Third-Party Bookings—Policy and Response

I understand that third-party bookings (a booking made in the name of someone other than the actual guest) are against Airbnb policies. I have questions:

  1. I’d like to read the policy, but I can’t find it. Where is it?

  2. Which of these are third-party bookings?
    A. A husband who makes a reservation for his wife who’ll be traveling alone
    B. A parent who travels with an adult child, and the parent books both rooms in the parent’s name but says the child will stay in the second room
    C. Someone who books both of our rooms as a gift for friends who are coming to visit them
    D. An adult who books for herself and an unnamed friend in one room
    E. Someone who books for a friend/relative that is traveling and is unable to access the internet

  3. What to do about third-party bookings?
    A. If I know ahead of time that it’s a third-party booking, what should I do?
    B. If the person shows up at the door and it’s clearly a third-party booking, what should I do?

For business travelers it’s okay:

Pro tip: Airbnb has help pages with a search feature

A, C, E If the guest stays at your airbnb it’s not third party regardless of who is with them.

A: Discuss beforehand and get them to book properly. You may lose the booking though

B: Call Airbnb and get them to help you.

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They may not help like they use to. Originally they were very anti 3rd party bookings, but they have downgraded that response now. I have called a few times and the CSR basically said NBD if you are comfortable keep the booking. Obviously up to your own comfort level.

I absolutely agree but you don’t have any other options if they show up at your door which is what I was answering. I guess you refuse to let them in assuming you are greeting them in person.

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Totally. I was thinking before things get that out of control :joy::joy::joy:

For us it’s just a case of feeling comfortable with the third party booking. Sometimes we accept, sometimes we get them canceled.

We had a mom make a reservation for her teenage sons. At first I was very concerned and even made a topic about it. But the mom was very transparent about it all and also swiftly and kindly answered all of the questions/concerns we had. In the end the boys proved to be well educated and lovely guests.

The one we canceled was a son, who wanted to send over his father, but who also thought that we should call his father directly to get all the information we needed. That was definitely a bridge to far, even for us: We are generally super flexible with our guests.


This has been my experience as of late as well.

Thanks, everyone, for your input. I feel much better informed now.

If a guest has made it plain in the Airbnb message system (like saying quite blatantly ‘I am booking this for my wife’) then tell them that it’s against Airbnb policy and that the wife (or whoever) will need to book herself on her own account. Despite the fact that Airbnb might be a bit more lax about it these days, I don’t want any evidence in writing on the platform that I knowingly accepted a third party booking.

This is just me being cautious (really, not paranoid!) in case Airbnb are ever looking for any reason whatsoever to boot me out.

When I’ve pointed out to the booker that third party bookings aren’t allowed, they’ve always cancelled - I’ve never had to.

I once had a guest turn up whowas a third party guest without me really realising. A couple had booking using his account. She arrived alone. English wasn’t her first language but she sort of implied that her boyfriend was arriving a little later. It was only after the house tour and once she’d settled in that she admitted that her and her boyfriend has split up and that she was here alone. I didn’t have the heart to kick her out!

I wish there was an easy way to IB hosts to cancel guests that are third-party bookings without having to phone CS and be on hold for an hour.


I have strict booking and generally wait the 2 day grace period before I contact guests. I require id of all guests staying in suite so that’s when I usually figure it out. I let them know it’s against Airbnb policy and that they have to contact Airbnb to fix. Since the guests will lose money if they cancel, I tell them they have to contact Airbnb (provide. phone number) and have them arrange for them to fix the reservation. I document this in writing so that the customer service person sees that I’m ok if they rebook without losing. I don’t help guests anymore. They made the error so they can fix it or lose the money.

It seems that here (France) third party bookings are increasing dramatically, and for us they are generally of two types:

  1. As ABB becomes more well known among travelers who are used to more traditional accommodations and/ or are computer-challenged and/or are scared by the verification process…they get their kids or other relative to book it for them.

  2. Couples getting married in the area who need a place to house some of their guests for the weekend (we can sleep up to 18) reserve the rooms. They often show up at or before the check-in to meet us, but don’t stay here.

We are flexible and can’t afford to turn away many bookings, but it does screw-up the review system if the person writing the review never actually stayed, and of course the big worry is the ABB insurance issue if something ever happened.


This week I had someone book as a present for a friend, even though my House Rules say, no third party or gift bookings and no unregistered guests. Did she just tick the box that she had read them without reading or thought it didn’t matter?

I have instant book with ID and a positive review, but what is the point of either, if the person staying isn’t the person with the ID and the review?

I have had 4 poor situations with third party bookings.

  1. Cleaner arrived to find them still fast asleep and not interested in getting up. I phoned the guest only to be told he didn’t stay, friends of his did.

  2. Daughter booked it for her mother. She checked in 2 hours before check in time, stole an $80 mohair throw (daughter paid), the soap dispenser and 20 coffee pods (one night stay). We nicknamed this guest “klepto granny”.

  3. Someone booked for work colleagues (before Airbnb had their business section), they left the place full of rubbish and take away containers. The cleaner and I had to have 4 trips to the dumpster.

  4. I didn’t read the message properly and thought it was being booked for “my” family when she had actually written “a” family, they were being filmed for a reality TV show. The towels were badly stained and took days of bleaching and soaking to get them clean. When we watched the show we realised why, she was orange, bad fake tan!

It isn’t possible to be sure that the third party guest is passed on all the information that is needed for the stay so it’s just too messy.

I phoned Air and they cancelled the one made this week. But interestingly didn’t say it was because of their policy but because I had it listed in my House Rules.

@Fahed you might want to take a look at this thread given your keen interest in the topic.

Very helpful. Thank you.

This is a really good point! How can I have conversations with the guest documented in the Airbnb app if the actual guest is not even on Airbnb?

Does anyone know of guests creating an account on the spot and then getting Airbnb to transfer the booking to them?

We unknowingly accepted a third party booking and they ended being the worst guests we’ve ever had. Made a huge mess, wouldn’t lock the front door, and didn’t watch their children. Also showed up with more kids than what they paid for. They didn’t speak English either and I would call the guy by the name on the reservation and I thought maybe I was pronouncing it wrong which was why he wasn’t answering to it. He left us a 3 star review and called my boyfriend uneducated, I left him a 1 star review.

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Yes, I’ve had this. It was a couple of years ago and the guest was from Scandinavia somewhere, I think. Her secretary was booking for her boss (using the secretary’s account.) I just sent her a message on the Airbnb platform saying that because of Airbnb’s rules, the boss would have to book for herself with her own account and that if she didn’t already have one, Airbnb could help if she called them.

Job done.

Lovely guest.

I’ve also recently had a husband who was booking for his wife. I told him (again on the system) that he should add his wife’s name to his account and that it would only take a few minutes. He did. No problem. :slight_smile:

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Excellent! I’m adding this to my SOP’s.

Who made the booking?

The guy’s brother. They called him to translate when we were having the issue of them not wanting to pay for their kids.

That really sucks! You agreed to give your property to someone who you spoke with, spoke English well etc, gave off vibes that you were cool with etc. But then you ended up with someone else altogether. That’s why I am (for now at least) against 3rd party bookings without prior approval.

I guess I’ll have to see how things flow.

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