I'm a relatively new host. I have instant booking turned on, with the all the available safety-net requirements enabled (good reviews, government id etc.) Unfortunately, I made the dreaded newbie mistake of declining "inquiries" that come in from people who do not meet my instant book requirements, and now my "acceptance rating" has dropped to 85% which is below their 88% and "could" cause my listing to be removed. (Customer service declined to reset it for me, despite a fall-on-my-sword plea for not understanding the differences between inquiries and requests.)
My biggest frustration is not the confusing nature of the "inquiry" vs "reservation" requests (although I think it would be good for some UX improvements there,) but the fact that customer service also told me that participating in instant book WILL NOT positively impact my acceptance rating. They explained that the only way to improve my acceptance rate score is to turn off instant book - or accept inquiries that come in from people who do not meet my minimum criteria.
Is that correct? Did customer service miscommunicate that? That seems completely counter-productive to AirBnB's desires to push hosts to instant booking - and also seems VERY unfair, since I've actually taken the extra step to AUTO-APPROVE nearly all the reservations that are submitted through the platform for my property. Their inbox lists those reservations from instant book as "approved," so they are acknowledging in their platform that I approved those reservations (even if it's by default.) Shouldn't those acceptances count positively toward my score to help me correct my initial user error?
Any thoughts? I submitted this as product development feedback, but I'm super frustrated about it as a new host trying to maximize the success of my listing.
Side note - I don't think a host should ever be penalized for not approving a person who does not meet those baseline instant book requirements - whether it's through a reservation request or inquiries.
The acceptance rate is not that important, it is also not a rating considered to become a Superhost. You only receive "threatening" messages form the Airbnb computer, but best is to ignore this "Artificial Intelligence". Inquiries do not need to be declined, simply communicating at least one message (for example an answer on a question) within the time-limit is enough. Requests must be declined or approved, but third option is to ask the guest to "cancel"the request, especcially when the guest wants something (like bringing in a dog, while dogs are not allowed) which is not possible.
You’re right. Acceptance rating is silly for an IB host.
This is the strategy. Decline almost nothing.
If inquiry: answer but don’t accept/decline.
If Request to Book: answer all questions. And if someone is asking for something you don’t allow: “we’d love to have you however we don’t allow dogs. If coming without them doesn’t work for you please delete your request” “welcome to our space, no, we don’t allow xxxxx. If that was a necessary part of your trip please delete your request.”
you can reinforce your rules without declining. The caveat: something MUST be done about the Request to Book before the 24 hour clock expires. 1st choice: they withdraw it, 2nd choice: get CS to withdraw it, if no other choice decline it.
@Amanda820, it seems like the heart of your question is "customer service told me that participating in instant book WILL NOT positively impact my acceptance rating. They explained that the only way to improve my acceptance rate score is to turn off instant book - or accept inquiries that come in from people who do not meet my minimum criteria." But I don't think this is true. If someone books instantly, that means they've met your criteria, and you probably wouldn't decline them. If someone makes an inquiry, as @Kelly149 and @Emiel1 said, all you have to do is message them back and you're done. After that they'll either go away or accept your conditions and proceed to booking. So, that customer service rep was wrong. As long as you don't actively decline anything, you should be in good shape.
Last year I had someone who very persistently wanted to bring a toddler to a house that's not child-proofed. We exchanged several messages, with me voicing concern - iron spiral staircase! railings! huge rock ledge! - and she insisting everything would be fine and they'd watch the child. I did not want to decline because - declines! I talked to Airbnb Support and they let me decline with no penalty because my listing clearly states it's not suitable for small children. So if you're in a tight spot, go to them and plead your case before hitting the "decline" button.
And OMG I love your place! I've saved it!!!
@Ann72 you are correct. I find it odd that they said that instant book “accepts” don’t count toward the score. I hope you’re right and they are wrong. I will definitely be deploying yours’ and the others’ strategies to improve the score.
Amanda, hosting is a gamble but I do feel we need to be 'glass half full' people, rather than 'glass half empty' ones.
Instant book accounts for about 85% of my business and as far as I am concerned I prefer IB guest to those who send a request!
IB guests have seen my listing are happy with what they see and just want to pull out their credit card and book. They don't have a myriad of questions that would have no doubt been answered if they bothered to read the listing description properly!
Hosting has brought me over 300 wonderful stays and 2 not so good ones. I have very few checks in place, I accept people without verifications, I accept people without previous reviews, I accept people without profile photos. I don't look for problems.
I do feel that guests fall into two categories....passive/complimentary and questioning/aggresive. People either like what they see and just want to stay...or they want to ask lots of questions all the time strengthening their ground and weakening yours! I don't deal with them.
Amanda, put yourself in a room of 500 random people, there will be 300 you would never want to see again as long as you live. When 500 potential guests come to you, there is a certain empathy there, purely because of what you offer, and what they would like! And there is every chance a hosting will go well. You are bypassing that 'random' element!
Amanda, step back a bit, don't look for ghosts behind the every door. Leave your IB in place. I feel you did not receive sound advice from CX. With every IB there will be a guest message and that message will tell you more about the guest than all the verifications under the sun.....was it complimentary........ or was it aggresive!
It hasn't let me down Amanda!
@Amanda, I believe what when you use instant book (with no restrictions) your acceptance rate is naturally 100% because all reservations are technically accepted (as they are booked automatically.) It's when these guests do not meet your requirements that they are allowed to 'request to book' which results in an accept or decline. These guests should never be allowed to request to book. They do not meet your requirements! That is what I find ridiculous. Those guests should be forced to send an inquiry asking what they need to do to finish the booking and then we hosts would tell them government ID, reviews, profile photo, etc. For an inquiry, you do not need to pre-approve or decline, you just need to respond. There is no winning until Airbnb fixes this, which I doubt they even see it as a concern. On one of my listing I have the restriction set for instant booking but when as guests requests to book as long that they send me a warm message that I feel comfortable with, I accept them.