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    Is Instant Book right for you?

    Should you use Instant Book or booking requests? Airbnb hosts weigh in.
    Ngu-Airbnb nge-Nov 20, 2019
    Ufundo lwemizuzu eyi-3
    Ihlaziywe nge-Nov 20, 2019

    Highlights

    • Keeping your calendar up to date is essential for using Instant Book

    • Choose your own Instant Book criteria—e.g., only guests with positive reviews

    • Instant Book might not be right if you only host guests for 28 days or more, or if your space has features that won’t work for all guests

    Instant Book basics

    Instant Book is a powerful tool that allows guests to instantly book your home for available dates—alleviating the need for hosts to review and accept each booking request individually. Many hosts report that they earn more money by making the booking process easier for guests, and that they appreciate the convenience this provides. Listings with Instant Book also tend to show up higher in Airbnb search results.

    Keeping your calendar up to date is key to using Instant Book successfully. If you’re not able to do this, you could be surprised by unexpected bookings or end up canceling a reservation due to a scheduling error—an Airbnb no-no that could result in a cancellation fee. To ensure that your Airbnb calendar is always current, it’s a good idea to sync it with whatever calendar you primarily use (iCal, Google, etc.).

    Tools for extra peace of mind

    Some hosts may initially feel hesitant to use Instant Book because they worry that they won’t have much information about potential guests before booking. You can set your preferences to offer Instant Book only to guests who have received positive reviews from other hosts, and/or guests who have government-issued IDs.

    You can also create a custom greeting and include important questions that Instant Book guests will see during their booking process:

    • Who else will be staying with you?
    • What’s the purpose of your trip?
    • Can you confirm you’ve read the House Rules?

    “Once I realized that what I was looking for in guests (people with positive ratings) could be handled automatically by Airbnb,” says host Kristine from San Francisco, “it actually made more sense for me to use Instant Book to get the benefits of more views and bookings, while maintaining the same level of guest quality I enjoyed by reviewing requests myself.”

    Why you might still get booking requests

    Even with Instant Book turned on, there are cases where you might receive booking requests from guests. This could happen if you haven’t updated your calendar in a while, or if you’ve recently needed to cancel a reservation. Guests who don’t meet your criteria to book instantly might also send reservation requests. For any requests that do come through, you’ll need to respond by accepting or declining the reservation, or messaging your prospective guests within 24 hours.

    Why some hosts don’t use Instant Book

    Despite the many benefits of Instant Book, some hosts find that reservation requests work better for them. Some reasons include:

    • They only offer long-term stays. Annie, a host in Sonoma, California, uses reservation requests because she only offers stays of 30 days or more to comply with hosting regulations in her area. “I would love to use Instant Book, but there are a lot more logistics to figure out when you’re hosting someone for that long,” she says. “It’s more like having a tenant.”
    • They have unique personal requirements. Nichola, a host in Guelph, Canada, has an environmental sensitivity that requires her to keep her space scent-free, so she uses reservation requests to ensure that guests are willing to agree to her very specific house rules. “I get migraines from scented products so I need to make sure my guests are folks who understand scent allergies,” she says.
    • Their space has special features or challenges. Examples might include a private room in a home that includes pets or children, or an extremely rustic space that might be challenging for certain guests. Booking requests can be a good choice for assuring that guests are aware of all the unique aspects of your home before they visit.

    Reliability is key for using Instant Book

    Whatever decision you make, remember that Airbnb has strict policies around hosts canceling reservations because reliability is a critical part of being a great host. That said, if you allow guests to instantly book and are uncomfortable with a reservation once it’s made (for instance, because your prospective guests are asking if they can break your house rules), you can cancel a booking without penalty using the online cancellation tool up to three times per calendar year.

    Just know that canceling a reservation signals that Instant Book may not be a good fit for you right now, so if you do this, Airbnb may send booking requests instead for your next few reservations.

    Highlights

    • Keeping your calendar up to date is essential for using Instant Book

    • Choose your own Instant Book criteria—e.g., only guests with positive reviews

    • Instant Book might not be right if you only host guests for 28 days or more, or if your space has features that won’t work for all guests

    Airbnb
    Nov 20, 2019
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