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Should I host guests new to AirBnB with zero feedback whom I suspect don’t speak English?



Got a request to host a guy (4 people in the party) who is brand new to AirBnB and has no feedback. He submitted his reservation request and said nothing except “Hi.” I have instant book turned on for the listing but you have to have feedback and be verified to use it. He’s verified with government ID but it’s a foreign country government ID. I strongly suspect he speaks little or no English.

I declined his reservation—the first guest I have ever declined. AirBnB wanted to know why and I told them I was not comfortable with the guest because he was brand new, had no feedback and I suspected did not speak English because he had not acknowledged that he had read and agreed with my house rules and had said nothing about the purpose of his trip or the other people who would be in the party.

AirBnB requested I contact the guest and tell him why I was declining his booking, so I did. He seems to have taken this as an invitation to open a dialogue.

I answered his first comeback with “I’m glad you understand my concerns.” And ended with “I’m sorry.” He answered back again, assuring me he was “mainly clean and responsible”! There were a few words in Spanish I had to look up to translate his reply because google translate neglected to do so.

Honestly, I think I should just ignore this guy now. I told him “no” and told him I was sorry. Any recommendations if he persists in contacting me? Will AirBnB penalize me for not wanting to accept a no feedback newbie with little or no English?

It’s a single family three bedroom, two bath house. It’s very nicely furnished and I have strict house rules to help ensure it stays that way. I live only 1/2 mile from the listing so I could kinda keep an eye on it, but that’s not foolproof.

I’m interested in how other hosts would handle this. What would y’all do? Money is not the deciding factor. It would be nice to get the money from an eleven day booking but we can get along without it.

This is the link to the listing. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/28834546?adults=4&children=0&infants=0&toddlers=0&check_in=2019-02-11&check_out=2019-02-22


Everyone is new at some time, I have had plenty of first timers and only one was a real issue.


I’ve had loads of first time AirBnB guests—in fact, I believe the majority of them had no feedback and were new to AirBnB. I had a problem with only two—and in each case English was not their first language. They did however, have at least one person in the party who could speak some English. In both cases, they violated the No smoking rule.

Besides smoking, one party booked another one of my listings (a lovely historic home that sleeps up to 10 people) for five people—but showed up with nine, including a toddler. They took a brand afghan with them when they left. They checked out late. They slept on top of the expensive comforters and quilts. I would have cancelled their booking when they showed up with four extra guests and one of them started smoking…but it was Christmas and they were foreigners and I did not want to ruin their Christmas.

The other party stayed at the listing in the link. They broke the no smoking rule. They were only there a week and my husband checked inside the house halfway through their stay (I was out of town and couldn’t). They had the central heat set on 76 degrees—and they were at work! They slept on top on my nice comforters and quilts. They left behind keys and a shirt I had to mail to them. Those were minor, if annoying things (besides the smoking). The thing they did which made me leave them a bad review was that one of them vomited on an upholstered chair and did not clean it up, and did not notify us so we could come clean it up!

So I am afraid of a possible repeat. But even if the new guys were exemplary guests, I don’t really have the time or energy to spend on trying to communicate with them.


Some of the best guests I have hosted have been limited speaking English individuals but of course if you are uncomfortable then decline.


I would guess that at least half my guests are first timers. In regards to communicating with non-english speaking guests, there are phone apps where the guest can speak in their language and you can get the translated version and visa versa. You can also use an online translator to send messages. If you are worried about smoking put up the universal sign for non-smoking and mention it often in your messages.


By all means follow your instincts but don’t arbitrarily block some one because of their being new with Airbnb or not speaking English. When we first listed we got a booking for 3 nights from someone who was as new to Airbnb as we were. This first timer EXTENDED for 17 more days! We are in Thailand and get a lot of Chinese guests who don’t speak English but are excellent at using Google Translate. If we were to exclude them because of language proficiency (lack of) we would loose half of our business.


We’ve had lots of first-timers, including Chines and French who spoke hardly any English. It’s all part of the fun of being a host! Please don’t assume that because somebody is foreign they’re not worthy of trust and respect!


