Signed up today, question about host photos

Hello everyone. I signed up today because i love hosting for my friends from out of town and figured hey, might as well make a little side cash while im at it.

After signing up i got two people interested in staying. However, I couldn’t see their pictures. After some quick googling i was surprised to see AirBnB made a really dumb decision to no longer allow hosts to see the guests picture until after accepting. This is obviously ridiculous but its their platform, so whatever.

My question is, is there a way around this? Can you ask for a picture first via messages? Or will I have to give up this little side gig before it even began?

This issue has been discussed on here several times before. Do have a look at the previous discussions.

There is an option you can tick on your listing to say you want to see photos of guests on booking. If you use IB you will see them straight away. If people need to request to book, you will see photos once the booking is confirmed.

You can’t ask for photos in advance - the whole point of the change is to avoid discrimination.

It would seem rather an over-reaction to give up hosting because you can’t see a guest photo until they book.

If on booking you are uncomfortable ie because they are pictured with a gun or right wing imagery you can ask Airbnb to cancel.


Actually, there’s no guarantee that you automatically can see the guest’s photo after they book because Airbnb doesn’t require guests to put up real photos of themselves. You do get to see the photo the guest put in their profile, but it’s not necessarily a photo of the guest. Looking at my reservations for January-March of this year, there are 14 and this is what the profile photos are like:

1 dog
1 cat
1 group photo of 13 people with not enough detail to make out a face
1 family photo from 50 years ago (literally) when the guest was 6 years old.
3 guest/spouse photos
2 guest/friend photos
5 photos of one person with a clear face (i.e. what you’d expect)

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I have often written here that one of my best ever guests was the Taj Mahal :slight_smile:

A photograph is no indication at all about what the guest actually looks like. I’ve hosted lovely guests whose photos have been of a baby, flowers, a beach, a car, the back of the head…

Even in this day and age people are still reluctant to reveal themselves online. The fact that a guest doesn’t have a photograph (or a photograph of something else) doesn’t matter at all - they might still be delightful people. (But note that it may well matter to a guest who has been refused accommodation in the past because of their race or other aspect of their physical appearance - which is Airbnb’s rationale for this move).

I had a lovely guest who looked so sweet in her photograph but in reality had bright pink hair and was covered in tats and piercings. I was also once mildly apprehensive about hosting a guest who looked totally scary in her photo - like a halloween mask - but who was very pretty and a lovely girl.


The guests photos and Airbnb verifications are meaningless. The photos can be anything and Air does not share the verifications. I have it in my house rules that I need a copy of ID at check in. I only give the door code once the guest sends a picture of ID.


Hi @Gabe_Cooper and welcome - since you’re brand new I also want to make sure you’re aware that this forum has NO official affiliation with Airbnb. Many basic questions can also be answered through Airbnb’s help / FAQ section.

Well actually there is, if you do as I do and say as part of your house rules you only accept bookings from guests that provide a clear profile photo of themselves.

I have hosted for three and a half years, had hundreds of guests and only had one guest provide a cartoon character, who then updated it for me with a photo of themselves on request.

I can’t say why your listing attracts guests who don’t provide a photo of themselves - but if it is important to you, do as I do, add the profile photo requirement into your house rules and you can ask Airbnb to cancel anyone who doesn’t provide you with a clear photo of themselves.

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As others have indicated you don’t need pictures to be a successful host. Mind you there are hosts who absolutely won’t accept a guest without a clear picture before they stay but they will get it after the reservation. Something you should be aware of is that Airbnb is moving quickly toward a hotel model: no photos, no approving requests, flexible cancellation policies, etc.

Depending on how much competition there is where you want to host what will end this side gig for you will be lack of bookings. After your new host boost ends (we don’t know how long that is) you will probably have to enable instant book to be competititive. And if you only take guests who have used Airbnb before that will also limit you.

Welcome to the forum. Read as much as you can here before you have problems, not after and you will find it worth your time.

I figured I would establish Im not doing this because I need the money. I own a successful business in town that takes up most of my time. It has allowed me to purchase this rather large house but It gets a little quiet and lonely when you work this much.

I thought it might be cool to host for people from time to time and planned on being very picky about who can stay. Im not looking to be a super successful AirBnB’er. I just cant let someone into my home if I don’t know what they look like though. I might add the thing to my house rules and see how it goes.


Lol or left wing imagery


As long as you understand that is the opposite of what Airbnb wants and you will be “rewarded” with low search ranking, that’s fine. For example, when people request to book and you decline, that counts against you. Don’t be fooled by the Airbnb rhetoric.

OTOH you won’t know until you try and the barrier to entry is low. Give it a go and see if it works for you.

I would suggest this now, no reason to wait like I said Air verifications and photos are useless. I would put it in the house rules you require a picture of photo ID and valid email address prior to check in. Also you should download the Airreview widget so you can see how the guest rate their host. With instant book you can cancel if you are uncomfortable with a guest. So if they have bad reviews or leave bad reviews cancel. If they refuse to send ID cancel. If their profile pic has a guy with a beer in hand cancel, not that there is anything wrong with drinking a beer but to include it on profile pic is immature and shows they do not care. I would go as far as to say do not even require they are recommended by other host, do your own vetting check Facebook, search for their email address you require in your rules. It is up to us to do these things Air and the rest are just advertising/booking platforms.

My best advice is to treat this like a business, always ask yourself what is the best business decision when confronted with a decision.

Good luck, come back and ask questions here there is a wealth of experience to draw on here.


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