Winter Park, CO Level 1
Today a guest sent me an enquiry for a two month stay. It appeared to be his first time booking on Airbnb and he had a few questions. I also had a few questions for him. We went back and forth, but I asked him to respond to a couple of questions before booking.
Next thing I know, my calendar is blocked for two months although the booking is not showing as confirmed as the payment hasn't been sorted. He is meanwhile messaging me to let me know he tried and failed to book using his father's credit card because the ID verification then wouldn't work.
Here's the important bit. This was a booking enquiry, not a reservation request. At no point did I receive any booking request, but it had gone through none the less. I called up CS and was told from their side that not only was it showing as a request (rep even sent me a link to show me this), but that I had accepted it. I assured them that was 100% not what happened. It was still showing as an enquiry on my end and I had at no point accepted or declined.
The rep didn't know what was happening. He asked me if I wanted to cancel and I said, sure, as long as there are no penalties to me seeing as I never accepted the booking in the first place. He could not guarantee that. He just said he needed to look into it. In the meantime, the guest withdrew his request because I asked him to, but the whole thing was rather concerning.
Probably a silly question Huma but, the way this company keeps fooling around with the program, is it possible you were tricked into inadvertently pre-approving this enquiry?
I have had the situation where I have pre-approved an enquiry and the program has automatically blocked my booking calendar for the enquiry dates without offering me the choice!
It's no good working from your experience when it comes to these things, you have to study every step carefully.
Thanks for the suggestion but, no, I didn't do that as I never pre-approve enquiries ever. I have never once done that as I really don't see the point. I respond to enquiries and then leave it to the guest to send a booking request or not. Usually, I have a few questions for them so wouldn't pre-approve.
It seems the second example I gave, Airbnb just blocked my calendar even though they were asking the guest for some kind of ID verification, but, after that, it appeared as a request (as per normal).
The first example was truly weird though as it was still labelled as an 'enquiry' from my end (no pre-approval, I had just responded as per usual) while saying at the same time that it was awaiting payment. CS told me that from their end, it was a booking request (not enquiry) and the system showed that I had ACCEPTED it. They couldn't offer any explanation of how that had happened.
"So, does this mean that once the guest's ID is verified, this will show as a request and the 24 hour clock to accept/decline will start ticking".
It is rather annyoing no message is sent by Airbnb when a guest is in the "waiting for verification" mode, mean while blocking the calender. After verification the booking request will show up, but i do not remember from a similar case when the 24 hours time period started.
I also do not use Instant Book, so no idea what happens then.
Well, it turns out that Airbnb wanted the guest to send a selfie (she already had a profile photo uploaded) to prove it was her. No idea why they only asked her for this stay and not her previous two.
Anyway, once she sorted that out, the request did actually come through with the normal 24 hours to accept/decline.
I was just a bit worried about it due to the previous incident where I was told that I had accepted a booking request that I had never received!
In either case though, I don't see why our calendars should be blocked when the guest has payment issues or hasn't verified ID or whatever. If the booking request is not 'good to go', then Airbnb shouldn't block the calendar!
Here's another one. The calendar is currently blocked for a 35 night stay by a guest who is apparently yet to verify her ID. It seems the guest has 12 hours from the original request to sort this out. Not sure what is going on here as the guest already has two reviews, but I guess in the past she was able to book without verified ID. Perhaps the other hosts did not require it.
What I am confused about though is that, again, I haven't got a booking request that I can accept or decline. Also, weirdly, there is no message showing from the guest. Perhaps she didn't send one, but I've never had that before, especially with a long term booking. There is always at least one sentence at the very least, even if it's just "Looking forward to my stay."
So, does this mean that once the guest's ID is verified, this will show as a request and the 24 hour clock to accept/decline will start ticking? Or, will Airbnb automatically take or try to take the guest's payment and show it as an accepted reservation without giving me the opportunity to accept/decline as it did last time?
I've got a very busy weekend and really do not have time to deal with CS nonsense again...
Why would AirBNB want anyone on the platform whose identity hasn't been verified? We as Hosts must verify all of our information so why not a guest?
This is one of many issues with AirBNB that needs to be addressed: Guests who don't have verified IDs should not be allowed to book. In my opinion, guests should not even be able to get to a booking screen without it.
Another is that guests should not be able to tie up a Host's calendar without payment. They can have their reservation sitting in their "shopping cart", but if they haven't finished paying for it, someone else should be able to come along and make the reservation.
I totally agree with you, as I am sure do many other hosts. If the guest's ID, payment details or whatever still need sorting out, fine, but don't block our calendars in the meantime!
I know that there have already been a lot of hosts complaining on the CC about this sort of thing and now I understand why (I never really had much experience of it before) but I feel it especially keenly because I host long term stays. It's not like my calendar is being blocked for a couple of days. It's more likely a couple of months!
Update on this.
After messaging me telling me there was no technical glitch or issue on Airbnb's side because the guest made a booking request and then withdrew it, i.e. problem solved, and I went back saying, no, that's not the problem, the problem is that the booking should never have been confirmed nor any attempt made to take payment from the guest, without me approving it, CS responded that they could not tell me what the issue was. They just said to let them know, and take a screenshot, if it happened again...
IMHO this is what happened:
When in the process of an inquiry, a guest can also make a booking request at any time
An attempt to book, while still in a verification process, will block the calender dates and, during the verification, no decline or accept message is received by the host.
There was no confirmed reservation (CS was wrong, as useally) . That's why the guest was also able to retract the booking request (as retract is never possible if a reservation is confirmed).
You may be right. I have never experienced this in years of hosting and hundreds of guests, but it's true... How can the guest retract the booking request if it was a confirmed booking? Sure, they can cancel under the 48 hour grace period, but that is not what happened here...
On the other hand, if a booking isn't 100% confirmed because the payment has not gone through/verification has not been confirmed yet, can they also retract regardless of whether the host accepted a booking request or not?
If the question is - can guest retract before confirmation by host? - my experience has been yes. The tricky part has been that the host does confirm, but payment doesn't go through and in such cases the guest has been given time (up to 24 hours) to make it happen.
Yes, it makes sense if the payment has not gone through, the guest is given 24 hours to make payment and the calendar is blocked in the meantime. That is not so strange, although I know a lot of hosts are not at all happy about that set-up.
What happened here though is that there was no booking request on my end and so I definitely did not accept it. When this showed as 'guest has 23 hours to pay' or something to that effect, and my calendar was blocked, it was still marked as an enquiry from my end (at the point at which I called CS) and then later changed to 'awaiting payment'.
What concerns me more is that CS told me that from their end it was showing as a request accepted by me. @Emiel1 may be right that the CS rep was wrong (he wasn't sure what was going on and said he had to check it with another team and get back to me) but, in that case, would I then get a booking request once the payment was sorted and have 24 hours to accept/decline? Why is the calendar blocked before I have accepted?
Or, would the booking have been confirmed without my consent once the payment went through with CS telling me that it was showing as confirmed by me and therefore I face hefty penalties if I cancel? Although the percentage is lower as the booking isn't until January, the penalty would still be pretty hefty for a two-month booking and what if the booking was for stay in a few days' time?
That is what really concerns me. It's not like I am going to get answers from CS as the rep said all he could do was to report it but you know these front line reps don't get informed about technical glitches, let alone told when they fixed.
In all my previous experience, the host has to accept or decline before Airbnb try to take payment from the guest. How can they even start the payment process when the host has not accepted the booking? The booking was not confirmed only because the payment failed, not because I declined it.
The last thing we need is a glitch that lets guests make a confirmed booking without our consent even when we have instant booking turned off!
Has anyone else had this happen to them?