journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

in
Berwyn Heights, MD
Level 1
836 Views

Last night an individual requested a booking, but in his message indicated that he was a reporter and wanted to interview me about hosting on Airbnb. His message:

 

Hi Julie, I'm a journalist from the University of Maryland and I was wondering if I could do a quick interview with you about running an AirBnb, specifically in Berwyn Heights. I can either do it by phone or email/messaging. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes. Thanks! Hope to hear from you soon, [personal information hidden]

 

I asked to confirm that he was not interested in booking a room and he responded with:

 

Sorry for the confusion, but I am not requesting to rent a room, the site just makes you fill out a specific day that you would be interested in renting before you are able to send a message.

 

I told him that it seemed unethical to reach me this way. What is the sense of others in this group?

 

Best,

Julie

15 Replies

Re: journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Julie478

 

Airbnb makes it impossible for anyone to contact hosts unless they are making a booking enquiry. I would direct the journalist to AirBnB's head office. You don't know whether they are planning a hatchet John b on Airbnb or locals who rent short term, etc

Re: journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

in
Merida, Mexico
Level 6

Hey Julie!, i'm a journalist too, and we all have different ways to approach  people, this guy seems that he is going to do what he is going to do.  Airbnb makes it imposible to reach hosts if they are not wanting to book your place, so he said that he needed to fill out as he was going to book a room, even tho he didn't, and he just ended up doing an inquiry.

 

Maybe he doesn't know anyone related to that field, and you just randomly appear, ask him if he can proove, that he is a journalist, we have to be really caferull about what kind of questions are we getting asked.  but as he said.. it can be by email or phone, so it sounds really safe for you.   People who are not related to our field, think that we might be scammers or something worse, because we do a lot of questions, but at the end of the day that is our job!, reaching the correct person in anyway we can.. and that's what looks that he is doing with you!

 

So if you want to help a journalist go ahead 🙂 if not, then decline it politely and he will understand!.

 

I don't believe there is need to reach Airbnb.. because they do have other more important issues, than just this (and i don't mean it in a rude way at all)

 

Regards! 🙂

Re: journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

in
Cancún, Mexico
Level 10

@Alexandra224 Unless @Julie478 accepts the booking there is no way for them to share contact information; and, I belive the suggestion to contact Airbnb was not to "flag" the journalist, but to redirect to the proper source of information. Especially if she does not know what type of article the journalist is trying to write.

Re: journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

in
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Host Advisory Board Member

Hello Nutth,

 

You have a very lovely space. I hope you don't mind me asking who you used for builders, and if you have a phone number or email for them? Thank you so much

 

@Julie478..... I got something like this too. The sad thing is after I give him some detail he never text back , not just a "thanks" massage. 

 

 

Re: journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

in
Las Vegas, NV
Level 10

As soon as the reporters get involved the local government are quickly behind with ordinances and making life more difficult for you with red tape about business license and regulations about parking, noise and all manners of intrusion in your home. I do my best to stay away from entertaining the reporters.

Re: journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

in
Kent, OH
Level 2

The rules and regulations of the city can be a major problem. I was at a neighbor's Christmas party and mentioned that I had guests stay through airbnb. They all thought it was a great idea and appeared to be supportive. One of the neighbors was on the Township's board. Shortly afterwards we were contacted by the person in charge of Zoning. Our neighborhood is zoned for one and two family housing, but he said that the families have to be related. I hired a lawyer who is suggesting removing the door that connects the apartment to the house. Then it would be a duplex and if approved, two families could be on the property. I'm concerned that taking away a door would eliminate a way to exit the apartment. There would still be a door and two windows for egress. 

 

My husband had a cardiac arrest last year and we need the income to be able to stay here.

Re: journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

in
Kraków, Poland
Level 10

@Julie478

 

And that is how they get your details, I'd call it a loophole! 

 

Regards

cormac

ECKIII

ECKVIII

Re: journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

in
Seattle, WA
Level 10

" No Comment" is always the best.

Seriously.

 

Any good journalist can legally take your answers and twist them to sensationalize your "greedy landlord" behaviour.

They can take your words and make you look like you are  criminal running afoul of  zoning laws. He can paint you as racist. Sexist. anti-whatever. Are you prepared for that?

Like police, they are professionals trained to earn your trust and then bam! you've just said too much.

You can risk getting kicked off Airbnb, get exposed and put in a bad light.

He already has your name...

 

Please press the "decline" button and report to airbnb

Re: journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

in
Durham, NC
Level 10

It's crossed my mind more than once, when we've gotten requests like this, to just approve them and stick them with the fees to cancel.  

Re: journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

Level 10

@Alice-and-Jeff0   Airbnb reimburses the fees to guests so one less hurdle for the person looking for information and not a place to stay.

Re: journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

in
Durham, NC
Level 10

Yes, the new change in policy..... my plans are foiled.  

Re: journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

in
British Columbia, Canada
Level 10

Simply ignore that unsolicited message. 

Re: journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

in
Florence, Canada
Level 10

Hi, @Julie478. I always pre-approve those inquiries to keep up my stats. They are not going to book anyway. On the off chance they will, then cool, they can book and interview you over breakfast 🙂

I wouldn't flag them. They are just using the tools available to get in touch. Happens all the time. I flag sellers of goods and services who are doing a sort of spamming, but not reporters or others looking for information. You'd rather a fake inquiry than a phone call or text, right? At least you know how he got your number, so to speak.

You are right to be careful, though, as the others suggest. My experience with reporters has been mixed, and I'm in an area with neither competition nor upset neighbours. Saying no was wise. 

Re: journalist requested a booking as a ruse to schedule an interview

Level 10

@Julie478   I have had similar but was company selling tourist tours, first he made an inquiry, then a reservation. I flagged him but it made no difference except in penalties to me for declining!

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