New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
Yorba Linda, CA
Level 1
10,203 Views

Hi All,

 

I am new to AirBNB, my host is Verified and has 411 reviews.  He is asking to communicate via whatsapp instead of through AirBnB.  Is that normal?  I see all the warning signs about communicating only through AirBnB. But due to his verified status and reviews, I am wondering if I should communicate there?  Thanks!

26 Replies

Re: New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
Daylesford, Australia
Level 10

Ask him on the Air platform why he prefers that? Always best to stick with Air for a record of the discussion. Though I usually ask confirmed guests to use my mobile directly if they need me urgently.

Re: New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
Florianópolis, Brazil
Level 1

Hi Jonathan, I know WhatApp is not very popular here in the States but where I am from Brazil is used as a way of communicating way more then regular phone messages. Anyways hope it helps

 

Re: New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
SF, CA
Level 10

@Jonathan383 I guess I would ask him why he wants to use WhatsApp instead of the AirBnB messaging system.

I can understand wanting to have WhatsApp *in addition to* the AirBnB messaging system, but if he wants to *avoid* the AirBnB messaging system, then I would be concerned.

He would need to have an excellent explanation, as really the AirBnB messaging system is the only really acceptable way of documenting what the host and guest say to each other.

 

Re: New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
Leesburg, VA
Level 2

I just received the same type of message requesting to use WhatsApp.

Re: New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
Atascosa, TX
Level 10

@David2749  I would tell the host you're comfortable with the AirBnB messaging system. You do not have the app and do want to install it on your phone. 

Re: New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
Nairobi, Kenya
Level 2

I am a host and I always prefer to chat on Whatsapp because it's way easier for me to respond rapidly to a guest. Here in Kenya, Whatsapp is among the most if not "the" most popular mode of communication in the city.  I also like to make sure that my guests get the check-in info on their Airbnb inbox as well as through messages on phone just in case they do not have the App downloaded on their phone. Years back, I had a bad experience as a guest in the US where the host sent me the check-in information on the Airbnb during my transit. I was travelling for nearly 24 hours (as we had our flight delayed) so I wasn't able to check my Airbnb messages as I did not have the App downloaded on my phone. I totally missed this info which led to an extremely stressful check-in process. I never want such a thing to happen to a client of mine. 

 

Sometimes I am also traveling abroad for work, so Whatsapp helps because I can loop my mum/sister into the conversation who are then able to respond quickly to a client's need in my absence. Usually, I warn the client in advance that I will be looping in my mum/sister so that they can get prompt assistance. 

 

So far this has been very effective and all my guests have, thankfully, appreciated this quick way of communication, but if ever I had a guest who objected to my using Whatsapp, I would certainly switch to the Airbnb App. After a guest leaves, I archive the messages so that I have a record for future reference if need be. Another way to keep this record is to email the conversation to your email address and exit the group. 

Re: New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
South Korea
Level 10

We use whatsapp or kakao talk with confirmed guests near check in when immediate and timely communication is critical.

 

I've been seeing a time delay in message arrival from the abb messenger several times. After a few close calls, we ask guests to IM us when they arrive at the airport or on their way to our home for check in. Anything important related to the stay we copy onto the abb messenger for documentation purposes. We explain all of this to our guest in advance and no one seemed to have concerns. 

Re: New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level 10

Hi @Kezza0 and @Jessica-and-Henry0 🙂

I only use the airbnb message system. I write very clearly on both my listing and in the first message to the guest that I strongly recommend to download the airbnb app as it will make communication much easier.

I have had 3 incidents with guests where I needed assistence from airbnb. One of them was a very young Italien guy who asked me just after he booked if I had What's App. I told him I didn't because in Denmark people don't use What's App. I was very glad when I had to involve airbnb that our communication history was on the airbnb platform and not somewhere else. After that incident I'm an airbnb messageboard girl 🙂

 

 

Re: New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
Langerak, South Holland, Netherlands
Level 10

Hi @Sandra856,

 

I always try to keep all communications within the Airbnb message thread too (Indeed for evidence to Airbnb, in case it is needed later on).

