Guest profile photos: Airbnb response to community feedback

Administrator

Hi everyone,

 

Thanks for all of your feedback on the recent changes we announced to the guest profile photo process. Our team has read each and every one of your comments. We understand many of you are feeling frustrated right now, so we want to respond with some more details and clarification.

 

First, we want to acknowledge that this is a complicated and emotional topic: It touches on elements such as discrimination, choice, safety, and equality between Airbnb hosts and guests. As always, we’ve been really impressed by the quality of the conversations, and the supportiveness of the community in this thread. We’ve had significant discussion and debate about it internally at Airbnb, too. It’s clear that we need to keep listening and engaging with you (our hosts and partners) on this topic, and we commit to continuing to do so.

 

At the same time, it’s important that we also continue to take guest concerns into account. Most guests do provide a profile photo, but others told us that they didn’t want to share a picture of themselves when booking on Airbnb because they’re concerned their photos could be misused in a way that violates Airbnb’s nondiscrimination policy. As you know, Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where people can belong anywhere, and we want to make sure guests can feel comfortable when they travel on Airbnb.

 

We also know from many conversations with hosts (and from reading through your comments here) that you really value profile photos, for several important reasons (knowing what guests look like before they arrive, feeling safer, etc.). We always want to balance the needs of both hosts and guests and, at the same time, make sure we’re working towards Airbnb’s mission. It can be exceptionally hard to get that balance right, but we tried to do this with these recent changes.

 

As we highlighted in our previous post, the new policy means that Airbnb will not require guests to provide a profile photo and that, for those guests who choose to provide a profile photo, those photos will not be shown to hosts until after the booking is accepted. At the same time, we introduced a new host control that allows you to opt in to require that your guests provide a profile photo prior to submitting a booking request. This photo will be shown to hosts as soon as you accept the booking request, so you’ll be able to ensure you know what your guests look like before they arrive. In addition, you can always require your guests to provide a government ID to Airbnb, as well (more on that here).

 

Here are a few more tips to help you build trust with guests before a trip:

  • You can message with them to get more information about the purpose of their trip;
  • You can use your House Rules to set expectations with potential guests, too. (Guests have to review and agree to your House Rules before they can request to book your space.)
  • You can review past guest reviews, from other hosts, to make a more informed decision about accepting booking requests.

 

Now, there are a few key themes we read in your comments about these changes, and we want to take a few minutes to address each of them:

 

Safety: Many of you mentioned that you’re not comfortable hosting someone who doesn't want to show their face, and some of you pointed out that you’re in challenging situations (remote locations and solo female hosts, for instance). This is an incredibly important topic. We’ve read through your responses, and we are committed to looking for ways to build trust between guests and hosts in all situations.

 

We’d like to extend an invitation to the engaged host community following this thread. Our home safety team is brainstorming ideas for how we could improve your experience and ensure you feel more safe hosting. While we have lots of ideas, we know the best solutions will come from listening to you, so we’d like to connect directly. Please let us know in the comments, below.

 

Timing: Many of you asked when you would see the changes to the guest profile photo process occur. We’re rolling them out gradually, as we often do with new products or processes. Currently, these changes have been introduced to 75% of hosts globally, and in the coming weeks will be available to 100% of hosts.  

 

Profile photos: A number of you raised concerns about profile photos that show a picture of a sunset or the guest’s dog instead of the guest themselves.  We have updated our policies to address these concerns. If you choose to turn on the new control and require that your guests have a profile photo, you can call Airbnb’s Community Support if you accept a reservation from a guest that does not have a profile photo of themselves.  Our Community Support team will work with you to address the situation. If you feel uncomfortable hosting someone without a photo of themselves, you can request to cancel the reservation penalty-free. (We recommend messaging the guest directly before cancelling.)

 

Discrimination: We do not condone discrimination by any member of the Airbnb community. These changes are part of our commitment to combating discrimination. Many of you responded that you believe these changes were unnecessary because you share our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We appreciate that feedback and can’t overstate the importance of having a host community that is engaged on this topic. Nonetheless, guests have consistently told us that they have concerns about hosts making decisions based on profile photos in violation of our Non-discrimination policy. We believe the changes to how we display photos addresses these concerns while balancing hosts’ interest in seeing potential guests before they arrive. Making these changes was an incredibly complex decision, for all the reasons you raised, but after significant debate (and working with many experts on this topic), we decided they were crucial changes to make.

 

Thank you for continuing to give us feedback and support as we strive to continue improving Airbnb for both hosts and guests. We hope you understand that we needed to make these changes to ensure a world of belonging and inclusivity. Please continue to tell us how we can improve, and we’ll continue to listen and adjust as we work to ensure you can feel comfortable and confident hosting.

 

Thank you,

The Airbnb Team

Labels (2)
122 Replies
Alienor & Piers in
United Kingdom
Level 7

Glad you have heard us about the photos. But you still haven’t addressed two key issues:  

 

1). Many first-time guests don’t even provide a profile and description of themselves.  And your options for reasons for refusing do not include that, which I feel they should. 

 

2). Why can we not see the ratings guests have received?  They can see how hosts have been rated. That seems fundamantally inequitable. 

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Hello @Alienor & Piers,

 

Thank you for your reply here and for sharing your thoughts. 

 

In regards to your first point, perhaps to help with this, you might like to opt in for the new host control that allows you to require your guests to provide a profile photo. As mentioned above, you can find out more information on how to add this requirement, here. This option, is currently rolled out to 75% of all hosts and this will be rolled out fully in the coming weeks if you are unable to see it at the moment. 

 

In addition, you mention generally quite a lot of new Airbnb guests don't have photos/description, do you have any ideas on how you think they could be encouraged to add these? 

 

Thanks again,

Lizzie

Mark in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

You should require a government ID and photo be part of every guests profile, that way, even if the hosts can't ever see it, it is on record in case of a problem.

 

You should also change your damage deposit policy to be one of a real damage deposit in order to ease the minds of the hosts who now have in some cases literally zero information on the potential guest before accepting or declining them:  no photo, no description on their profile, and no details in their message.  This is totally unfair to hosts, especially those of us who don't use Instant Book because we wish to have an exchange and some background before allowing someone to book.

 

You should also allow hosts to make their photos invisible prior to booking as well as guests in order to be fair.

 

You should relax your punishing policy on denials and possibly stop counting it toward super host status, pressuring  hosts to continue to accept guests where there are blank profiles, blank photos, and single sentence requests to book is unfair.

 

Or, you could do the one thing I know you will not do, which is simply go back to the previous policy, which worked well enough to build  your company into a global brand.

 

**Please note that your roll out of this was truly terrible, I know we had several days of blank photos from guests before the host side allowing us to require photos was up and running.

