Potential AirBNB guest requesting exact address before booking

12 Replies

I had a potential guest ask me yesterday the distance to a specific location, which I shared, both in miles and travel time. Today he is asking to know the exact location so he can check the route on (redacted, but I assume Google Maps, etc). I have already told him that we are a few minutes from exit XYZ on I-95. Can anyone think of any legitimate (or illegitimate) reasons he’d need to know before booking? How can I respond politely that I will not be sharing that info at this point? Unless there is something I’m not thinking of, I’m inclined to not approve him to stay. Any thought? Insight? I’ve rented a few times on HomeAway, but this would be my first AirBNB guest.

@Elisha Cram I get the requests on Homeaway and gladly oblige. 

If you were renting a place wouldn't you want to know where it was and what was around it before renting and then finding out is next to a (fill in blank here)?

Some people are planners and want to make sure they have all the info for their trip ahead of time.

If he is to rent your house what reason do you have for withholding this information?

My house is usually occupied and I have cameras and insurance so I don't worry about people knowing where my house is.

We've rented one of our houses for the past two years with Airbnb and made it to superhost at the first interval. I agree with @John Underwood that it can help the guest plan their trip better if they know the exact address. I let guests know that the map shows the approximate location of the listing, but as soon as they make their reservation they will receive the exact address and more detailed directions to the house. That's usually enough to satisfy their need.  However, if I'm having a good dialogue with the guest on the Airbnb message platform and they have a completed profile, have the necessary ID and verifications, have good reviews, and seem like a promising guest, then I wouldn't mind sharing our address prior to their finalizing their booking. But first I would ask for the guest's last name and city of residence, then google them to check them out. Until a guest books, I don't have their last name, so that hampers me. We enable Instant Book, so I let guests know when they are ready they can go ahead and book. I don't need to accept or decline after an inquiry as long as I respond to their inquiry with dialogue. If a guest books by IB and I sense trouble before or during their stay, I can cancel their reservation penalty free.

We have that question come up from time to time, and I always provide the address of our property. I could understand some hesitation if you are renting out a shared room in your home, however if its a dedicated rental, I don't see a problem.

In our case, we are very visible on social media and via our own web site, so our street address is not difficult to find for anyone who takes 5 seconds to do an online search for our property name and city.

If you really want to maintain address anonymity, you could provide cross-street into, which I have done on occasion. This will allow potential guests to know how far your place is from various attractions, without your giving up your property address. 

@Elisha Cram  I tell them the location without specifying the house.   I tell I can't be exact for the security and privacy of guests.  I've had a guest go to the house in advance the one time I did give it out -- he wanted to check everything out.  He also brought all his own sheets and complained about everything.  

People can/do run scams this way, especially if they ask if you have a mailbox.  Also viewing VR listings is an excellent way to case a place for a burglary.  Use discretion and caution in responding to those who ask for an address before booking.

All I can see on his profile is his first name, his photo, that he has been a member since August 2018, and that his email is verified. He does not appear to have put in his ID or taken any trips. I think I will refer him to the map (mostly it shows trees), and let him know he will have access to the exact address at the time of booking.

With no prior history on the platform, I'd do just what you did - give general info like x minutes from y exit - which is more than enough for their own planning. If they are insistent for more, they are probably not guests you want anyway.

@Caroline C. I meant to respond but got busy at work and forgot. His pre-approval expired. I think I’ll just let this one go. I’d have felt better after hearing from others if he’d had an established profile, but he looks brand new, and honestly, I told him how far from our house his destination is (which is about an hour) AND that we are 3 minutes from the highway. I feel that gives a reasonable idea.
@Elisha Cram Just be honest and talk to the guest almost like you’re a robot that has an immediate fixed set of answers that are non negotiable “you will recieve the address 24 hours before arrival. Please visit the neighborhood section of our listing for comprehensive info on the area“ And make sure your neighborhood section has tons of details and distances to area attractions! Enjoy :)

Nothing justifies the request for exact address when the location on the map is almost that detailed on both VRBO/HA and Airbnb. (I place the pin on another street but still in the circle).
On a similar note, locals are the worst clients for me. You know those who want to rent several weeks because of remodeling etc... and want to see the property. I accepted a few of those during the first years... and all waste of time.