Airbnb have created a dedicated private messaging platform on their site for hosts and guests. All communications prior to bookings need to take place via the platform.
Only registered Airbnb users can use the platform. Becoming a registered user requires providing Airbnb with a valid credit card and uploading a profile photo (as the absolute minimum) for signing up.
Through the platform, all communications can be referenced and followed up. Airbnb also proactively monitor the platform in an attempt to identify fraudulent, malicious or suspicious activity. Hosts can take comfort in knowing that all communications on the system are safe and secure and are taking place on a closed and monitored platform.
In addition to the communication platform that lives on the Airbnb site (and Airbnb mobile app), you’ll also receive email notifications from Airbnb too. Any Airbnb communications sent via email will also always be referenceable in message threads that can be found on the Airbnb platform too.
Limitations on the Information you’re able to Share
The messaging platform will attempt to identify and censor certain types of information that hosts and guests try to share prior to a confirmed reservation.
This is principally to prevent lost revenue to Airbnb from bookings that hosts and guests try to arrange outside their platform. Censored communications include things like personal contact information.
Hosts want to feel comfortable with prospective guests before accepting a reservation request. One downside of this limitation is that it makes it difficult for you to acquire supplementary information when undertaking your “due diligence” on inquiring guests.
Communication Tactics for ‘Filling in the Blanks’
Despite this limitation, there are still ways and means to learn about your guests on the platform prior to accepting reservation requests.
If you are uncertain about the trustworthiness of a prospective guest, gain additional comfort by seeking further validation of their identity; as well as politely messaging them to understand more about who they are, the purpose of their trip, who will be traveling, as well as anything that helps you get a feel for who they are in their day-to-day lives.
You’ll either end up with specific information that’ll provide the comfort you’re looking for, or give you a gut feeling that something doesn’t quite add up.
Be courteous in your requests for information, and explain that you simply like to understand who you’re opening up your home to. You’re also able to emphasize your desire to better understand your guests so as to provide the best possible hosting experience to them upon their arrival.
Remember to remain compliant with Airbnb’s Non-Discrimination Policy when asking any personal or probing questions.
Providing Information Prior to Confirmed Bookings
Do not share personal information prior to having accepted a booking. If a guest wishes to see your place prior to booking, contact Airbnb – they’re able to assist you in organizing a viewing. It’s also a fairly uncommon request and entirely reasonable to decline if this is something you do not wish to do.
Providing Information After a Confirmed Booking
Despite having the ability to communicate with your guest via telephone or personal email channels, try keep as much of your communications as is practical on the Airbnb platform for ongoing safety, referencing and protections.