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What to do when a guest wants to pay outside of Airbnb?

I just had a potential guest request a 2 week booking which included him asking “Would you be happy to accept a direct payment due to the amount rather than paying by card?”

I feel for him (and everyone else for that matter) because 2 weeks comes up to a huge amount of money which would require super-duper-platinum-kind-of-cards to support.

In any case…

  1. How should I respond? My gut tells me to tell him that offsite payments is against Airbnb terms.

  2. What do I do regarding the “pre-approve” and “decline” buttons? Just leave them alone? Any ranking penalty for leaving them alone?

Thanks

Its a booking request or am inquiry - inquiry you can leave alone, request you need to decide if you are going to accept as too many declines can affect your ranking.
If Air notes that you are negotiating for cash over their system, bye bye listing.
If he has the cash, why wouldn’t he have the credit available?

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JUST SAY NO!!~! “Sorry, such requests are against Airbnb Terms of Service and can get you and I removed from the program.”

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Say no. Always. If you have any problems whatsoever Air will not back you up if you let someone pay outside the platform.

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Awesome. Thanks guys. Here is what I said…

Unfortunately, direct payments are against the terms & conditions of Airbnb. Please be careful asking this question on Airbnb because it may lead to you getting banned.

Was that okay?

Fair enough! The thought just crossed my mind that he may want to hide his stay from anyone else who may have access to his card statement! :no_mouth:

I think it’s an enquiry, but the pre-approve and decline buttons are confusing me… Is it? click here to view a screenshot

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Your guests personal problems are not your problems. Remember that whenever people do things like asking for discounts and telling you some sob story as to why they shouldn’t have to pay your full price. They will take advantage of you and usually end up being horrible guests.

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I’m so glad to be learning from you guys! Thank you SO MUCH! :pray::angel:

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A lot of us have fallen into some of these traps and suffered the consequences. We do our best to teach each other and share our experiences so other hosts don’t make the same mistakes.

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@Fahed, you did the right thing, as you have surmised, A new person trying to book outside the platform but requesting it ON the platform, yeah no good can come from that. However, once you have had a guest and you feel they are awesome and they want to come back, if they contact you OFF the platform, you are under no obligation to have them book again through Airbnb. Think about it carefully because you will not have any of the protections that booking through the platform offers. Sometimes they may not be needed protections. After having already hosted a guest, you can probably figure it out.

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I have had a couple guests ask about paying offline and even adding extra unregistered guests for free. In one case he sent me a text message which I cut and pasted into the Airbnb messaging system and replied to the negative. The verbal requests I handled by sending them a message “regarding your request to pay outside Airbnb: this is against Airbnb policy and local laws…” I do this in case they want to extort with bad reviews and the like. It goes in their review too.

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Good idea. Airbnb will sometimes tell you there’s nothing they can do about a guest bringing extra people unless you can get the guest to admit that they did it via the message system.

I have got requests to pay outside the platform more often on flipkey & vrbo. Only a time or two on airbnb. Each time - it is a definite NO that violates the ToS of x platform.

What a hoot !!!
The longtime established VRBO/HA owners spend hours and hours trying to figure out how to get guests to book direct, and circumvent the ( bogus and worthless ) listing service fee.
On ABB it is seems as though it is the opposite. …here the owners / hosts want the protection.
So interesting to observe.
So very opposite and different.
ABB has definitely disrupted an established business methodology.

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I have a guest now who booked in two days and simply stated he was coming for work. The next morning before he went to work he booked all my remainging available days for the next month, 8 reservations. I guess he liked the space for his needs. Since I was at the computer I saw the email notifications first. I went to the Airbnb site to look at what I thought was a wierd glitch and as soon as I saw what he was doing I blocked off the rest of the year until I could talk to him and see if paying direct would be an option for us. It’s annoying to have given Airbnb that much money for nothing but at least I was able to catch in time to do some good.

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Fahed, that was perfect! You don’t have to read too much into it, Airbnb fees are high for guests, as with all of us we want to save where we can, if they are new to the platform they may not know the rules, you can pre-approve the reservation, and depending on what you charge you may consider at the same time offering him a discount for an extended stay. ( that would be a “special offer” ) I’m always delighted to have the longer stays & earn a bit less and it’s a lot less work.
Just a thought.

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Well if I have the choice, booking outside AirBnB or no booking, I take them outside AirBnB.
I tell them cash is not possible when booking trough AirBnB, only when booking direct with me. And I leave it at that. Sometimes a guest is smart enough to find me on google, and contacts me direct.

Yes, Air is trying to scare hosts into not accepting bookings outside Air, but they cannot force your guest to book trough the platform. I had guests sending me inquiries trough Air and booking, on bookingcom, or making first contact on Homeaway and then booking trough AirBnB.

It would be funny, to call bookingcom and tell them you need to cancel because the guests contacted you trough AirBnB first. :joy:

Also when a guests books, and they are unable to pay, because they do not have a credit-card or some other reason, and AirBnB cancels the booking. I will contact them after cancellation and see if they want to book outside air with a different payment method. This is not against the policy.

Clever. I suppose the trick is to make it easy to be found outside of Airbnb, perhaps by giving the property a name, and then reply with a message that shows you to respect Airbnb whilst also leaving a breadcrumb to follow (if the description doesn’t already provide it).

In this case, an Airbnb host must be prepared to handle non-Airbnb customers (Eg payment facilities, contract etc)

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Our home has a name, and I use it in the title and in the listing and in my responses (“Thank you for your interest in our home, [Home Name]”). Very few people find us even after I give them the name - and our website is the exact same name as our home! Breadcrumbs only work if the guest wants to follow them.

I tell people that the terms of my agreement with Air or VRBO prevent me from guiding them off the platform to book directly with us.

I don’t refuse a direct booking from someone that found us on the platform, but I don’t encourage them, either. This is not because I am worried about a fraud or a scam or how to handle the guest, but because I will not risk losing the ability to advertise on the main platforms that bring in 90% of my business. And I suspect the 10% we get directly also comes from the main platforms first, anyway.

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@Fahed Too late now, but what is your attitude to risk? :slight_smile:
If you live in, or near, to the property, you could keep on eye on it, if you’re worried that an off-platform booking will be up to mischief. If he could have paid in advance, that could have been earning a bit of interest for you. Nice to have some income not going through the system. Could have saved him 15% on his holiday!

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Fair enough!

Pretty low! I’m 150 miles away!

I’ll learn from this incident and figure out how to word it next time.

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