Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
Huntersville, NC
Level 2
523 Views

I recently put my first listing up as a first-time host and got a booking less than 2 days after.

 

I got a booking that starts tomorrow for 19 nights because their "previously booked place canceled on them and they live in the same town and are having their floors refinished".  The guest does not have a profile picture and created their account in 2021.

 

This is a property that will get much fewer guests during the cold season so I was initially happy to see a booking, but I'm definitely concerned about it. Seems too good to be true and high risk.  Instant booking was turned on, so it was already approved/paid (and they got a pretty large 20% discount from my promotion, which is a bummer because of how many nights it is and I don't expect most bookings during the winter to be more than 2/3 nights)

 

There are red flags. Do you have any suggested questions I should ask the guest?  I'm considering canceling, which would hurt financially, but the risk feels high.

15 Replies

Re: Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
Santa Catarina, Brazil
Level 10

@Josh1413

eu e já tive muitas reservas de hospedes cadastrados. Praticamente no dia q fez a reserva

ate hj não tive problema! eu não cancelaria!

Re: Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
Huntersville, NC
Level 2

@Loni56 it's not the "same day" or "1 day in advance" I'm concerned about, it's the 19 nights from somebody with no reviews/history. 

 

I think I found and verified the guest and her husband live in our town (not 100% sure it's the same person, but pretty sure), they live in a pretty large house, and are an older couple (60s), which is a good thing as I expect they'll be more responsible take more care of the property

 

Re: Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

@Josh1413 “It's not the "same day" or "1 day in advance" I'm concerned about…”

 

Not to make you panic, because if this guest story checks out, then it all makes sense and nothing to worry about, but same day/short notice bookings from local guests are generally a massive red flag. Add in brand new blank profile and the warning lights have just blown out. 

It’s not a bad idea to set min 2 days notice required.

Re: Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 10

If that is your concern then change your listing so you only accept IB for guests with previous reviews/don't accept longer stays/remove IB altogether so you learn how to vet guests @Josh1413 

 

Just because you use IB doesn't mean that you can't include vetting questions in your IB message.

Re: Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
Alberta, Canada
Level 10

@Josh1413 You have some leeway to cancel penalty free, as it was IB’d.

 

https://www.airbnb.ca/help/article/2022/can-a-host-cancel-a-reservation-without-adverse-consequences?

 

You need to spend more time in the help pages (and in this forum too) learning the hosting basics. This will save you from making costly and painful mistakes. Turn off instant book until you get your feet under you. Use the opportunity that trip requests provide to question guests thoroughly before accepting and don’t be afraid to decline. Make sure your policies and house rules are solid. Stay away from longer term bookings while you’re new to hosting. You can set all the parameters you wish, in your settings. ie max length of stay, profile photo required, verified ID etc etc. 

 

You’ve got some work to do. Good luck!

Re: Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
NY, NY
Level 10

I've had the red flag alert like that @Josh1413 for someone, like your guest, who turns out to be just inept with the platform.  Sounds like you'll be okay.

 

I used to offer promos in the off-season too but liked them more for eyes and clicks than actual bookings.  What with heating and snow clearing and increased wear and tear, it's more expensive to host out of season, so now I just leave the prices at their base.  If SmartPricing wants to charge more, I won't argue.  But that works best for more advance bookings than close-in bookings.

 

You can require a profile photo in your IB settings, btw.  

Re: Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
Auchenblae, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Josh1413  give them a call.

 

 I’ve had a couple of bookings recently where there’s either been poor communication or something I’ve been unsure of.  After a chat on the phone all came good - you’ll know either way.  

 

Use the last minute booking and adding a photo as the opener to touch base. 

Re: Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Josh1413 speaking from experience, it does NOT take 19 days to have floors refinished. We have had our whole house done and it max took about a week with all the drying etc. 

 

I would probably be asking a lot of questions. If this guest is new to the platform and their project DOES finish early I am sure they will want a refund for unused nights you can't rebook at the last minute. I don't think assuming they will be good or poor guests based on what you think their ages are is a great idea. Wonderful and poor guests come in a variety of packages. I would also find out what tenancy laws are in your area if they are having more done to their house and the project goes long. 

Re: Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Josh1413 Party throwing guests usually only book for a night or 2. This one sounds OK - Does the timeframe make sense for emptying a house and refinishing the floors?

Re: Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Josh1413  You say there are red flags, but the only ones you mention are that they have a new account and are local.

 

A new account isn't a red flag, everyone starts out with no reviews, including you. It just means the guest has no past history to look at, so you might need to do more vetting.

 

Also it seems this was an Instant Book? If you are using IB, why do you not have the requirement for a guest to have past recommendations from other hosts checked?

 

This could be a totally okay booking, but you need to dialogue more with the guests to get a sense of who you're dealing with.

Re: Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
Puryear, TN
Level 4

@Josh1413   I wouldn't worry about it too much--we have done have local people stay for 2-3 weeks for a couple of reasons--one had some pipes burst during a cold snap, another had pipes burst and ruin floors so things were having to be redone---both were fine guests.  We have personally redone our floors (never again!!!) and I don't think 19 days is an unreasonable amount of time at all to move things out, redo floors, let them harden (everyone has a different view on how long that takes) clean up and move things back.  If it is  a problem --that is the beauty of STR--it's SHORT!!!  Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

 

Re: Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
La Quinta, CA
Level 10

I tend to think this will turn out just fine, but you have gotten good feedback for adjusting your listing criteria.  Are you planning to meet the guests at check in?  I hope so.  It would be good for developing your vetting skills.  Keep us posted as to how this turns out for you.  Welcome to Air BNB!

Re: Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
Daylesford, Australia
Level 10

You can also arrange weekly cleaning , which keeps on top of things.

Re: Local guest with no reviews wants to stay 19 nights. Red flag?

in
Huntersville, NC
Level 2

Thank you everyone for all the feedback and advice.  I admit I was being a little cynical (but I do have a recent bad history of being duped by a Long-Term Rental tenant which resulted in property damage, lawyer, court, and many very stressful months - and have read other horror stories about STR). 

 

Anyway, I got to speak with the guest and I feel better/less pessimistic about it.  I'm glad to hear others don't think it's a much of a red flag as I did (assuming all works out :))

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