It’s December now in London and it’s very wet. No snow yet. My airbnb has been busy except on Sundays which have been quiet recently. Sunday and Monday have traditionally been slow days for Airbnb but I usually get last minute bookings so my occupancy rate is 100%. However recently I have had empty listings on a Sunday. This may seem not a big deal but this is easy money i’m missing out on.
What to do if you get a booking request but it’s not for the person making the booking?
Several times in the past I’ve had booking requests come in that are not for the person making the booking. What I mean is the Airbnb profile used to book the room is not the person who will be staying. Usually this is a husband or wife making the booking for their other half. Or sometimes a parent making the booking for a son or daughter. Occasionally its for a friend. I am hesitant to accept a booking made for a ‘friend’ because it seems much less safe.
I am currently looking after a Airbnb listing at my friends apartment in central London. It’s a very nice apartment and the price she is charging is more than double what I usually charge. A booking request came through for the whole month of December. But the request was from a company, not from an individual. This company was looking for a room for the month for one of it’s employees. The employee was relocating from Russia to London. I was hesitant to accept the reservation.
The Airbnb community works on a system of reviews. The idea is simple that a person who has been reviewed favourably by one host will then be welcome by other hosts. The problem of one person booking for another person destroys this system. When I have a guest who is not the same person who made the booking then I do not leave a review because this does not make sense. You want the review to match the person.
I did accept the reservation as the company which was doing the booking did have a full airbnb profile and some positive reviews (presumably other relocating employees). I did a quick google search on the company too and was satisfied it’s story checkout out. I had no problems with the guest he was actually no problem and very quiet.
What are the risks of accepting guests who didn’t book?
The risk with accepting bookings for other people are several. First the person staying in the listing might not understand the airbnb system and rules. They also might have very different expectations for what you will actually be providing. Second it might be difficult chasing the person for any damage costs. The person making the booking might refuse to pay on the grounds that you accepted someone who was not the person booking. Third if a crime is committed you might be held liable for not verifying who was in your listing.
It is worth noting that bookings made for two guests made by only a single person could have similar risks. Often a guest will book for 2 people and not provide any details on who the other person is. The person making the booking has a verified airbnb profile but the second guest does not. So if the second guest causes problems what can you really do? Well very little. Even if the guest making the booking admits liability it may be very difficult getting money from them in serious cases. In the end everything come down to chance.