When guests inquire "Are dates available"

I’m just curious whether guest inquires regarding availability of specific dates are legit or phishing scams? Unavailable dates simply do not show up in a guest’s search on Airbnb or VRBO and, vice versa. If a listing is visible on the site, .e. the property is available. Anyone submitting an inquiry already knows the property is available. What’s the deal with these inquiries? I only get them on VRBO.

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Not sure about VRBO, but on Airbnb, once you find a listing, you can see a calendar of available dates for the listing, so it can be a legitimate question for a guest whose trip dates aren’t fixed or maybe the guest just likes your listing better than alternatives in the same area, etc.


Thereare a lot of listings which say “Enter dates to check availability”. I’ve never understtood what that’s about. Maybe hosts who use more than one platform and are afraid they might double book?

That is the basis of the airbnb website. it is dynamic, which means that you enter the dates and it tells you if it is available, taking into consideration things like min/max days, or other requirements. If it didn’t work like this then your listing would have no advantages over others; for example, 5 other listings may have days available, but some of the others might have a 5 day minimum or a ‘no check in on xxx day’ that would make them unavailable for that person’s possible booking.

I get them usually from first-time AirBnB users and it opens the door to a conversation and hopefully a booking conversion.

It’s people. That’s why I drink. :wink:


I get those all the time on Airbnb. They ask whether I’m “really booked” on the dates they want.
In my host mind I wonder what’s the difference – whether blocked or booked, I won’t be available to Buddy who just up and asks. Go book something that’s open.
But we’re a unique listing with very few unbooked dates right now and little competition. So they likely figure there’s no harm asking for what they want, and there isn’t. I say no and thank them for their interest with a more polite ''go book something that’s open". None have looked like a scam to me. It’s just part of the hospitality deal.
Oh, there was one that looked off this year. Someone from my county sent an inquiry during our last stay-at-home order asking, “Do you have guests or are you closed for Covid?”
I was closed for Covid, like everyone else, and said so. Then they begged to come. I said no. The wording of the begging part made me think it was some sort of test to see whether I was bending rules, but maybe it was real?
If you think yours are phishing, just be sure not to follow any links they send or to say something like “No, we’ve just blocked the calendar because we will be far away, leaving our listing unattended and open to any burglary you wish to commit.” :wink:


Yes, I’ve had people ask (on Airbnb) even though the calendar is right there and despite the fact that I use IB. Sometimes I’ve said no - in which case that’s the end of it and sometimes I’ve said yes and they’ve booked.

The end.

I’ve never considered it to be a scam (in fact, I can’t see how it could be) so maybe I’m naive?

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Interestingly, I also only get these questions about availability on VRBO, not Airbnb. (And we have instant book enabled on both.) On VRBO you can search properties in an area without entering the dates of your trip, so people might like your listing but then look at your calendar, see that you’re booked up, and want to double check with you just in case.

I’ve always thought the double-checking on dates is from people who are new to the platform, although I have had people message me demanding to know why specific dates were not available, and to tell them whether there was actually another group staying during those dates, to which I just responded with a generic “our calendar is accurate and up to date, you can instant book any of our open dates, but blocked dates are not available.”

The only way I could see this being a scam is if someone is trying to find out if the house will be vacant with nobody around for a while? But as long as you keep it vague and don’t say as much I think you should be fine.

Perhaps some people use it to express an interest, in case a booking falls through or is cancelled for some reason?

(oops, sorry Jaquo, i responded directly to you and not to the thread as i intended - though i do agree with your comments, so i deleted my initial post !!)

No problem at all. :slight_smile:

I have had a potential guest ask me to cancel another guests booking as she “deserved “ it more…… :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


There area a variety of reasons but two are common with my listing. #1Lazy people just ask instead of using the platform as intended #2 Newbies and people who are intimidated by technology are feeling their way with a system new to them.

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There are also guests who have had hosts cancel on them, saying the place was double booked, or message saying the place was actually unavailable for the open dates they entered. (not good hosts, obviously) So they might want to check first- once burned and all.

I know that, but I see listings with that wording and some without. That’s what I don’t understand.

I don’t mind being asked. Sometimes my blocked dates are pretty arbitrary, and there actually is a bit of wiggle room. Just like with discounts, I’ll say yes if it suits me and no if it doesn’t. I don’t feel like a reason is necessary… just ‘yes, that’s possible’ or ‘no, that’s not possible’.


I do agree that may be first timers, opening a conversation! I have had this in the past, but never felt it was a scam!

I am sorry but I don’t use VRBO, but I get the same question on Airbnb. For one thing, there are still some places where Airbnb tells guests, “you can message the host and verify availability…”, that kind of thing.

And guests don’t understand the system like we do. They don’t know about blocked dates and minimum stays and what the calendar looks like when it’s booked, so they just ask, which seems normal to me.

And there are hosts like me who tell departing guests to always reach out if something doesn’t look available on the calendar because we often have more flexibility for return guests. This is true. If we are blocked off for a break or have a minimum stay, I don’t mind opening dates up for a previous guest because they are easier (or at least I know if they are or not). I imagine that they must think other hosts have availability that isn’t showing as well.


Thanks Jackie for taking the time to answer.

I typically respond to the inquiry with a “Yes, the dates are available”. And follow up with a request for additional information, i.e. how many guests, origination point, nature of visit, previous reviews, etc. I usually never hear back. So, I just wondered why do people do that.
Alan in Chicago

Thanks for the reply. made me lol

I bet that went over well with you… thanks for making me spit coffee on my monitor!

Me too…

Happy to help. As @jaquo once said (to paraphrase) “…you don’t necessarily need good hospitality skills, but it’s necessary to have a strong liver to do STR”


Often I think it’s simply because they don’t understand the system, especially if they are first-timers.

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