Reservation request from someone who claims to have used Airbnb before, but has no reviews and only joined recently

in
Groton, CT
Level 10
686 Views

I just reopened for bookings after going offline during lockdown. Strangely (or maybe not so strangely, considering all the folks who've been stuck at home), all I've gotten so far are reservation requests from newbies. I have instant book on, but part of my "screening" (ha) is to have prospective guests tell me a bit about what brings them to town, and I also specify instant book only for guests with a review history. I've accepted three reservations so far for this summer from new users who all sound perfectly legit. Today, I  got a request from a guy who wants to come with his family. He wrote that they're regular visitors to the area, and I'd normally accept the reservation right away, but he says, "We've stayed at Airbnbs before," yet he has no reviews and only joined in March. The simple explanation for this is that his spouse/significant other or a family member made prior reservations and he just became official on the platform, but I'm struggling to find a tactful way of finding out if that's the case. Maybe I'm just having an off day communication wise, but the couple of drafts I've written sound weird/prying/suspicious.

 

It's funny; if he'd never claimed to have used Airbnb before, but just said he was new, I'd feel perfectly fine, but for some reason, I feel odd about this. How would you tactfully ask a guest who claims to have Airbnb'd but has no history or reviews what their deal is? I'm a single mom and the apartment is attached to our house, so security is always in the back of my mind.

12 Replies

Re: Reservation request from someone who claims to have used Airbnb before, but has no reviews and only joined recently

in
Balearic Islands, Spain
Level 10

It's a trend. Ask a lot of questions. Watch your back. 

Re: Reservation request from someone who claims to have used Airbnb before, but has no reviews and only joined recently

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Susan653  I would ask something like this: " Hi Xx, thank you for your request and your message. Just a quick question I'm curious about- your account shows as new in March and there are no reviews, yet you said you've used Airbnb before. Were your past stays booked under someone else's account? Asking because not only do hosts, like guests, like to have a review or so to go on, I do a bit more explaining about things to newbie guests (like making sure they have actually bothered to read all my info, cancellation policy, and house rules)  than I do with guests who are experienced Airbnbers."

 

I've also had guests with no reviews who had stayed at Airbnbs before, some had been members for several years. They said their hosts simply never bothered to leave a review. I had no reason to disbelieve them, as I home share, interact a lot with guests, and these were lovely guests who wouldn't be the kind of people to lie about it.

Re: Reservation request from someone who claims to have used Airbnb before, but has no reviews and only joined recently

in
Massachusetts, United States
Level 7

@Sarah977 I think Airbnb should show us whether someone has stayed before but did not receive a review.  That would speak volumes!  However, their interest is in us accepting guests regardless.  I have a current inquiry who's had an account since 2013 but no reviews.  I'm a bit skeptical but I've been wrong before.

Re: Reservation request from someone who claims to have used Airbnb before, but has no reviews and only joined recently

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Michelle2475  The one I was most skeptical about had had an account since 2016. He said he'd joined planning a trip, but he never was able to take that trip. He turned out to be a great guy who left his room and bathroom so spotless it didn't look like anyone had even stayed in there for those 4 days. 

 

For sure there are many guest red flags and we should listen to our intuition, but no reviews isn't a huge red flag to me, just something to ask about.

 

I would be more wary of a guest with a long standing account who just had a couple of non-commital reviews (like the hosts had no praise, but couldn't bring themselves to be negative) than one with no reviews.

Re: Reservation request from someone who claims to have used Airbnb before, but has no reviews and only joined recently

in
Scotts Mills, OR
Level 10

 I am guilty of not leaving reviews... As I have 4 listings on my farm and am booked every night with back to back... Can't keep up...

So no review might not be a bad thing...

Re: Reservation request from someone who claims to have used Airbnb before, but has no reviews and only joined recently

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Kristin108  Could you have a few saved generic written reviews that you could just fill the name in for? Like "XX was a fine guest, good communication, and left the place clean. Welcome back anytime."

 

I've never minded leaving reviews, I kinda like doing it,  but if I had as many guests as you do, I can imagine that it would feel like an unwanted chore.

 

 

 

 

Re: Reservation request from someone who claims to have used Airbnb before, but has no reviews and only joined recently

in
Groton, CT
Level 10

Thank you so much, Sarah; that's perfect! My prior efforts sounded so awkward, which is really sad considering my background as a copywriter and editor. I'll write up something to the effect you suggested and see what he comes back with. 🙂 

 

In general, my newbie experiences have been just fine.  The only "bad" one had nothing to do with her being new; she was just a general PITA. 😄

Re: Reservation request from someone who claims to have used Airbnb before, but has no reviews and only joined recently

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Susan653  Hey, it's much easier to come up with advice or wording when it isn't personally happening to you 🙂

Re: Reservation request from someone who claims to have used Airbnb before, but has no reviews and only joined recently

in
Greenville, SC
Level 10

Airbnb is starting to be used generically to describe any “short term rental”. You know, kind of like Kleenex, Ajax, etc. So maybe the guest just just means he’s stayed in a short term rental before.

Re: Reservation request from someone who claims to have used Airbnb before, but has no reviews and only joined recently

in
Chicago, IL
Level 10

@Susan653 you can get a referral credit for a new guest account. I know my sister in law and her husband referred each other to get it

Re: Reservation request from someone who claims to have used Airbnb before, but has no reviews and only joined recently

in
SF, CA
Level 6

When in doubt, ask more questions. And ask them to confirm that they've indeed read the full listing, including the house rules. If you're still uncomfortable, don't move forward with the reservation.

Re: Reservation request from someone who claims to have used Airbnb before, but has no reviews and only joined recently

in
Groton, CT
Level 10

Update: The guest in question and his family checked out yesterday after a week’s stay and they were perfectly fine! Turned out that his original inquiry seemed shady because he’d somehow managed to create a second account on his work computer which, of course, meant he had no travel history. 

 

I’m also happy to report that so far, all of this summer’s newbie guests have been lovely. I was a little worried about one colorful character who first wanted to reserve on her daughter’s Airbnb account. She finally opened an account at my request and had her daughter do the reservation because she “doesn’t know computers.” The lady smoked like a chimney but was extremely respectful of my rules to keep it outside and the only wrinkle in her stay was that she forgot her checkout date and was blissfully sitting out on the patio with her dog at 7 p.m. that evening. She apologized profusely, paid for the extra night, and left the apartment neat as a pin. 🙂

 

Thanks to all for the sensible and thoughtful replies back in May. You guys are a great support system!

Join the conversation