Emilia in
Orono, ME
Level 10

I am not concerned with seeing profile pictures before the booking is accepted. I am a big supporter and user of Instant booking so I have barely noticed this change.

 

I would, however, really like to see more complete guest profile pages. More times than not, I see a blank page with no information whatsoever.

 

What is this guest’s history with Airbnb? Did they just join or have they booked under this profile before? Where do they live (sometimes I just see United States.) I cannot even see if a guest is recommended by previous hosts. I like to see more of a travel profile. 

And then some simple questions to give these strangers more of a personality. What are their interests? Would they choose the mountains, the city, or the ocean? How do they take their coffee? Are they animal lovers? Just seeing some simple facts about the user (whether serious or playful) will give hosts more reassurance that they are actual human beings.

 

At this point I do not feel there is enough of a push from Airbnb to have guest’s actually complete a profile.

Alienor & Piers in
United Kingdom
Level 7

Hi Lizzie,

 

Thanks for replying.  I shall of course switch on the photo requirement. 

 

I see others are also asking for more profile information.  You could put simple switches in that don’t allow a guest to even register with AirBnB and enquire for bookings unless they have completed their profile: “that section cannot be blank”.  You can also be much bolder in telling them what information they have to give.  And, as someone else has commented, governement ID and their city and country of origin/residence should be obligatory.   I got a completely blank enquiry last week - guest name and nothing else - and there is no way to address that in the Decline options, which is both unfair and causes frustration. 

 

You didn’t address my second point about guest ratings.  What I see and what I increasingly feel (after more than four years Superhosting) is that there is a real imbalance between the approach to guests and that to hosts. Reciprocity is a key value of peer-to-peer community platforms, and you have moved a long way from that while your competitors are much more balanced. That obviously gives hosts inceasing choice of platforms.  It would be so simple to share guest ratings with us without any element of discrimination. After all they are as objective data as the host ratings. 

 

Thanks

Jennifer in
Peterborough, Canada
Level 9

@Alienor & Piers@Lizzie

 

I think you've hit the nail on the head with your statement, " You can also be much bolder in telling them what information they have to give."

There is a world of difference between "encouraging"  and "requiring"  users (both hosts and guests), to complete their profiles. I used to encourage my cat to stay off the sofa. You can imagine how successful that was.

 

If the policy was stated, and the requirement coded such that a user is unable to go beyond the profile creation page until it's complete, then the issue is made moot. Will such a requirement discourage people from signing up/using the system? Yes, likely some. Are these the kind of folks who are likely to be good hosts and good guests, who share the "community values" that the company promotes, and who are comfortable with the intimacy of sharing space with strangers? Likely not. The outcome of such a requirement seems like a win for everyone, as hosts and guests who carry through with the creation and completion of a profile are far more likely to be consistent users of the platform, and people who understand the concept of give and take, rather than take, take, take.

Jo in
Durban, South Africa
Level 10

Hello Lizzie,

 

The most basic of online forms can prevent a submission being made unless specific fields are filled in. For example, if you sign up for a newsletter, the form will not allow you to submit until you've provided your email address.

 

The developers at Airbnb have built some pretty amazing things over the years, so I can't imagine that it would be too difficult to build a sign up form that requires certain information; whether it's text (bio), images (government ID, selfie, profile photo), dates, email address, phone number, social media links, etc.

 

If aspiring new members were required to provide the information in order to sign up, it would be beneficial to both hosts and guests. And of course, Airbnb.

 

Similarly, just as current Airbnb users have to take action to agree to updates in the TOS, they could be prevented from making new bookings as guests or hosts until they have updated their profiles with the missing information.

 

-Jo

Francesca & Dave in
Vermont, United States
Level 10

Hi Lizzie,

 

With all due respect, that is totally disingenuous and somewhat misleading information. As far as I can ascertain after repeated attempts, hosts can only control guest requirements if they agree to take instant booking. For the many of us who do not take instant booking on our properties due to the types of properties we have, that option is unavailable and completely useless. I continue to be astounded and disturbed at the detrimental changes Airbnb seems to want to make to a system that used to generally work quite well for the majority of both hosts and guests.

 

While I do appreciate the fact that ABB reads these comments and attempts to respond to them — and the fact that there are multiple areas of concern that have to be addressed from multiple parties’ viewpoints — the new ABB changes and policies are clearly no longer working for a large number of the “traditional” ABB hosts who helped ABB build their brand and their business. I find this both discouraging and incredibly sad. 

Francesca & Dave in
Vermont, United States
Level 10

Hi Emilia,

 

I completely support this. While I would also like to see photos, it is the rest of the information that is lacking in my inability to see guest profiles until AFTER accepting a booking that concerns me the most.

 

I have now had to add a disclaimer to my house rules in order to require that potential guests show me screenshots of their profile information that includes their photo, the fact that they have indeed been verified with a government ID, and showing me their reviews from previous stays before accepting a booking. Without this information I will no longer continue to book guests and am adding my listing onto other rental platforms.

 

We were doing “Home Stays” a decade before ABB even started and we did just fine without them, so while I am sorry to see the host—ABB relationship deteriorate, I will not risk my safety, my home, my community or my ability to ensure a positive experience for both myself AND my guests due to ABBs deleterious changes.

 

I sincerely hope the Powers That Be at Airbnb are listening, because I am seeing the demise of a system that we used to thoroughly enjoy (as both hosts and guests) that no longer seems to be working for the “traditional” hosts who built the brand and the business for the Airbnb corporation.

Mark in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@Francesca & Dave  I honestly don't think airbnb cares about the traditional hosts.  The easieset thing for them to do is what they've been doing...moving the platform to be just like every other booking platform where it's anonymous to anonymous. 

 

The large property management companies and hotels that are now listed here won't care at all about a photo or no photo or a nice message or any of the personal stuff that traditional hosts have valued and used as tools to make the experience safe and as stress free as possible.  Airbnb has already rolled over on all the regulations for the most part, so who will be left at the end?  Property management companies, hotels, and hosts who can afford to meet burdensome government requirements, with maybe a tiny carve out for treehouses and other unique type listings, and a few in home shares.

Francesca & Dave in
Vermont, United States
Level 10

@Mark 

Sadly, I think you are spot on...  Another sharing economy and cooperative business model caves to greed. The caliber, focus and expectations of both the hosts and the guests has changed markedly. Perhaps a new platform supporting the “traditional” model will emerge — and even better having learned from all the mistakes and growing pains of ABB — but I’m not holding my breath. 

Susan in
Groton, CT
Level 9

Lizzie,

 

Thanks for asking for our feedback, but, respectfully, the original  post seems only to reiterate what we already knew about the "new" policy and suggests the use of tools and safeguards that I, personally, already have in place.

