Hello, I wanted to bring up the following subject and pull some insights from the community: I have noticed that the rates between an inquiry and an actual booking is very low. In my case, the automatic bookings work way much better. I always answer to all the inquiries, clarify all doubts and respond to all the questions the potential guest has (in the majority of the cases they ask what they could've already seen in the listing, I guess people just don't read through); anyway, what I do is if there isn't anything out of the rules of the house, I usually hit the pre-approve button immediately right after the first messgaes. I read in an old thread in this community of a host saying that for her not pre-approving the inquiry worked much better.
I have now the theory that it might be possible that when you pre-approve too quickly during a messaging with potential guest, they might feel that they're being pushed to book, when they are yet undecided and need more reassurance or information. So I will now try to to not pre-approve and see if this improves the booking rates of these cases. What do you think? Do you have any similar experiences?
An inquiry is in fact nothing more then asking a question via the link "contact the host" on the listing. That person is always obliged to choose dates from the calender , even if the question is rather general .
Sometimes they choose random dates just to be able to continue with the question. Then the pre-approve is useless anyway. And without a pre-approval a potential guest can still make a normal booking request, also even via IB (if enabled).
So i never use "pre-approve' (nor the accompanying "decline"). I just answer the question and thats it, or i also invite them to book asap. Or i sent a special offer if i really want them aboard quickly !
I’d say that for me, the conversion rate from inquiry to booking is about 50%. Everyone is different, and some just need additional details, confirmation of amenities, etc. before they book. But there are those inquiries that go like this:
Guest: “Do you have this thing that I want?”
Host: Yes! We have an abundance of that thing that you want!
Guest: “Well, what about this other thing that I want?”
Host: Yes! We have world-class support for that other thing that you want!
…..(radio silence forever)
So, all in all, I find it worthwhile to politely and completely answer inquiry questions. If there gets to be too many questions from the same guest, though, I tend to start providing shorter and shorter answers. That gives them the cue (hopefully) that I’d like to proceed past the inquiry stage of our relationship. 🙂
I do not pre-approve, unless asked by the guest to do so. For my style of hosting, it feels a tad too forward. Also, I only want guests that are chomping at the bit with enthusiasm to stay at my place, and those guests will put in the effort to book themselves.
Hi Pat, great insight ..."shorter and shorter answers..."; I agree, it comes a point when it seems they're just wandering around and the conversation is getting nowhere.
I also see and agree now, not before though, that pre-approving too fast might be moving a bit too far.
What I sometimes don't understand is when they ask me things like "Can I throw a party for 25 people?" when my listing explicitely says it is a family resting place and no parties, events, etc. are allowed and that the house fits no more than 8-10 people. But true, I guess everyone is different.