Given your experiences and the amount of effort required to communicate to a level that would make you comfortable I completely understand and support your decision, especially given the responses you have been getting when explaining your position. It is unfortunate for them (and maybe you if they would be perfect guests) but they did not take the information you gave them and use it to their advantage to turn you into a believer to change your decision. If nothing else, you have saved your peace of mind for this booking. Maybe a final message indicating that your decision is final for this booking, thank them for their interest in your property, encourage them to come back when they have more experience with Airbnb and have several 5 star reviews.


The language should not be an issue, that is what Google translate is for. I would think that Air would rightly consider it discrimination since you told them that was one of your reasons. You do not live in the house who cares what language they speak.



I CARE because I have nice houses and I have stringent house rules to keep them that way. They don’t seem to be reading the house rules or, if they have read them, they aren’t indicating that they will abide by them.


Yes, this is important. I have three single family AirBnB houses in our town. They are all within a mile of my house. In one of my AirBnB houses, the one in a really nice neighborhood, just two houses down the street from it, this happened in October.


I don’t see why some guy from Central America who speaks no English would come to a small West Virginia town in the middle of winter. He says they are coming for work and there are four of them. Seems hinky to me.


Wow, seems hinky to you sounds like discrimination to me.



Did you try responding in Spanish? Google translate works well



How does their home country, their language and amount of gentlemen arriving at your Airbnb have anything to do with their ability to follow the house rules? They are coming for work. And obviously they have paid in full in advance for the space.… Perhaps you should just ask them point-blank what color their skin is? Would that satisfy you as to the appropriateness of staying at your location?


I have never turned down a guest on the basis of language. Most people have a sprinkling of English, and vice versa. But this is a situation involving indoctrination into Air, and involving several people. Too rich for my blood.


You are both entitled to your opinion, of course. Perhaps you didn’t read, or skimmed over, some of the information I gave. I’m uncomfortable with these guests because of recent, prior, NEGATIVE experience, where these guests seemed to be very similar to the guests I had problems with. All the guests I’ve recently had issues with spoke limited English, didn’t follow the house rules (especially about NO SMOKING), and did other undesirable things–like vomit on the furniture and not clean it up and show up with 4 more guests than they had booked–and take things–like a brand new afghan–that didn’t belong to them.

My prior experience is that if they don’t speak or understand English well, they either aren’t reading the house, or they aren’t understanding them, even when I’ve told them in person. Or maybe I’ve just been unlucky and the guests I had that didn’t speak English well were just jerks anyway.


Then why not correspond in Spanish to be sure they understand the rules?



Sorry, I do not understand. Why would their language or place of embarcation suggest that any of these ‘bad guest’ issues happen? I’m not understanding how this tells you, for example, that someone who does not speak English is more prone to vomiting? ‘Asking for a friend’…


Sorry, I forgot to address this point. He didn’t say what work they were coming for–not who they were working for or what kind of job they be doing–no details at all. The reservation was requested for 4 people and he simply said they were coming for work. In the beginning, when he made the booking request, he only said “Hi” and absolutely nothing else. It wasn’t until I declined his booking that he told me they were coming for work. When he made the booking request, he provided zero information except for the dates they wanted and the number of people. No mention that he had read my house rules or why they were coming–nothing!

This is a small town in West Virginia. People that come here for work fall into only a few categories, in my experience, because we just don’t have that many employers here. People coming for work here are generally 1. Engineers coming to work at one of the plants on a short term project or doing special plant maintenance or repair 2. Professionals coming in from Washington DC to the federal agency–Bureau of Fiscal Services–that is headquartered here 3. Traveling nurses or doctors 4. People working on the natural gas pipeline going in about 50 miles from here 5. Professionals relocating here that need temporary housing until they buy a place of their own.

I don’t care what kind of work it is, or who they are working for, as long as it’s legal. But we recently had a major drug cartel bust here, right in our small town, that ended up being a multi-state bust and the largest bust ever in West Virginia or Ohio (our town is right on the Ohio River). The cartel was operating out of Central America. They were operating in ordinary family neighborhoods out of rental houses.


I’m not saying they were drug dealers. I’m saying I was uncomfortable with the level of information he was willing to provide, the difficulties in communicating, his lack of experience with AirBnB, and the lack of any prior feedback of any kind AND I was uncomfortable because of my recent negative experiences with similar guests.


I would accept the reservation.

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