Do you know the red flags to look out for when vetting potential Airbnb guests?

It’s summertime, and guests from all over the world are looking to book dreamy vacations! The most popular way to do this is by booking an Airbnb!  

As heart centered hosts, we put so much into providing a wonderful place to stay and a great experience, then whammo. You get an unsavory guest that leaves you scratching your head and asking “how did I not see that one coming?”.

The reality is that we will never filter them all out, even after 16 years as a host they slip through once in a while. But my bad guest radar has become pretty tuned in & I want to share the red flags I look out for. 

? 1. Last minute bookings

? 2. Groups of all young males or young couples

? 3. Brand new to the listing platform / no reviews

? 4. Communications that appear to be from a youth

? 5. Overly enthusiastic about your rules

? 6. Someone that asks for a discount

? 7. They mention a celebration

? 8. Single night requests

? 9. The guest booking for someone else.

? 10. Bookings of over 2 weeks from a local.

Each one of these “red flags” aren’t a bad thing in & of themselves & aren’t enough reason to decline a booking.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Using your gut instincts is KEY.

Just this morning, I declined a booking request from a guest with good reviews, but the reviews were all old & even though I responded with my initial communication to get to know her a bit more within minutes of her inquiry, she never responded. I sent 4 prompts with no response. Since I had to accept or decline within a 24 hour period, I let her know I would decline until she was able to respond & then she could send another booking inquiry. It’s very possible that my guest guidelines weren’t a good fit for her, but she could have at least communicated that, no?

I very well may have just declined a perfectly great guest, but I prefer guests in my house that respond and are communicative. Maybe I’ll still hear from her, but without feeling confident or having been able to establish any connection with her at all, my choice is to decline.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Bottom line, you have to use your instincts. Everyone’s risk tolerance is different, but after 16 years of taking bookings, I’ve learned to tap into my gut, notice red flags, explore them and then make a decision.

Let’s dive in a bit deeper


The longer the stay, the more lead time there should be. I have a 1-2 day lead time on my listings to prevent same or last-minute bookings for this reason.


This isn’t a prejudice, but groups of young men tend to be looking for a place to party.


People banned from Airbnb can create a new profile very quickly. All they need is a different email address. Ask lots of questions. Are they new? Have they used Airbnb before? The way they answer will tell you a lot.


Younger kids have a different way of communicating & you only want to rent to people with enough maturity & life experience to respect your home & know what to do in an emergency. I have a min. age requirement of 25.


Just about every horrible guest has been overly enthusiastic about the rules. It isn’t enough reason to decline, but my radar perks up.


I’ve noticed a pattern where often the guests who ask for a discount end up being a more difficult or less respectful guest.


Not all celebrations are bad! I mean, an intimate 75th wedding anniversary getaway for a couple is something we all want to host, but a group of whippersnappers wanting to get together to celebrate their last weekend of summer before they head off to college? Not so much. ?


First off, a single night isn’t worth the work involved….at least not for me. Often 1-night bookings are a party night, especially if they are locals. Tread very carefully if you take 1-night bookings.


A guest should always have their own account on the booking platform & you always want to build a relationship with the person staying in and responsible for your home. No exceptions here.


Squatter alert! Keep an eye out for a local looking to book for an extended period of time, especially 30 days or more. In most jurisdictions, 30 days is the threshold in which you become a landlord & it takes court & ??? to get them out. Ideally, limit bookings to 28 days.

The reality is that we will never filter them all out; even after 16 years of hosting, they slip through every once in a while. But by remembering these ten tips, you can lessen your chances of a nightmare guest booking!

Are you thinking about hosting? Want to avoid costly mistakes right from the start? I CAN HELP!  I’m an Airbnb Ambassador & I help brand new hosts start on the right foot FOR FREE + you get a $72 bonus after your first booking when you use my link to register for a brand new hosting account.  If you are ready to host your first guest within 90 days click below!  If not, save this post for when you are ready to go!

Let’s put my 16 years of successful hosting experiences to your benefit! I can’t wait to chat with you!


Are you already a BnB host?  If you are looking to take your guests’ experiences to the next level, I have the perfect thing for you! My self paced mini course Heart Centered Host will give you fast and actionable ways to level up your hosting skills, attract the best guests and have more peace in Airbnb hosting!



Happy hosting!

Marilyn Taylor, signature

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