I'm not on IB, but the regular "old" booking system. In contrast to a booking request (decline or approve within 24 hours) I thought that an inquiry just needed to be answered to in a timely manner in order to be recognized by Airbnb as a valid response, but I now see that after I send off my reply message, the red pre-approve/decline button remains highlighted in red under the inquiry in my inbox, as if I still needed to do something about it, possibly meaning that I can't just answer the inquiry with a return message, but that I also must choose between either preapproving or declining. Is that correct? I'm afraid that if I don't activate the button, my answer will not be sufficient enough to be counted as response in Airbnb's system.
@Annette33 Yeah I think you are right Annette! Andrea also queried the information I have given out regarding this and it is probably that I am wrong. The only reason I stated an equiry required an accept/decline was because I could not get that response clock to stop until I did one or the other. My feeling is it has possibly changed over time. Although I have granted a number of pre-approvals, this last happened to me about a year ago where I was simply asked a question! I replied to the question because the enquirer had opened the conversation stream and I too thought that was the end of it. The next time I went back into my messages there was this response clocking counting above this enquiry still ticking away, so, I responded with a pre-approve and was then presented with the message box and bingo, the clock stopped.
If I have been giving out incorrect information, I am sorry....last thing I want to do is mislead people. But from what others have said it appears all you have to do is say 'no' to an enquiry and you have satisfied the system.
This continual change thing is doing my mind in!!!
I am new to ABB too, and still a bit confused. So, do I have to click pre-approve/decline if it's an inquiry and I answer it? I thought just answering it was sufficient. This is so confusing!
Hi there guys! The procedure for pre-approve is this:
There are three ways a guest can come to you....
1/. They can book immediately via Instant book where the guest likes you listing, sees that it is available for the dates they require, pays and it becomes a confirmed booking. You are sent a notification of the booking and asked to send the guest a welcoming reply.
2/. They can send a reservation request which requires you to either accept or decline, and you have 24 hours to do that. If this is what you receive it means the guest has their credit card out and simply wants to book dependant on your acceptance of their request.
3/. The third option, on your profile is a tab 'Contact Host' and if the guest selects this option they will be requested to select dates that are free on your calendar and send a message to you. The first thing you must do is decide to either pre-approve this guest or decline them. This is why the system requires a response from you, not just a message to the guest.
If you pre-approve the guest, this tells the guest that you are in a position to take their booking should they wish to proceed. It does not committ you to anything! You are still free to take bookings from other enquiries for those dates. It just says..."Hey, I'm available, what do you want to know?" You are not committed to a booking with this guest! You can find out through the subsequent message stream that this guest would be entirely unsuitable to host and you can withdraw the pre-approval and if the guest continues on to send a reservation request, you can decline it and state your reason for declining is, the guest would not be a good fit for your property, and there will be no penalty to you. A pre-approval lasts for 24 hours from the time it was sent to you. If the guest does not proceed to a booking request in that 24 hour period the whole thing just disappears and a message will remain on your messages that the pre-approval against that guests profile has lapsed, but you will still have message contact. You can reactivate it by sending the guest a special offer which the guest would then send a request for another pre-approval. Sometimes it is not possible to proceed to a booking in the 24 hour pre-approval time limit....arrangements may need to be made by the guest in order to confirm a booking....Elderly relative needs to be placed in care...children need to be relocated! There are a number of reasons why 24 hours is not enough time for a guest to get their affairs sorted out. It is sometimes a courtesy to tell the guest through the message stream that the pre-approval is about to lapse and you would be prepared to grant another should they need more time to make a decision!
Now, someone has said over the past few days that the pre-approval time has been extended to 7 days but I have seen nothing official on that as yet and the official rules still state 24 hours as the pre-approval time limit....but be pepared that that may be the case.
There is a requirement with Airbnb that you will respond to a pre-approval request, either yes or no because, if you don't it will affect your response time stats which ultimately will penalise you in search rankings. But removing a pre-approval and declining a booking request following a pre-approval will not penalise you in any way. You have satisfied the system and already stated the reason for declining when you removed the pre-approval.
@Susan & Thomas I know this is long but what I have said here is important for you to know. You will be much better hosts if you understand fully how to treat guest approaches.....Good luck.
So I see this is an old thread, but let's say I ask for more info because they have no reviews yet - should I pre approved because the dates are available? Or if they ask a question and the answer is "no" ( like "is your second bathroom a full bathroom with tub") would you decline or approve?