 

As an Instant Book host, I already ask that guests provide profile photos (which, of course, I'll now only see AFTER having accepted their reservations) and answer questions about their trip. While this gives me some peace of mind, it doesn't address my primary concern, which is new-to-Airbnb college kids booking my place for overnight drinking parties. Anyone can lie about their age and the purpose of their trip and I have no recourse but to resort to the honor system and accept what they tell me. A photo that shows me a very young person or group of people will at least allow me to ask a couple of pointed follow-up questions before accepting a booking. I HAVE accepted many college-age guests who've described their plans; for example, a sweet couple going to school on opposite coasts, who stayed at my place over Thanksgiving; two young women who wanted to get off campus for a study weekend, etc. It's neither my practice nor my intention to discriminate based on age--I'd also discourage older guests who clearly wanted to use my property for partying--but only to have a better sense of how my place is to be used. Consider the inquiring guests who disappear when--having seen their beer-in-hand photos--I ask follow-up questions about their travel plans. I've been grateful for the profile photos that got my antennae up in these cases.  Having said that, I'd be okay with dispensing with profile photos if Airbnb actually took the time to implement a well-thought out anti-discrimination policy that takes guest AND host safety into consideration.

 

I, and numerous other posters in the Community Center, have suggested an algorithm that tracks hosts' decline patterns. A little Big Brotherish? Sure, but I'd rather have Airbnb looking over my shoulder--knowing they'll find no discriminatory practices--than forcing me to accept a policy that makes hosts and guests alike uncomfortable. You haven't addressed the concerns of GUESTS who don't want to be booked in the homes of potentially discriminatory hosts. Because the new photo policy has created a perfect setup for that to happen. Personally, as a guest,  I'd rather have someone decline my inquiry after seeing my photo than accept my reservation because they don't have a choice and treat me like garbage--or give me an unfair review--once I'd left. Why can't a company with Airbnb's resources set up a more sensible anti-discrimination policy? No one from Airbnb has answered this question, and it's been asked plenty of times.

 

And finally, you do realize, don't you, how impracticable the whole "Have guests read your House Rules and agree to them before you accept the booking," suggestion is? Unless I'm missing a button or other tool somewhere, there is no way for a host to ensure this "agreement" is met. Again, we're supposed to trust in the honor system. If guests smoke in my property, leave garbage overflowing, turn the expensive electric heat up to 85 degrees 24/7,  or run the air conditioner in the dead of a New England winter (yes, this has happened--and they left it running upon checkout), I have no recourse. Would the viewing of a profile photo have prevented this behavior? Unlikely. But the original post DID suggest that hosts use House Rules to feel more secure. Here's a suggestion that should be extremely easy for Airbnb to implement: Have a button for guests to click ensuring they've read and will abide by hosts' House Rules. It's a great way to give guests a sense of accountability a hosts a sense of security.  Further, it ensures that guests actually READ the house rules, something which, in my experience, many guests don't seem to do.

 

I'd really like a response that addresses (a) why Airbnb can't/won't track declines and take action against discriminatory patterns; and (b) when Airbnb will create a  tool that enables hosts to have guests to click to agree to House Rules before being allowed to book.

 

Thanks in advance!

Sarah in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Airbnb  Sorry, but this explanation changes NOTHING. All you are doing is defending your new no profile photo policy until AFTER a booking is confirmed, which the vast majority of hosts have told you makes them feel vulnerable and takes away some of the tools we use to vet guests. So no, YOU ARE NOT LISTENING.

And this has zero to do with discrimination. Guests who are in demographics which often get discriminated against are writing in to this forum saying they would prefer to be discriminated against BEFORE their booking is accepted, rather than arrive at a listing to find that the host is actually predjudiced. This new policy makes them feel LESS safe.

Mark in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@Sarah  You arent' surprised are you?  At least this particular message wasn't written in the typical condescending sing song, new age patois, dude bro type of language that is typical of airbnb and their representatives.  They don't really care and they aren't going to change it unless there really is a vast number of hosts who leave the platform, which seems unlikely. 

 

I also agree, I would much prefer to be declined by someone who dislikes me in advance for my ethnicity or nationality, rather than show up somewhere and be treated badly. 

Robin in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

@Airbnb

I want to thank the team for looking at the community's concerns but if I may, I would like to make a  comment.

 

Where the photo issue prior to a reservation is concerned, with respect, you, the team,  have missed the point!

We are all well aware some users do not wish to publicly show an identifiable  image of themselves. This has always been the case and we as the hosting community do not have a problem with that because we can always ask for it.

What we are upset about is, more than 70% of users have presented an identifiable  profile photo which they have no problem with being publicly viewable, and Airbnb have chosen to remove access to that photo from the host until the guest has booked. This has been proven because the inquiring guests photo could be viewed prior to booking by opening their profile in an incognito window....but you have now closed that loop-hole too! This is what we are upset about!

 

Team, you have to understand, guests get annoyed when they have to keep on identifying themselves. They feel they have done their bit by going through the verification process in order to book with Airbnb, and now here they are having to go throught it again (sometimes within a few hours) for the host.....isn't once enough? The guests reaction is...."Why don't you clowns get your act together, we have already done this"!.....but Airbnb are removing it. Can you please understand this, you are not just making our job difficult, you are annoying prospective guests!

We are extremely concerned that the next step will be to remove the inquiring guests profile until they book, not just the photo. You are not FedEx, this is not an inanimate package you are delivering to our properties, it is a strange person, a person/s we know nothing about!

 

All we want is for the hosting process to go smoothly with as little inconvenience and uncertainty as possible. We don't want to be required to accept third party bookings, or guests who clearly are not a good fit for what we offer, we do not want to be put in a position where create issues which sooner or later Airbnb are going to have to deal with!

 

Cheers.....Rob

 

 

Ria in
Northland, New Zealand
Level 10

Dear @Airbnb I’m glad you mention safety so feel free to look at a message stream in my inbox.

Last week I got an enquiry on Sunday for Monday ( no faces from a couple ‘Sid and Nancy’ nothing on their profile apart from the letter S asking to pay on arrival as they had already drawn this money out in readiness)  I gave them the sorry but no can do message and wished them good luck.  

Half an hour later ‘ping’ an instant booking for another couple ‘Fred and Ginger’ (also no reviews or profile who booked that very same Monday. No way of knowing if they were actually the same couple?  I’m not sure how difficult it is to set up a fake personna.

Just lately I’m feeling not so safe. 

Mark in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

That's creepy. 

Jennifer in
Peterborough, Canada
Level 9

@Ria

That's egregious!

Ria in
Northland, New Zealand
Level 10

I had to look that word up :)  and yes.  Oh no surprises they didn’t leave a review ;) 

Patsy in
Santa Cruz, CA
Level 3

I totally agree with Mark from New Jersey.

