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Three strange reservation requests in first month - normal?


#1

Hello everyone.

I’ve joined the forum today as a new host who has had three, what I would call, suspect reservation requests in the month I’ve been up and running. I allow instant booking but only from guests who are verified by Government ID and are recommended by other hosts. Because of this none of these guests were able to instant book but simply requested to book.

  1. Brand new profile for a guy who lives 20 minutes away. No introduction. No reviews. Government ID verified. Tried to send me his phone number (blocked) and asked me to call. Told me the booking was for his female friend who was in my city but was for some reason unable to create her own ABB profile to book with me. Sent multiple messages in a short period urging me to allow the booking. In the end I declined it because of the attempts to communicate outside ABB ecosystem and the fact it was a 3rd party booking.

  2. Brand new profile. No photo. No reviews. No intro. No verification. Tried to share phone number. Declined because shady.

  3. Brand new profile. No photo at first. Only phone verified. No intro. No reviews. Told me he wanted to come with his wife. Claimed to be from Germany but only communicated in French. Told me he was unable to complete further verification but wouldn’t explain why. Ignored questions I asked and continued to ask me to confirm the reservation. Declined even though he eventually put up a photo after I said it was required.

So that’s three what I would consider very strange reservation requests in less than a month. Is that unusual??
I thought ABB required photos for all profiles! So how are all these profiles with not even a photo getting past?
For all but the second one I have thought that maybe I’m being too cautious but even if these people are not running some kind of scam they apparently don’t understand the spirit of what, to me, ABB is supposed to be about. Not one of them provided any personal info about themselves or their purpose for travelling to my city.
Assuming they do have a shady agenda, what is it??? To get access to my rental room in the hope they can pilfer something while I’m in the bathroom? I really don’t understand what this is all about.
And since I have now had to decline three requests in a month does that affect my status with ABB?


#2

Blimey charlie! Do you think any of the three might have been the same person?


#3

I’d have no way of knowing. Two communicated in English and one in French if that tells us anything.

But I’m curious to know if others similarly have what are, to me, high rates of these odd requests.


#4

Sounds like it was the same person trying over and over, decline anyone why sounds suspect. And if someone sounds normal tries to book without photo. Ask them to upload photo and ask questions about what they are coming for ect. Good luck!


#5

Have had a few odd requests but never in a row like yours, sounds like you were a new listing so they tried to take advantage


#6

Hello @niceairbnb

Oh dear that’s not a good start to your hosting experience.

I think you were right to turn down all three. In your situation I would be tempted to give Airbnb a call and explain your first three bookings have been suspicious and do they have any advice on what could be causing this. Tell them you are concerned it will affect your status and see what they say

(I wonder if perhaps you have your pricing too low? Don’t use Airbnb’s smart pricing as it normally bares no relation to the market. Look at what hosts with comparable properties locally are doing and follow their model).

I have noticed that in the last month or so, for some reason I people have been able to create a profile and book without uploading a photo, which is something new.

It’s certainly not normal for people to ask you to call them - this most likely means they are trying to either ask for a discount or want to go outside Airbnb to save on fees or both.

Here is a note that I sent to guests who book and don’t send the information I require.(happy for you to adapt for your own use).

"Hello XXX

"Thank you for choosing to stay in my home.

"In order to confirm your booking, please could you;

  • Upload a clear photo of yourself

  • Let people know a little about yourself and the guests who will be joining you.

  • Let me know why you chose my place

  • Let me know about plans for your stay

  • Let me know what time you are planning to arrive within my check in time of 6 - 11 p.m.

"I share my home, so I am sure you can appreciate it’s important for me to know something about people who will be sharing my home.

“I very much look forward to meeting you/meeting you both”.

I also ask for this information as part of my Instant Book requirements so that if they don’t provide it, then I have grounds for cancellation.


#7

Thanks Cocoanouk

I don’t understand how it’s possible for anyone to create a profile without a photo. Aren’t photos strictly required by ABB?


#8

Thanks for that thoughtful reply Helsi.

I think you’re right that I need to contact ABB about this. I have been looking around online and only seeing that reports of this kind of thing by hosts aren’t that common. This is why I finally posted here.

