This post involves 2 issues. Basic requirements and a sensitive review situation.
I've been on Airbnb for a year and, up until last weekend, have had great guests. Instant Booking is available for my guests with reviews. Where there are no reviews, I request additional personal information. Airbnb seems to have become more like HomeAway (my HomeAway listings are inactive bec I didn't like the way they conduct business). This year many reservation requests are coming from people with few verifications and no reviews. It's a difficult situation for me because my 2 guest rooms (listings) are in my home. Airbnb has notified me that I've fallen below their basic requirement for accepting reservations on one of my listings. I have an 84% acceptance rate, which is below their target of 88%. This is due mainly to people not responding to my request for more info or, in a couple of instances, my not being comfortable with the guest.
I got a last-minute reservation request this weekend with no reviews. It took awhile, but his reply included practically a life-long history (even medical). That in itself was a red flag, but he has a MBA, has worked all over the world, owns a business. Said he was coming to the area for a class reunion. Turned out he is manic, which he told me about in detail upon his arrival. He arrived at 5:30 on Friday and drove off that night at about 10:00. Didn't return until 4:30 Saturday afternoon. Said he had gone out to eat chicken wings and have a few drinks. After leaving the bar and while driving back to my house, he pulled off the road. Next thing he knew, it was 7:00 a.m. and 2 policemen were waking him. He was arrested for drunk driving and held in the local jail. He went to bed when he got back to my place, didn't go to the reunion. This morning he left early.
Last year my reservation requests were primarily from guests with reviews. This year the caliber of guests seems to have changed. Wondering how others are handling the screening process. Also looking for advice re how to handle the above guest review situation. It's sensitive because it's about mental illness.
Thanks for any advice and thoughts.
Airbnb = Facebook of lodging.
Guests have no expectation of privacy.
However, you write the reviews to warn others AND to attract prospective guests.
"Best to stay at a hotel" is always a safe bet. Thumbs down.
Rate him low on communication. Tiresome description of one's defects is never desirable.
Hi, I'm a new to Airbnb host. So far, so good. Actually very enjoyable and lovely people so far.
Next month I have a booking for a man. Airbnb says 3 verifications, there are no reviews. What
are verifications? And would it be appropriate or helpful for me to ask if he's ever stayed at an Airbnb before, etc.
Thanks for any thoughts.
Hi Iris, there's a lot of good info in this thread. Sarah posted yesterday (see below), as did you. She summarized how hosts screen potential guests. Airbnb verifies guests with phone numbers, government i.d., etc.. If a guest has no reviews, I always exchange messages with them to get a sense of who they are. I ask them to give me a little info about themselves and what brings them to my area. You can also see how long the guest has been a member of Airbnb. I've had a number of guests this year who are new to Airbnb and have no reviews.
As a guest, I too stuggled to review with a host with boundary issues. She just talked too much and offended me.
While I was going to eviserate her in the review, I finally said "I felt like I bothered the host"
Of course, I received a tirade from her...
I am no where near as cynical as @Paul154, but I don't have 12 listings either.
My acceptance rate is 100%. I do not require a review in order to instant book since my two worst guests both had stellar reviews, while many of my favorite ones had none. For me the red flag with this guest is the last minute booking, but again, that is because I am generally booked far in advance. I like people who plan as a general rule. I have a good friend that relies on last minute bookings and she thinks I am just silly about the not planning thing.
Mentioning mental illness in a review feels very wrong to me. If your guest had not told you that he had spent time with the local police, how would you review him? If he had not been so forthcoming about his manic state, how would you review him? If possible, I would try to remove those two data points from your mind as you write this review.
As a fellow host, I would appreciate knowing that his schedule can be irratic and his comings and goings are outside the normal scope of behaviors. But, if he did it quietly, then I wouldn't really care. The thumbs up or down is really about your perception. Would you host him again?
Thanks for your response. Interesting that screening isn't a big deal for many hosts.
I'd never mention mental illness in a review. Your suggestion to remove the two data points from my mind as I write the review is good. Thanks to the two guests within two weeks who were not the greatest, I'm learning a lot about the review process here.
By the way, your property is beautiful! I lived in Boston for many years (Beacon Hill, Cambridge, Lewis Wharf, Beacon St., Belmont) and still miss the east coast.
@Mo56 the differences in hosting styles is always a source of amazement to me. And because there is no "corporate" office, they are all valid! At 22 reviews, you are indeed still learning what type of guests work best for you as a host, a bit anxious everytime a new guest appears at your doorstep, and figuring out what vetting you can do that actually gives you the results you want.
When I first started hosting, my listing was "assigned" to Instant Booking and I was unable to turn it off. Imagine my consternation as I read all the horror stories! But, it has all worked. And when AirBNB allowed me to turn off IB, I chose not to.
Thank you for enjoying my space. I built it out for my daughter's comfort. After she moved to her own home, it only made sense to share it with others. You lived in all the best places!
@Mo56 I think screening is a big deal for pretty much all hosts, it's just that we may choose to do so by different means. Some want a lot of verifications, and a clear profile photo, some may go so far as to research a guest on social media or do criminal records checks, some may send guests a list of house rules they require them to acknowledge they have read and will abide by, some look at past reviews, some may feel confident in judging the suitability of a prospective guest just by exchanging a few messages with them, or a combination of all or some of the above.
I also have had a few odd ones that is rerospect I could have never spotted and ones I thought might be an issue but who have been fine.
So can be no help with screening.
Sounds like a thumbs down and no need to go into too much detail, agree with better suited to a hotel.
"The guest left my place spotless as he didn't use it a lot,
bc after a chicken wing adventure the decided to sleep elswere."
@Ute0 Ha! Jim was a wonderful guest. He wasn’t even here much considering the night he spent in our local jail. Allegedly he was drinking and driving, but god bless his soul nobody got killed. I’m glad he was able to experience our local establishments, he just won’t be experiencing mine again anytime soon. Which is for the best because we have a wonderful State Penitentiary he has not yet visited.