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. “The Instant Book feature has worked very well for us,” says host Antonio of Goa, India. “I keep the calendar updated and many guests book without my intervention.”
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). Here’s a tutorial on how to do that.
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 (for instance, “Who else will be staying with you? What’s the purpose of your trip? Can you confirm you’ve read the House Rules?) that Instant Book guests will see during their booking process. After the booking is confirmed, you can follow up to ask additional questions if needed. “I used to require reservation requests,” says host Kristine from San Francisco, “but once I realized that what I was looking for in guests (positive ratings) could be handled automatically by Airbnb, 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. Annie, a host in Sonoma, California, uses reservation requests because she only offers long-term 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.”
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.
Another reason to choose booking requests rather than Instant Book might be that your space has specific qualities that you need to make sure guests understand before their stay. 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.
Want to update your settings to turn Instant Book on or off? Here’s how to do it.
I really feel that's all about Airbnb's making a profit and they really don't care about the host. When looking into the option of listing with Abb, there are all kinds of guarantees that make one feel protected, not so.
Abb forgets that in this equation, we the host have the most to loose as our investment with our property is very costly and important to us.
Here is something for you Airbnb to consider:
"Remember Airbnb, that if we the owners are not willing to list our properties there is no profit opportunities for you, BUT we the owners still have the option of renting our properties outright.
I absolutely stick by my strict cancellation policy! However, I have had to call Airbnb to tell them that I expect the payment after receiving the automated Airbnb message that the guest cancelled. This is not a hobby for me, nor is my cottage a hotel with lots of people who can quickly fill the date. If the guest books my home, it is off the market for potential bookings. It is not fair for the guest to arbitrarily cancel without bearing some responsibility for my lost income.
That being said, I’m not so heartless as to disregard documentation that supports reasonable reasons for cancellations. In those instances, I would suspend the policy... key words “I would suspend”.
AFAIK AirBnb don’t remind guests when booking that they should have appropriate travel insurance covering eg cancellation in case of illness etc. I don’t see why hosts should be expected to refund anything if the guest cancels outside the cancellation window - either the guest has a valid reason for not making the trip and can claim on their travel insurance, or they should pay.
I've IB book on and currently have yet another Guest who has mentioned there's still issues with the website & been able to make an actual booking.
Two of my most recent Guests have said the same issue is happening with both Safari & Chrome & it's been much discussed in here more prominently since the MAJOR Google outages & upgrades of Microsoft platforms.
It would be for the betterment of all if @Airbnb please reached out to these providers and sorted out your IT issues.
Thanks in advance
It would be great if these IT glitches were fixed so we can have Guests IB and come & stay!
When I signed up to use the Airbnb platform I instantly chose instant booking. Now well over two years in as a Superhost I have found no issues using this form of booking. Not ever using the other method of booking I think I might find that way to be extra demanding of time and effort? I have always welcomed first-timers using this platform! I do live on prem so that I find helps a great deal. I do have opening questions that rarely are answered upon reserving and have found less than a handful read through the entirety of the listing! (I have a special “mention this” if the guest has read through). My home has been visited by many. Overnighters to weekenders to just a few days, from weeks to months at a time. I’ve been very happy with this method of reserving a space in my place!
Carol & Bernie are spot on. I just think that we should not be penalized if IB doesn't work for you (as is the case with one of my listings). If you choose not to use IB you are dropped down the list and don't show up in searches. ALSO they do not let you see guest reviews unless you have IB enabled. That makes NO sense.
If we choose not to use instant book, why can we no longer make a greeting message, see past reviews or ask pre-vidit questions? As a host who does not want to do instant booking but likes that initial contact with future guests. i think all hosts should have access to the initial greeting and question tools.
Host of Davis Oasis:
Main Stay & Comfort Space
Recently I had a guest who booked instantly. He had received one previous review. Unfortunately he was one of the most disrespectful guests to my property, causing damage and leaving a mess. Can more than one cursory review be mandatory before a so-called 'positive review history' makes a guest eligible for instant booking?
Unfortunately if you leave a true but negative review about a guest, Airbnb penalises you. In my case, losing my Superhost status. I switched off Instant Book because most people do not read the listing description, causing problems. And Airbnb 's "system " double booked my calendar
I've only been a host since last April but I'm now a Superhost. However, the more I learn about Airbnb the more I realize that the company does not really give a **bleep** about hosts. I have been warned by a fellow host that if I leave a bad review for a guest I am likely to use my Superhost status. I am proud of my guest apartment and will never use IB because I have no control. I will not rent my property to anyone who does not have good ID or no reviews or, as is most common, someone who says they have been on Airbnb for 3 years and use it frequently but have no reviews. I guess in these cases, the hosts would prefer to not give a bad review in case Airbnb takes retribution.