One of the most active discussion topics here in the Community Center is on Instant Book. During our conversations, many of you have raised important questions regarding this hosting tool. So we brought your most-asked questions to the Instant Book team and have gathered the answers for you.
I really hope you find the responses helpful. To make it easier to read all the information here, please click on the 'Read more' sections to view the replies! :)
Why should I use Instant Book? What are the real advantages?
Will Instant Book help me get more bookings?
I'm a new host. I wasn't aware of Instant Book and got a booking without accepting and haven't updated my calendar yet. I have cancelled the booking and now have been fined. Why is Instant Book a default?
We’re careful to make it clear to new hosts that they can be booked instantly when they set up their listing, but we know there’s room for improvement. Since new hosts are still getting used to Airbnb, we waive the cancellation fee for one host cancellation every six months (learn more).
The reason we want new hosts to use Instant Book when they join Airbnb is that Instant Book is aligned with Airbnb’s mission of creating a world where people can belong anywhere. Guests also prefer to book instantly, and hosts have the potential to earn more if they let guests book instantly. Finally, we’re slowly moving toward Instant Book being the prefered booking method on Airbnb, so this starts new hosts off in the future of booking on Airbnb.
Can I prevent a bad guest that I've had in the past from booking my listing in the future via Instant Book?
Yes! We recently made a change on Airbnb that automatically blocks guests you’ve negatively reviewed or rated lower than 3 stars from booking with you again.
This is my home and I want to have more control around who stays here. How can I trust that the person arriving at my home is the same person that booked?
In order to book a home on Airbnb, all guests must meet certain requirements, which include verified phone number, email address, and payment information. We also encourage hosts and guests to add verifications through their social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn.Hosts can also require that guests submit their government-issued ID to Airbnb for comparison with another form of ID. Usually this process includes the host submitting a selfie photo which Airbnb will check to make sure the selfie matches the photo on their ID. These different layers of verification can help you ensure your guests are who they say they are.
Why is Airbnb giving a search boost to hosts who have Instant Book turned on? I feel like I am at a disadvantage by not turning it on.
Like you, we want to make sure that travelers choose Airbnb when they book a place. This is why we promote listings that travelers can book instantly. Guests are much more likely to use Airbnb when they’re able to book the place they want instantly, and that means more future business for hosts! We want to encourage hosts to turn on Instant Book because they have the potential to earn more and give their guests the best possible booking experience.
How and when can I disable Instant Book?
How often can I cancel an Instant Book penalty free? For what reasons?
Hosts who use Instant Book have unlimited penalty-free cancellations if a guest breaks a house rule, if they intend to break a house rule, or if the host is uncomfortable with a reservation. These types of cancellations are 100% penalty-free, which means no fees, no automated review, no permanently blocked dates, and no impact on Superhost eligibility.
Why are you pushing instant book when it takes away the personal touch that makes Airbnb special?
Our goal with Instant Book isn’t to take the personal touch away, but to help the host focus less time on the logistics of booking (emailing back and forth, managing expectations, confirming house rules, etc.) and more on the part of hosting that is the magic of Airbnb.
Moreover, Instant Book as an experience helps make guests feel more welcome when they use Airbnb. With reservation requests, guests can often get multiple rejections, even if they meet all the requirements to book. And it’s hard for guests to plan their trip when they’re waiting on hosts who are unresponsive. When guests get rejected or find it hard to book a listing, they’ll often choose to avoid Airbnb when booking their next trip. Knowing they can go on Airbnb, find a place they love, and book it right then, makes guests more confident and more likely to use Airbnb every time they travel.
I have been hosting for a while, and some of my guests who have booked via Instant Book have broken my house rules. Why would I trust Instant Book?
While there are always exceptions to any rule, it’s important to know that on average, guests who use Instant Book are rated by hosts just as highly as those who request to book. We consistently find that the quality of guests and types of trips booked using Instant Book are nearly identical to request to book trips.