And will use other communication media, such as WhatsApp only as a last resort (I.e.: When guests do not respond to my Airbnb messages).

On the other side, I’m a ‘remote host’. And our local contact persons do not have access to the message thread. So they obviously use other media.

 

Furthermore, there are some good points here.

Because I notice also quite often, guests only respond to the mails generated by Airbnb (rather than using the message thread in the Airbnb App itself. Especially during their stay).

So I will add this as a suggestion to our guidebook.

 

Although there is not much difference in using WhatsApp over to the message thread in the Airbnb App. WhatsApp tends to be faster and you can commonly also see, when the other person has at least seen your message.

Having said that though: In my early days of hosting, I once had a group of young women.

And when I started to use WhatsApp with them, they indicated to prefer the message thread in the Airbnb App. I thought about this. And I suppose they are entirely right. Most people tend to use WhatsApp with friends or people they know. And not with somebody, they’ve never met.

Re: New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
Dublin, Ireland
Level 10

I've had ongoing issues for years with missing/delayed messages through the Airbnb app, so I communicate with all my guests through WhatsApp now (except when a very serious issue arises, then I'll document that through Airbnbs messaging thread) So much quicker, simpler and more reliable to use WhatsApp, plus both the guests and I can immediately see from the two blue ticks, that our messages to each other have been received and opened. Works for me. 

Re: New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
Mexico
Level 3

I am a host and so many of my guests switch from communicating with me via airbnb to watsapp and I find it very annoying.  Firstly, I want all communication to be via airbnb in case there are any issues.  Secondly, I like to keep my social and business life separate.  When I hear a watsapp message I do not dash to respond, but when I hear the airbnb sound, I am very prompt to check the message and respond.

I find it quite rude that guests think they can just switch over, especially without asking first. 

Re: New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
Birkenhead, United Kingdom
Level 10

I've had several guests ask if we can communicate via What's App, and my answer is always "No". What's App are not going to resolve any issues I have with a guest and reimburse me for damages, What's App are not going to approve my charging for extra people who show up, What's App are not going to mediate between me and guest when things go sour.

Likewise, if guests call me by phone after receiving my details, and try to ask for additional facilities, extra guests, additional days, etc. I always respond that they have to put any requests in writing via Airbnb messaging. I will not make any adjustments to bookings over the phone as it is not worth the risk. Misunderstandings can occur, and I want written proof of what transpired, in a form that Airbnb will accept.

Re: New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
Ghent, Belgium
Level 1

Don't forget to look at this from 'the customers point of view'. I'm a frequent user and I communicate through both the Airbnb chat (and I understand your preference here) and whatsapp. I'll give you one example where whatsapp is useful: In Morocco places are hard to find, but with location sharing it's peace of cake.

So, either Airbnb finds a way to use whatsapp themselves (whatsapp is evolving towards a business communication channel) of they include location tracking. But the best solution is always not to stop progress and ease of use 😉

Re: New to AirBNB - Communication via Whatsapp

in
Copenhagen, Denmark
Level 10

Hi @Frederik36 🙂

It is as much for the customers sake that everything should be kept on the airbnb message board. If anything happens airbnb can step in. Since I last wrote on this thread I have had contact with airbnb a couple of times in order for them to cancel on my behalf. If I cancel without prove that the customer is acting strange I will get penalized with a 100 dollar fee to pay. 

I have made a direction guide on how to reach my place the easiest way. My guests get it through the message feed. I have included a link from g00 gle M øps (If I write it correctly airbnb will delete it) so they can read my directions aswell as see it. Airbnb also got a feature where the host can upload photos - like a visuel direction - in case the route is difficult.

If I get a message from a guest that they can't find my door I always call them to guide - and if I don't get an answer when I write messages in the airbnb feed I write an old fashioned SMS using the guests phone number - asking them if they have seen the airbnb messages and ask them to download the app in order to be able to communicate. 

Best, Sandra 

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