Signals that your upcoming guest may need some extra attention

The whole ‘red flag’ guest thing has been done to death and many hosts have different ideas on what it constitutes. I was wondering what things confirmed guests ask just prior to their arrival that make your eyebrows raise,

Here’s my latest: “Hi! Our plane lands at 5pm so we should be with you at around 5.30”.
I don’t care where you’re from or whether it’s a teeny tiny place that has an airport in the centre of town, unless my listing is actually situated in the terminal building itself right next to luggage reclaim… how on earth do you imagine you will arrive at my door in 30 minutes?

To me that’s the sign of someone who has no experience of travel and no concept of time. Alert is on to be extra thorough going through check-in.

And old one, but a favourite, is; “Oh I just saw you have a cat. Does it live on the property?”
I’m a live-in host. The cat is featured in photos, text, all relevant categories and he’s often mentioned in reviews.
I wanted to say “No, He’s just some wild feral cat in the neighbourhood that we decided to name. I think he lives in the bushes down the street. No need to worry, he only attacks at night and just the ankles”.


For me it’s the ones who message to ask the address, how to get there and how to get in. It is included in my listing that they must download the August Smart Lock app on their phone and sign up for an account and let me know if they don’t have a smart phone or have any issues with it.

In similar, but opposite, vein, I had three young women down from London to stay, all geneticists so presumably with a brain of sorts between them. How wrong could I be? Whilst one of them is fussing GeorgeTheCat, another says “we didn’t realise that you live here too”.

Given photos of The Head Housekeeper and Under Butler, I wondered if they thought the cats served breakfast.

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Yes, that always provokes a sigh. But I recently booked a place and the full address is not given on the itinerary, There’s just a whole load of suggestions of “things to do” and a link to googlemaps that is not very precise. Maybe it’s clearer on the app, I don’t know.
But it’s seriously crap. I will be more forgiving with guests asking this question in the future.


But if you booked your place would you get your actual address?

they don’t read anything in the listing

A little late…but hear is today’s red flag and I did decline the request. Are the other rooms being rented (specifically stated we rent both rooms)? One night stay…can we use the washer/dryer? Does anybody else use the kitchen? Are there any pets with fur? (We are specific no pet policy) but no pets on property. Then I read her profile…she is allergic to pets…ok…Absolutely Vegan (won’t allow anyone to eat meat in the same home)…aah nope can’t tell other guests what they can or can not eat… No dust (we do our best) but it is extremely dry and dusty here in the winter (no matter how much we dust you walk outside and there is dust). No polyester of any kind in the premises…all natural fibers must be inside the room. No plastics of any kind…aaah…we have sheet protectors on the bed…etc etc. The topper was she had been a member since 2015 and absolutely no reviews…


So where did she stay prior to Airbnb? Most hotels are polyester central unless really high end…

Someone is dictating ridiculous terms to you about your home. She gets through her day in a large plastic bubble that prevents contact with the human race. Face it, even a hospital couldn’t accommodate her. Bullet dodged.


For us it’s guests that go out of their way to say, directly or indirectly, that they are the best kind of guests. “The ideal tenants” because they are a picture perfect family or Super Hosts. Spoiler alert: they are never. Total mental projection.

For those who watch the Netflix show Instant Hotel, it is like Serena, who wears her Top 1% Trip Advisor Reviewer as a badge of honor.


my (so far only) more difficult guest was actually a friend of a friend… spilled wine on the wall (a fine long line of red wine from top to bottom, I’m still amazed at how it even happened, I would not be able to replicate it), could not understand that check out time does not mean “it’s ok to still have your luggage in the bedroom, your lunch in the fridge and come have it on the terrasse after your morning swim and take a quick shower after the beach right before the other guests arrive because you have sand all over and walk all over the apartment with said sand dripping from all your clothes…” My mom was doing the check out and I was frantically sms’ing the lady asking her to please leave asap so we can turn the place around and so all this created unnecessary stress. Thankfully the other guests were arriving later than planned so we had time to clean everything.

Prior signals to that behavior: none, really. She was friendly, communicated well, recommended. I believe guests in general want to behave well as much as we want to host them well… Maybe she believed I would not dare leaving a less than stellar review or I would be willing to bend the rules because of the friend connection. So, no signal, but lesson learned: even if recommended, have the guest clearly acknowledge house rules, including check in and out times, prior to the stay


This is based purely on my own experience and observations: usually my alarm goes off when a potential guest ask too many (obvious) questions and blatantly refused to read the property description or do a little bit of research.
My property is located in a well-known apartment complex, and I wrote the name of the complex in the property name. I have provided very detailed and accurate property descriptions on Airbnb too.
Recently, I got an inquiry asking, among other things, if it had sauna and steam rooms (no! never claimed it had), if it has a supermarket on site (no!), if it has a restaurant on site (no!) and the distance to various places in town (something which could be researched very easily using Google Maps). I had an inkling this guest might be problematic, but I accepted his booking anyway. And yes, he turned out to be a pain!
So… I now usually reject inquiries from these type of people. Yes, opportunity lost, but I am saner and less stressed out.


OMG I just got the same - a family of 4 with 2 little kids ages 3 and 4, with strollers, luggage, etc.

I know the strollers were an issue because she specifically asked if there was room to store the strollers outside of the apartment!

Our flight is arriving at 7 so we should be at the apartment at 7:30 she tells me!

Are you kidding?!? Even if our apartment was located on the runway she would not be there by 7:30.

Not to mention we are a 55 minute drive from the airport!

I think she knew this very well but wanted to prepare the argument not to pay the late check in fee.!



The trick is to find out before the booking… not always possible!

I just had similar, so many questions - he wanted to know the number of hangars in the closet and other things mentioned in the listing like is there a clothes washer etc…, the pre-approval lapsed, I booked the dates myself and said oops sorry I got another reservation.

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What does this mean? You mean you blocked the dates or you paid to reserve your own room?

Well you just go into your calendar and privately block the dates.
Even if you have a pre-approval pending it won’t turn into a booking because the dates will be blocked.
In this case I waited until the pre-approval lapsed because I didn’t want to be confrontational.
Once I did it during the pre-approval and the person couldn’t book it worked fine.

This is great for pre-approvals on Homeaway which run for like 4 days. If you change your mind or the person is rude enough not to respond you can block a day or two during the stay and they can’t book. Just don’t forget to go back and free up the dates after the required time though.

Yes, I know how to do that and have done that and recommended to others here to use that trick. It was just your use of the words “booked the dates.” I was going to tell you you didn’t have to book them. :slight_smile:

Just another case of lost in translation.

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This is so true. I’ve learned that guests who feel it necessary to tell me that they are ‘really clean and tidy’ are very likely to be slobs. Mental projection - exactly!

Oh and Serena from Instant Hotel - that was hilarious. She was so critical and yet her place was canned by everyone. I can still see the close-up shot of all that debris under the sofa!

Now that would really scare me!! If someone is so clueless that they haven’t got used to the sheer amount of time it takes to organise kids when travelling… I think you are right about the attempt to avoid the late check-in fee. But then she must think YOU’RE really stupid if you’ll fall for that, so all in all - not a good sign :unamused:

I had a woman who was bringing, among other people and animals, a parrot! She ended up canceling saying that “I” wasn’t comfortable with her. I kept telling her I had no problem but just had questions to be able to basically ensure she was satisfied and the animals were all ok and my house was ok. She was a flake for sure. Tried to get me to cancel thinking I didn’t know how Airbnb worked…she was definitely gaming the system. So glad she canceled.