Has airbnb forgotten  we rent spaces in our homes and charge way less than a hotel/motel and complete transparency was the host's small piece of feeling secure. I feel if a guest does not feel secure providing a profile picture than he or she can go to a hotel/motel and I also feel this would have very little if zero impact on airbnb. I have continued to accept reservations from people who have a minimum of 3  five star reviews otherwise I have declined the request. I am very disappointed with airbnb for this change and do not think good things will come of it. I spent a lot of time convincing neighbors of airbnb support for hosts and much time with city hall fighting to keep airbnb in our community and this is what we get in return?? I for one, do not believe that the discrimination card is the real reason this change has has happened.

Per airbnb guests do not feel secure providing a photo, and hosts do not feel secure accepting a reservation without one...and the guests wins and the host has all the risk.  Aiebnb

Do you really think this is fair. I think the hosts are now being discriminated against.

 

 

Brian in
Morayfield, Australia
Level 3

I note the reference to use house rules in the opening post. The issue is that guests simply don’t read the house rules despite them apparently agreeing to abide by these. On two recent occasions when I have raised issues about both compliance with ToS by guests and also guests flouting house rules, CS staff simply responded that this was my perception and refused to even entertain the idea that a guest may actually not comply with house rules. This is despite my having hard evidence that supports my ‘perception’. Suggesting hosts tighten up house rules is pointless if the host attempts to enforce their house rules and guests are simply supported by AirBNB to flout house rules and your own ToS. 

Sufyan in
Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Level 1

First , Excuse my language .

 

 

“Dodo would like to stay on Feb-21 Feb 23”

 

Dodo has 0 reviews, 0 verifications, gender/age not showing, no location and even the profile pic is not showing.

 

 

How do you expect me to accept this kind of requests? but with a profile picture ? maybe

 

My place is in a family building which is surrounded by hotels, bars,clubs,.. etc

 

Hotels, apartments there are mostly booked for prostitution porposes, they book 1-3 days and sometimes for more than a month.

 

For me I reject any request from male local guests or female from (some countries)  i am not discriminating, but I don’t want my place to be used for these purposes. And it is not nice to ask the guest if they are a prositutes or going to bring any.

What if they do? Without me knowing.. is airbnb going to make it up for my reputation

In the building ?

 

Even if I mention that in the discription, guests don’t read discriptions! I get many one bedroom requests from guests want an entire apartment! Many guests can’t read english!

 

Again, a profile picture helps a lot , I already rejected 7 requests since this update

 

I'm serious about finding an airbnb alternative

 

Sufyan in
Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Level 1

Creepy !

Jennifer in
Peterborough, Canada
Level 9

@Airbnb

 

The following is a "cut and paste" from my Reservation Details for a guest who has booked my listing:

 

About this guest
(Name Hidden by me for privacy reasons while posting in this forum)
1 verification
Toronto, Canada
 
This information is not "clickable", by which I mean that I cannot follow a link to this guest's profile page. The verification is a mobile phone. No photo. Not even the "circle" with an initial. The message this guest sent says simply, "Looking forward to it!"
 
Kindly explain to me how allowing this kind of profile booking privileges at all is "balancing" any kind of a need. Please do tell me (and all other interested hosts) how any reasonable person who is offering space inside his/her home can even begin to approach, let alone evaluate, a request from this totally unknown quantity.
 
Your claim is that you have instituted this policy in order to root out discrimination, which is an admirable goal and certainly a goal that we should all pursue. I respectfully submit, however, that a "profile" such as the one above creates an automatic negative response in me, which is discriminatory. This discrimination is not based on any kind of personal characteristic of the guest, but on a total lack of personal characteristics.
 
You have asked to hear suggestions from us. My suggestion is that the platform REQUIRE a user's profile to be complete before the user is able to request a booking, or to list a space, so that we can all feel secure in the knowledge that everyone using the platform has been vetted.
Alice & Jeff in
Durham, NC
Level 10

@Airbnb - 

Where is the concern for hosts who feel that guests are discriminating against them because you REQUIRE a host photo?  Or worse, those that fear being targeted by shifty guests because of their race, gender, sexuality, or age?

 

It would seem to me, if you were a miniority host, you would have the same fears as guests regarding safety and security and yet, you've failed to address this dicrimination at all.  Is it because a guest won't feel safe selecting a home if they can't see who will be answering the door when they arrive?  

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Thanks @Jennifer for your feedback and ideas on how to encourage guest to provide more information on their profile.

 

Out of interest, as there are different levels of information that could be provided (some like to share more than others), what would be the basic level of information you as a host and you think others would like to see in a guest profile and type of information?

 

Thanks again,

Lizzie

Emilia in
Orono, ME
Level 10

@Alice & Jeff, well said and great points.

Jennifer in
Peterborough, Canada
Level 9

Thanks, @Lizzie, for replying. Sorry for the "wall of text" that follows.

 

I certainly can't speak to what others are comfortable with, as the proponderance of listing types vary so greatly. I've seen posts where the hosts have a gender requirement as they offer shared rooms, or single females wanting same gender guests for safety and personal comfort. Presumably there are male hosts who would only want to host other men. So I can only speak for myself here.

 

This is an example of what I think we can all agree on as unacceptable:

 

Screen Shot 2019-02-07 at 11.58.10 AM.png

This person, who would like to stay in my home has a mobile phone and (presumably) lives in Toronto. That's all I know, as even this person's name is non-specific as to gender (you'll have to take my word for it, as I've blocked it for privacy).

 

I believe that a photo should be required to be uploaded (though in my circumstances I don't need to see it before I accept the request), government id should be required and matched by the platform to the uploaded photo through facial recognition. If these things are done, I have the comfort of knowing that this is a real person, a traceable person. I also believe a verfied phone # and an email should be required.

 

I think that this should be the minimum standard for every single person using the platform. Hosts are not shipping widgets to these people, we're opening our homes to them. As Jo says below, make this required information, even if it's not actually shared with hosts. Just knowing that it has been done will calm many people's fears.

 

I'm not quite sure about how to acheive a balance with gender requirements, though. Hosts who have such a requirement should be served by the platform. Tough to balance with guests who perhaps don't identify as a specific gender, though. I guess this is a case where input from both sides of equation be solicited to try to find a solution.

 

Something written in the bio section is welcome - everyone feels more comfortable when you have a hint of another person's personality. In the case of the above guest (who has not filled out a bio), all they had to say in their message to me was, "Looking forward to it!" Not helpful. No hints to be garnered about this person from that. Biographies would be helpful, and I would suggest "encouraging" they be filled out with language along the lines of: "Tell us about yourself. Hosts who receive booking requests from you are  75% (whatever the statistic is, and I'm sure Airbnb knows it) more likely to accept your request if you fill this section out". I think, however, that "encouraging" this is pretty weak, though. Let's be realistic. Some people do want and need to know about their guest's personalities. If filling the bio section out were required, a great deal of time would be saved on both host's and guest's ends, and may result in a happier group of people.

