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



So you never follow your gut?


That is the definition of discrimination. The last spanish speaker did X so these people will too.

You are the one who brought up they do not speak english, even put it in the title so do not be surprised when you are called out about it.



I’m not sure if Airbnb consider any of these categories that are acceptable to decline for. If for example this was Airbnb testing to see if you discriminate based on ethnicity they would probably flag your account. I’d be very interested to see if you notice any effect from this decline such as dropping in search or even being “disappeared” for while.

But you declined and moved on, right? I’m not sure what other information you need from the forum.

I’m on record here multiple times as saying I don’t and that I also don’t have other red flags. What I’ve found about “gut feelings” is that it’s a matter of something called confirmation bias. If I have a good gut feeling about the reservation and it goes well I tell myself I was right. If I have a negative feeling and things go poorly…same thing. That said I’ve hosted about 600 people and had 4 or 5 mildly negative experiences. No matter the language, ethnicity, class, etc I’ve had great luck. My most disappointing guests have been white, English speaking people with seemingly more money than me. BUT, I don’t host an entire home. I wish knew what I was doing that worked so well because I would sell it for sure.


I’d like to add that this has also been borne out in my interpersonal relationships, my career as a teacher and my experiences doing in-home boarding of dogs. For every one time my “gut feeling” was right, there were 3 times it was wrong. So I may as well play the odds.

I think my “take everyone” philosophy derives from my experience as a public school teacher. For 28 years I had to accept whomever they assigned to me.


People throw the r word at each other like snowballs. Nice. Living closely to or with a cluster of people who speak another language constantly can be challenging.


I would not have problem hosting them even though I understand your concern. Not a single guest have clearly stated that they read the house rules and would follow. Most people probably would not read. If it is a strict and unusual rule, then I would simply reiterate.

The whole concept of AIRBNB is that we, global citizens, can share our space with people from different places.

You canceled someone purely on your assumptions, which I do not think it is fair to the guests. At least you could ask for more details then decide.

Of course you have rights to follow your guts. It is your house after all. I just think that as a host with instant booking, you have to be more open than this. Otherwise you should turn off instant booking. It might hurt your ranking when you decline instant reservations often.


Yes, it certainly is for the people you host, or you live near, who can say the same thing about you. Hopefully you will do your best to bridge the gap.


This is not about living with or close to anyone, it is about declining a booking for a seperate house.



If I could give this 100 thumbs up, I would. Every reason you gave for declining this guest was based on an assumption.


It’s understandable with such a nice place you don’t want guests staying for 11 days who don’t appreciate and respect your property. I just had a young guy stay who was a first time AirBnB guest. His English wasn’t great and he didn’t tell me about their trip or who else was coming apart from it being 3 adults and he was from Hong Kong. Turned out it was three male friends. It was IB and the only thing he asked about was if the gas for the bbq was free. They were all super nice and well behaved. He even assured me of that on arrival, maybe he understood that three male friends on a road trip weren’t everybody’s favourite type of guests. I think one was married with a kid back home. Another was meeting his wife later on the trip. If it was a “boys trip” it was a pretty well behaved and low key one. Hardly worthy of a Hollywood movie.

I’ve sometimes had slight misgivings about upcoming guests which have never turned out to eventuate. I’m not one for believing in gut feelings about people who you have almost zero information about but their poor communication skills or ethnicity. There are many stories on this website of people with great communication skills turning out to be poor guests (and putting those skills to use writing long and nasty reviews later)

I’d give them a go if they have booked. Maybe reiterate you live right nearby and will be dropping by to check everything is okay, no need to say how close.

Of course if it all goes pear shaped don’t blame me! Good luck.


We have first-time renters and so far, so good! Our guests from China usually have very, very little English, and this is largely why they do not respond to my welcome emails giving them after-hours check-in information. Once they arrive, across the board they have been the most gracious guests. I soon came to understand that it was the language barrier that kept them from communicating, and nothing else. But, I’d still say trust your gut.


To be fair to you it seems like you’ve had some pretty bad experiences and therefore understandable you are less inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt.


I’m glad you mentioned confirmation bias. My “gut instinct” is mostly wrong. But then again I worked in risk management and read a lot about how people are very bad at judging risks, CB being one of the main reasons for this. The only time it was “right” was when working I figured when starting a new job that a person who started out seeming really nice and friendly would turn out be the one who gave me the most grief. Sadly this always turned out to be true. They are called sociopaths.


If I was in the same circumstances as @Keugenia I would do the same thing.

After a major drug bust like that, in an area with heavy drug cartel activity, and after a heavy bust, the cartel would be in a hurry to resupply their dealers, and yes, I would be as suspicious as she is. We have had several busts like that at hotels in our area, where they seem to prefer “suite” hotels.


I haven’t read all the responses yet (I will get to it), but I wanted to chime in with the fact that I have about 6 newbies a week and rarely have trouble. We all have to start somewhere.

I do require a few basic things: verified ID, the name of the other guests, a profile blurb that hopefully (but not always) addresses that they are respectful and a dialogue with me. I decline about two people a month.

