Uncommunicative guests

I have had 3 sets of incredibly uncommunicative guest this year, the main guest of the present group of 15 did not write a single thing after her initial booking enquiry in March until I finally got her to respond following 2 text messages and a voicemail to her mobile 3 days before arrival today. In an even worse case, a summer guest coming for a week with elderly parents and young children finally responded to a text saying that she was unable to connect with Airbnb and had never written down my number. She hadn’t seen any of my pre-stay messages, which included the exact address and key code for self check in, and gave me her email. This was all 2 days before arrival…when she was in the area (several hour journey) she called in a panic to say her email wouldn’t work so I then had to text her everything. Had I been at work (I’m a nurse) I would have been unable to help her with any of this.
I have now put into “house rules” that Airbnb is an online business so the guest must actually be reliably online, keeping notifications on or at least checking once a week to see if I have asked them anything, and they should primarily communicate via the Air messaging site on my listing. I am also going to include words to this effect in my first message when I have an enquiry, I only accept “instant book” from guests who have had favourable ratings before.
Any other suggestions? I am finding it quite stressful not knowing whether an imminent guest is even dead or alive!
Thanks All

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I think that you’re being a little unrealistic. Your business isn’t an online business, it’s a short term rental business. Checking once a week before the stay wouldn’t work for those of us who have bookings for months (often 12 months or more) in advance. So you could be harming your own business - many people would find those rules too stringent and not book with you. It’s quite usual for my guests not to be in touch after they book. But of course, every host is different.

Try to communicate with guests the way they prefer. Some want phone calls, some texts, some WhatsApp, some email … so letting guests choose is one idea. Remember too that not all guests download the app.

Another way to ensure that guests communicate is to tell them exactly why it’s important. Most guests (okay, mine anyway) don’t have any reason to get in touch with the host. Some will have questions of course, (does the rental have a hairdryer, how far is it to the conference centre, do you supply beach towels etc. etc. etc.) and the easiest are the ones who don’t! :slight_smile:

Make sure that guests know exactly when they can check in. I realise that you’re at work but get a co-host who can personally greet guests and give them the code. If guests realise that they won’t get in without contacting you then the chances are that they will.

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You can’t tell guests you only accept Instant Book. If you decline all Booking Requests, Airbnb will suspend your listing.

When you first start communicating with guests, tell them to make sure to turn on their Airbnb notifications so they receive your messages and that they need to reply when they get a message.

And you seem to be confusing Enquiry with Request- they are 2 different things.

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Thanks, I see your points, but I do have a few things I need to know as I have 7 bedroom plus 7 more loft sleeping spaces so i need to know in advance if they might want to use the loft for eg and for them to understand what kind of space it is. We typically get extended family groups of 12-16 people and throughout the summer we have 7 night bookings with a same day changeover o there is a lot to prepare in between times. In case of any dispute I just feel it’s safer for it all to be on Airbnb’s platform, having said that so far so good

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You are right, I meant that I only accept instant book from guests with previous reviews, other guests have to make a request

The check-in issue doesn’t apply as I have self check in for which they get a code…maybe I should mention that in my initial message when they book/request so they know to look at the message board 2-3 weeks before they stay

I too find it incredibly stressful when guests don’t respond to communications. There are reasons I must communicate with them, including the fact that, even if they have the address to the house, it doesn’t get them where they need to go when they arrive. There is no parking on the street the house fronts; parking is in the rear of the house off another street entirely. Furthermore, the house sits uphill and 40 feet or more back from the street and the house address can’t easily be made out from the street level even through the number is prominent, due to the angle from the street up to the house.

Some hosts have different situations where the address is easy to find and to see, and it’s obvious where to park, etc. Not all of us are so lucky. So yes, it can be pretty stressful when the guests aren’t responding. I generally, when they don’t respond on the AirBnB platform, will text them, then, if that doesn’t work, I find that phoning them usually gets a response. If they don’t pick up the phone, I leave a voicemail.


One of my AirBnBs (the one that needs the extra communication because of the parking/address) is also a large house with multiple bedrooms and ways to set it up so that pre-arrival communication can be vital. I think putting in your initial message why and when they need to communicate with you would be one of the best things you could do to ensure the guests communicate.

