Son Books for Parents as a Gift!

I just received a booking for a couple months out. Hurray, right? I’ve glossed over remarks that address third party booking is risky?

The parents are the guests, he’s the sweet son (w/credit card and I review on his Air account).

I need to request a change in who does the booking? Seems to kill the gift aspect. Halp!

This is one time I would let a 3rd party booking slide – as long as you add a note to your response that tells Sonny that this is NOT appropriate for Airbnb use.

I assume the problem with someone else than the guest doing the booking is the guest has no responsibility? Can’t I still go after the person that did the booking?

Thanks for the input.

You are in the business of renting to random people. I would not care.


One of the issues with 3rd party bookings is that the listing info, amenities offered, house rules, etc, more often than not, are not conveyed to the guests who are staying by the booker. So if you accept this one, be very firm and clear with the son that once he’s sprung the surprise, he then needs to sit down with his parents and make sure they are fully aware of what has been booked, read through th entire listing together, so they will have a happy stay. Older folks can have some unreasonable expectations, especially if they’ve only ever stayed in hotels, so this is really important. You don’t want them assuming you’re going to do a daily cleaning with fresh towels and sheets every day, or expecting breakfast if it’s not provided.


The other problem with third-party bookings is that the person (people) who stays at your house is not actually a registered guest. If that person causes problems, Airbnb won’t help. They don’t always help with registered guests, anyway, but sometimes they do.

That being said, I would simply note in a response on the Airbnb platform to the son that you don’t usually accept third-party bookings but will be happy to, given the gift situation.

And, by the way, Airbnb used to be very down on third-party bookings when we first started. Over the years, they’ve gotten more lax. When I first asked, they would strictly say “against policy.” When I’ve asked more recently, they’ve said “it’s up to the host.”

We have accepted some third-party bookings, and they’ve turned out fine.

To elaborate on @muddy 's point about listing details not being conveyed to the actual guests, the real problem is that no communication is conveyed. E.g. things like check-in instruction, or communication during the stay. Maybe since it’s family, they can install the app on their phone and log in to their son’s account, but it’s more likely you’ll have to use text, e-mail or some other off-platform communication method, so if you keep the reservation, make sure you work that out up front.

I don’t see how you could.

Me too, for what it’s worth.

BTW, an upside is that if they leave you a bad review, you can probably get it removed.

That’s exactly right. The Guest could trash your place completely, the person doing the booking would not be held responsible, and you have no information about the guest as far as how to contact them to hold them responsible.

We’ve had this scenario several times. Never an issue.

To be frank, the longer we host the less we get bothered about third party bookings. With BDC there is no restriction and anyone can book for any other individual. We have no idea if the named guest is the person who actually paid for the booking.

Our policy now is that we look at it on a case by case basis. If we are uncomfortable with a booking, we can always simply cancel it.

As regards “going after” a guest for damages, we have our own insurance for major damages and for minor damage we look at that as simply being the cost of doing business. We are on site and I think this does reduce the potential for many issues folks post about on here.



Same here.
We have had plenty of them, no issues at all.

We have insurance, and all guest have to register upon arrival anyways.

I’d tell him that it’s against the rules, but you are willing to accept it “just this once” if he is willing to take all the financial responsibility for his parents’ actions (for instance, they break your $2000 Ming vase, he has to pay for it), and he tells them all your house rules and explains the difference between your place and a hotel (as others have mentioned).

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Here’s what I would do. Tell son that you are going to need to have Airbnb change the booking to parents BUT you will wait until he tell them. Then he can help them set up an Airbnb account for them (I often suspect the children just make a new account that they access.) and then HE can call Airbnb and tell them that they need to move the reservation into the parents name. Put this all in your message to him so that Customer service can see that you approved this. DO NOT GET INVOLVED with trying to make the change and if CS says they can’t do it, tell son that he should call back and get another CS rep. I do this all the time. Sometimes it goes smoothly sometimes CS doesn’t have a clue.

This one I’d let slide. I’d ask the son to provide me his parents numbers so I could send my regular communications via text.

If the risk of damage is daunting, call Airbnb and have them help to create an account for the parents and move the rez. Air’s damage coverage is so useless I wouldn’t make a stink over it.

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I messaged the guest based on several suggestions regarding house rules, expectation, etc. No reply so far. Will update if anything exciting results.

Thanks all for the input.

I stopped accepting third party bookings after I learned that it voids the host guarantee. When I call to cancel third-party bookings, the CS agent will ask me to make an exception and host anyways, and I insist upon the cancellation.

You might decide it is worth the risk. The perk, as other posters have noted, is you can get the review removed if it is unfavorable since the “guest” didn’t actually stay.

When I allowed third-party bookings, some were fine. But communication was often an issue. One young woman dropped her elderly, hard-of-hearing father off and left him to fend for himself. Another time the guests burnt a pizza in the microwave in the middle of the night, and I had no way to contact them except knocking on the door in the middle of the night. These guests usually have difficulty with something or another since they didn’t actually read or choose the listing.

Canceling and asking the guest to rebook isn’t a perfect fix but can help. I had a third party booking last summer where the nephew actually canceled and made an account for his uncle/aunt to rebook. The guests ended up having an awful stay because, again, they didn’t read or choose a listing suitable to their needs so they didn’t realize they were staying in a basement or below a family. The guest lectured me upon checkout and I was just a broken record, “it’s in the listing, it’s in the reviews” until she left. Luckily they did not review me, and I was able to leave an honest review of them (“guest did not read the listing and was unhappy with their stay”).

I’m another one who would accept this booking without question. However, I would definitely ask for their (parents) direct contact details prior to check-in so I can communicate with them directly.