We are looking for tips on pre-booking welcome messages. Before a booking is confirmed, many hosts like to ask their potential guests a few questions, such as why they are travelling to the area. This can be a great way to get to introduce yourself, potentially manage expectations and help you get them to understand more about their potential stay.
What types of questions do you like to ask your potential guests before you confirm their stay? Why do you find this is useful?
We'd love to hear your input for an upcoming article. Thank you!
@Stephanie First I thank them for choosing our apartment for their upcoming visit to Ohrid. Secondly, I ask them if they understand the apartment setting and clear the view with them, we have both Lake View and Garden View apartments and even though it is written in the title, they never seem to read, they only look at the photos ( and we have photos of the lake on both listings since the property is waterfront). Next I ask them to give us an approximate time of arrival and If they need parking space. In the end I tell them that we are looking forward to welcoming them and I wish them a great day :)
I don't ask about the number of people since our price and setup is the same no matter how many guests come and we take photos of their passports anyway so I know who is at my apartments at all times.
Great question. I ask :
1. Who is travelling with you
2. What made you choose my home
3. What time will you be arriving
4. What are your plans for your stay
5. I ask them to confirm they have read and understood that I live in an inner city area that can be scruffy in parts
What is really frustrating is that Airbnb have decided I can no longer include these questions as part of my IB process. Why?
As you are doing an article about this, can you ask Airbnb why they have removed this option for hosts. To be honest because they didn't make it mandatory to complete them, many guests didn't and I have to spend time chasing up guests for response. But at least if their responses confirmed they broke my house rules, I could ask Airbnb to cancel. Now Airbnb is making me include them in my house rules, which as we know most guests don't read.
Thanks for the prompt response and, as always, great feedback. Indeed, we are gathering information from you contributors so will definately feedback your thoughts.
That's great insight on the changed process of IB - so would you like to see it reverted to a previous version or is that additional changes you would want to that IB proccess (using your example of the mandatory questions)?
I would like Airbnb to revert back to including IB questions as part of the IB process, but to make it mandatory for guests to answer the questions before they can IB.
All of these questions they will know, apart from possibly arrival time and they can always give an approximation for this and come back with details later.
So an option to add questions and also a 'The guest must acknowledge ' section where the guest has to tick a box or similar so - scruffy neighbourhood, no children allowed, no pets, steep stairs, no lift etc.
@Stephanie I ask them what time they are arriving (super important) and reiterate my earliest check-in time, adding each Airbnb is different - not a hotel - so please be sure to read the description, amenities and rules so they know what to expect and feel free to ask questions. I often reiterate my rules and no-no(s) and anything that people ignore in their hasty bid to book on price alone.
I agree with @Helen. I always ask people why they are coming to the area, what they plan on doing and to tell me a little about themselves.
I'm finding that many guests have only recently set up an account, and/or have no verifications or reviews and have not filled out a profile. Additionally, some people will book on behalf of someoe else, so you may end up with a different person in your home than the person who is in the profile. This is concerning especially for long-term stays. Making it mandatory for guests to meet certain requirements and answering questions before being able to book is critical for safety reasons, in my opinion.
Yet Airbnb has removed many of the security measures we had a few years ago in the name of "non-discrimination". We are forced to switch to IB in order to require guests to have profile pictures or other verifications. And yet even with these requirements in my settings, I still get numerous requests that don't meet my criteria (verifications, profile filled out, reviews) and that I don't feel comfortable with for these reasons. Many people don't bother to answer your questions (or read House Rules as noted). But if you don't pre-approve within 24 hours, you get dinged for not being responsive enough, and if you decline or cancel bookings later if you're not comfortable you still get dinged!
I'd rather focus on getting the right guest, that I'm comfortable with, even if that means it's not quite as convenient/easy to book.
When I receive a booking request or inquiry, I thank them for considering our listing and then ask who will be traveleing with you and what brings you to our town. I also remind them of the house rules regarding no smoking, no pets, no parties and no more than 6 persons allowed to stay at the property. I explain that this information will help me determine if our listing is a good fit for their group. Depending on their response, I will then either accept or decline the request/inquiry. After the reservation is confirmed, I ask for an ETA as we meet all guests at check-in. If I receive no reply to my questions, they will not be staying at my property.
All I want to know is [and only ask a week before they arrive] when and how will you arrive, the names of your traveling companions [first name is fine], and what they want for breakfast their first morning.
I would say that about 50% of the current guest types have volunteered more than that, but I have always figured that why people are coming to a major tourist area is none of my business. In fact, the non-tourists are generally the ones who volunteer the most information.
My number one question is 'what time are you arriving?" I get so many people who do not pay attention to the check in or check out times.
Because breakfast is included I ask about food allergies and if they are vegetarian.
I wish it was required that they write a bit about themselves. Getting an request from someone that has just joined Airbnb so has no reviews, no picture, no email and no posted information makes me realize that Airbnb really does not care about the safety of the hosts that home share.
I don't like to bombard a guest with questions in my first communication, although I totally understand hosts who may want more info. The only thing I request is the full names of all guests (including doggy guests!). I will sometimes ask follow up questions. For example, a guest whose profile name is different from the name they signed their message or something else that I need clarification on.
Most of my guests have volunteered more information with their request or IB, but some simply state names in their initial message. Not even a "hello!"
It's been my experience not to be necessarily concerned or worried about guests who don't volunteer more info. I've simply found that different people have different communication styles. Some people see the communication as a two-way message, and others I think just feel they are filling out a form!
The most important question for me is: What brings them to the area.
This helps me better prepare for their visit. If they are coming to visit a destination 2 hours away from my town, I want to help them understand the distance and the drive time.
If they are coming to celebrate an anniversary or something special, I want to congratulate them and leave a small something. If they are coming for a local event, I might give them a tip or recommend a good place for dinner afterwards. Etc. etc. etc.
It also puts my mind at ease because I know they will like my place if they are coming for the right reasons.