Who is Being The Inflexible One Here?

I’m usually a big stickler on keeping all communication with guests via the Airbnb app save for a major emergency. I make this clear in my listing and reiterate with guests if I feel that’s needed. Yesterday, I had a guest book a week in April/May for her and her husband. After booking and reading my initial welcome message she sends me this:

“Thanks, if you need to text us the # is --____ for my husband Bill’s cell phone. Looking forward to seeing your place, looks great. Bills email is [bill@_________.net]”

I’ve had several guests in the past fail to see the check-in info because they don’t check the app, so I sent her the following message just to reiterate that communication would be handled via the app:

“Thanks for the info! For safety reasons, we prefer to keep communication on the app except in the event of an emergency. I always let guests know that because we send all the check-in info via the app and some people don’t know to look out for it. Thanks!”

Then this morning I got a booking inquiry from a SEPARATE profile for the same dates, with the following message:

“Hi Lauren. I’m _________’ husband, Bill. She made us reservations yesterday for April 28 to May 5th. I wanted to send you a message through the app on my phone so we can have any future correspondence that way. Thanks and looking forward to staying in _______.”

My concern is that it appears that the guests made a booking through the wife’s airbnb profile but prefer to correspond with me through the husband’s profile. I don’t feel comfortable messaging them through any other thread than the one that is associated with the booking.

These guests have multiple reviews which all appear excellent. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the past, they may have corresponded with hosts via email or text or some unique way and I understand that some hosts are okay with that (fine, everyone runs their stuff differently) but I could see the guests finding me inflexible and unwilling to be accommodating because of how things may have been handled in their past experiences.

I’d like to know what you guys think. Am I simply creating more obstacles for these guests? Should I just respond to his inquiry and send the check-in info to both accounts? I do want them to understand that it’s not only important to keep communication through the app but through the actual thread associated with the booking - I believe this protects them as guests just as much as it does me as a host.

I look to hearing everyone’s thoughts!

Maybe the wife doesn’t have a mobile phone, access to a mobile phone, or just isn’t comfortable using one?

Maybe this is a 3rd party booking?

The husband has an account so at least add his account to the reservation. As I recall, hosts can’t communicate directly with every Airbnb guest added to the reservation. Maybe this has changed and if so, it should completely solve your problem. However, even if you can’t communicate with the “added” guests, it could still help Airbnb tie the guests and the conversation to the reservation, if necessary.

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You’re being wise, not inflexible. I’d just do the duplicate messaging. Them making sure you have all their contact info is great. If they should ever want to return and they are good guests it will make direct booking easy. :wink:


These guests have multiple reviews which all appear excellent.


I’m happy to communicate with guests in whatever way they prefer. Different people prefer different methods and my aim if for guests to feel comfortable.

I summarise important issues on the message platform and keep screenshots of any texts if I feel that there might be a problem which, thank goodness, has been extremely rare.

Airbnb likes to tell us that communication should be kept on the platform but in reality, that’s not really a very good business practice for hosts.

It is however good for Airbnb as its warnings are there to avoid hosts and guests coming to private arrangements and leaving Airbnb without their commission.


I disagree. It is a good business practice for hosts if it concerns anything which could prove contentious and to back a host up in a he said-she said situation.

If a guest has complaints about something, you want that, as well as your response documented. So a guest can’t complain to airbnb that they told the host something wasn’t clean, or working properly, and that the host wasn’t responsive.

Or to document a guest saying everything is fine, they love the place, then write a bad review saying the opposite because they were called out on ignoring house rules.

I have no issue with communicating with guests by phone or text for something like them letting me know their flight is delayed, or they have arrived at the bus station in town (I pick most of them up there). And because I have a home-share, I might text or call them if I’m out shopping asking if they need me to pick anything up for them.

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In 3 years I have never had anything arise to the level of asking a guest to pay for something. If there was ever an issue where I thought I would need to get Air involved I would move the conversation to air and put the screenshots in the message thread but this has never happened.

Exactly, and if you read the newest version of the TOS it is clear that they do not want us getting too familiar with OUR guests. They are not AirBnb guests, they are my guests



That’s my guess. And they might be used to getting an email with check-in instructions and communicating that way as I do know that is sometimes the case. They are over 65 so probably not big on smart phones which is why I do want to be as accommodating as I can here.