 

Our world is full of choices.  I understand that @Airbnb wishes to offer people as many as practicable. If there is reluctance on the part of the company to require the above from travelers, and if said travelers are absolutely loathe to provide this information (for whatever reason), then perhaps a policy can be created and a statement can be made like this:  "For those guests who don't "choose" to share photos and ids, booking options are limited to the hotels and managed properties that are on offer." Make the statement up front when users are creating a profile. I imagine that the folks who "choose" to share this information will far surpass those who don't. If not, though, Airbnb is still offering a choice and still getting the business, just not in private homes.

 

For private homes, vetting users (by at a minimum ensuring that they are who they say, and they are traceable) should be an absolute requirement, and will result in a much better balance.

 

 

 

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Thanks @Jennifer for sharing your thoughts. It really is good to hear ideas on ways to improve the process. 

 

Similarly to my question to Jennifer above, and I know you have touched upon the range of things, but do you have thoughts on what the basic level of information you would like to see? 

 

Thanks again,

Lizzie

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Thanks @Robin for sharing more of your thoughts on this and it is really interesting to hear your points from a guest point of view. 

 

Just thinking on what you have shared here. Once the booking is confirmed, if the guest has added a photo this will then be visible to hosts. It would be great to hear more of your thoughts on what points you think the guest will get frustrated with the process? Plus, any possible ideas for addressing this (aside from reversing the update?) :)

 

As ever, thanks so much,

 

Lizzie

Susan in
Groton, CT
Level 9

@Airbnb & @Lizzie:

 

Do you have any intention of addressing or even attempting to address the two very clear questions I asked at the end of my earlier post in this thread?

 

"I'd really like a response that addresses (a) why Airbnb can't/won't track declines and take action against discriminatory patterns; and (b) when Airbnb will create a  tool that enables hosts to have guests to click to agree to House Rules before being allowed to book."

 

I'm not the first person who's wondered these things. Check out @Brian's post below, which addresses my same point about Airbnb repeatedly suggesting that hosts make themselves feel "safer" by attempting to reinforce House Rules that are basically unenforcable without any tools or support from Airbnb. As Airbnb's representative here, it would be nice, @Lizzie,  if you would at least acknowledge the legitimacy of these concerns.

 

Further, I find it frustrating, if not downright insulting, that you continue to ask for suggestions . . . as long as said suggestions don't involve overturning @Airbnb's shiny new policy. So you're basically saying that, as Airbnb's representative, you only want to hear from people who are happy to toe the company line. I made a suggestion about replacing the "no photos" policy with a different type of policy that might actually address and curb discrimination in a way that enables both guests and hosts to feel secure. But you don't want to hear about that, or even to acknowlege the suggestion because it would involve--heaven forbid!--Airbnb repealing something they just rolled out. So, how concerned and unhappy  numerous hosts and guests feel about the new policy really doesn't matter; what matters is that @Airbnb might have to undo something they just did. 

 

The unfortunate conclusion I'm forced to come to is that  @Airbnb only wants to communicate with people who agree with them. Okay, you do that. But please stop patronizing the rest of us.

 

 


@Lizzie wrote:

Thanks @Robin for sharing more of your thoughts on this and it is really interesting to hear your points from a guest point of view. 

 

Just thinking on what you have shared here. Once the booking is confirmed, if the guest has added a photo this will then be visible to hosts. It would be great to hear more of your thoughts on what points you think the guest will get frustrated with the process? Plus, any possible ideas for addressing this (aside from reversing the update?) :)

 

As ever, thanks so much,

 

Lizzie


 

 

Susan in
Groton, CT
Level 9

Wow. I just posted a reply that was completely "disappeared" from this thread three minutes after going up. Oh, well, back to the drawing board:

 

What I wanted to know was why you, @Lizzie, as @Airbnb's representative, apparently only want to hear suggestions from people who are not asking for the new "no guest photos" policy be changed? Are you saying that you only want to hear from people who agree with you? Or are you saying only hosts (or guests, for that matter) who toe the party line have anything to say worth hearing?

 

What's obvious in your most recent post is that we're spitting in the wind if we think Airbnb intends to change any of their precious policies, even in the face of concerns and/or suggestions that are valid and reasonable. Also coming across loud and clear: @Airbnb is very invested in the rules it creates, but not so much in the concerns of those who have to abide by them. Like, it's more important for the company not to have to roll back what they just rolled out than for it to address the legitimate issues that have been expressed by numerous people in numerous threads on this subject.

 

@Lizzie, the questions I asked at the end of my earlier post have not been addressed or even acknowleged, so, to refresh your memory:

 

"I'd really like a response that addresses (a) why Airbnb can't/won't track declines and take action against discriminatory patterns; and (b) when Airbnb will create a  tool that enables hosts to have guests to click to agree to House Rules before being allowed to book."

 

I'm not the first person who's brought up these questions. I've seen both hosts and guests suggest tracking decline patterns, and @Brian, in this thread, also raised the issue of unenforceable house rules, to wit:

 

"I note the reference to use house rules in the opening post. The issue is that guests simply don’t read the house rules despite them apparently agreeing to abide by these. On two recent occasions when I have raised issues about both compliance with ToS by guests and also guests flouting house rules, CS staff simply responded that this was my perception and refused to even entertain the idea that a guest may actually not comply with house rules. This is despite my having hard evidence that supports my ‘perception’. Suggesting hosts tighten up house rules is pointless if the host attempts to enforce their house rules and guests are simply supported by AirBNB to flout house rules and your own ToS."

 

Exactly. So why not a button to click or other tool that will ensure guests at least know the house rules exist? Better yet, that they have to type in in a code word (or whatever) that's embedded in the rules before they can move through the rest of the reservation process. Hey, we're all having to prove we're not robots all the time, so it's not a huge hoop for people to jump through at this point. This is a valid point being made by many hosts, but you choose not to address it at all. Why?

 

I can't speak for others, but I can tell you that I'm past the point of considering these requests for "feedback"--as long as it doesn't rock the boat--disingenuous. I now consider them insulting and patronizing, and I won't be able to take @Airbnb's communications seriously until I see that they and their representatives are taking seriously the real concerns of the people who use this platform and make the existence and success of this company possible.

 


@Lizzie wrote:

Thanks @Robin for sharing more of your thoughts on this and it is really interesting to hear your points from a guest point of view. 

