Lack of Guest Profile Information

Julie4
Level 6
Brighton, United Kingdom

Lack of Guest Profile Information

I’m concerned about how easy it is for guests to set up a ‘non-profile’ and make a booking request and how it seems increasingly more difficult to feel safe when letting a room in your home through Airbnb. When I started 6 years ago, I enjoyed it. I was able to see a profile picture, name, age, gender, location and a profile description. This helped to give a sense of who I was inviting into my home to share my living space. I am female and single. Now the majority of profiles are just blank with a name & some don’t even make the effort to use their real name. Little effort is made atall. Recently I have had Cj and Rug. I am expected to make a decision purely based on this information and nothing else. I feel pressured by Airbnb to accept these requests because they penalise you if you don’t! I have asked for help from them, I was told ‘if you don’t feel safe you can install a camera in your home’ my reply was ‘ you should not put me under the kind of pressure to make me feel so unsafe I need a camera in my home.’ Airbnb are losing more and more bookings from me because of this. I feel they are more geared up now for hotel / whole property type bookings now which is so far removed from its original intentions ie sharing a home with the host. Is anyone else experiencing the same? 

31 Replies 31
Emiel1
Level 10
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

@Julie4 

 

It is true Airbnb has moved away from the original intentions.

As a host you have no other option then to deal with it.

 

The trick is to select the right guests, which is also a matter of experience.

You can limit the "penalties"'  by asking guest to retract the booking request (instead of declining)

On inquiries you only need to answer (no obligation to decline)

 

As a female with sharing faciities in your house  you can mention in the listing you want female guests only (if desired).

 

Don't feel pressured by Airbnb, most of the messages or suggestions sent are from robots, better ignore them.

"‘if you don’t feel safe you can install a camera in your home" is an example of useless response from CS.

Better ignore them also.

 

I own five listings, they are all booked by Airbnb guests at this moment. Everything is fine. i own no camera's, do not use Instant Book, i allways ask guests additional questions and  remind them to read houserules before accepting, if neccesary  ask them to update profile (like ID)  and most important: i do not accept a guest when in doubt or experience an uncomfortable feeling during communication.

 

 

 

Julie4
Level 6
Brighton, United Kingdom

Thank you. This is helpful.

Sarah977
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Julie4  "Recently I have had Cj and Rug. I am expected to make a decision purely based on this information and nothing else."

 

I don't understand. I am also a single female home share host, and while I also like to see a real profile photo, and a name that seems to be a real one, as it indicates an opennesss that is necessary for successful home-sharing, what they look like, their gender, etc. isn't anything I base my decision to accept a booking on. 

 

First of all, I look to see if they have any reviews and read them. And then it's a matter of communication. How a prospective guest communicates with me is what is paramount in making my decision and is what gives me a sense of who I'm dealing with.

 

I don't know why you think you are supposed to make a decision based purely on the information they have uploaded to their profile.

 

Do you not exchange messages with guests prior to approving a booking?

Julie4
Level 6
Brighton, United Kingdom

I don't know why you think you are supposed to make a decision based purely on the information they have uploaded to their profile.

 

Do you not exchange messages with guests prior to approving a booking?

 

Of course I do please don’t patronise me I honestly don’t need to justify myself when you are making sweeping judgements,  this really isn’t helpful atall, you don’t need to point out the obvious. 

@Julie4  I had no intention to be patronizing. I was simply going on exactly what you had written- that you were expected to make a decision based purely on some fake name, no profile photo, no idea of age, gender, location, and no written profile. 

 

I didn't make that up, it's what you said.

Julie4
Level 6
Brighton, United Kingdom

Yes, that is the assumption made by many guests who make requests using their ‘non-profile’. That someone takes the time and effort to introduce themselves as I do in my profile both as a host and a guest says a lot to me. I explain this in the listing to help guests prior to their booking and engage in conversation, however this is often ignored or they don’t reply soon enough. Having purely an initial or fake name to go by just isn’t helpful and doesn’t help me to feel safe or respected as a host. I am a very experienced host and my experience has changed, not for the better. I have had to decline 6 requests in the last week for this reason and it’s not what I want to have to do. 

