AirBnB by proxy?
May 7, 2018 5:27 AM   Subscribe

I would like to get my husband a night away from home for Father's Day. Hotels are very expensive in our city, but I'm not sure it's kosher for me to book an AirBnB through my account but have him stay

First, I acknowledge the humor in gifting him time away from home as a Father's Day gift -- I know the parents of MeFi will stand with me here, sometimes you've just gotta sleep in! We will be doing other family-centric activities throughout the day, but I'd like him to actually be able to sleep in for once. For the sake of the question, please grant that he needs to sleep somewhere other than our home as part of this present.

The goal is to have this occur on the night of June 16th.

We live in Boston, and hotels here are super expensive (even through Priceline -- and anyway, several of the downtown hotels are noted for being loud due to thin walls, old buildings, and street noise). I'd actually love for him to stay in Cambridge (near Harvard or Inman), or even near Davis square, but the hotel options around there are even more expensive! So I thought of AirBnB....but isn't it a violation of the terms of service for me to book through my account and then have him show up? Even if I booked and then immediately messaged the host about the situation, I'm not sure that's good enough...

Thoughts? Suggestions? My husband will be a little shocked if I spend more than like....$125 on this. Maaaaaybe $150.
posted by Bebo to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't think Airbnb cares. In my one and only experience as a host, someone booked my apartment for his mother. When she turned out to be a horrible guest (breaking things, harassing my landlord, leaving my apartment unlocked), and I complained to Airbnb, they basically encouraged me not to leave a bad review for the son who had made the booking.

You can message the host and ask if it's okay with them before making the booking, as well.
posted by pinochiette at 5:45 AM on May 7 [3 favorites]

I did this for our wedding - booked an apartment under my account for some of our wedding party to stay in (since we were covering the cost). I just messaged the host about it and it was fine.
posted by cpatterson at 5:50 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]

Yes, you can message the host about the idea. I doubt they'll care, especially if you have good reviews overall, though if he has any social media that they can see, it might not hurt to share that.
posted by slidell at 5:51 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]

I've had about 10 Airbnb experiences and I've only met my host at one or two. (There's a combo lock or the keys are left somewhere, etc.) This doesn't sound like a problem at all. HOnestly, I wouldn't even share the info until right before the visit starts. "It's a gift for my husband" and leave it at that.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:53 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]

AirBnb host here. People do this all the time as indicated by the number of inquiries I receive from people buying getaway trips for their parents, kids and friends. Mention it in the message you send up front and don't worry; you made a full disclosure and gave them the opportunity to turn down the booking. If you choose an "instant book" option, do the same with your opening contact. FYI nobody includes full names, let alone links to social media.
posted by carmicha at 6:14 AM on May 7 [4 favorites]

Yup, I even know of companies that book AirBnB for business trips - the bookings are made on the company account and the admin in charge messages to explain the situation up front. Totally normal.
posted by mskyle at 6:32 AM on May 7

I changed my AirBNB profile to make it describe both me and my mother, when I was doing bookings for just her plus a few where we traveled together. Then, when I booked for just her, I put a note to the host that this trip would be just her, and made sure it was okay. You could easily turn your account into a "couple" account in the same way.
posted by juniperesque at 7:22 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]

Okay, clearly this is a non-issue! Thanks all!
posted by Bebo at 8:25 AM on May 7

This comes up quite a bit on r/Airbnb, and many hosts don’t like it.
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:50 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]

I personally would message the host and let them know instead of instantly booking. Usually you don't have to interact with the host but if he ends up staying at some sort of guest house, he may be seen and may wonder why some dude is walking around their property.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:07 AM on May 7

Absolutely let the host know beforehand and check that it's ok. I definitely don't think it's a non-issue from the hosts perspective.
posted by ryanbryan at 10:37 AM on May 7

I'm an airbnb host and dislike when people instant book using their profile for other guests. Part of the community feedback is reviews, and another person can be a wildcard. We had one guest who approached us to book something for her mother prior to a medical procedure. We were comfortable with that because the situation was clear, upfront, and the guest had good reviews. I should mention, we are picky with this because we rent out our spare room and it's shared space in our home.
posted by snowysoul at 11:10 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]

FWIW, I have had a host express hesitation when I (a woman) made the booking, but then my flight was delayed and my boyfriend would have been the one to check in. My host was a woman as well, and she said she didn't feel comfortable meeting a random man alone (we had to meet up to get the keys). I agree with others that it would be safest to ask ahead of time rather than risk your husband being turned away. Part of the AirBnb profile includes uploading a drivers license, so for the person checking in/staying to be someone different than the ID they have on file may be an issue as well.
posted by jouir at 11:58 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]

I'm a frequent Airbnb-er and agree with those saying to let the host know in your opening message. You are asking to stay in someone else's personal space, not a generic hotel; they deserve to know who to expect. (And come to think of it, even the last generic online hotel booking I made asked if I were making the reservation on behalf of someone else.)
posted by basalganglia at 5:22 PM on May 7

AirBnB host here. I would mention it in an opening message but not make a big deal about it. I've had to do this once where I place I booked to stay with a friend wound up only being used by the friend because I was sick. Worked out okay but better to be up front about it in case there are issues. I think this is a nice thing to do for your husband!
posted by jessamyn at 6:30 AM on June 15

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