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



I do require verified government ID. It’s a good idea to get the names of all the guests. I don’t do that; I have enough trouble just getting people to acknowledge they have read and agree to follow the house rules.

This is the very first time I have ever declined a guest.

Oh, WOW. That is super scary.


Posting on the forum I can do when I have the time. Dealing with guests I have to do when they are available and that isn’t always a convenient time for me. Frequently, because I have three houses, I will have two or three sets of guests checking in on the same day. Usually, when guests check in, I have just finished cleaning the house for their stay (along with my cleaner) and I am already tired and stressed. So yes, no energy and no time.

I am afraid, which is why I declined. My fear centers on several things: (1) lack of a common language to communicate in (2) their country of origin–which is not the same as ethnicity. (3) the large size of the group.

I would have accepted the booking if it were one person who didn’t speak English…maybe even if it were two who didn’t speak English…but four? That’s at least a couple of people too many to try to explain everything to.

I have never had a booking where it was a single guest and had any trouble or damage or rule breaking. Only once have the rule breakers been a couple. Most of my rule breakers have been parties of four or more.

True, I don’t like feeling this way. I was not looking specifically for reassurance, but for information on how others would deal, or have dealt, with such situations. Naturally, everyone else’s situation is different from mine. It is helpful to get other people’s viewpoints to help keep yourself in check, and to learn and grow.

I’ve resigned myself to never knowing…unless, of course, they are so bad it is featured on the news!


I was just looking your profile; apparently you are well travelled, speak languages other that English, how do your manage travelling when you don’t speak the language?

Perhaps you should specify in your listing “we accept guests whom speak only fluent English”

Ahh…Your potential guests were Spanish speaking from Central America…Kinda sounds like host racial profiling.


Odviously this request triggered several “redflags” for you and you chose to go with your gut feelings. I completely agree with you. If the guest had taken the time and effort about communicating with you the outcome may have been different.
Guests need to realize that they have a responsibility to be transperent especially when they are new to Air.


I didn’t have time to read all the replies, but we turned IB on early on and yes, I would definitely accept this guest. If they’re here for work they’ll probably be gone all day and go to sleep early. The only people I’ve declined are a couple of third party bookings (against Air’s TOS)…I think that might be it, I don’t recall declining anyone else. Regarding the smoking, get a visual sign, one of those ones of a cigarette in a circle with a red line through it and hang it up. No language barrier with that. The leap from them being foreign to being part of a cartel is quite a leap! Now I know why Air has to worry about discrimination by hosts.


And why eventually everyone will be forced to be on IB, or at least everyone with a separate house/room. If Airbnb could be trusted to pay for damages maybe people would be less afraid.


This made me laugh SO much!
Sorry, I have nothing useful to add to the discussion. Around 80% of my guests are non-English speakers. If I excluded them, I’d have no business.


After several that also left the house unsecured I added a house rule that fines them $50 for doing so. So far Airbnb has paid me it about half the time…because unfortunately it continues to happen. I can quickly correct it now though from anywhere with the August Smart Lock.


I like it, thanks for the tip. I’m implementing it!


Right. I understand your concern. If they made the effort to communicate with you then you might be able to meet them half way. I think people who travel should make the effort to communicate in the native language of whatever country they are in. They didn’t make the effort. I would also decline.


As we see on this forum, many airbnb hosts are not native to the countries they live in, or are in countries like the USA, which has no official or unofficial ‘national language’.


We are in the hospitality BUSINESS, It is outrageous and so very american to expect people to speak english. Meet the guest halfway, use google translate and be gracious.



I would venture to say that in the U.S. English is the native language. Today, at least.


What I expect is someone to make an effort to communicate, period, in whatever language they speak. They could use Google translate or another app. They are not meeting the Host half way by confirming that they’ve read the House Rules. We all know how difficult it is to get money from guests for damaging a home. And, in the end, it is her home.


It is a business, but we open our homes, not a store or even hotel, to people. Every Host is entitled to set up rules and have the guests acknowledge that they’ve read the rules. If there’s a problem then Airbnb would expect something in writing that the guest read and understood the rules. I can imagine how the language barrier may present a problem if something bad should happen. I also know that things may just turn out fine, but it’s not my home. They should try to make themselves understood, too. Sounds like they did not. You sound biased against Americans by assuming that we all insist that everyone speak English. hmmmmmm


Being English, I would argue that English is rarely spoken in the US. However, American is spoken quite a lot. :wink:

I’ve had a very good (free) translation app on my phone for years and it works brilliantly. It also distinguishes between English, American, Canadian and Indian English so you can imagine that it makes short work of languages such as Cebuano, Gujarati, Igbo or Azerbaijani for example.

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