We provide the ability for you to set clear expectations about your listing in your House Rules and listing description so that both you and your guests share the same understanding about the home.
Why do only Instant Book guests have to verify their ID and other guests do not?
Before they can make any reservation, all Airbnb guests are required to submit and confirm their full name, email address, phone number, and payment information. Since Instant Book hosts don’t have the opportunity to review every request, travelers who wish to use Instant Book are required to verify their ID with Airbnb. This way, Instant Book hosts can have more confidence that their guests are who they say they are. In addition, since Instant Book hosts don’t get to see a traveler’s reviews until they receive a booking, we allow them to limit Instant Book reservations to experienced guests with only positive reviews.
This is a suggestion: Can you create a setting where certain dates in our calendars can be booked by Instant Book and other dates must be booked normally?
This a great idea! We’re exploring ways to do this and will provide updates if we decide to move forward with it.
Does turning OFF Instant Book make your listing disappear from searches?
Looking to contact the Support Team, for details...take a look at the Community Help Guides.
2 weeks ago - last edited 2 weeks ago
Thanks for this, @Lizzie. I was a very reluctant convert to Instant Book last year. I thought I had a unique situation. (I know. Ha!) One of the most comforting parts of the Instant Book process was something I learned after I took the plunge, and I don't see it mentioned in the otherwise wonderfully comprehensive post above. Maybe I just missed it? It is the pre-booking message that IB allows. I love that thing. The character count is limited, and so the message needs to be right to the point. That's good. Every guest gets a to-the-point message outlining the most important thing to know about a listing before they hit the final "book" button. I cannot praise highly enough the pre-booking message.
Also, as of last week, I could not agree more with what you say about guests being discouraged by non-IB unresponsive hosts and hosts who respond with, "Sorry, I have relatives coming that night. Can you please cancel your request?" I needed a place almost last minute (day-before) and searched without the IB filter. I ended up sleeping in my car. I give my car five stars for location, but one star overall...
@Lawrene , about the pre-booking message:
I am now convinced that it is an after booking message - and Airbnb does not do as a favor by calling it pre-booking message.
I just did an instant book for one of my future travels: only AFTER I booked did I get this message: ....I see that you would like to stay with us...
My own "pre_booking" message is something like, "thank you for considering staying with us.." Pretty absurd to get any of that AFTER booking.
Just think about it: Like how would Airbnb even squeeze in a message when Instant people book? the message only comes through to the host after the booking gets confirmed by Airbnb!
If anybody doubts it, you could simulate a booking at anybody's place who has IB,, just stop right before hitting the final button to commit - no message....
just another little things not thought through entirely by the Airbnb peeps in charge. I will adjust by changing my message.
2 weeks ago
What?! The one thing that was keeping me okay with IB is a lie?! Why would they call it a PRE-booking message?! It is, and I quote, "Your welcome message before booking." It says in Edit: "Guests will see your message before they confirm their reservation." No added "Just kidding. They will see it after it is too late".
I'm going to screenshot my next IB as a guest, and then hop on over to Host Voice, where my other brilliant suggestion has been gathering dust.
It IS possible to squeeze that message in, though. I just simulated a booking at your place and got your house rules. I had to agree to them before hitting book. You were right (how could I have doubted you?) that your "thank you for considering" message was nowhere to be seen.
Thanks for pointing this out. I guess that's why it was not in the original post...
well, so here is my last IB booking as a guest I did Sat., note the time, from the bottom up:
1.) I requested to book at 2:50
2.) instantly confirmed at 2:50
3.) "pre-" - booking message from host comes after, at 2:51
2 weeks ago
Those are not saved messages? Those are pre-booking messages? That's where my pre-booking message goes? How pointless and annoying!
Thanks again, @Annette. You have saved the Community Centre from me continuing to rhapsodize about the pre-booking message.
yep....I went to their listing several times before I decided... no messages ever to me at that stage.
and really, let's think about it: at what time would such a pre- booking message be sent? when people are just looking? what is really a pre- booking stage?