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Third party booking issues

#1

I’ve had an increasing number of attempts at third party bookings of late. It seems that Airbnb doesn’t do much to educate guests on the issue as they book. I think they should have buttons that say “I am making.a.reservation for someone else” and “I am making a reservation for myself” and checking the “someone else” button would take them to a page explaining third party bookings and a link to send the real guest an invite to register with Airbnb.

This spring I’ve had a couple of statements about booking for relatives and I explain it all and deny the request. If they instant book, I have them cancel.

One booking didnt come up in the radar until I sent a check in message a week ahead of arrival. My message includes the same language as my house rules which include no third party bookings, unregistered guests, etc. The guest replied that it was her teenage (minor) nephew who would be staying. I had her cancel and also reported her to Airbnb. I was left with no booking but glad to avoid turning him away at check in.

Yesterday I got an instant booking and the guest notified me that it was third party for relatives. I requested that they cancel and she replied that she wouldn’t get a full refund and requested that I cancel. I reported it all to Airbnb and once again told her that she needed to cancel. She did and messaged me that she got ZERO refund. I was perplexed as I have a moderate policy and she was well within 48 hours of booking. She said the software reported “no refund due host polices” ??? I referred her back to customer service.

It seems obvious that no one reads the house rules and Airbnb doesn’t explain this fully. Sooner or later someone is coming to my door to check in and will be turned away. Has anyone been through this?

5 Likes
#2

https://airhostsforum.com/t/third-party-bookings-are-aging-me/31862/35

1 Like
#3

I have a booking this Saturday (made through Booking.com) for a family attending a nearby wedding.

The father made the one-bedroom online reservation for his daughter and son-in-law four weeks ago. I think the young couple does not have the money on their credit card to afford reserving it themselves.

The father telephoned me two days ago, asking if he and his wife could also stay in our downstairs two-bedroom rental unit, which our second-bedroom is available.

The father and I had a very enjoyable phone chat and I suggested a few local restaurants before his family arrives this Saturday. I also allowed them to check-in two hours early, so the family may dress and relax before the 3 p.m. wedding. My wife and I live full-time on the upper main floor, and it is not an inconvenience for their early arrival.

But I did tell the father to please update his Booking.com reservation to include both bedrooms, which we charge $125 each per-night. As of now, his online reservation payment has not been increased to reflect the second bedroom.

The father might just hand me $125 in cash, when the family arrives on Saturday. We’ll see.

#4

Cash payments bother me on issues like liability, taxes and no contract.

But what to do if he shows and hasn’t paid? You already have his family in the other unit. Your response/request could have been moved by his spam filter too.

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#5

No, I verbally told the father during last Tuesday’s phone conversation that he had to upgrade the reservation payment.

#6

Cash payments? Love’em.

Dinero negro we call it here :slight_smile:

Sort your taxes out at the end of the year and declare what you want to, but if you have a proper STR insurance policy in place liability isn’t an issue. My paperwork is somewhat fluid.

JF

#7

Yep :slight_smile:

The only time I object to third party bookings (as I’ve said several times in some of the many threads about the subject) is if the person booking makes it very very very clear in the message that they are booking for someone else.

The reason for this, which is quite possibly paranoia I admit, is because we’ve all read about people who have had their accounts closed down ‘for no reason’.

Airbnb currently say that third party bookings aren’t allowed but they’re quite happy to turn a blind eye. But until they say “hey, third party is no problem” then I don’t want anything in writing on their platform to prove that I’ve accepted the third party booking. There’s no point having something written there that can be held against me if anything goes pear-shaped in the future.

Exactly. I imagine that the reason hosts get so bothered about third party bookings is that they aren’t ‘covered’ by Airbnb. Ha.

1 Like
#8

I’m looking forward to the update on this. This has what many here call “red flags.” I think chances are better than even that this will be no problem. So let us know which it ends up being.

2 Likes
#9

Yes, that really is their attitude. But, to be perfectly honest, as long as the payment goes through, the guests don’t cause a riot and my six sense doesn’t twitch I really don’t care.

We take bookings from BDC and to the best of my knowledge they don’t take a position on third party bookings. Why do I know? So often my OH acted as my travel agent when I used to go here there and everywhere for work. Most of my pillow time was via BDC, as it was usually a one nighter, and the ABB’s were always after two min.

If you are reliant on ABB’s “host guarantee” then you are deluded. If you offer space as a STR then you need proper insurance in place, specifically the public liability element. If the worlds finest concert pianist came to Jerez, got wasted on the sherry, then slipped and broke his wrist coming back into my gaff, would I expect ABB to back me up when the lawsuit for €2m euros hit my doorstep? No chance.

