Weird Situation w/ a Really Great Guest

I’m hoping some of our more seasoned guests will have some feedback on an unusual guest I’ve had. So here’s the background:

About 2 months ago I received a message from the guest. He said that he was moving here for business and needed a place to stay. He told me in his original message that his credit card was not working on AirBnB “for some reason” and if I would allow it, his mom would book for him. I know, I know… but I was new to the platform and allowed it. I had absolutely NO issues with him. He was polite and friendly, was very reliable as far as check-in and out times went, and left the place very clean. He didn’t arrive with a car, in spite of the fact that he told me repeatedly that he had driven down from a nearby state. He had someone picking him up and dropping him off (appeared to be a friend - not an uber). Curiously, when he left he left our trash can (think big, green trashcan) FULL of blankets, comforters, and clothes. But again, he was a FANTASTIC guest. When I saw all the trash my suspicion was that perhaps he had been homeless and his mother had agreed to put him up in an AirBnB to help him get back on his feet.

Fast forward to the next week. He sends me a message again from his own profile. He wants to check in the next day and stay for the week. He will be driving down again from his home state. I pre-approve his booking, but do not block my calendar off for him. I wait. And wait. And wait. I message him back and forth. Yes, he’s coming. He will accept the booking in a few hours…after he gets off work…the next day. We get about 3 hours out from check in time and he is still assuring me he is going to accept the pre-approval. But then I hear nothing more from him.

So then today I get a message from him again - he’s coming in to town again and needs a place to stay. Last time he was really going to stay, but then his grandma died and he had to go back to his home state, and then he left his phone on the counter at a gas station and didn’t realize it for 2 hours, so he couldn’t update me. His message states that he would like to book all the open time we have between now and Thanksgiving (currently 5 days), but, by the way, he would like to talk by phone. I suspect this phone call would be something regarding how his credit card won’t work and maybe we could work out a cash payment. I’m just guessing, but my suspicion is that his request would be something along those lines. Fortunately for me, Air blocked his phone number in the message because he does not have a confirmed booking. I responded to his request and told him I would pre-approve him. But here we are again - no response.

My question is, is this some kind of a scam? Is this behavior anyone has experienced before? Any guesses as to what this guy is up to? Do I turn away a good guest, or do I just ignore the eccentric behavior?

I’d book him but it needs to be on the platform. Airbnb may not be much help but it’s better than absolutely nothing. Better the devil you know than the one that you don’t but most people would probably tell you to run away. Do not book more than 30 days and do not book off platform.


If you think it is a weird situation, and it is enough to make you feel strange…don’t allow it and block off those days. I have had to bite the bullet and block days off just to keep weirdo’s from booking. You say he is a really great guest, but I’m only seeing one interaction that was good, and one that was solidly not good. So you have a 50/50 chance that if he follows through with the booking it will be a positive experience.
Please let us know how it turns out!

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I must implore you to stay on platform, and do everything through Airbnb. It holds people accountable. If they are not accountable, they WILL take advantage. That’s why everybody who stays here is on platform. Everybody.


You don’t need the drama. Just say no.


My insurance would be voided in this scenario as all guests need to be identified. The Airbnb booking system is satisfactory for my insurance.

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Just to be clear, I will not accept guests off platform. Not even for one night. I was simply saying that I suspected that may be why he wanted to talk by phone, but because the system blocks numbers there’s no way for him to call me until he pays for a booking. I don’t really think he has a way to book for himself. I won’t be allowing surrogate bookings in the future. I’m just perplexed as to what he’s “up to.”

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Maybe you should write to him stating that you have no access to his phone number until booking. Guests may not know this.


Yes, I did this first thing. Thank you.

Hi @Ashb24,

I don’t have much to add to the advice you’ve already received here, but if you have the spare energy, and are willing to consider this guest, you could ask him what is going on. Maybe he’ll tell you.

Whether you are interested in engaging further with this guests depends on you, of course. Relevant parameters include how busy you already are, and how charitable you are feeling.

As others have already said, don’t book off the platform, and don’t allow third party bookings. I’ve (once and reluctantly) accepted a third party booking, but it was by people who had already stayed here, and didn’t seem problematic. In general it’s best avoided, and Airbnb has a page where they say they don’t allow it, though it does not seem to be disallowed in the Terms of Service. In any case, you can be sure that if you have problems with a third party booking, Airbnb won’t help you in any way.

