Update: January, 2019
A few months ago, we told you about some changes Airbnb was making to the way guest profile photos are displayed. You can read the original post, below.
Now that those changes are being introduced gradually, we want to make sure you have all the information you need. Here’s a recap of what will be changing, along with some tips.
New photo process
Moving forward, rather than displaying a potential guest’s profile photo before the booking is accepted, you’ll receive a guest’s photo after you’ve accepted the booking request. If you have Instant Book turned on, you won’t notice a change to the booking process.
Airbnb does not require guests to have profile photos. Although most guests provide a photo, some have told us they don’t want to share a picture of themselves when booking, and we listened.
At the same time, many of you told us that you value guest profile photos, and we listened to you, too. That’s why we’ve introduced a new option for hosts to be able to customize their own booking requirements.
New host control
You now have the option to require that your guests provide a profile photo. Again, the photo will be visible to you only after you accept the booking request. If you’d like to require your guests to provide a profile photo, you’ll need to turn on the control option in your settings for each of your listings, either on mobile or on web. Specifically:
If you take this step and a potential guest doesn’t already have a profile photo, they’ll be prompted to upload one before they can request to book your space. A guest’s profile photo will not be available to you until after you accept the booking request. If the guest doesn’t want to provide a photo, then they won’t be able to book your space.
If you choose to require that your guests have a profile photo and one of your potential guests uploads an image that doesn’t show their face—a photo of a sunset or their dog, for instance—then you can call Airbnb’s Community Support. They’ll work with you to address the issue, and if you feel uncomfortable hosting someone without a photo that shows their face, you can request to cancel the reservation penalty-free.
As a reminder, Airbnb’s nondiscrimination policy prohibits hosts from making booking decisions or canceling reservations based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
As an extra step, as always, you can require guests to provide a government ID to Airbnb in order to be able to book your space. You can read more about that process here.
Why these changes are important
We talked with lots of hosts and guests about profile photos, and we think these changes satisfy the core concerns and feedback we heard. We’ll be paying close attention to how these changes to profile photos affect our community, and will continue working to improve and simplify the process to ensure you feel comfortable hosting. We hope you’ll share your feedback with us so we can continue to build a community where everyone can belong. Thank you for hosting.
You've been asking a lot about guest profile photos, and Airbnb has been working on new policies to address your concerns. Here is an update from Airbnb:
Today, we’re announcing some changes we will be making to the way we display guest profile photos.
Moving forward, rather than displaying a potential guest’s profile photo before the booking is accepted, hosts will receive a guest’s photo in the booking process only after they’ve accepted the booking request. Airbnb does not require all guests to provide a photo. Instead, we’ll be giving hosts the option to ask their guests to provide a profile photo, which will only be presented to hosts after they accept the booking. We have discussed some of this work in the past and we want you to know more about the changes we will be making in the coming months.
We have participated in a number of conversations with hosts and guests regarding this topic. We have listened to our community, and while most guests provide a photo, some guests told us they don’t want to share a picture of themselves when booking. We also recognize that concerns have been raised about the potential for photos to be misused in a way that violates our nondiscrimination policy.
At the same time, hosts have told us that they value profile photos because they can help hosts and guests get to know one another before a trip begins and help hosts recognize guests when they check in. Additionally, we’ve seen how photos can be a useful tool for enhancing trust and promoting community.
We want to balance these concerns. Airbnb does not require guests to provide a profile photo when booking a listing and, as we discussed earlier this summer with our hosts, we will be implementing a series of changes in the months ahead:
If a host cancels a reservation after they see a guest’s photo, the guest will have an easy way to contact Airbnb and report any concerns about potential discrimination by the host in violation of our nondiscrimination policy and Community Commitment. If any guest believes he or she has been discriminated against and notifies our team, we’ll immediately help them book an alternative listing consistent with our Open Doors Policy, investigate the report, and take appropriate action. Any host who violates our nondiscrimination policy may be permanently banned from using Airbnb.
This announcement follows the commitment we made in 2016 to evaluate how we display guest profile photos in the booking process. As we implement these changes in the coming months, we hope you’ll share your feedback with us so we can continue to make thoughtful changes that make the Airbnb community a place where everyone can belong.
In today’s day and age there is no excuse fro someone not to have a photo. I’m letting complete strangers into my home and I make every attempt to make the guests feel at home a picture is a small thing to help me feel at ease.
I am a professional single woman who has a home/house. This house is my primary home and I live in every day. I joine Aribnb due to your home sharing platform principle. Things went well until recent change of policy on profile photo.
Safety is my most important issue. This is my home not a hotel, not a government center, not a political center, not a halfway house for criminals sociapaths or terrorist, not a charity organization etc.
I think it is a big mistake on your vetting process not to require profile photo when listing. It is also a mistake not to make the profile visible to both guest/hosts during ingury or before booking. The Host must know who is renting their place. Again it is safety, safety and safety. In the past I always felt comfortable with my choice after I vet the guest before booking. Now I have fears.
The guest has the right to make their own choice where they want to stay and who they want to share a space with. So does the Host. There is an old saying a picture worth a thousand words. This has nothing to do with discrimination it has everything to do with SAFETY. In my case all my guests gladly provide their photos and understand why. I simply do not see any problem if you have nothing to hide. Before booking the guest should have the option to refuse or to provide the photo. Nobody is forcing them, it is entirely up to the guest. It is rather presumtuous to blanketly declare that all guests photo will not be visible to all hosts before booking. By the way what is the use of visible photo after booking?