 

Just thinking on what you have shared here. Once the booking is confirmed, if the guest has added a photo this will then be visible to hosts. It would be great to hear more of your thoughts on what points you think the guest will get frustrated with the process? Plus, any possible ideas for addressing this (aside from reversing the update?) :)

 

As ever, thanks so much,

 

Lizzie


 

 

Schaff Properties in
Tampa, FL
Level 1

As hosts, you do want to see what someone looks like before "handing over the keys" to them.  We put a lot of money in buying, upgrading and furnishing a very nice waterfront suite.  I do not want to hand it over to someone who has a picture of a cartoon as their profile picture.  As hosts, a lot of the time the people that make requests have no reviews, no government ID's, you don't know thier age and now no picture.  We want to make sure we are not renting to irresponsible people who might destroy your investment.  A Profile picture can tell a lot about a person.  It just seems Airbnb is putting hosts at more of a risk. 

 

Yes, we can decline them after accepting them but that negatively effects our Superhost status.  

 

"Here are a few more tips to help you build trust with guests before a trip:"

  • You can message with them to get more information about the purpose of their trip;
  • You can use your House Rules to set expectations with potential guests, too. (Guests have to review and agree to your House Rules before they can request to book your space.)
  • You can review past guest reviews, from other hosts, to make a more informed decision about accepting booking requests.

So now we have to ask them the purpose of their trip.  That is personal info that some guests might get offended by us asking.  Especially, if we have to tell them the reason doesn't meet our renting standards.  

 

The guests I'm trying to prevent from booking are not going to respect the House Rules anyways.

 

And again, many of the requests we get the guests have no reviews.  I would have to decline 70% of the requests.  No reviews, no ID's, and now no pics just makes it more frustrating be a host.

 

We have rented to all types of people from all over the world so we can not be called guilty of discrimination.  We just want to see what a person looks like before we accept them.  We have a lot of money invested in being able to provide an above average place and we want to protect it. 

Phil And Aquilla in
London, United Kingdom
Level 8

I love the patronizing and one sided tone of  Airbnb's response in the face of overwhelming opposition from hosts to the introduction of  this new policy of "no photo until after booking" for guests.

 

Some of the choice quotes:

. "We understand many of you are feeling frustrated right now".

 

A big understatement! We have been hosts for six and a half years but like many other hosts are now considering other options.

 

" It’s clear that we need to keep listening and engaging with you".

 

But it is also clear that inspite of all the reaction against this innovation Airbnb are not going to budge!

 

" We want to make sure guests can feel comfortable when they travel on Airbnb".

 

What about making hosts feel comfortable with guests they receive? We are a family home with two daughters and need to carefully vet the people we take in!

 

"We are committed to looking for ways to build trust between guests and hosts in all situations".

 

Really? So that's why you take away the guest's photo! Of course the host's photo has not been removed! Guests can discriminate as much as they want!

 

"Our home safety team is brainstorming ideas for how we could improve your experience and ensure you feel more safe hosting".  

 

Had a good laugh about that one. Just who is Airbnb trying to kid?

 

Airbnb wake up! Overwhelmingly hosts oppose this change and in the course of time many will simply go elsewhere!

 

 
33 Replies
Jo in
Durban, South Africa
Level 10

Hello @Lizzie,

 

Did you perhaps mean this message for me? In case you did, I’m going to share my thoughts.

 

First off, @Jennifer, in her reply to you, has done an excellent job of expressing many of my own thoughts.

 

I agree: I can only speak for myself as all of our listings and locations and real life situations vary tremendously. As an Airbnb user I’m around about a 2:1 guest:host ratio (I travel as a guest twice as often as I host), so I’m looking at this issue from both perspectives, guest and host.

 

 

FROM A HOST PERSPECTIVE

 

 

In my specific situation, I host in a popular holiday town on the east coast of South Africa. My family has owned our home for over 20 years and we dearly love our little apartment. It’s not an investment/money making property. We live an hour or so away, and we rent out the whole apartment during holiday season.

 

It is of vital importance to us that our guests, our home, our family, and our neighbours are all safe, secure, and well taken care of.

 

It grieves me to say (especially on this international forum) that South Africa is a country with serious safety and security issues. Because of this, proper vetting of guests is absolutely paramount for everyone’s safety. This is why the continued undermining of host freedoms and continued focus on guest obscurity is deeply concerning to me. So much so that I have already removed my listing from Airbnb.

 

For me to be able to host with confidence in my particular circumstances, this is what action I would like to see from Airbnb:

 

 

1) Restore guest profile photos.

 

2) Perform proper background/security checks on guests. If this was done thoroughly, there would be fewer safety and security problems.

 

3) Require the following in order for new members to sign up, and for current members to continue using the platform:

 

-Government-issue ID

-Clear facial profile photo

-Useful, informative bio

-Where guest/host/user is from

-When guest/host/user joined Airbnb

-Current contact details

 

This basic background information should be provided before guests can send booking enquiries or requests.

 

4) Have real consequences for bad and dangerous guests: ban them from the platform so that we don’t end up hosting them.

 

5) Take a real security deposit and allow hosts to recover costs from it. At present, the process of recovering costs from guests who have caused damage is cumbersome and inefficient.

 

6) Provide guest star ratings for hosts to see. Hosts deserve to know if guests break house rules, have low cleanliness ratings or poor communication.

 

 

There may well be some hosts who don’t feel they need this detail at all. But perhaps there are those, like me, who would find it immensely helpful.

 

 

FROM A GUEST PERSPECTIVE

 

 

When I first signed up to Airbnb, there was no such thing as a Bélo. It was back in these days:

 

ABB-blue.pngAnyone else been around since then? :)

 

 

My husband and I signed up under his name. (I later made my own account when I decided to become a host.)

 

I remember thinking at the time that the sign up process was exciting. I felt as though we were joining this new, intriguing community of people willing to share their homes, hospitality, and trust. The sign up took a while, because there were photos to upload, IDs to verify, contact details to record, and a bio to write.

 

Hosts, real life everyday people were risking themselves and their homes by inviting me, a stranger, in. They had shared the photos of the interiors of where they actually live, along with all sorts of information about themselves, their homes, and their communities. The very least I could do was share a picture of my face with them.

 

What a privilege it was to be part of it all! We met the most amazing people, and stayed in truly remarkable places, because we put in the effort to be decent guests; making it easier for hosts to accept our bookings.

 

Those early days trained me to write informative messages to prospective hosts so that they could decide whether or not I would be a good fit for them and their home. Sometimes the answer was yes, sometimes it was no.

 

To this day, it has never occurred to me to question a host on their decision.

It’s their home.

Their property.

If they would rather not host me for whatever reason, it is entirely their choice.

I have been declined, and have never held it against a host.

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

 

In my experience, back in the early days, I think guests were more respectful-more grateful and appreciative-for the opportunity of travelling this way. I feel as though these days, guests are considerably more entitled, and certainly I’ve wasted numerous messaging hours with those who have no understanding of what Airbnb really is (or originally was).

