How to Identify Problem Airbnb Guests in Colombia Before They Book - Medellin Guru
We provide strategies to identify problem Airbnb guests in Colombia before they book. Incomplete profiles generally correlate to a "bad guest experience".

How to Identify Problem Airbnb Guests in Colombia Before They Book

We provide strategies to identify problem Airbnb guests in Colombia before they book. Incomplete profiles generally correlate to a “bad guest experience”. Strategies in this article can help avoid bad guest experiences  including possible damage to the property.

It all comes down to this question: “how complete is the Airbnb guests’ profile?

Did the guest do the bare minimum to set up their profile? Did he or she spend time poking around the website and filling in the optional profile fields? Or, does the profile land somewhere in between?”

Key points:

  • Reviews are the most important factor, by far. Other than reviews, an incomplete profile correlates with a poor guest experience.
  • Up to 40 percent of reservations are from new guests. If you receive an inquiry from an incomplete guest profile, simply ask them to complete more of it. Example message below.
  • The content of the message thread is important to consider if you’re not sure about the guest.
  • A live check-in allows you to detect any red flags based on the guest behavior.

As an Airbnb property manager, I’ve encountered thousands of profiles and noticed a common theme: an incomplete profile correlates to a “bad guest experience”.

In this article, based on my experience, I provide tips to help identify problem Airbnb guests:

  • Show you a completed Airbnb profile and explain each of the eleven sections
  • Show you a profile that meets the bare minimum standard
  • Point out which parts of the profile are most important and why
  • Give you some tips on how to identify potential problem Airbnb guests based on profile alone and strategies to encourage guests to complete their profiles

About the Author

My name is Daniel Rusteen and I am a location-independent digital nomad having lived in 50+ cities exclusively sleeping in Airbnbs (1,500+ nights) while remotely managing Airbnb properties and helping Airbnb hosts to be successful.

I run a personal blog – dannybooboo blog and have another website to help Airbnb hosts make more money – OptimizeMyBnb.

Daniel Rusteen, the author of this article

Daniel Rusteen, the author of this article

I come from the days before the Airbnb you know today. I started working at Airbnb in 2013. I remember countless conversations with residents of San Francisco, the headquarters of Airbnb, who had no idea about the company even when it was valued at over $10 billion and 7 years old.

In the eight years that have passed since I first heard of Airbnb, I’ve become one of the world’s best at everything Airbnb:

To help you make an informed decision before investing in a property for Airbnb in Colombia and becoming an Airbnb host, I have created a list of nine tips to attract long-term Airbnb guests in Colombia based on my experience.

Apartment buildings near Santafé mall in El Poblado, Medellín

Apartment buildings near Santafé mall in El Poblado, Medellín

Strategies to Identify Problem Airbnb Guests in Colombia Before They Book

Here are five strategies to identify problem Airbnb guests in Colombia before they book.

1. See if They Have a Completed Airbnb Profile

There are eleven parts to complete an Airbnb profile. Below is a 100 percent completed profile (yes, it’s me!).

My Airbnb profile

My Airbnb profile

Not to toot my own horn but if I requested to stay at my listing, I would happily and easily accept because I went above and beyond to complete the profile. The above is a 100% completed and perfect Airbnb profile. Welcome to my listing!

Let’s examine each section of my profile:

  1. The profile photo is a close-up of me, and it’s not blurry. As I’m the author of the best-selling book for Airbnb hosts, I have decided to forgo a normal portrait for this.
  2. I listed my full name.
  3. I created my profile many years ago (note: this is automatically populated in any profile; however, it’s an important piece of information).
  4. I am a Superhost
  5. I have hundreds of reviews (as you’ll see in both 5a and 5b, they come from both hosts and guests)
  6. I verified myself with an official identification
  7. My description is more than 100 words.
  8. I identified my current city or where I’m from, the languages I speak, and my work.
  9. I provided additional information to verify myself and increase the trust score of my profile
  10. I am an Airbnb host of multi listings
  11. I created at least one Airbnb guidebook.

Now, let’s look at an incomplete Airbnb profile—one that can’t be any less complete.

An incomplete Airbnb profile

An incomplete Airbnb profile

2. Watch Out for Incomplete Profiles

How many sections are complete on this profile? Trick question. The answer is zero.

