When guests are different from the account holder

Hi all
I have a group of three guests that have contacted me, though an account of a fourth person. I guess they are family members, so I’m not particularly concerned and the initial contact from them was friendly enough. As I’m new too hosting I wondered if this is a common thing, where people travel under other peoples accounts? As there was a question mark over the exact dates I’ve tried contacting them to clarify, via airbnb messaging and phone but as yet no reply from them.
Any thoughts?

It’s a third party booking, which is not allowed by AirBnB’s rules. They need to book on their own account, and you should tell that to the one that contacted you. There are many reasons why, which you can see if you search posts here for “third party booking”.

As a host, you should familiarize yourself with the rules that you agreed to operate under, so go the Air site and reread the Terms and Conditions.

Here’s what Air’s site tells guests, which is what you should tell them:

Booking for friends and family

We’d love to welcome your loved ones into Airbnb. But to help maintain transparency and trust throughout our community, you can’t book on their behalf unless you’re staying together.


We require all personal travel reservations to be booked by the guests themselves because Hosts rely on reading their profiles, reviews, and other verifications during the approval process. If your friends and family aren’t on Airbnb yet, here’s how to get them started.
(Searching and booking - Airbnb Help Center).

You don’t want third party bookings, because Air will not support you if there are any problems.


Aah, how did I miss that! Thank you, that’s very informative. I will contact the guests now.

So if the guest isn’t answering my messages and is a third party booking, will I be within my rights to cancel the booking, without penalty?

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Although it is against Airbnb policy, it does happen for various reasons. For example I would ignore it if a relative of a repeat guest was being booked that way. Then I tell them that need to join Airbnb in order to book with me again. If you continue to get no response I would cancel. In the future if one gets in through instant book, I would respond immediately noting the policy and indicating that without direct contact information for one responsible, responsive guest that you will need to cancel under the Airbnb policy. I’m not sure how accepting such a booking would affect your liability protection (which isn’t great anyway) under Airbnb host protection.

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I’d cancel- aside from going against AirBnB’s 3rd party policy- I wouldn’t want to book anyone without being able to see the booking guest’s reviews/profile and I’d be concerned with liability+payment and communication issues. Wonder if they are minors?

I’ve had a number of airbnb guests make bookings for their staff members.

So the person enquiring is not the individual that will stay at the property

In the past, I used to play by the book and decline 3rd party booking/tell them to set up their own account

But I always found that the guest would just reserve with another host down the road

So now, if the guest has previous reviews and they are all good, i snap them up

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Did they actually book? (I wondered because you said they weren’t sure of their dates).

As others have said, it’s against Airbnb policy to have third party guests but many of us don’t pay full attention to Airbnb policy anyway. :slight_smile:

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Yes, they booked through instant booking. That was 4 or 5 days ago. I contacted them within about 20 minutes to see if the dates were flexible and so far haven’t heard back. Have sent numerous messages, but if it’s a third party then they won’t be getting the messages I guess?

That’s right, the account holder will be getting them. So it’s entirely up to you at this stage.

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NEVER CANCEL A BOOKING ON A GUEST without having Airbnb do it. If you cancel, you will be penalized. Make sure that you get in writing from the airbnb rep that they reservation is being cancelled due to a third-party booking that is against the rules.

Basically, I only expect two things from Airbnb - Having my listing show up when guests are searching and for Airbnb to take their money and collecting the fees and paying my state’s taxes. I do expect them to respect their own rules but that’s not as easy as it sounds. Always cover yourself with the info in writing. I write to Airbnb and the guest and document and then I follow up with a phone call and hold as long as it takes and have them reference the written word. (You might want to wait until you speak to the airbnb rep before letting the guests know.)


This is why I no longer accept 3rd party bookings. I accepted a couple early on for family members and had promises from the booker to communicate with the guest. It didn’t happen so huge problems.

Live & learn


It could be one of those scenarios that depend on the host’s situation. Because I’m on the spot, I only have to walk a few steps to communicate directly. :slight_smile:

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I’ve accepted 3rd party booking several times but was always very comfortable with the situation. One was a mother booking for her 18 yr old daughter traveling solo. She sent the daughters cell number so I could text her. Another was a dentist coming to town to work in his clinic near my home. He booked about a dozen times, 3 of those times was for a different dentist working for him. I would have converted him to cash but he didn’t seem interested. It was some of the easiest money I ever made.

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Yes, I had this happen twice, but I did suggest they use “Airbnb for Work” to make it easier to manage.

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I had a third party with over 20 fabulous reviews book my place for 4 weeks. It was for her sister (“who’s very sweet”) so I said fine. Within 2 hours I called the sister & reported her behavior. Turns out she came to me direct from a mental hospital & long distance sister didn’t know her condition. The sister was very sweet & needed to extend another 4 weeks. I explained I could not give the month discount because she needed a lot of support. The girl finally told me she had ADHD & bipolar & experimenting with cannibus & alcohol because she doesn’t like the bipolar meds. I told sister. I earned a nice chunk of change but fell way behind on my own life. The sister payed damages after I sent photos. She really didn’t seem to realize what a mess the girl was.

If I hadn’t been in the house to see what was going on, she would have destroyed the guest area.


Well, it’s great that the booker acted responsibly and paid for the damages, but this points out why 3rd party bookings, even if the booker has great reviews, are risky. The 3rd party guest hasn’t earned those reviews by association :wink: