I think all guests must have some profile information before booking.
For me if a guest does not have anything in their profile I will not accept them, but I do politely ask that they add profile information. unfortunately often the booking time lapses and they must rebook.
Profile information should be a requirement for acceptance as a potential guest.
Interesting topic to discuss :) I agree it is always better when guests have some information up. It allows us, hosts, to understand who they are and how to accommodate them better.
In my house rules, I explain you have to have a photo so that the guest can be verified when they come. I now notice Airbnb have made this a requirement. This is taken from their website:
"We require all hosts to have a profile photo, and we require all guests to upload a profile photo before making their first reservation."
Even as a guest I think it is nice to have a good profile - you want to be accepted after all :)
Although AIRBNB now requires a profile photo it seems that photo does not have to be of the guest. I just received an inquiry from someone whose profile photo is a photo of vitamin bottles. It is something related to their job, but not a photo of the client.
Thanks - this was good to read - I have just declined what appeared to be quite a lucrative booking, as the person really had no profile info except his first name and the school / tertiary institute he had gone to - which had been in another country. He did have 4 verifications, but had just joined up this month so there was no way of knowing. Profile photo was misleading, there were about 5 people in it. I'm new to hosting myself so it can be very difficult to make a good call in this sort of situation.
Thanks Padraig, I agree about the photo - it would have been hard to verify who it was that was going to arrive, as it (the photo) was of a group of young 20-somethings who looked like they were partying hard! I guess most people message the host first to build up a rapport, rather than blocking out the calendar and asking if that amount of time was available. I will live and learn :)
I'm finding the same thing so thanks for your post. I'm very leery of people who just joined and have no profile except the school they attended. Having no history makes me cautious too.
At least in your case it was a picture of 4 or 5 people and it is likely that one of those people was your guest. I received the inquiry of someone whose picture was a bunch of vitamin bottles, they had joined only this month and their profile included their first name and their school (in another country). Not sure AIRBNB is following their own rules by allowing people to sign into the AIRBNB network without a picture of themselves, and more information then a school in another coutnry.
I agree with all of the above since it does become tedious that guests don't seem to read or care. Even mentioning it in my description didn't seem to change anything.
Best is having a boiler-plate reply ready for them accordingly that can just be cut and pasted. I also say that it is nicer for me to know a bit about a guest before I have them under the same roof with me. Scares away the party animals!
And in case of replying to a booking request, also state that if they don't reply back within the 24h of having sent the request that you will be forced to decline it, so as not to be penalized by ABB. But that they can reactivate it by resending a request together with the requested information about themselves etc.
However, as an aside, many guests are wary of putting out their face and info about themselves, especially those who did not grow up in times when people plaster all kinds of personal information about themselves out on the internet. I have come to host numerous guests, who only told me about themselves in their first message to me. Or I received a long description after my initial prod.
And they were great guests!
Like your boiler plate and replying to a booking request ideas. It's sad we have to be so cautious, but that's the world we live in.
As a side note, want to go to Amsterdam some day to see the Corrie ten Boom & Anne Frank homes.
What an interesting topic!
I came across this discussion because I recently received a request from a guest who is coming from Colombia, South America.
His profile was also rather empty. Only 2 verifications, Email and Phone
Still, he was willing to share a lot of information after our initial messages.
What caught my attention is that his zip code was from Orlando, Fl.
I asked him why? Since he was from Colombia.
Guest told me that the "system" did not allow him to use his country's information.
And so.... he was using his sister's address who also lives here in Orlando, Fl.
I feel a bit uneasy that he is not using his real home address.
Interesting situation. I don't have a good answer to that, besides that he might not be living in the US legally?
I'm thinking that it might be a good idea to contact Airbnb on this one.
And for security it would also be better to have only guests with fully verified profiles (with ID check).
When I first started hosting, most people had a description about themself -- profession, interests, schools attended in addition to the city & state. Now I'm noticing a trend toward only knowing if people are verified and the city and state. In addition abstract, blurry or childhood pictures shouldn't count. So, I whole-heartedly agree that some sort of GUEST PROFILE DESCRIPTION SHOULD BE A REQUIREMENT to be a guest, in addition to a CURRENT PICTURE.
I do have my response for those instances where people are guarded or aren't thinking that it's not important, saying I notice you're new to airbnb, please give me more information about yourself. Sometimes people just tell me more about the reason why their staying rather than answering my question. And some people think they have to give me too much information. That's why it'd be nice to have some required descriptor fields and the reason why they're required -- staying in someone's home, helps with trust building, etc.