The profile photo (1) is not ideal because we cannot see the person. The name (2) does not count because, well, “J” is not a name. The guest wrote a single word for their description (7) which I’m not going to count as it’s less than 100 words. The verifications (9) are incomplete because you must verify an email address to register with Airbnb. If a person with this profile sent me a request, I would deny it.

3. Importance Of Each Section In an Airbnb Profile

Before I discuss how you can encourage Airbnb guests in Colombia to complete profiles, I rank each profile section in order of importance. The numbers inside the parenthesis refers to the section of the profile as identified above.

  1. Reviews (5/10/4) – If other hosts reviewed the guest, this gives you a clear indication of who they are as a guest. If they have reviews from other guests, it means they’re also a host— this is the holy grail of good Airbnb guests because they knows what it’s like to be a host. Obviously, you should ensure the reviews are positive or that they responded appropriately if the reviews are negative. Being a multi-listing host (10) or a Superhost (4) doesn’t give me any additional comfort as to the quality of the guest.
  2. Date (3) – Though the profile automatically populates this field, it’s extremely important when it comes to bad Airbnb guests who may be thieves trying to rob you—thieves don’t plan months or years in advance. Neither to party-throwers. Let’s say you lost your wallet, a thief recovered it, created an Airbnb profile, and even verified the ID. If the thief were smart, he would put up a nice photo and fill in a name, location, and description. However, with a recently created account, the profile may still lack reviews. Profiles without reviews raise red flags for me! Unfortunately/fortunately, Airbnb gets so many new guests every day that profiles without reviews are common. In scenarios like this, review the remainder of the profile for completeness.
  3. Verifications (9) – The bare minimum verifications are phone number and email address. When you start seeing Facebook, LinkedIn, American Express, Offline ID, and so forth, the guest went above minimum standards.
  4. Verified ID (6) – Verified ID is important but because a thief can verify any ID, it shouldn’t be as important to a host as other elements of a guest profile. In conjunction with a completed profile that’s a few months old, a verified ID is a powerful piece of information.
  5. Description (7) – You can tell a lot about someone through his or her writing. A profile without any writing raises a sizeable red flag, whereas a profile with a description of less than 50 words raises a small red flag (think “I like to travel and looking forward to staying with you.”). Anything around 100 words is great! For reference, my profile is 177 words and probably on the longer end. Learn how to craft a perfect Airbnb profile description.
  6. Photo (1) – A photo is not as important because anyone can add a photo, and Airbnb does not verify identity through photos. However, is the photo blurry? Is it a group? Is it the sunset? Is it a drawing? If it’s anything but a clear and up-close photo of a guest, this would raise a red flag.
  7. About Me (8) – Has the guest taken time to fill in his work, location, and language? If not, it might raise a red flag, depending on what else he completed on the profile. If he completes the About Me section, he went above and beyond the minimums. It’s great if this section is complete but if it’s not, I would scrutinize the rest of the profile. Regarding location, if you live in a volatile Airbnb market like New York, Barcelona, San Francisco, etc. then I recommend you change your city to someplace nearby that’s pro-Airbnb. This is especially true if you have multiple listings. You never know who’s scrapping the website for data on hosts in certain cities.
  8. Name (2) – Although this is not as important, a red flag should raise if the guest’s name is something like “xyz” or “J”. The guest can type any name, and it’s not necessary to match the profile name with the verified identity. Overall, this would give you another bit of information about the guest if the name is anything but, well, a name.
  9. Guidebook (11) – This is only applicable if the guest is also a host. This section means the host created a guidebook for their Airbnb guests. It’s not highly used or highlighted on Airbnb, so a lot of good hosts do not use this feature. If the guidebook is there, it would give me increased confidence in the guest.

4. When To Accept An Inquiring Airbnb Guest Reservation in Colombia?

At what point is a profile complete enough to not raise any red flags? It really comes down to two questions:

  1. Has the guest been reviewed by other hosts?
  2. Has the guest been reviewed by other guests?

The decision gets subjective when the guest does not have any reviews. For these guests, I defer to the 10 remaining sections of the profile. I consider four of the above sections important (3, 6, 7, 9). Barring any egregious items on the profile, I would accept any guest who has at least five sections complete.