It is naive to talk about trust in this current world. I hear horror stories about bad behaved Airbnb guests all over the world probably due to some instant booking and by some negligent hosts whose only interest is to make a quick bug at any cost.
Airbnb is trying to abandon their original platform of home sharing into a hotel establishment in the pursuit of more profit. This is a betrayal of the original concept of home sharing that propel Airbnb into the status today. This is very upsetting for all your early original supporters.
It seems to me you are very quick to apply all kinds of restriction on the Hosts to please the guests. But there must be a limit to all these unnecesary restrictions. To be fair I think you should have two sets of policies, one for real home sharing situation and the other for non-home sharing situation.
PLEASE REMEMBER YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE'S HOME.
I agree completly with the above post. I am a single woman who lives alone and must know that the person I accept is fully 'vetted'. I recently had a request with just an initial for a name, no host reviews, no picture, and they had been on Airbnb for 5 years. It turns out they were using another persons account. This is just not going to happen. Please, Airbnb, realize that some of us still are hosting from our homes....dont treat us all as 'absentee landlords'. That goes against the very reason we started hosting in the first place....we dont all do it as a profit making business but as a culture sharing service that we believe in.
Airbnb seems to be in danger of overcooking the goose. If it ain’t broke why fix it?
I agree with most of the comments here even though we take instant bookings because we get a lot of helpful information from a photograph besides merely the visual identity of the person booking.
Sometimes this information warns of potential issues; mostly it helps by indicating the age and temperament of the guest.
Sorry, this is completely wrongheaded of Airbnb to protect the interest of a *potential* guest over the host who has so much more at stake. I’m a single woman living alone in my home; I’m using my legal name on my profile; and I’m using a clear full-face photo I of myself for all to see. I expect the exact same from potential guests. Or should I use a picture of my cat and an alias? How does that establish trust, which used to be the keyword of all Airbnb’s marketing?
I've been providing guest accommodation for 18 years and have maintained a excellent feedback, a high standard of accommodation and good relations with the community because I am very careful about who stays. I've had some bad experiences in the past but have enjoyed hosting airbnb guests over the years because I am reassured by the checks made on guests and particularly by their profile pictures. Where no photo is provided I generally refuse the booking request. Whilst I do not discriminate against guests for any of the reasons listed, I will think twice before accepting someone who's picture suggests they are rowdy drinkers. This change will undermine my confidence in what I do and I'm very unhappy that I won't be able to see a picture of the guest before I accept their booking and afterall they can see a picture of me - and my home!
Being an intuitive I base my decison of who I decide to invite into my family home with my children on the guests photo. I do not understand why AIR BNB have put the guests wishes ahead of the hosts? We are the people who are providing for you AIR BNB and the guests.
As I guest I happily supply my photo so the host too can see who they are sharing their own space with...
Openess is love and if the guests aren't wanting to share their face prior to booking I say why?
Can AIR BNB please explain this further? I would like this desicion reversed. I really am agast and seriously thinking of not sharing my home any longer with this new rule.
@Sherrie0, you're right, most of the time we can tell by the photo as well as the quality of communication if a person will be a good guest. It's outrageous that Airbnb is making it more difficult for us to run our small businesses safely.
Sherrie, I wholeheartedly agree with you. This change is making me feel quite unnerved.
The guest photo ID is very important to me. We share our home with guests.
Hi everyone. I am not a racist and I am happy to host anyone who has genuine intentions. There is no need to assume I am one !
There is plenty of choices for everyone and we all can have our reasons to accept or decline booking. Photo is very important part of communication.
I had once guests booking for two peoples but asking if I could accomodate third person extra for one night. They had a photo of 4 people's and i assumed there would be 3 girls. I prepared extra mattress in a bedroom. To my surprise there where two boys and one girl, on top of that they where strict Muslims ! I had to improvise and let the girl sleep in leaving room for her comfort. They where very nice and grateful but it gave me extra worry to make sure they comfy and have privacy they paid for.
Also leaving alone and renting room , I need to know who I'm going to share my leaving space with.
I think ,my good will to allow strangers set a foot in my home is already prove I'm not a prejudist.
I am trusting person , so whoever is coming to stay with me should be same and not be afraid to show their face.
I can understand Airbnb not wanting to be liable for discrimination violations, however, these are our homes with our personal belongings, our neighbors, and communities that are affected by our decision to rent our space. I believe it is the responsibility of the host to decide who they are communicating with. I have had many many wonderful guests, but also had a few situations when the person checking in wasn’t who I communicated with, which left me very uneasy. I have adjusted my booking requirements to only accept reservations if the guests have had prior good reviews, and I’ve taken off instant booking to help with my decision making process. Although Airbnb is a great platform, it leans toward to rights of the ‘guest’ more than to the rights of the hosts who put their homes and reputations on the line.
I modified my listing today to state any guests requesting to book need to have a completed profile with a facial photograph, just as I have, so we can recognize each other when I welcome them.
If theyre not ok with that and I lose bookings, I don’t want them in my home.
If Air BnB wants to become known as a low rent scamming venue, so be it. It doesn't mean I can’t protect myself, and no one can accuse me of discrimination because I require it of all guests, and my reviews clearly show I’m not a racist.
strategy source: another host.
theres genius in these ranks!