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That’s what I ended up doing. Making things more complicated for them makes things more complicated for me is how I look at it :grinning:

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I see your point and I’ll admit I love sticking it to Airbnb when I can. I just prefer to keep communication with my guests away from my other texts/emails and to have a platform to communicate with them exclusively. It’s a matter of preference mostly, which is why I was struggling so much over how to handle it.

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I’m 63 and okay with most common technology but I agree that people who are older are often not as comfortable with it. And people who are trying to use a platform like Airbnb but want to make phone calls or use email kind of want to have their cake and eat it too. I’ve said here that I wouldn’t be surprised if Airbnb moves towards being more app based or even totally app based (like Uber or Venmo) and that will cause a lot of grief.

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Not. sure
why this thread started to focus on over 65 … but I totally prefer my laptop and I am in that group.
I also hate Airbnb and keep my rental business as far away from their control and overreach as possible.
Too hard to see the little text on a phone so I always defer all major work till I open my laptop. Drives my son crazy.
I would communicate how guests prefer and never through their app unless a conflict ever arose. I try to use direct text whenever possible with all guests. Keeping it on the app is for the benefit and bottom line of Airbnb.


I’ve never used the Airbnb phone app. I’ve always done all my Airbnb business on the desktop version. I find it impossible to type out anything longer than a short text on a phone keyboard. I have physical labor working hands- I always end up hitting the wrong letters.

In fact, I do better at texting on my old dumb phone, where I have to press a key 1-3 times to get the letter I want, than my smart phone. I can text on that dumb phone really fast.


Airbnb likes to tell us that communication should be kept on the platform but in reality, that’s not really a very good business practice for hosts.

I am happy to see more and more host waking up, 12 to 24 months ago speaking about off-platform communication was almost a taboo on this forum.

An OTA gets the first booking on the platform, after that the guest is mine and I do not accept a rebook on the platform.

I collect al my guest contact data on arrival (must by law), and if they try to rebook on platform I send them an email or call them to book direct.


I generally use the Airbnb platform for communications, however, I do text my guest on the day of arrival wishing them safe travels. This puts my mobile number in their phone and they can quickly reach me if they encounter any issues.

As an Airbnb guest, I’ve encountered issues w/ spotty internet service and accessing the app hasn’t worked. It’s very frustrating when you’re standing outside in the dark and can’t get the door code to work or reach the host.

3 years ago I had a guest “Molly” who booked for the weekend with her sisters. I messaged several times and never heard back from her. The day before arrival I received a message from “Meg” about her booking for her sisters weekend and that she hadn’t gotten any information for check-in. I told her that I didn’t have a booking for Meg, but asked if she knew Molly - turns out Molly is her daughter and was logged into her profile when Meg booked. This groups of sisters has returned 4 times.

I wouldn’t read too much into it, especially for a guest w/ great reviews. Good luck!

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I think there’s very few nowadays who don’t have a mobile phone, particularly if they are digitally literate enough to set up an Airbnb profile.


Honestly, there are some situations that require certain technology. Not having a ‘phone’ means that that person does not get to participate. This is one reason, for me, that 3rd party bookings are verboten in my airbnb - not having digital access to someone staying (thru the message part of the app) is as bad as the possibility that the guest is scamming.

And sorry, everyone who blames ‘old folks’ for lack of digital awareness - who do you think invented the internet, created so much of the technology? Those folks are nearing 60s or 70s now. 70 year olds see the same news as weveryone else, they are aware, more than you imagine lol…


Thank you, and yes I did.

Some days, I wish I hadn’t.

(Who taught Tim Berners-Lee everything he knows)


One of my least tech savvy friends is 45. However, in my experience as an Airbnb host, my guests who are most likely to use lack of technology access as an excuse for their undesirable guest behavior appear to be older people. That’s just anecdotal evidence, not empirical evidence.


Though I do have an I-phone which was given to me, I don’t care to use apps. I text guests the day before arrival, and continue using text, unless I feel that I need to have something on the Air thread, or if they do, they can use it and get an answer slower. There was a guest trying to blackmail me via text and Air CS allowed me to screen shot that conversation as proof, and decided for me.

We are onsite and no self check-in, no cameras also. 95% of our guests are under 50. We have noticed 99% of all guests in over 2 years of hostng are respectful @ Tiny Tiki. I do send a tome to guests highlighting all the rules, expectations etc, on Air thread at time of booking, which I also ask them to confirm reading, which usually does not happen.

Staying on thread is not part of my rules, but if a guest prefers that, it’s ok with me too, they just might have to wait longer for a response. Usually they are relieved to correspond directly.