98% Airbnb guests are awesome. Through some painful experiences, we have learned how to identify and avoid the worst of the remaining 2%.
Airbnb is based on trust, and unfortunately there are people out there who will violate that. If you do happen to get a guest that causes damage or breaks your house rules, collect photographic evidence and alert Airbnb immediately – and then be ready to file for Airbnb’s million dollar host guarantee.
Our Automatic Red Flags:
- They don’t have a profile picture
- Their profile picture is of something else
- They just created their account
- Their account profile is incomplete
- They don’t answer the trip-related questions, or are very vague about the purpose of their trip (who is coming with them, what they are doing in town, and what time they will be arriving)
- They ask what the penalty is for breaking house rules (this actually happened)
- It looks like they are booking for someone else
- They are local. Think about it: why would someone local need a hotel room? Not that everyone who books locally will be causing trouble, but it is something to pay attention to (our only Airbnb horror story involves local guests who used our house to cook meth).
Just because a guest has some of these red flags does not mean that they will be a bad guest. We have hosted plenty of people with incomplete profiles that end up being great guests! However, when we see an inquiry from a profile like this…
It is completely within your right to be slightly suspicious. After learning more about them and their plans, we decided to take a chance and they ended up being wonderful guests.
When you are feeling uneasy about a request or instant book, ask them more questions about their trip. Engaging with the guest via the message thread will give you a better indication of their overall personality and reason for their stay. In your messages, remind them of the house rules, and mention that you have video surveillance on the property for everyone’s safety. Ask that they fully complete their Airbnb profile, and use that information to investigate on social media.
One Google search of a potential guest showed that he was arrested the previous year in connection with child pornography. Yikes!
Above all, listen to your gut, and don’t be afraid to cancel. While you do not want to cancel too often, you don’t automatically get a penalty by canceling an instant book. Be prepared to justify the cancellation with a good reason, and be careful not to make it a pattern. You should pre-approve inquiries whenever possible (like if someone messages and requests dates that are already booked, or asks to bring a pet when you tell them they can’t) and save your denials/cancellations for times when you really need them.
*Airbnb does have an anti-discrimination policy, which means you cannot deny someone accommodation based on their race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, age, or other protected classes. However, if you are the type of person who would discriminate knowingly based on those things, you probably shouldn’t be hosting on Airbnb in the first place. Check out the official policy on their website for more detailed information.
Thanks for visiting my Airbnb hosting blog! Hosting is a huge passion in my life. I love showing others how to build their own hosting business and reach financially independence. If you are enjoying the content on this blog, it would mean a lot to me if you would consider purchasing my new book, Financially Free with Airbnb. It’s available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. Interested in receiving 1:1 coaching? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!