ABB is a lead provider, nowt else.

JF

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#10

Mine has several times booked for his (very) elderly parents who don’t know a computer from a cucumber. They are, of course, the most respectable, responsible people and knowing my MIL, the places were cleaner when they left than when they arrived. There will have been no smoking, no boozing and definitely no all night parties.

Just an advertising platform, or a sort of Tinder for accommodation - introducing host and guest. That’s all.

2 Likes
#11

Ok, do I swipe left or right to reject a booking request. Think carefully before you answer :wink:

JF

2 Likes
#12

Airbnb will indeed turn a blind eye. Here’s an excerpt from a reply by customer service: “My name is [redacted] with Airbnb, thanks for reaching out today. We generally do not allow third party booking unless it is specifically for business travel and the guest is part of our Airbnb for Work program. If the guest mentions this prior to booking and you as the host are OK with the situation we generally do not take any action. “

But in the help files Airbnb states “We require Airbnb reservations booked for personal travel to be booked by the person who’s going to stay at the listing.” They go on to say that the person booking should send them an invite to register their own account.

I had a recent guest using her daughter’s account and booked and canceled three times, finally getting her own account established and making a successful “legal” booking. She was a good guest after all was done, but what a mess! I was sorely tempted to block those dates to keep her out after she openly admitted using her daughter’s account and credit card after two cancellations and I had to tell her about third party bookings, so she had to cancel a third time. Flakier than a truckload of Kellogg’s!

So if a third party booking guest’s admission is in my message trail and if something comes unwound, Airbnb can say “that’s not allowed and you knew it was a third party.”

There is no contract and there are liability issues, chain of responsibility issues, the propensity for a hacked account, etc. You can throw out all the house rules too as there is no agreement to follow them. I have no idea who is really coming into my home and neither does Airbnb. Maybe they don’t have an account due to their criminal history! I bet that Airbnb would still allow them to post a review too! In the case I had with an unaccompanied minor, I could see the lawyers lined up down the block if the kid got hurt, brought some friends over, claimed a sexual assault, etc. Nope! No way!

I’m sure Airbnb like to turn a blind eye as they get their fees and most third party bookings go just fine. God only knows what happened to the poor woman who got no refund and how much time was spent by customer service, not to mention the poor PR the whole mess generated. A simple step asking who they are booking for should go a long way towards minimizing issues like this.

3 Likes
#13

KKC: Here is the latest about my third-party booking for a family of four adults attending a local wedding tomorrow afternoon:

I just telephoned the father to verify if he and his wife were joining their daughter and son-in-law in our downstairs two-bedroom rental-unit tomorrow.

The father said, he could not afford my second $125 bedroom nightly-fee; although, he already paid for his daughter’s guestroom. So, his daughter and son-in-law would represent the parents at the family wedding of 175 guests.

The parents live 125 miles from my Airbnb home.

I relented and said, “No charge for the second bedroom. But I expect a six-pack of beer as payment.”

End of story.

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#14

Thanks for taking the time to update. I’m disappointed but not surprised based on what I’ve read about booking dot com guests. I hope it works out for you.

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#15

KKC: The only time I had guests bamboozle me, was with two women who booked only one of my two bedrooms through Airbnb. My online property listing clearly states each bedroom is $125 per-night.

After they left, I discovered they slept in both bedrooms, but only paid for one.

Airbnb customer support paid me the $125 owed, but did not charge the two women the extra bedroom fee.

Since then, I installed outer-door locks, with keys, on each bedroom. When two guests arrive, who paid for only one bedroom, I ask which bedroom do they want. Then, I lock the door to the unused bedroom until they check-out.

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#16

Yes. If a group books a property, and they show fewer coming than max occupancy, then i dont put bedding on beds or furnish towels up to max occupancy.

I can hold 8, you say 5, then you get 5 sets!

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#17

Just be aware that if they sneak people in they will still sleep on the beds without bedding and either share or bring their own towels.

#18

Sweet Don, lovely gesture, sometimes it’s just not all about the money, the rules and the ratings!:gift_heart:

1 Like
#19

So today is the big day. I can’t wait to find out what kind of beer Don gets. I’m going to be really disappointed if I find out that Don likes Bud Light. (Although I guess in CA, Lighted Bud is more popular)

2 Likes
#20

KKC: My favorites are dark Mexican beers: Negra Modelo and Dos Equis (amber) beers.

I will take a photo of the father holding my gifted beer and will post it here later.

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