 

I’m guessing that these are likely the guests who do not want to spend their time verifying themselves, providing profile photos, reading listings and house rules. There is a profusion of platforms for guests like this. The internet is full of them, they are spoilt for choice. Guests who do not want to participate in the trusting spirit of Airbnb are a poor fit for the platform, and I’m at a loss as to why they are being catered for, especially at the risk of hosts who have helped to build this company from the ground up. I don’t know why this has been allowed to even become an issue.

 

I genuinely want to believe the best about about Airbnb. Despite the information put forward by the company in these two posts;

 

Airbnb Answers: Guest profile photos

 

Guest profile photos: Airbnb response to community feedback

 

I find it difficult to believe that this profile photo policy is about non-discrimination at all. Allowing host profile photos to be seen before booking, but hiding guest profile photos before booking appears blatantly discriminatory to me. Why do I have more rights, more freedoms, as a guest, than I do as a host?

Just some ponderings off the top of my mind. Thanks for reading!

-Jo

P.S. Fellow ABBers, South Africa is a gloriously beautiful country of rivers, oceans, mountains, valleys, waterfalls, rolling hills, forests, grasslands, deserts, wildlife, and wonderful people. We are so much more than a country-wide crime scene, as often reported in the news. Please come visit!

Tamara in
London, United Kingdom
Level 3

I have just provided a feedback to Airbnb about it. I think that Airbnb's snowflake management had virtually and officially lost a plot! Since Airbnb cites as the reason behind this decision as discrimination, let's talk discrimination! Firstly if someone wants to discriminate, they will find the way to do so, whether you remove the pic or not. What you have achieved by removing picture before booking is you have put us women especially, at risk. You wouldn't let your daughter to go on a date with a faceless stranger, and you would always advise to meet in a busy place full of people. But you are asking us hosts, especially female hosts, as more vulnerable ones, to not only 'get a blind date' with a faceless guest, but invite them  in to our homes. And on that note, me and thousands of other female hosts on our Airbnb Hosts Facebook group were pretty unanimous about this feature: IT IS A DISCRIMINATION AGAINST US WOMEN!!!  I have never discriminated based on race, age, looks, etc. in 5 years. I have hosted united colours of Benetton in my home, and I have repeat guests from all over the world, black, yellow, pink, whatever colour. I had christians, buddhists, hindus, jewish, muslims, jehovah's witnesses, agnostics, straight, gay, lesbian, slim, fat, tall, short, pretty, not so pretty, young and old. I DON'T CARE IF THE PERSON IS PRETTY or NOT! All I need for comfort is to see whether the person looks friendly and trustworthy. Picture speaks a 1000s words. The emotion I draw from the picture gives me a sense of security. I am connecting to the person. Without it, I feel exposed, at risk. IT IS YOUR DUTY TO EQUIP HOSTS WITH EVERY IMAGINABLE DECISION MAKING TOOL, NOT LIMIT THEM.  30% of my annual bookings now come from your competitors = 30% less bookings on Airbnb. Majority of hosts are women, if one is to believe online statistics. So please start respecting the very branch you sit on and start giving more respect to us hosts because WITHOUT US HOSTS THERE WON'T BE AIRBNB!!! 

Susan in
Groton, CT
Level 9

LOL, my post that disappeared yesterday has reappeared! Maybe it was on vacation? Staying at an Airbnb Plus property? (Unlikely; my posts can't afford such luxury.)

 

Sorry about unintentionally making my points twice. Guess I'll make lemonade and use it as an editorial exercise. ;)

 

Oad
Level 5

@Airbnb,

please address the real issue here. SCREENING GUESTS. hosts are left to fend for themselves. And without proper tools - you, Airbnb, encourage prejudice. WHY?

Secure Accommodation CANNOT be trusted with Airbnb as it cares mostly about iTD bottom line, and making it easy for more users to join.

Unfortunately, there are NO regulation by the state or federal law (so far), and I suspect it would take a major crime or a terorist attack to draw congress attention to Airbnb practices. 

Therefore, i call all hosts: call your congressman TODAY, and ask for secure accommodation. Like any hotel, where a guest is required by federal and state law to provide a government issued ID, with a head shot, not a pet, not a sunsets. A clear photo ID !!!

Robin in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

 @Lizzie @Susan @Jo @Airbnb

Lizzie, None of us are concerned once the guest has booked....we are concerned with the removal of information before the guest has booked.  

As I said, if the guest has chosen not to provide a photo......fine, we deal with that and have the mechanism in the booking process to request an acceptable  photo prior to acceptance....we are covered!

 

Lizzie, a single female host has the right to see and assess the stranger would is requesting a stay in her property, not just be told what a great person they may be, male or female.

I use myself as an example! My name Robin, is an asexual name, I could be a man or I could be a woman...in fact Andrea from Amsterdam for more than year here thought I was a woman!!!

How exactly can that female host establish that (without going through the whole identication procedure and requesting and seeing a visual image again) before she accepts the booking?

Can you understand that, you are asking guests to reverify themselves to the host again and this would not be neseccary if that visual image that the guest was quite happy to provide to Airbnb had been available, as it should have been.

 

Lizzie, I can see a massive rise in third party booking requests, because the account holder has visual anonimity prior to  booking........ and will work on the presumption that the host will take the risk and not go through the hassle of cancelling the reservation once he finds out that the guest is not the actual person they are supposed to be, but some sort of relation or friend. Remember the host is only allowed a few penalty free cancellations in a one year period and this policy will be sorely tested!!

 

Lizzie, it is obvious to us in the hosting community this has not been put in place to minimise discrimination. It has been put in place to restrict the number of host declines for what the host sees as legitimate personal grounds.

I want to see this platform continue to grow, but all initiatives like this are going to do is divide the hosting community yet further and cause a high percentage of good responsible hosts to take their business elsewhere.

This initiative will turn out to be counter productive!

 

Cheers.....Rob

Jeanette in
Dunedin, New Zealand
Level 2

Stop **bleep** footing around, Airbnb!

 

This platform is based on trust. Like many others we leave our guests in our home when we go to work. Come on Airbnb - make it mandatory to provide a photo and profile when joining. It’s absolutely not unreasonable and only fair to the people you rely on - the hosts, because without them there would be no Airbnb. 

Anna in
London, United Kingdom
Level 2

I am a single female anf have been hosting for 4 years in my own home. I always require guests to provide a photo, verified ID and some information about themselves. Not being able to see the profile photo BEFORE accepting a booking is a deal breaker for me. If this is not changed I will leave Airbnb.

The discrimination thing works both ways, hosts could equally claim their photos should not be displayed before a booking is confirmed. However, we all know that providing a photo builds trust (on both sides), which is a major part of what Airbnb WAS built on...

