What do you do when the middleman becomes the barrier?

Airbnb’s entire job is facilitating a transaction. Sometimes they suck at their one job.

This guest requested to book on Monday for a stay this weekend (arriving tomorrow, Friday)

She put up with a whole bunch of technical issues and general pain in the ass of verifying with selfie and Gov’t ID. It required several unhelpful calls to Airbnb.

Since Tuesday their reservation has been waiting in limbo of “Checkpoint - Awaiting verification”. Nothing for the guest to do - it’s held up by Airbnb’s background check (CS agent told me this). This guest stayed in an Airbnb a month ago, so idk why it’s so damned important to insert this background check into the process now?

For the past 48 hours my calendar has been blocked by this pending “maybe” reservation. We’ve cleaned and are ready for their arrival tomorrow. The guest and I found each other on social media so I can give her arrival info, with the assumption this hold is temporary.

This is mostly a rant, not a question. Although I am curious. What would YOU do at this point?

  • Cancel the booking so calendar is open. (But very low chance of a last minute booking)
  • Let Air continue their process. If it’s not confirmed by arrival tomorrow the guests don’t have a vacation and you don’t have money.
  • Let Air continue their process. If it’s not confirmed by arrival tomorrow, have guest cancel the pending reservation and book them directly. (Some risk, but if our middleman is too shit to handle the transaction, we’ll do it without them!)

0 voters

None of the above. Well, not quite.

Let Air continue their process, but don’t get the guest to cancel. If it’s not confirmed by check-in tomorrow, call them and wonderingly ask what has happened to this booking that you now “appear” to have lost, and that has been blocking your calendar for one of your “busiest” weekends. CS have a back pocket of money that they can compensate you with. Don’t let them ask you what you want them to do, but turn it back on them, asking what they think should do as compensation.

Teach them a lesson. It will go up the line.

In the meantime, process the booking yourself.

In the meanti


I had a situation similar to this a couple of years ago. That guest and I were also able to connect outside of Airbnb. In my case they booked doggy day care on Rover. The Rover booking also provided my address. Once they arrived I told them what the problem was. They didn’t even realize their Airbnb booking was held up because they were on the road through the night trying to get here for an emergency. So once here I looked at the woman’s ID, took the cash for the room and we were done. She then canceled the Airbnb request and I blocked the room on my calendar.

If in another similar situation, unless I thought the guest was fishy somehow I’d handle it the same way. If Airbnb can’t do their one job they don’t deserve to be paid.


I’ve had this happen occasionally and have clicked the “pre-approve” link and the booking approved immediately. I don’t know if pre-approving overrides your booking settings but I’m thinking it might because I know one of them did not have a government ID and the booking still went through. It’s been quite a while though so I don’t know if this would still work.

The guest did need to complete Gov’t ID verification, but she got that done before I gave my pre-approval. The holdup was apparently Airbnb’s background check, which is infuriating.

I complained to them that her reservation should have been confirmed or denied within the 12 hours originally given when she accepted my pre-approval - that deadline should hold for both Airbnb and the Guest. OR they ought to have kept my calendar open for the first guest who has both money AND credentials.

In this case Airbnb held my calendar hostage for 3 days before a prime fall weekend, ultimately failing to book the guest.

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Were you able to book the guest direct since you had a direct communication channel to her? That would’ve been ideal.

All’s well that ends well. The guest found me off Airbnb on Thursday, so I was able to send directions. We waited until Friday (check-in) for Airbnb to do their job. They failed to confirm it, so she cancelled the request and paid me directly.

Then as @Joan suggested, I went back to Air and complained that their broken vetting system held this woman’s reservation for 70 hours when it ought to have timed out at 12 per their policy. In this case, the guest completed their verification within that time, but Airbnb was hung up on background check. They acknowledged the error, said they escalated the issue, and paid me one nights’ fee for the trouble.

The payout was nice, but I won’t be accepting unverified users for last minute stays anymore. I strongly feel my calendar should be left open until they find a guest with both money AND credentials.