I wouldn't read too much into that, there are lots of sites that ask for info. If I am fully vetted and want to PURCHASE I will give them my name, address and credit card. If I am very interested I will give them first and last name but won't give my address or my cc until I am SURE I want to purchase. If I just have questions, then you don't need my name rank and serial number so you can inundate me with emails I don't want. You might just get first name and last initial.
If you don't care about the inquiry then give them as much effort as they gave you. If you do care about the inquiry, then pretend they gave you a last name, and work on closing the booking. When they are ready to book they will be required to give all their details.
Unless something has recently changed, HA does not vet anyone doing an INQUIRY and shows whatever First and Last names they have provided.
That means anyone can put whatever "Name" they want into the "Name Field" and use whatever email address they want, even if it is not valid.
That would mean this person CHOSE to list their Last Name as only "V."
Unless HA is suddenly starting to truncate last names before booking like ABB does.
EDITED TO ADD:
I just did a test from my "test browser" and HA is now seemingly taking additional measures to "verify" emails, although they let me send myself a test question with a Gmail account without advance verification. They would not let me send an email using "example.com" but accepted GMAIL as valid (of course that is what all the scammers use...)
I used the name LARRY VERBOSE and the message came through with THE FULL LAST NAME.
Not truncated with "V."
So while at the front end there is an "appearance" of vetting, they are still not doing it.
That also means more than likely the person inquiring only put "V." as their last name.
What you do with that is up to you.
Lesson learned - don't rely on HA to do any vetting. They don't. A guest can "verify" that their email address works. A very select few (VRBO won't give the number or percentage) are randomly selected to be offered the ability to have their ID verified through a 3rd party.
Either way, verified email or verified ID or nothing verified, no matter the booking site I always require ID & rental agreement.
Yea the biggest chafe is when you engage with these people (tire kickers) and then they decide to book and create a 'real' profile. Then you get the magical experience of having to manage two separate conversation threads - one where they asked all the questions and one where they booked. Then, it gets better when the original inquiry persona receives a cancellation notice and reservation persona contacts you asking why you cancelled them and you get to explain what happened and that everything is fine. YaY us!
Hi, Larry here.
Actually, it's Lord Larry V, of Staffordshire-upon-twaddle. I've found over many years securing vacation rentals that if I use my full name to book, the rate charged seems to be higher than what's posted.
Rest easy, my inquiry is sincere, and I'm looking for a whole-home rental; my extended family is rather large. Might I also brings the dogs? Great fun.
We recently had someone book through expedia or booking.com via VRBO/HA and their name got all jumbled up in the process. We don't have instant booking turned on, but being a premier member I was able to reach out to them before accepting the booking to get the real information. The main issue I had with it was the incorrect name also went on their damage policy, so we had to call everyone to get it sorted out. Not the renters problem or mine, but we had to get it all corrected none the less. Yay technology!!!!