John5097
Level 10
Charleston, SC

@Julie4 

Thank you for posting your experience. I think the vast majority of host would appreciate guest be required to complete their profile and also verify their ID. I'm somewhat at a loss why other host don't understand how this puts host at a disadvantage especially for the situation you have provided? As it is now you would need to think outside the box and develop strategies to entice guest to complete their profile and validate their ID. That takes more time and stress, and there is no perfect solution. So far I've only declined 3 guest. That seems very low so far but I have a much different approach and benefit from a lot of hard work and very satisfied guest. Yet the vetting process can be one of the most challenging and stressful, in my opinion. There is no perfect solution. I don't try and compete with other host, as we are all different, and very surprised things have gone this well for me. I just focus on what I can do. My guest are very positive influence on me. But until the policy changes it can be challenging to keep on the radar and vet guest with no profile and not verified. I'm not desperate so there is no reason for me to waste a lot of time asking guest to complete the most basic steps, when I can just let someone else book, and encourage guest to complete their profile and verify ID when they try and book somewhere else. I've only declined 3 so far and hosted over 100 guest new to the platform, but the reality is that the policy prioritizes bookings over safety. Host here also tend to expect other host to take the same approach, for example if they check ID and meet them before allowing them access, or having actually had a guest in two years, or consistently get dissatisfied guest, and expect everyone else to conform to their same standards. Its just the nature that anyone can create a listing or profile in 5 minutes and start hosting or try and book a reservation and its up to each host to just do the best they can. Thanks again for sharing your experince, I'm also hoping that Airbnb will improve this and require guest and host to be verified. If some host still want to check ID before access thats their option, and may be an option for you as well. 

Julie4
Level 6
Brighton, United Kingdom

Thank you. It’s good to know others have similar concerns & I aren’t on my own.

Tony-And-Una0
Level 10
Belfast, United Kingdom

I agree

 

A picture of a tree or a cartoon character followed by some made up name should not be recognised by Airbnb as a profile that should be able to make bookings.

 

Completely ridiculous.

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

Hello @Julie4 

 

I vet my guests by using questions as part of my IB process which if they don't answer I can ask Airbnb to cancel the guest penalty free.

 

All guests have to have verified photo ID, and one of my rules is that guests have to profile their full name and a clear profile photo of themselves.

 

You can also use the settings so that you only accept guests with previous reviews. 

Julie4
Level 6
Brighton, United Kingdom

Thanks @Helen3 would you mind sharing the questions you ask? Isn’t settings option for previous good reviews only available for Instant Book? 

@Julie4  Yes, aside from being able to require a profile photo, all of what Helen mentions only applies to Instant Book settings. 

 

I'm sorry you misunderstood my first reply to you. I also find it outrageous that Airbnb requires next to nothing of guests in order for them to book.

 

But I've been lucky in that the vast majority of my guests have been prior Airbnb guests, had good reviews, had clear face photos and real names, and sent informative and friendly initial messages.

 

The few who didn't, I just communicated with in a way that ellicited more information so I felt comfortable with their booking. I've never really had requests from the sort of newbies who ignore messages or are totally clueless. Even the ones who had no reviews yet had actually bothered to write up a little profile info for themselves.

 

I just am of the attitude that I have to do my own vetting, as Airbnb is obviously not interested in respecting hosts enough to require guests to provide a reasonable amount of information. They seem to think we should just let random strangers who wish to remain anonymous stay in our homes.

Mark3964
Level 2
Winnipeg, Canada

I agree. Thankfully I don't share the space with my guests so I'm ok with just the feature to require ID verification. But it really helps to talk(message) to the guests to hear their tone in answering some questions about why they are booking and what appealed to them. Guests that add positive things like "can't wait!", "You have a lovely home" make a difference for me and help me feel comfortable. I also allow dogs even before when pets had no Airbnb coverage and I didn't hound guests to prove their dog is house trained. Tough to "let go" and trust but I think most ppl want to be good guests. When they "fail" it's mostly out of ignorance like quickly washing dishes without actually getting them clean - they probably just don't realize that's what they are doing. Sharing a home with them I get is completely different.

@Julie4 Don’t accept nicknames and especially unverified accounts. The most important thing for hosts to do is set up household rules which states the that you only accept “verified “ accounts and that they must show their full face only on their profile picture. When I do come across a profile without a picture of the person who made the reservation I request that they add it to their profile or we will cancel the reservation. This has happened a few times and I had AirBNB cancel the booking if they refuse because it is stated in our household rules. Another thing I do which was recommended to me by Airbnb customer service is to ask guests prior to accepting their booking if they have read our household rules and they must answer yes or no before accept the booking. (On the message thread, not verbal) It totally changed things for our AirBNB bookings for the better. Also make sure you check the box to have guests view the rules when making the reservation. I also mention in the rules that the person checking in must be the same person on their identification card because we ask to see it for security purposes. We also have a doorbell cams so we have video of whose at the front door.