Remove mandatory Instant Book from all new hosts' profiles

Status changed to: Popular

After several emails and phone calls I have finally established that I have been unfortunate enough to be one of the selected new hosts who apparently have to accept instant book on any listing I create. I categorically refuse to accept this and have therefore unlisted the holiday property I was intending to add to Airbnb's portfolio.

 
I understand that numerous other prospective hosts have been affected by this 'experiment' and have also refused to list because of it. It would not be impossible for a software engineer to spend a few hours writing the code to enable us to have the same tools and features on our profiles as all the other hosts on Airbnb. Or are they really not bothered about us and happy to see us go?
 
If it is the company's plan to make instant book mandatory for all, do they not realise that hoaxers, scammers and those who just see an opportunity to make a quick buck out of travellers will be more than happy to accept it, whereas responsible hosts are much less likely to? Those of us who care about our homes, and the experience of our guests, will always reserve the right to have the final say in who we welcome into them.
Comments
Helen3 in
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 10

Jenny I completely agree. As established hosts we have asked BnB numerous times to tell us why they are doing this and to remove instant book from new hosts. However they refuse to do this and just tell us they will 'pass on our remarks'.

 

It would be great if you could also post on their FB/twitter. The more people who complain, the more likely they are to reconsider.

 

Best Helen

Jenny85 in
Reading, United Kingdom
Level 4

Hi Helen

 

I've posted three or four times on their FB page now - both in Visitor Posts and under comment threads on their posts. I haven't even had a standard response from them thanking me for the feedback and saying that they'll pass it on! I've also emailed detailed feedback to them via the website using the topic button 'Instant Book'. I'm afraid I've so far resisted signing up to Twitter as I spend far too much time on social media as it is ;-)

 

Some of the people I've spoken to in their 'Help Centre' have said that they've had many people phoning them who are just as upset as myself; they have been sympathetic and seem to understand why I do not want instant book. Several of them have tried to suggest ways I could make it extremely difficult for travellers actually to use it without contacting me first but I have kept reiterating that I don't want it in any shape or form. To me, just having the 'lightning bolt' on the property sends completely the wrong message to travellers i.e. that I am a business just out to get as many bookings as I can.  

 

The last person I spoke to was postively hostile; she said it was absolutely not a policy that the company would be reversing and that it had been done to stop hosts discriminating against travellers on the grounds of race or sexuality. If that really is the case, then I cannot understand how they can possibly make it mandatory for some hosts and not for others. As I see it, at present they are discriminating against me.

 

Best wishes

 

Jenny 

Rosemary12 in
Burnaby, Canada
Level 8

I totally agree! If you are a host who shares their home with guests you have the right to decide if you feel comfortable with a guest request. I don't think Airbnb has the right to decide who can stay. If they insist I use Instant Book I will delist! So far after 3 years of hosting, and none of the horror stories I have read on these posts, I feel lucky but I have no problem turning down a request if something doesn't feel right and a person's ethic  background has nothing to do with that decision, it is whether I feel safe with this person(s) in my home.

Ryan67 in
Baltimore, MD
Level 1

I am having the same problem.  Please let me know if you make any headway.  It's offensive to me for Airbnb assume that I "NEED" to be required to use instant booking or else I would somehow automatically discriminate against guests based on their race or sexuality.  I will accept all guests who seem legit, but for my own safety and security I need to be able to just quickly review my guests before they can book. 

Jenny85 in
Reading, United Kingdom
Level 4

Completely agree, Ryan; it's hugely offensive. Are they suggesting that they have some algorithm that has identified us as potential racists and homophobes? If so, a quick glance at my FB friends list alone ought to be enough to disabuse them of that idea. 

 

Personally I think the discrimination issue is just a smokescreen Airbnb are using to achieve their aim of making instant book mandatory for all. My belief is that they have taken a random sample of new hosts as an 'experiment' to see if sufficient numbers will accept it. Some - like me - have not, but the fact that the company are refusing to reverse the policy suggests sufficient numbers have accepted to make it a viable proposition. I'm sure that the next stage of the plan is to make it mandatory for all new hosts and then mandatory for everyone.

 

Yes, Airbnb know that some hosts will unlist their properties but they also know that established hosts will find it harder to walk away than new ones who are not remotely reliant on the company for income. They will have 'done the maths' and worked out that, even if they lose a percentage of their hosts, they will still make more money in the long term by being able to compete with the likes of Booking.com on the same terms.

 

I am very surprised that more established hosts have not picked up on this issue as I'm sure it's going to affect them soon. Personally I spent the best part of two weeks getting very stressed about it before I realised I was trying to fight a losing battle with a company that has an entirely profit driven agenda.

Helen56 in
San Diego, CA
Level 10

I agree. Luckily I listed my spare room just before this 'experiment' started.  I just rent out one room in my house, shared bathroom, and I only want to rent to women.  This would be impossible with instant book.  I don't care what color or religion people are, I will only rent to women who seem nice.  I've only declined a few people, (two men who obviously didn't read the listing and a couple of women who wanted to stay for several months and demanded a discount).  All my guests have been great; last one was a teacher from Japan, the next is a mormon flute player attending a conference!  Sounds interesting - this is why hosting is fun!

Rosemary12 in
Burnaby, Canada
Level 8

I have the same setup as Helen but I have had single men stay with no problems. I think the hosts are right that Airbnb is trying this as an "experiment". Funnily, yesterday I got an email from Airbnb asking if I would be willing to be interviewed about my experiences. Of course I said "yes". Maybe they asked because I am a superhost (!!) but they will get an earful from me! I will stand up for all of you who don't seem to have any option to decide who you will have in your home.

Apurva And Sobey in
Big Chute, Canada
Level 2

Instant book is not for me. I truly hope they do not try and force this controversial feature on the people that helped them make their business what it is today.   

Diana103 in
Oceanside, CA
Level 5

Wow!!!  That's crazy!  After having $30,000 worth of damage to my home I would never allow instant booking.  Don't worry, not with Airbnb.  I need to feel out what guests plans are.  I promised my neighbors to only rent to quiet guests, so no bachelorette parties or such.

Tracey28 in
Freiburg, Germany
Level 2

Mandatory instant booking should NOT happen. Someone could book and get my address and have no intention but to rob my place. But not only that, I am a woman and rent out rooms in my home and want to screen the guests.  

And wouldn't instant booking also eliminate the possibility for the host to make an offer?

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