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Some people treat reservations with us as they would hotel reservations - make the reservation and show up. In my confirming message I ask that people check the Airbnb message thread prior to check in to insure that they have any changes in check-in procedures. 90% of them do. By check in time I usually have a cell phone number for them and text them re: potential arrival time if I haven’t heard from them. A small percentage don’t communicate until they arrive.

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This is exactly what I meant when I said that guests are more likely to respond if you tell them why you need the information.

Take screenshots from your phone of texts. They can be used if necessary. Also with phone calls always summarise them on the message system. And please please don’t rely on Airbnb to sort out disputes for you.

So do I for guests who are arriving in the middle of the night or some ridiculous hour. But it depends how much you want your guests to communicate with you. I tell guests that check in is between 4 and 8 pm and that if they are delayed I’ll arrange self check in for them. But they don’t get to know the code until a) they meet me at the rental or b) they get here in which case the code is on a card in a place I specify. Because they know they simply won’t get in without contacting me, then they always get in touch.

They don’t respond to texts or voicemails, they sure are NOT gonna “see it in the listing or house rules”.
After every booking, we thank them, with 1-3 quick questions (would you like recommendations for restaurants, etc).
If there is no response after 24 hours, we send a text - poking them to see the Air msg as some people don’t see the Air notifications.

Every host has a different style so use this or not:

After a reservation is made, I text the guest

“Hi xxxxx, Anne your Airbnb host here. I’m sending this text so you can easily save my contact information & have it handy if you need it”

Separate message—

“ To make it easier to know when a host or Airbnb has sent you a message, did you know you can set up text message notifications?

If you aren’t using that function would you like me to send you instructions on how to set it up? It’s easy”

If they are interested. I send:



If they don’t respond to my text messages, I call them.


This is what I do as well. I tell them to expect to hear from me X-X days prior to checkin. I do ask they confirm receipt of my few but important messages. No response? I message again, then text, then call. The text just says,“Did you get my message via the AirBnB website/app? It contains important information about your stay. Please review it and respond”. If I can sense tech is an issues for them, I will cut/paste the message from the platform into text for them but that’s rare these days.

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Thanks for that, I have calmed down considerably now, and that’s exactly what I have decided to do. There are so many variables to consider with our listing, I really do want it all in one place so I can refer back and really adjust the house according to the guests preferences, and save myself some work doing unnecessary stuff while I’m at it

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Thanks Anne, that’s a great suggestion. I do end up calling my minority of unresponsive guests when it’s only a couple of days before the stay, but it always feels like an intrusion which could be avoided
The other thing I notice with the unresponsive ones is that they will be full of praise by text post stay, but don’t leave a review - as they are, to all intents and purposes, unconnected to their Airbnb account, so forcing them to message me vis Airbnb might also prompt them to review

I’m going to do that from now on, not repeat all I have said by text ever again, but encourage them to look at the Air message board if they don’t respond within a few days

Thanks for suggestions, very helpful. I suppose, in our case, the house is almost always used by large extended family groups and we live very nearby so I have no problem just sending the code and never having to meet them in person unless they want to meet me
I do realise, from having read quite a bit on this site, that Air probably wouldn’t be of much use if I ever had a real dispute! I just really want things all in one place so I can refer back and tailor the house to each group’s stay to reduce waste of time and welcome pack contents by giving them what they actually want…

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Thanks…I do always tell them that I will be in touch a few weeks before the stay with specific instructions, I’m going to add that if I don’t get a response I will remind them with a text

Thanks…I suppose I get a bit anxious about our guests because our town can be hard to find, it had a fiendish one way system, satnav notoriously sends people a convoluted way, especially if an old device, there are many ways to set the house up which makes it easy for the guests to hit the ground running and start enjoying their stay immediately, which is what I want. You are right, some people just don’t seem to realise this is NOT a hotel stay, and if they would jut communicate it could be so much easier for me as well as being a much better experience for them

Me too! I know I shouldn’t take it personally but it does feel like being ignored, especially when some of the information is crucial for their journey/check-in to be a smooth as possible