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!
I most always ask if they are traveling alone or with another person, as many guests forget to change the number of people to two and just leave it as one. When I am told that it is really a reservation for 2, I aks for the name of the other person. I also tell them that they need to read all house rules and agree to them prior to my acceptance of their booking.
Then I tell guests that as soon as travel arrangements are made I would like them to give me an arrival time, since mine is "by arrangement". If I have no other guest coming on the day they leave, I offer to allow them to pick their own departure time in advance. Then I request their air carrier name, flight number and city of departure, so I can track their flight to see if it is on time. Since I greet all guests, knowing the flight information is critical for my personal schedule.
I ask if they are coffee drinkers, medium or dark roast, and if they are I pick up some freshly roasted coffee prior to their arrival.
If there is any building going on in the neihborhood, I disclose it prior to accepting the booking. If guests are bringing a car, I discourage it because of parking restrictions, costs and traffic congestion. Finally I mention our #1 tourist attraction and tell my guests to buy a ticket at least 2 months in advance. That way they realize I'm thinking of their needs even prior to their arrival.
@Stephanie Most of my guests are pretty informative in their booking request, (I don't use IB) and it's usually evident that they've read the listing info, so normally I just need to ask them to let me know their ETA and how they will be arriving, do they need bus info from the airport?, etc.
If their initial message is brief, and non-informative, I'll ask if they have thoroughly read the listing info and are aware of xx and yy (things that could be a deal breaker, problematic or lead to bad review if they haven't read).
I never ask the purpose of their visit, as none of my guests are local and this is a destination beach vacation town, it's evident why they are coming.
I also have to send them a map to my place, as it's hard to find. I do this via the coded email address airbnb assigns to guests and send as an attachment, so I also ask them to confirm that they received it. My experience has been that they often do not get the attachment this way (Stephanie, please take note- this is a tech issue as far as that coded email address is concerned and happens always if the guest is using a phone to access their email, attachment does not come through) so I have to ask for their personal email address, which always works for the attachment.
And I always thank them for booking with me and say I'm looking forward to meeting them.
We live in a small farming and tourist town so I always ask local guests if they have been to our town before. If not I will offer some info on restaurants and hours of operation as well as local amenities. Foreign guests are always touring the greater region and are assisted with planning their activities if needed. I always ask guests to confirm that they have read our listing in full and understand and are happy with the amenities offered and agree to observe our house rules. I also ask for the name of their traveling companion. We are always on site to welcome guests and answer any they further questions they may have.
Some great answers here, and it's clear that all hosts have courtesy, manners and positivity when reaching out to their potential guests. Are there any mandatory questions you feel should be included in the booking request process? There are some commonalities already in this thread, for sure!
Have you thoroughly read through the entire listing description, scrolling through to the bottom to read House Rules?
Are you prepared to abide by the house rules and be respectful of the accomodation and the host?
Have you messaged the host to ask any questions you may have before committing to a booking?
Do you understand the importance of communicating your ETA to the host and if you for some reason can't arrive at that time, to let the host know in a timely manner?
Will you thoroughly read your itinerary after your booking is confirmed, making sure dates and number of guests are correct and noting door codes and other arrival information?
I am a relatively new host so I won't have as much insight as many more seasoned hosts.
Reading all the posts, I probalby relate most to @Helen and @Sarah
One of the things that leaps out at me though is that perhaps the format would change depending on whether the guest is able to IB or send a reservation request. If a guest can IB to my mind that somewhat precludes asking any deep and meaningful questions.
I have IB myself and I feel very "hamstrung" by the character restriction on my prebooking message.
In order to ask the questions I want, within the character limit allowed, I've had to pare back the words to the point where my questions seem blunt and abrupt - to the point where I could appear unfriendly e - and there is no scope to "soften" with an opening sentence or any of the questions.
As I have found many guests do not read or respond to airbnb messages after they have IBd, I REALLY want to get these question in before they press book.
So, if nothing else I would love for there to be a longer character limit - when I first opened my listing in SEpt 2018 it was longer that what is currently on offer.
Equally I have no problem with a set of questions provided by airbnb which we can select to ask, providing that there is scope to add some personalised ones - I have beds that can be queen OR single so asking about bed configuration is always a question specific to me that I'd want to ask.
Here are my current questions - you may see that I've tried a tactic to ensure guests have read the house rules.
Thanks! A few queries
The reason for your stay?
Your arrival time?
Bedroom 3 & 4 set up?? singles/queen? ( if applicable)
Have you REALLY read the house rules? What's the code?
@Stephanie There are so many questions I'd like to ask guests as their expectations of the type of accommodation and location could be a disappointment to them. Therefore I've started to ask prior to pre-approval to, Please confirm they're happy with my location and also are aware that I don't provide breakfast.
We always thank them for choosing our cottage. We tell them that we would like to ensure our cottage is the right fit for their group.
Our questions will vary if they have previously received very good reviews or, if they don't have any previous reviews.
1. For a little information about them/their group (i.e. if it's a family gathering or group of friends).
2. Who will be accompanying them and general age of the group.
3. What made them choose our cottage.
4. We ask them to acknowledge that they have read the listing details and house rules carefully.
Wait, what?! First they take away the pre-booking message just out of the blue and now they are asking for our input on what questions get asked? @Stephanie - it's pretty ironic.
There are two different concepts going on here:
1. There are questions hosts need to have answered to get an understanding of what the booking is about (these are the pre-booking questions) - they really don't do anything to help the host introduce themselves to the guest, if anything, it prompts the guest to tell the host more about their stay.
2. There are questions that get asked after a booking is confirmed to flesh out details of the guest's stay. This is the part when a host is setting expectations, creating an open line of communication, and providing details about their home and their guest's stay. It is really only in this second part that the guest is getting to know the host outside of the information they gleen from the listing description and house rules.
So is Airbnb looking for the questions that need to be answered by guests before they book or the questions that need to be answered after they book? Think about the conditions of an Instant Book, there is no reciprocity going on until the booking is confirmed.
We're excited for your stay and would like to know:
1. What's bringing you to Durham?
2. What time can we commit with you for check in?
3. Who is traveling with you?
4. If you plan on taking breakfast with us, do you have any dietary considerations we need to be aware?
5. Do you have any questions about the House Rules?
We look forward to hearing from you.
Depending on the answers to the pre-booking questions, they could be:
There are probably dozens more....
There are some really great suggestion here. I hope some actually get implemented.
I think that since each host has differenf needs that it might be best if there was aa short list of questions that we could choose from. But making it necessary for the questions to be responded to Before they can request a reservation. Having more questions that they can ignore is not going to improve anything.
I wish Airbnb would ask some basic questions for IB guests. Would make things not so awkward for the host. Rather than ask questions, I usually just send a thanks, greeting, and some brief, gentle reminders.