WARNING:  LONG POST  (what's new) Lol


As anyone who reads here knows, Instant Booking (IB) can be a problem when guests who have nefarious purposes in mind use IB.  Most of the time they have little or no profile, sometimes no photo, and usually no reviews or recommendations from other hosts.


I'm sure there are exceptions, but I don't wish to argue those exceptions.  This thread is about sharing ideas about how to protect ourselves as hosts from nefarious people using IB for their fraudulent purposes.


One of my goals in using AirBnB, and I mean “using” is to never have to contact AirBnB customer service: to have as little contact with the company as possible, to manage my listing so closely and professionally that I avoid the many problems we read about here on a daily basis. I will tell you that I will never file a claim with AirBnB, that I will handle all problems in-house, that I will take the hit financially for my mistakes, and I will delist if AirBnB screws me. Now back to Instant Booking.


Many hosts do not use IB and are adamant about its evils.


I chose to use it in order to get all the bookings I can while realizing I will have to closely manage IB in order to avoid the pitfalls it can present.


To that end I wrote what I refer to as My Boilerplate Acknowledgement Form – I keep tweaking it and revising it.


I send it to anyone who Instant Books.  It has already chased away two very suspicious IB’s that I was uncomfortable with from the start.


My goal is to not alienate any guest that is on the up and up but to gently make them understand the reason for my asking them to confirm the four items in the boilerplate.


I understand I may lose the occasional booking because it may sound a bit harsh and legalistic to some, but so far no legit guest has refused, whereas several suspicious guests have canceled upon receiving the boilerplate.  I say better safe than sorry.  I’d rather make less money than deal with the police, AirBnB, or the stress and unpleasantness that comes with bad guests.


Please feel free to use it if you wish, improve it if you wish, or criticize it if you wish --  it is a gift back to this community for all I have learned here.



---------------------------------------------------------  My BoilerPlate Acknowledgement Form  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------



Hi Gustavo DeGuest,


Thanks for using Instant Booking to book XYZ House, our AirBnB.


We look forward to hosting you.


But before we confirm your Instant Booking, please read the following and provide the four (4) necessary acknowledgements for confirmation.


AirBnB instituted a penalty free cancelation policy for Hosts who use Instant Booking (IB): IB is a real convenience for guests. That is probably why you used it. 


However, some people have begun using IB for nefarious purposes, creating fake profiles, misusing the platform to defraud, and even using accommodations for criminal enterprises.


Many of these types of people are new to AirBnB, have joined recently, have no profile picture, few if any recommendations from other hosts and communicate in a suspicious manner.


As a host I can cancel any reservation made with IB without question if I am uncomfortable with a guest, based on their profile, their communication or their behavior.


I want to be comfortable with you and your booking.


That is why, for me to confirm your Instant Booking, I ask you to please confirm the following four items for the protection of all parties.


  1. Please, briefly explain the purpose of your trip.
  2. Please provide the full names of the all people who will be checking in with you.
  3. Please, acknowledge you have read and will adhere to the House Rules.
  4. Please acknowledge you understand our pricing: Our base price is for one person with an additional charge of $40 per person per night up to a total of four guests. Please, acknowledge that only your named guests will be checking in and staying with you and that if you need to accommodate additional guests you will compensate us using AirBnB. Violating this policy will result in instant cancellation and you will need to vacate immediately and find new accommodations.

Please, respond to this email as soon as possible so your booking can be confirmed -- no later than 24 hours if booking in advance and before checking in if same-day. 


A non-response, a failure to respond, a refusal to respond or responding with incomplete information may cause your Instant Booking to be canceled for failure to comply with AirBnB policy.


Thank you.  We look forward to hearing from you and hosting you in our XYZ AirBnB.





30 Replies

Re: Instant Booking: How Do We Protect Ourselves from Nefarious Elements

Providence, RI
Level 10





Good job on that list.

I consider "Saved Messages "as a secret weapon. I'm surprised so many hosts do not know about them or use them effectively.


My check in procedure involves my guest receiving about 6 to 8 saved messages each one dealing with an aspect of the Airbnb experience: Check-in, systems info, pets, extra guests, early and late check-in, out, stored luggage, codes and security.


For me, the most important aspect of keeping the the nefarious at bay is communication via the inbox. Good guests communicate well and easily, although sometimes they are a little reluctant because they're arrogant which I take is a sign of insecurity, while the nefarious generally cannot communicate well, cannot write well, Their stories do not hang together. In other words it's that old adage, give them enough rope and they will hang themselves. 

I did get fooled recently by a guy who is a little crazy and works for the post office. That should've been a dead giveaway. But I blame myself for in retrospect I should not have hosted him. He gave me a one star overall review, but I blasted him in my comment below his review. 

This reinforces some of my beliefs: you can't legislate against ignorance, and you can't be right 100% of the time, And some of the crazies are bound to get through once in a while. 


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