Clara in
Florida, United States
Level 10

@Phil And Aquilla 

@Airbnb I am unable to like a post from Phil And Aquilla.....what's with that one???

perhaps you can fix that little glitch. Thanks

Sarah in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Clara  I couldn't either- then I noticed that there were actually 2 "like" boxes under their post. Skip below the first box and look under where it says 33 Replies and try the box below that. definitely a weird glitch.

Cor in
Langerak, Netherlands
Level 10

Hi @Airbnb,

 

I do agree with the comments made here. And it seems clear, that whatever we say here or protest against. This policy is not going to be reversed. It’s another classic example of a decision taken at Airbnb HQ. We can vent here for a while. And at some stage, it will all pass by. And it will be a done deal.

We’ve all witnessed it before. Does the discussion on the 48-hour grace period ring a bell with anyone?

 

Well @Lizzie, you wanted suggestions, I’ll give you a few:

  • Why not give the decision on possibly hiding the guest profile picture – prior to booking – in the hands of the guests themselves. You can even set the default to: Hide (But please attach a remark: Leaving this setting to Hide, will increase their chance of being rejected by some hosts). Basically the same idea, as the extra option. Which was introduced, as a result of the 48-hour grace period discussion.
  • You have the availability of facial recognition software. So when guests do not provide a selfie-style frontal profile picture, they must complete their profile with at least 20 or 50 words. Of course they can always upload a picture of somebody else. But it will at least help.

 

Just some food for thought: As you say, you want to abolish discrimination on the platform (fine with me of course). And this being the main reason, for this policy change. I can assure you: More than ever, empty profiles, will become an even bigger red flag, than they already were. Most likely resulting in more declines on inquiries, rather than in decreasing these. So, less $$$ for Airbnb.

When I look at the past history of my guests, the best guests had completely filled out profiles, including proper profile pictures and their actual name + correct place of residence (we are required to collect ID Info, you see)!

Simple reason: They have nothing to hide!

And we can all do very well without the guests, that have lesser intentions.

Guests who do not want to reveal their identity, and still expect me to handover the keys to a lifetime saving. Is free to book somewhere else :-D

 

Just my 2-cents.

Ana in
Stratford, New Zealand
Level 2

Agree with the comments above. 

 

Airbnb isn’t Booking.com and shouldn’t be the next Booking.com. I would say Airbnb should be more like a match.com.

I used Couchsurfing a lot in my early days of traveling and many years ago I felt the guest and host Blanche in Airbnb is a lot like Couchsurfing the only differences were Airbnb has proper bed/room and shower and of course people pay for it. 

Sharing homes is a very special and deep social interaction and that’s what makes Airbnb unique. 

If airbnb congratulations trying to make guests experience hotel services then you are going to lost a lot more than that. 

Be carful and think deeply about which one should be your primary target group, without good calming hosts you won’t have rooms to sell. 

Level 8

@Airbnb  As Toms cohost (Yvonna). I share every one of the previous opinions and reasons cited within this thread so far.  I turned off instant book for a few days until the button appeared to require a guest photo.  In addition I opted to require all the optional requirements provided to us.  And then a warning appeared that we may not get as many bookings blah blah blah.  Well I don’t care.  It’s not just Tom and I who live in this house under the potential guests, I babysit my very young grand children here on a full time basis.  And believe me when I say nobody I feel uncomfortable with will be permitted to book or continue with their booking once a issue arises.  My family comes first and no dollar amount is worth the risk.  Nameless faceless people can go to a more expensive hotel and book a room.  They won’t get a kitchen.  They won’t get a dining room.  They won’t get a living room. And they won’t get a nice couple to look out for them as visitors to a new place.  And as we all know they will be paying more.  I agree that guests should be given the option to opt out of information being shared with hosts and then the message should pop up telling them doing so reduces the likelihood of getting a booking.  The door should swing both ways.  By the way, if I could choose only one guest rating that I would want to see it would be regarding cleanliness.  Nobody wants to be cleaning for extra hours after messy guests.  

Phil And Aquilla in
London, United Kingdom
Level 8

Hi @Clara, Thanks for your reponse and sorry for the confusion! When copying and pasting from Airbnb's post I accidentally pasted the last part of their post (showing the link to "Join the conversation" and "Replies") as well. If you go to the thumbs up opposite the red Reply tab that should work.

Di in
Underberg, South Africa
Level 2

Well expressed and motivated, Jo, I trust Airbnb takes note! 

Susan in
Oregon, United States
Level 10

@SusanThank you for so clearly articulating my thoughts as well.

Susan in
Oregon, United States
Level 10

Thank you @Rob for sharing a point of view that has distinctive merit and struck several chords with me. 

 

We live thousands of miles from each other, share a similar hosting style, and it's clear that we love what we do and that our guests do too.

 

I'm going out on a limb to share my respectful observation that very valid points have been clearly made in thousands of posts by concerned hosts, and based on their clarity and numbers, and the ability airbnb management has to access them, been overlooked.  This is not about racial or ethnic profiling and the population of hosts that choose NOT to instant book for safety and personal reasons are being completely ignored.  Seeing the photo after the fact is blantant discrimination against hosts who choose to operate thier business in ways that work for them, and i ways that have made airbnb billions.

 

Yes, these new policies are also negatively impacting guests' experience, and putting guests vulnerable to racial profiling, and ALL hosts at greater risk.  I've had more than one guest share that they're not happy with many recent changes, including having to wade through pages of hotels and property management listings just to find a "real" airbnb, and making host reviews more complicated.

 

I actually had a frustrated guest who went above and beyond to put my mind at ease and truly opened my eyes about the position hosts are in.  I kept asking polite questions, and they stated thier profile was already complete, and asked me why they had to repeat themselves. Embarassed at seeming so inept, I replied honestly that there was a "platform glitch" and I was unable to view thier profile. They wanted to send me a screen shot of thier profile but couldn't, just as we're unable to exchange phone numbers and email addresses in messaging.

 

I clicked on another window I had open to check my email a few minutes later.  There was a "priority" email that included a scan of a business card for an employee of one of the most prominent investigative government agencies in the US and itincluded the same first name as my prospective guest.

 

The body of the email explained it was indeed from my prospective guest who apologized, asked me not to be alarmed, and to forgive the quick "forensics investigation" to find my email.

 

The prospective guest further explained they understood my position of vulnerability regarding the "platform glitch" and wanted to put my mind at ease that they weren't "meth heads trying to crash my place," just a hard working person wanting a quiet weekend away at the coast with thier spouse, they loved my listing, and the privacy and quiet it offered, and hoped they could stay.

 

I've hosted writers, actors, artists, and politicians, none of whom had the clearance to access information like this guest did, so needless to say I warmly accepted that request to book, and they turned out to be very gracious and appreciative and left me another 5-star review, and some sound advice about the alarming level of legal vulnerability these new policies expose hosts to in my jurisidiction, and others.

 

 

 

 

 

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