religion etc. I have read many hosts stating that older guests are much more demanding etc so perhaps don’t judge a book by the age of its cover. I was married with a 3yo at 25 with a degree and very responsible and I find your age limit a bit judgemental and unnecessary, IMO but respect that’s it’s your home & choice. It seems though tha India is a place mostly young ppl travel so as a new host you may find you miss out of a lot of your market?. The guests I’ve had issues with are above that age anyway and had I been more cautious due to their plans, initial communication and occupations I’d have possibly avoided them rather than their age which I found irrelevant. My youngest guests have actually been the best and my son at 17 stayed in some airbnb’s on his own travelling and was the perfect guest according to his reviews. Disrespectful and dirty guests don’t improve with age, sadly.

Lol! Funniest comment of the day I have read

I am not sure that I agree with your statement that " is that people above that age are less likely, statistically, to be problem guests."

Like others, I have found younger guests to be some of the best we’ve had while older guest can be the most problematic.

We rent out our entire apartment and our nightly rate is comparable to a double room in a local hotel. Many older guests therefore expect hotel services and don’t feel they have to tidy up after themselves.

1 Like

Hi @Emily,

I didn’t mean to be “judgemental and unnecessary”. I’m just trying to protect myself.
As I currently have no experience, I’m perhaps tending a little towards the paranoid.

But it seems that people here are in agreement that age isn’t a guarantee of anything (in fact I see no dissents), and you all seem like reasonable people (unlike the Airbnb Subreddit, which seems a bit wacky), so I’ll hold off putting age restrictions on, and see how things go.

“It seems though tha India is a place mostly young ppl travel”. Did you mean international travellers or locals/Indians? In either case, I’m not exactly sure what to expect. My impression is that within India the sort of people who would rent hotels/B&Bs are usually not in their teens but a little older, but that isn’t based on any hard data. And I would not expect very young people to travel internationally, either. At least not unsupervised by an adult. But, again, I don’t have any hard data.

Do you accept even accompanied small children then?

Hi @copenhagenhost,

So, you accept even small children as guests then?

There seems to be a consensus here that age limits don’t make sense.
Thanks to all of you. That’s very helpful feedback.
I’m now debating whether children accompanied by adults would be an issue.

Hi @dcmooney,

Thanks for the further comments. So, you accept even small children as guests then?
I’m not sure how much of an issue that might be…

Yes, we accept children of all ages, we do charge extra however. We aim to be family friendly and some of nicest guest have been families with younger children. We offer the use of a travel crib for babies and have a small stock of toys available.

I wouldn’t accept unaccompanied children but would never turn down a group just because of age alone, you need to rely on your gut a little when screening guests.

We have set the maximum number of guests for our place at 5 but once had a request from a group of university students who wanted to fit in 7 people - they were straight in their email that two people we happy to crash on the couch as they just needed a place to sleep after a night out.

Needless to say we declined them - but not because of their age.

.

Hi @copenhagenhost,

I see. Thanks, that’s very helpful advice.

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