Hello fellow hosts,
This morning I awakened to a peculiar booking inquiry. Our place is quite large and we do not live there full time, and so our house managers requested that we leave a full day before and after each booking to give them sufficient time to clean and prepare the house properly. And we were happy to oblige them.
Today, however, a guest sent an inquiry that overlaps into the preparation day. It would also be just one day prior to when another guest, who has actually booked with us for TWO one-week periods over the winter, is arriving.
Now, we're still relatively new to hosting, and so I'm wondering what to do here. I did write to the guest to explain the situation, and also because she does not meet any of the criteria we had set as prerequisites to booking our villa. For instance, she has no previous history on Airbnb, no government ID, no photo provided, and no email address or phone number provided. She hasn't even listed her city of residence.
If I decline this inquiry, or if I simply let the 24-hour period expire, will this hurt me on the website? I've been reading a lot about how hosts who decline inquiries and booking requests, or who don't respond at a rate that the Airbnb algorithm approves of, can see their listing go down in the guests' viewing window. Would that actually apply in this case, do you think? When we have specific criteria for booking listed and the day before blocked?
We would appreciate any feedback you have on this, especially from you experienced hosts. Thanks a lot.
@Rich-and-Yan0 You need to just reply. There is no need to decline or pre-approve a booking inquiry. It won't affect your response rate after you reply in two hours.
Requirements for instant booking will not stop the guest from inquiry or send booking request to you. The booking request from a guest who does not meet your requirements would not be automatically confirmed though.
Inquiry = Just respond. Pre-approve or decline if you want to (this will give the guest a feeling of be welcomed or being told that is not going to work) but you really don't have to do either. But you need to respond with text or it will affect your response rate.
Request to book = You need to click the accept (to confirm the reservation) or decline (to open the dates back up on your calendar) within 24 hours. If you do not, it will count as a decline.
I would not decline but tell her that her requested dates are not available (you do not need to mention the preparation day. If the day is blocked off, she can see that and it is unavailable to her, whatever the reason.) I would also tell her that if she can be flexible with her dates that you would love to host her but you would require a completed and verified profile.
If you have the chance to speak to your housekeepers, maybe offer them a bonus to do the quick turnaround, everyone would win (assuming this group are good guests.) But that is up to you and your team.
@Emilia42 Thank you for the detailed response. As I said above, this is how I had understood the way things work, but I just wanted to be sure.
I actually did respond, and I explained that the blocked date wasn't available. I also told her that we require guests to have government ID and recommendations from other hosts, as well as some contact information for verification. And then I never heard from her again.
So, I'm not sure what's going on here. Either she is lazy, or she is simply the kind of guest that we don't want to rent to in the first place. But anyway, we have replied, and now we'll just either let her fix the missing issues, or we let the request expire.
I second all of the above - just wanted to offer that I think this “1 day before and 1 day after” requirement seems overly restrictive. Is the housecleaner saying to block from 11 AM one day, until 3 PM 2 days later? Or are they saying to block until 3 PM the next day? Either way, that’s a lot of booking income to leave on the table.
I suppose it’s ok to offer something extra for a “back-to-back”, i.e. Guest 1 leaves at 11 AM and Guest 2 arrives at 3 PM the SAME day (although my housecleaner does not charge extra for this for my 2-bedroom place, she requests 4 hours to clean/do laundry).
@Pat271 Plenty of hosts use the 1 day before and after prep time block. I have since I started hosting 3 years ago. It depends on whether you're in it to make as much money as possible with quick turnovers, or whether you don't like that kind of stress, or don't want to lay that on your property manager or cleaners. I don't see it as "overly restrictive" at all, it's a matter of personal choice.
And it doesn't actually block 2 days between reservations- it's just stated in a way that's confusing. It essentially blocks one day between reservations.The "day after" can double up as the "day before" the next reservation.
We do this because as I said, we don't live there and our house managers need enough time to prepare the place so that they're not rushing around and getting stressed out. It takes about 7 hours to clean our place, provided that the previous guests have cleaned it properly. (We don't charge for cleaning, and so far, every set of guests except one has appreciated that and respected it by leaving our house clean.)