I do ask prospective guests for the information you mention here. As I’m sure you know some people, even those that might turn out to be great guests, don’t read the rules or check details of the information you request from them.


#9

Absolutely well done for declining these. You’ve clearly done your homework on hosting and deserve congratulating. Whilst I’ve not had three in a row like you, I have had similar odd bookings, with either no photo, a pic of Batman, and someone in a pink wig. Batman got short shrift for fraudulent ID, No Photo uploaded one and was otherwise a perfect guest. The Pink Wig niggled somehow, so a friend did some FB research and found, via his brother, that he was a policeman at the scene of the London Borough Market bombing three weeks earlier. We could somehow understand why he wished to be incognito. They (couple) arrived and he was clearly traumatised, almost mute with distress. After their two nights, as he seemed to be recovering (as far as anyone can from such), we sent them a special offer for two more nights as we knew they didn’t need to go back to London yet. They accepted, and it really was wonderful to see him
leave refreshed and more settled in his skin.

I think you have the skills and abilities to avoid the worst of hosting pitfalls, and welcome to the forum. I’m new to hosting too, since June last year and the advice and support I’ve received here has been invaluable, as are the laughs.


#10

I have had two bookings this week with no/odd profile pictures. One has no profile picture and an airbnb profile since 2016, with no reviews (maybe a concern). The other has a picture of a koala, and also no reviews since joining in April 2017.
I don’t know that I am concerned too much, as I usually use direct websites or booking.com myself when travelling, and they would have no idea about me?
Its also a self check in whole house listing, so the concern for my safety is minimal I guess.


#11

Thanks Joan.

I’ve booked some very nice guests who had have photos that don’t show their faces. It seems to be popular with young Chinese travelers to use something other than their faces but all have been perfect guests.

I remember reading somewhere that ABB absolutely requires photos. If that’s the case, as would seem likely, then I wonder how these ones get through.

I’m just starting to read through different threads here and yes it seems to be an actual gold mine of good info. And support!

Cheers


#12

bless your heart xxx


#13

Hi TSGardenC

Yeah the no photo thing really is odd to me. At the very least it means you are dealing with a guest who doesn’t really respect the community aspect of ABB.

And aside from the lack of photo these requests have all been brand new profiles with zero personal info, minimal verification and have all tried to do something that is expressly forbidden by ABB rules, either communication outside the platform or booking for a third party.

I’ve just received a reply to a question I posted to the @AirBnBHelp Twitter account asking whether or not photos are mandatory for profiles. They say they are NOT required. They’ve requested that I send them the reservation codes. Since they were declined I don’t think there are res codes.


#14

In which case the concern would be more about what they might do to your property. Do you have CCTV so you can monitor who is going in and out?


#15

They can go into your listing and see correspondence around this through Airbnb messaging.

Lordy they clearly haven’t read your message properly if they are asking for reservation codes.

Probably easier if you just give them a call.


#16

All of my listings are for private rooms in my residence so no CCTV.

They replied quite promptly (surprisingly) to the tweet so I’m going to wait and see how this pans out. :slight_smile:


#17

I was suggesting CCTV to @TSGardenC rather than you as they indicated they have a whole listing and guests book without photos or reviews.


#18

No I don’t at this stage. We haven’t had this happen before so I will keep close watch on them but I am hoping it would all be fine as usual.


#19

Welcome @niceairbnb! You did just right rejecting those three Requests.

AFAIK, AirBnb has never “required” a photo. We hosts generally, and myself specifically, want to see a real clear, photo of the potential guest – not a cartoon not a silhouette, not a photo of someone in costume. I will not accept anyone without a clear photo.


#20

These were strange requests and you did well to reject them. The red flag for me is the desire for a phone call and lack of verifications, not lack of photo. There was another thread about this recently, linked below. I’ve hosted over 300 people over the last 3.6 years and I can’t tell you how many had no photo or an unclear photo. I’ve had dozens of guests who looked nothing like their photo other than the appearance of the same gender. Since the thread I linked I’ve started noticing there are many hosts who also don’t have a clear picture of themselves. There is no doubt that Airbnb is not requiring photos.

As for the spirit of community and all that…I’m afraid Airbnb doesn’t care. You can try to create it in your rental but don’t expect much help from Airbnb. They want and need to make money and avoid government regulation.