For clarification, egregious items include:

  • Any text is hateful or distasteful.
  • The name appears to be hiding the guest’s identity

If three or four sections are filled in, I would defer to my judgment and to the complete versus incomplete parts of the profile. If less than three sections are filled in, I ask the potential guest to complete the profile. I write something like this:

“I’d like to know more about you before accepting the reservation; do you mind completing your profile, including verifying your ID? This can be found at www.Airbnb.com/Verify.”

5. Look at the Airbnb Message Thread

One aspect of the reservation process is the message thread. The message thread is equally important as the profile for the same reason why the description is important. You can tell a lot about someone by how they write. If the messages are extremely short or sound suspicious, ask more questions from the potential guest to get a feel for who he or she is and the purpose of the trip.

An example short message

An example short message

A good inquiry message from a future guest looks more like this:


An example good inquiry message

An example good inquiry message

Medellin Guru’s Airbnb Series

Medellin Guru now has a series of several articles about Airbnb in Colombia:

  1. 9 Strategies to Find Killer Deals on Airbnb in Colombia
  2. 15 Things to Know Before Investing to Become an Airbnb Host in Colombia
  3. 10 Airbnb Best Practices for Airbnb Hosting in Colombia
  4. 9 Tips to Attract Long-Term Airbnb Guests in Colombia
  5. 7 Strategies for Airbnb Slow Season in Colombia
  6. How to Identify Problem Airbnb Guests in Colombia Before They Book
  7. 15 Ways to Increase Your Airbnb Search Rank In Colombia
  8. How Safe is Airbnb in Colombia? Is it Safe to Use Airbnb in Colombia?
  9. Airbnb Travel Itinerary for Your Airbnb Guests in Colombia
  10. How to Get Started on Airbnb in Colombia: A Guide

RE/MAX Coffee Realty

Are You Looking to Buy a Property for Airbnb Hosting in Colombia?

Medellin Guru partnered with RE/MAX Coffee Realty to offer real estate services to foreigners and Colombians interested in buying and selling properties in Medellín and Colombia.

Several Medellin Guru readers have asked about real estate and advice about buying and selling properties for Airbnb hosting. So, we partnered with RE/MAX Coffee Realty to offer reliable real estate services to readers.

We decided to partner with RE/MAX Coffee Realty for services for buying and selling real estate for several reasons:

  • RE/MAX is the largest real estate company in the world and is a well-known brand for foreigners.
  • RE/MAX is one of the largest real estate companies in Colombia with 35 offices in four cities (Medellín, Bogotá, Cali and Barranquilla). So, RE/MAX can offer real estate services to readers in several locations in Colombia.
  • In Colombia, RE/MAX has over 350 real estate agents including more than 70 agents in Medellín. Also, RE/MAX has agents that are bilingual and speak both English and Spanish.
  • RE/MAX ensures properties are not overpriced by performing a study of market property prices known as an ACM (Análisis Comparativo del Mercado).

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Inside an Airbnb

Inside an Airbnb

The Bottom Line: How to Identify Problem Airbnb Guests in Colombia Before They Book

The above strategies strategies I’ve developed over the past three years as a host and Airbnb property manager, to identify problem Airbnb guests, which is of utmost importance to ensure the safety of hosts and their homes.

If all else fails and you’re still unsure, consider accepting and doing a live check-in. Don’t inform the guest in advance of your live check-in. Meeting the guest face-to-face will allow you to detect any red flag indications from their behavior or attitude.

Also, keep in mind becoming an Airbnb host in Colombia is not for everyone. And you can see all five of the Airbnb in Colombia articles I have written for Medellin Guru.

I hope you enjoyed my contribution! To learn more about me send me a message on  Instagram. If you’re an Airbnb host, then visit my blog for Airbnb hosts.

Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.

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One thought on “How to Identify Problem Airbnb Guests in Colombia Before They Book”

    1. Thats fine that you want to weed out unwanted guests. But my question is what about the hosts I stayed in airbnbs all over Colombia for about 6 months during early Covid times and my experience was horrible dealing with the hosts
      dirty apartments, cancelled reservations with a fight to get my money back some hosts just outright lied most of the time and the excuses were pathetic most of the blame was on Covid air bib needs to weed out the hosts more than the guests

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