Not related but I had my third guest today who checked out and left the front door wide open. That makes them the sixth guest who didn’t lock the door.


Keugenia, you might want to update your quiet hours … as “Quiet hours from 10 pm to 8 pm” doesn’t make that much sense … might as well make it 24 h quiet time …

Also you expect your guests to be seriously quiet at all times on the threat of having their reservation terminated by you, while your guests must acknowledge a: Potential for noise - There are neighbors with children and dogs on either side of the house.

You might also want to consider re-sorting your list of rules as to putting the most important ones first: ZERO TOLERANCE FOR SMOKING … FOR VISITORS … FOR SHOES INSIDE …
Adding an extra line between each rule will increase it’s visibility. Using less words might help as well.


Thanks, I’ll consider what you say.

So you don’t have “red flags?” Does that mean you have never declined a booking? This one was the first I’ve declined. I’ve had guests from foreign countries…and I’ve lived in foreign countries.

I’ve declined long term renters before…the most recent oneI declined to rent to was a caucasian woman my age who is a high level executive at a local hospital, but never have I declined an AirBnB guest before.

I’ve had maybe (just a guess) 200 guests since I started in August–mine are whole house STRs and nearly always multiple numbers of guests. I’ve already had a guest who died her hair purple and permanently stained the bathtub in one house, one lady who sneaked a dog in despite the “no pets”, several people who brought in more people than they booked for, and then the two parties that violated multiple rules and did damage.

I generally try to meet and greet guests, even though the houses are self check in. I don’t know if that helps with house rule compliance and cuts down on damage, but I know all the cases I cited above, except one, were guests I met in person. I wish I could figure out how to reduce the number of guests who violate house rules and do damage–anyone who figures that one out and could write a book on the subject could make a fortune.

I found this article about gut feelings to be interesting…


Thank you for the suggestion. I don’t speak Spanish. I took French in High School and Italian, German, and Japanese in college (and picked up a little more during the 2 years I lived in Japan) but I wouldn’t trust myself say anything in any of those languages except basic greetings and please and thank you. I picked up some Italian during the 2.5 years I lived there, but again, basic greetings, please, thank you and “where is the bathroom?” are about all I remember and might get correct.

The guy was, I’m pretty sure, already using Google translate because some of the words in his later messages (after I declined him) were still in Spanish and I had to look them up to translate them. Google translate will not necessarily translate every word–only the ones it recognizes. So if there is a typo or misspelled word, it’s not going to translate that. It’s better than nothing but not foolproof unfortunately.

I didn’t have any luck getting my recent guests for whom English was a second language to follow the house rules, or even some basic rules of cleanliness and politeness. Whether it was because they didn’t read the house rules, couldn’t understand the house rules, or just flat out didn’t care about the house rules, I don’t know. But I don’t want to risk our house on betting I can get people who are new to AirBnb, have no feedback, and don’t speak English to understand the house rules using Google translate.


I have instant book with only Government ID required so the guests in your OP would have been able to book. I have cancelled three (of 500+) after they booked. One was a repeat guest who I’d hosted along with her dog 4 previous times. She was a pain and I didn’t enjoy hosting her. On her 5th booking she gave me an opening to cancel and block and I took it. Another cancellation was a woman with multiple bad reviews (I’ve posted about her here several times as an example of someone who remains on Airbnb despite multiple bad reviews and thumbs downs). Another one I canceled in Dec was listed as a local. There was something else but I can’t recall now what the issue was.

I have “red flags” in my mind but rarely use them to impact my hosting. Now a guest with multiple bad reviews was enough to cancel but mostly I just wait and see. For example I had a woman asking a lot of questions including about safety and she had a pet. I answered, sent a special offer with pet fee included and waited. She didn’t book before it expired. Two days later she contacted me again with more questions and after I answered she asked me to re-send the offer which I did. Those were “flags” but she and her husband and dog were fantastic 5 star guests.

I repeat: I don’t have entire houses. I’m right here in the next room. There wasn’t a large drug bust on my street. Your references to language and nationality just put members here on alert to (as your article says) cognitive biases that you may or may not have. I think we are all prone to them no matter how well meaning or well traveled we are. I try to take extra care to not let them influence my hosting decisions.

I asked before and I ask again: what is it you want from the members of the forum? You already made your decision when you posted. You said

and yet you’ve had time to post here about it. It’s slow winter time and bookings are scarce but you don’t have energy?

What I’m sensing is this: you’re afraid and this fear is centered on language and ethnicity. You don’t like that either. You don’t want to feel that way but you are and thought by posting maybe you could get some reassurance. Some people would do the same as you, some wouldn’t so you just have to do what you think is best. It would be really interesting to find out where they end up staying and asking the host (assuming it’s Airbnb, not a hotel) how they were as guests. It would be really satisfying to find out they were awful. LOL.


I’m sorry, but I don’t know their ethnicity. I know the person speaks Spanish, and I know the country their profile says they are from, and I know their gender. One can assume things from that information, including ethnicity, and one might very well be wrong about it. My first husband was from Holland with a very Dutch last name. He was, however, at least half Indonesian and quite dark.

That’s very true!

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