Our house managers are hosts themselves, and they both have jobs on the side. They are also parents of 6-year-old twins. If you do the math, you can see how if we have a guest who is supposed to leave by 11 am--but may not be ready as planned--and another guest who is supposed to check in not before 3 pm--but may want to check in early--then it could easily descend into total chaos for them.
So I'm with @Sarah977 here. We're not all about money, and we're not trying to stress our house managers out to the point where they may actually end up quitting on us. Yes, we can potentially lose a day with bookings, but to us, keeping them happy is more important. And if it ever comes down to us potentially losing a long-term booking because of that one day, then we can try what @Emilia42 said and see if they can get the "quick turnaround" done. Otherwise, however, we are going to stick with this.
Thanks for your input just the same, though. I hope you understand our situation better now.
I block out a day between guests and don't find it restrictive particularly for hosts that are listing remotely.
As you know some guests will check out late/turn up early. Some guests leave the place in a mess requiring additional cleaning. Blocking out a day in-between, particularly if you take bookings for five days or more, makes sense to me as minimising the risk of not being able to prepare a property within the time available.
You have said that you replied to the enquiry , so that is all that is required.
Dont break your own rules.
I too have a 2 day break between guests as I have a very large house and to have it as clean as I like it to be I need that time.
After reading your post I would be wanting a lot more information from the guest before I would even consider breaking my own rules
@Lynette57 Thanks for that. Yes, this is exactly how we saw it, and exactly what we did. I wrote and said that you need to provide that information and the government ID, and that if we saw all of that, then "maybe" we could overlook the fact that she has no Airbnb history or recommendations from other hosts. Maybe. But we'd need to see that other stuff first.
She hasn't replied since I sent that about 11 hours ago, which makes me both suspicious about the inquiry and confident that we did the right thing not to "break our own rules," as you rightly put it.
Rich and Yan, thanks for explaining your situation.
When I first started hosting, I asked my housekeeper how soon a guest can arrive after another one leaves, and she said “the same day, of course! It’s called a ‘back-to-back’!”
She is part of a team of 3 partners, and it takes them 2.5 to 3 hours to clean. So that is essentially 7.5-9 hours. They love back-to-back stays on busy properties, because it ultimately brings more work for them.
The only thing they ask is to be careful with early check-ins/late check-outs on a back-to back. I totally agree with that, and won’t allow them.
I think on top of personal preferences and agreements, the standards of the area come into play. In my area, specific systems and processes have been established for decades. I have just learned from you that different systems and processes may be the norm elsewhere, and that “back-to-backs” might not be an acceptable option in other places, or for other management companies, housecleaners and/or hosts.
I’m about to list a new place in downtown Greenville, SC. I look forward to seeing what the norms are in that area.
I am so enjoying hosting, and also enjoying the discussions on this list. Thanks for sharing!
@Pat271 it doesn't make sense to me to assert that there is (or needs to be) any area-specific norm or standard about back-to-back bookings. Hosts are free to make their properties available on whatever dates they like, for whatever reasons they care about. It's not "overly restrictive" to make listings unavailable to book on certain dates, regardless of reason.
@Pat271 You can see my comments below in the response that @Sarah977 posted. As I said at the end, if your relationship with your housekeeper and her team works for all of you, then that's great. But ours is different in that our house managers are "managers" in every sense of the word. They are also very busy people, as I have already mentioned above, and so we simply want them to feel comfortable with the arrangement we have in place.
As @Lisa723 said below, it doesn't really have much to do with "norms" or "standards" of a particular area. Or at least, it doesn't in our case. This is about people who work with us, not for us. They have stated that it would be much more preferable for them if we did it this way, and so we did.
We love hosting, too. But if there's one thing that we have learned from reading all of these hosting forum posts, it's that every host has a different property and situation, and that there is no "one size fits all" solution in many cases. And that is how it is with us.
Thanks for your comments just the same. :-)