@Jennifer, Here's what I have learned after the last year. As long as you answer their questions, you do not HAVE to Pre-approve or Decline to keep your stats up. Answering the questions is sufficient. That said, I usually answer their question and go ahead a pre-approve. I have IB on so it doesn't really matter, it just saves me from getting all the reminders to to pre-approve them. To answer your question about the full bathroom, I would answer it and pre-approve them. It's up to them at that time to decide if they are ok with or without a tub.
I would just want to make one clarification/correction: pre-approval means that you have approved that person in case they follow through with the booking within the next 24 hours. So once that person goes ahead and accepts the pre approval, it is automatically a confirmed booking, you cannot change your mind then anymore and decline - or the penalties kick in. It clearly says in the rules ( see the link below) : Once pre-approved, the guest can automatically confirm a booking for the specific dates provided.
Just want to make sure that is clear! In other words it sort of becomes an instant booking opportunity for the next 24 hours for that specific guest.
But sure, before that guest has taken you up on the pre-approval and booked, those dates in question are still available to anybody else and you can also withdraw the pre-approval, no penalties to you. So if I want to satisfy Airbn's need to have to click on decline or pre-approval, one or the other, before I even get to send a message to that guest, I would hit pre-approval, but withdraw it soon after if I I am not sure I want to get a booking from that person.
here are the terms: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/838/what-is-a-pre-approval
@Annette33 Thanks Annette, just checked your link and you are right, I am going to have to amend that....How long has that alteration been up?
God it's getting harder and harder to give advice here. The last time I was in that situation the guest still had to submit a formal reservation request! That was the only way we could find out a bit about our guest prior to booking. looks like that's now gone in the name of streamlining.
@Robin4, @Annette33, thank you boh so much for a clear explanation. Hopefully, I am not so dense, that I still don't understood! This is what I gather from your responses. When I receive an Inquiry, it is also a Reservation Request. I need to pre-approve or decline and send a message. My main issue with this, so far, has been several guests have inquired if they could bring more than 6 guests. My listing said "sleeps six", but people have asked if they can bring 7-8 guests. (After reading in the community, I have since changed my house rules to read that the HOA rules do not allow more than 6 guests.) I did not Pre-approve nor decline those inquiries, just answered the inquiry and waited to see if that was going to work for them or not. The last one, I did message and didn't hear back from them, so I declined. Then I read, that declining can hurt your stats - seems like you can't win! From what I now understand, in order not to hurt my stats, I should pre-approve, with a message stating that they are welcome to stay, but we can only accomodate up to 6 guests due to HOA rules? Thank you both so much for your time and information! I feel like every day I learn something new!
Not actually pre-approving an inquiry definitely puts you lower in the airbnb search engine. We just had that conversation with them today becasue we couldn't understand how we got so low. So apparently you have to pre-approve everyone, even if you know they are not going to stay, unless you want to be penalized.
@Robin4 , it has always been like that, a pre-approval is like approval as soon as that specific guest acts on it by booking. the noticable changes came when the guest cannot just send an inquiry, that would be open ended, but he/she has to include a date, so then as a host to message back has to either pre-approve or decline, otherwise it doesn't count as response. and once you hit the pre approval, as soon as the guest acts on it by booking it is no longer "just" a request, but a confirmed booking. It's a crafty way to turn all those inquiries into almost IB situations, only diffence is that you can decline.
Before I let the clock stop ticking, I cut the blue wire. No, actually I sent replies like-- incomplete profile.govt id and all sorts of questions like "read the **bleep** listing."
I didn't say bleep I said bloop
@Annette33 What I have seen in my history is that I DO have to answer the question, but I DON'T have to approve/decline.
If someone asks a question without indicating that they actually want to book, then I answer the question but don't approve/decline.
If if someone asks a question and provides enough info that I know I would be willing to host them then I do Approve. Often though they really aren't ready to book.
If their question/demeanor shows that I def would not want to host them, then I click Decline.
I have IB enabled with no restricts whatsoever so if someone wants to book they certainly can, seems like ABB needs to update the language to better reflect the reality of how the Contact Host tab is used. If you search Host Voice, you'll see that this suggestion has come up more than once.
@Kelly149 , yes, would be good to know how exactly it works... I will study your suggested links, thanks. with all the constant changes, it's hard to be sure, plus it could be different for regular bookings vs. listings that have IB on. I just remember that when I got inquiries in March - did not have IB on - and I just answered, I got reminders by Airbnb that I need to decline or pre-approve and that persons dates were in red on my calendar. So I figured that just answering would not count properly in their algorythms as having responded, or at least my response rate or speed would count against me, until i do the pre-approve or decline.