What brings you to the area? Who are you coming with? When do you think you’ll arrive? Airbnb hosts have a number of questions swirling through their minds when they receive a booking. And many hosts take the opportunity to get to know their potential guests by asking these questions before guests book instantly. It’s not required, of course; but, adding questions to a pre-booking message can help drum up more information about potential guests, simplify the booking process, and ensure a great relationship with guests from the start.
Next month, Airbnb is launching an improved feature: pre-booking message. It’s a better way for hosts to add a greeting and ask all of the questions you want before guests book instantly. (You’ll have plenty of room, too, because we’ve increased the character count. And if you currently use welcome message, there’s no need to change anything.) Your potential guests will read your message while they’re booking, and be able to respond to your questions before confirming their reservation.
Here are some ways to make the most of Airbnb’s pre-booking message feature.
5 pre-booking message tips from fellow hosts
1. Start by thanking your potential guest
“I think it's a good way to build trust and a way to encourage a good stay,” said host Juan, of Colombia.
2. Ask about what’s most important
Think about the one thing that would make a great (or not-so-great) stay for you and your guests, and ask them about it in your pre-booking message, like these hosts do:
3. Invite guests to re-read the listing and House Rules
When writing your pre-booking message, take the opportunity to remind guests of any crucial listing details they may have missed. “I put myself in the guest’s shoes,” French host Marie Line said. “Sometimes we are so happy to have found the apartment of our dreams that we hurry to reserve it—I once booked an apartment without realizing sheets weren’t provided! So, I think if the hosts had invited me to read their listing again, I wouldn't have made that kind of mistake." Other hosts offer these suggestions:
4. Get to know your guests
To customize your hospitality and let guests know you care, hosts recommend asking questions like these:
5. Showcase your hosting style
Some hosts ask a lot of pre-booking questions while others ask none. Hosts recommend reflecting your hosting style—whether it be laid back or strict—when you’re asking questions in your pre-booking message. This will also help guests determine if it’s the right fit:
Once you’ve saved your pre-booking message, potential guests will automatically receive it when they use book instantly. Creating a pre-booking message once will help simplify the booking process, give you more peace of mind, and let guests know they have a wonderful stay ahead.
@Airbnb Since you took the time to make this rather lengthy post, I assume that the pre-trip questions are supposed to be still active and visible to guests. There have been several threads in this forum in the past, discussing this subject. Numerous hosts have said that their questions were no longer there, while others said that theirs were still visible.
My last four guests have not responded to the questions at all --yet they were able to instant book. This leaves me having to follow up and ask the guest to please respond. My most recent guest was unable to locate the questions at all.
Why are guests allowed to instant book without answering the questions when they are supposed to be part of the booking process?
Often, guests do not bother reading the listing description. In our case, we have had numerous guests who were surprised at the presence of cats on the premises--something that my listing makes very clear. The pre-trip questions are vital, because I ask the guest to acknowledge that they are aware that there are cats on the property and that our guesthouse may not be well suited to those with allergies.
I ask that you PLEASE, fix the booking process so guests won't be able to instant book--UNLESS they have responded to the questions. This can't be so difficult.
I completely agree with all the above comments. I also want to know before booking if they have any reviews. I had a very unfortunate experience... the only one so fat but NOT pleasant with guests who clearly had not read the description. They were not a good fit at all for my house and were borderline abusive to me and my house managers. So I nudged them to leave offering a refund as a motive to help them find something else. They had instant booked and there were no guest reviews on their profile and they were super hosts!!! ALSO. Where on the listing do you list the prebook questions? I've never even heard of that. For these reasons I do not use instant book even tho there are constant reminders about how much easier for guests to be able to do so.
My worst guests were super hosts too. Strange. It seemed as though they wanted to break the competition and gave me an unjustifiable three stars in everything. Even so I still kept my superhost status thanks to all my aother guests
WOW you too, my worst guest was also a host , not Super, and now I know ,Why,She was the worst, accused me of speaking to her to often , I thought we would share Ideals and really have a great time, She was so unpleasant for a host I was shocked, and I was so happy when she left
So true...my only 3 star review was from a superhost. She also rearranged my furniture, changed the filter in my water pitcher and stole an iphone charger. SMH!!! I wanted to give her a bad review, but I decided no to write a review at all and her review was made public anyway.
We've been at this for over 15 years and have had thousands of guest stay in our vacation cottages. We try to stay away from instant book as our cottage can accommodate up to 11 total guests but at most 8 adults. Ideal is a mix of adults and children. Instant Book does not accommodate that. Pre book questions do not help as some will still believe it doesn't mean them. Turned down a booking for 10 adults recently. They would have been unhappy. If their unhappy we aren't happy.
That is why I am reluctant to instant book. I have people booking the regular way for one guest, when they have family of 6. I have complained about this numerous times to Airbnb to no avail. If I don't accept them, I am getting message after message from Airbnb about why I haven't accepted or declined. If you decline, it is a mark against you. I have asked the person to re-book properly and they act like they don't know what you are talking about. They tie up the reservation for days. Two of these folks later canceled, claiming "medical emergencies". They were a nightmare and Airbnb fed right into them, acted like I was cruel and heartless when I didn't want to give them a full refund.
That is something that is getting to me as well, when guests booked your place months in advance for a month then cancel at last minute or few days in with silly things like it's too far to beach when I clearly state it is 2,4km or 1.5 miles away, and then of course they want a full refund while I have 5 days cancellation policy, because what this does is blocked your place for a long time , meaning losing potential guests
Cancellations have been a problem for me, a new Airbnb host. To date I've had 76 reservations. Of those, 13 have canceled. Each wants a full refund for whatever is their reason. I started with the most guest friendly cancellation policy. I've advanced to the STRICT cancellation policy. The guests tend to think of their cancellation as they would if canceling with a brand name Hotel/Motel. That cancellation for the Hotel is a minor percentage loss in income. For me, it's major. When a guest books 90 days in advance, and then cancels inside of a month before their arrival date, I've lost a large audience that can't book the canceled dates because it wasn't available when they were looking. So they've booked elsewhere. My policy is now Strict. I tell the canceling guest that I will send them a refund if the dates are re-booked. And I do just that. If the canceled booking was for 4 days, and I re-book 2 of those days, I send them a check for the re-booked dates, up to but not exceeding the amount the first guest paid. This has worked very well. It puts me and the initial guests in the same position.
James, cancellations are a problem. Not that I have that many and if it seems like a valid reason I'm ok with that. But the fact is that if your site shows the date they want is booked they are not going to look at your site again for the same date.