Overall, I’d say @KKC’s response seems like a good and balanced one. Though there is also nothing wrong with telling your past (and future?) guest to go away if you don’t want the hassle.

I have messaged him twice since our conversation yesterday and he just isn’t responding. I will reach out to him once more just to see if I can find out what the real situation is.

But really, my original question was regarding what may be going on with this guy. Does anyone have a similar experience? Is this some kind of scam, or is it more likely just a guy down on his luck?

I think it’s impossible for anyone else to tell you what’s going on, at least with the data currently available. I also don’t think it’s worth giving more thought to it, frankly.

In doubt, it’s always best to go with ones instincts. And I would be wary of spending much time or emotional energy on this. Remember you are running a business, and this kind of thing isn’t a useful allocation of resources. I’m sure you have plenty of other things to think about. And the problems of a stranger aren’t your concern. And Airbnb hosts, if this site is anything to go by, spend too much time and energy dealing with crazy guest crap as it is.


Obviously, no one here has met up with such a situation and having us offer speculation is pointless.

You ask: “Do I turn away a good guest, or do I just ignore the eccentric behavior?” It appears the general consensus is to turn away the good guest because of his eccentric behavior.


Guests are off platform for good reasons.
You don’t want those guests.

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As others have said, it’s impossible to know what’s going on with this guy. The only vaguely similar experience I’ve had (and it’s not really that comparable, tbh) is one from several years ago before I was on Airbnb. I was renting out my room on a short-term (average 2-6 months) and got an enquiry from a couple who wanted to view the room, which was standard practice on the site where I was advertising. I can’t actually remember all the details but know that the room wasn’t going to be available for another couple of days and they could view it but not move in until later.

So they turned up that evening with four enormous suitcases… “Oh don’t worry”, they said. “We will sleep at the airport for the next few nights”. Cue puppy-dog eyes. Sigh. They were very young and had moved here from Spain to look for work because the economy there was in dire straits. I couldn’t bring myself to turn them away so they slept on a futon in the living room. Long story short - it took me 3 months to get rid of them. They couldn’t find work because their English was so poor, they ran out of money and couldn’t pay rent and their problems became my problems. I tried to help them - wrote CVs for them etc. but it was all very stressful by the end.

Your guy may be going through some difficult life transition that means his communication is very erratic. He hasn’t shared any information or given you a sob story …yet. But there is a high likelihood that he will end up doing exactly that or that he will view you as someone who is so amenable and kind that he can do what he likes. It doesn’t mean he’s a scammer or a bad person who will deliberately take advantage of you. My young couple were sweet and lovely people. But they ended up draining all my energy and goodwill until there was nothing left.

@SandyToes sums it up: turn away the good guest because of his eccentric behavior.

Personally, I quite enjoy the occasional eccentric guest. But they only stay for a few days and then they’re gone and I have a funny story about the guest who wanted to keep his socks in the fridge or the one who tried to make me eat raw Brussel sprouts to cure a headache etc. etc. I wouldn’t actually call your guy’s behaviour ‘eccentric’. It’s erratic, unpredictable and unreliable behaviour that makes you uncomfortable. Just Say No!


I think what he is up to is avoiding a commitment that could cost him money if it doesn’t work for him anymore and avoiding Airbnb commission.


He’s weird. He’s trying to do this over the phone so he can negotiate to pay in cash and avoid the fees. These situations never end well. He’ll probably even try to con you into a discount.

Just decline his inquiry and say ‘Sorry we are unable to accommodate you. Best of luck with your travels.’

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. No amount of money is worth having a psycho in your house.


You are right, I expect. A classic example of Occam’s razor!

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Never, ever book anyone off platform. Scammers look for new Airbnb hosts like my friend who let a returning guest book off platform because she “lost her credit card” or some such nonsense. My friend came home from work to find her electronics stolen and the door wide open. Later she found that the notebook she keeps by her computer with all her passwords was also stolen. She had insurance that covered her losses by it took a while to get the identity theft thing straightened out because the thief diverted her Airbnb payments to the thief’s own account. Airbnb couldn’t help as the woman had not booked thru Air. Lesson learned.


There is always internet dating if you want that :joy: