Pre-booking Message - no longer available?

Cristina--And-Cody-0
Level 2
Clarkdale, AZ

Pre-booking Message - no longer available?

I've had a pre-booking message since I started hosting in 2017. I love that guests get engaged and they tell us what bings them to our area and I also stress the importance of reading the arrival instructions. I also do co-hosting and my other listing has two bedrooms - and that is the perfect place to alert guest to tell us if they need both beds made.

For some reason that message disappeared from the app - the option to add the message is there - but shows a blank message and that i need to add it again. On the desktop version - there's not even an option anymore to add it (under Guest requirements)

IMG_87D5E2BE8ACA-1.jpegScreen Shot 2022-11-20 at 09.50.30.pngn the desktop page.

23 Replies 23
John5097
Level 10
Charleston, SC

Some of us experienced the sudden and unannounced halt of first message from guest when using Instant Book about a year and a half ago. 

I had five of seven guest suddenly include no message. So I already have some experience and know what its like. 

One of the guest booked for third party and didn't include any message, then lied about it. The other ones were stressful and very challenging to get them to respond. One didn't, which resulted in my first ever cancellation of a guest.

Other guest may prefer zero communication. But I have no intention of  running a Jerry Springer Airbnb.

I've adjusted my settings, but would have been nice to have some kind of advance notice and not have this sprung on host without any heads up. The email and post here was a day after this topic started.

This was the third party booking that didn't include a first message. 
You can read the topic here
https://community.withairbnb.com/t5/Community-Cafe/No-first-message-from-guest-when-booking/td-p/145...


**[Private conversation removed in line with the Community Center Guidelines]

Nina-and-Clint0
Level 2
Mount Victoria, Australia

We are so disappointed Airbnb have removed the pre-booking message feature. Most guest don't read the listing clearly prior to booking. We use this function to ensure that guests know key information before committing to booking. We were receiving lower reviews about accuracy until we started using the pre-booking message. Communicating with guests post IB  with a scheduled message feels like we are trying to hide something. 

I don't see how or why this is in an "upgrade" for anyone. 

Sybe
Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

Hey everyone @Cristina--And-Cody-0 @John5097 @Gillian166 @Huma0 

 

It's true that some changes have been made to the Instant Booking settings, one of which is the pre-booking message. You can use the scheduled messages feature to send the guest a message after they've booked.

 

You can read more about this, and the other changes, in our post here. 🙂

 

Thanks, 

 

Sybe

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Robbie54
Level 10
North Runcton, United Kingdom

@Sybe the pre-booking message is very important to a lot of hosts, why was it removed? If you don't know why please say so. 

Sybe
Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

@Robbie54 I'm afraid I can't give you more information at this time, but as you might have seen we're reading and collecting all the comments you and other Hosts are sharing here, so I'll make sure Airbnb is aware of the point you've raised. 🙂

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Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

@Sybe

is there a way to have a scheduled message with information that only Instant book people might need? How do we make a scheduled message only for the guests who booked via IB, versus the guests who booked the "normal" way with a bit of chat first?

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Sybe 

 

And why were hosts not informed of something this important IN ADVANCE? Well, of course I know why. It's because thousands of them would immediately turn off IB if they knew.

 

Don't you think it's a bit suspicious, especially given the song and dance Brian Chesky/Airbnb has been making about all the recent updates that supposedly make it safer and easier to host, that they forgot to mention this rather crucial change???

 

And scheduled messages are useless. The whole point of the pre-booking message is that guests got to see it before, not after, they instant booked. The clue is in the name.

Niraj2
Level 2
Liverpool, United Kingdom

this is a disaster. It's created so much more work for me that I have had to turn it off on all 4 of my listings. there are things guests need to know BEFORE they book. Once they are booked who then cancels when they realise the booking doesn't suit them? Do they have to go through the hassle of is it me? If its me why arent I getting more penalty free instant book cancellations? Its a stupid move and should be fixed immediately. 

Stacy-And-Casey0
Level 2
Nashville, TN

Sybe, this is a message we provided to Airbnb as feedback and think it’s very valid.  Would love thoughts from other hosts and you on this:

 

Hello. I’ve read the news about Airbnb removing the “pre booking message required” feature. We think this is a major flaw for two reasons. First, it helps us to feel much more comfortable as hosts to know our guests actually read our question and inform us of their travels. Second, Airbnb has said that we can still send an “automated message” to accomplish this. This can and will result in us looking a bit foolish because some guests will send us a nice message even without being promoted with a “pre booking message,” so when we have an auto message set up that ask them something like “what brings you to town?” we will now look foolish when they have already answered or provided this info voluntarily in the first place. If we have an auto message ask them the same type of question again (because we cannot predict what a guest will say), it makes us look less “real” as hosts and most automated. It just doesn’t provide a best experience for the guest. We ask that you bring back this option of e “pre booking message” for hosts that want to utilize it as we find it a very very valuable tool. Thank you.

Sybe
Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

@Stacy-And-Casey0 I love how you kept it constructive and built your arguments with examples. I'll make sure this lands with the right people! You can send it directly to Airbnb as well using the Feedback Form, although you did mention you provided it to Airbnb already so that's perfect. 🙂


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Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

@Sybe  so they gave us 10 "updates", are there also a matching 10 "changes" we don't know about and will have to learn about, or can someone just disclose them all now? 

Changes:
removing ID verification  
removing the pre-booking message

moving kids/infants note to the Health and Safety section

 

what else is coming? 

thank you for taking the time to respond to all these questions. 

Sybe
Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

@Gillian166 I can imagine there's a lot of information going around right now which can make it a bit difficult to follow!

 

Some updates happen throughout the year and others, like the Summer and Winter releases, have multiple updates bundled in a "package". If I could tell you all updates and changes at once I would, although we do want to keep it somewhat digestible as well. 😉

 

Do keep in mind that the ID verification hasn't been removed but rather replaced by a more thorough verification process. Hosts can now choose to require Airbnb's multi-step verification instead, which includes a Government-ID, a selfie, and a legal name, address, and/or other personal information.

We're happy to announce our 6th annual Month of Celebration!

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Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

@Cristina--And-Cody-0  you know i've never even filled that box in before on the phone, I'm sure I did it on the desktop but there's nothing there now. 

 

Was this available before and has it been removed? I'm thinking it's been removed because the Info page on IB still has this: 

Screen Shot 2022-11-21 at 1.57.45 pm.png

 but currently my IB does not include ID verification. I have this checked for all guests (need to double check that now), but "ID verification" seems to mean email and phone, and these are not legitimate forms of ID. I am feeling like we've been lied to here. Chesky promised that all guests would be ID verified, but silly us failed to ask what "ID" means in ABB-speak. This is so sad, that every time a new "upgrade" is rolled out, there's always a catch. 

 

Can someone please confirm that ID check means a govt verified ID is uploaded to ABB.

not someone using an email address like:  temporaryguest  at  geemail do t comm., and a burner phone number. 





 

also, @Jenny  there's a tech issue with that text box on the phone. if you try to edit it, the cursor only goes to the end of the message, you can't fix a typo in the middle without re-typing the whole message. 

 

t-e-d-i-o-u-s to say the least. Did they break something or was it always like this? 

Cristina--And-Cody-0
Level 2
Clarkdale, AZ

I actually use that box all the time and recommend it to my co-hosts. 

it looks like it’s going to be taken away by the update. I’m pretty bummed. But I guess I’ll have to adjust my message to guests and hope they read it. 

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

Also, I could be wrong, but it looks to me like Airbnb are scrapping verification of government ID completely (another thing they have kept quiet about whilst announcing the recent updates).

 

On the one hand, they could argue that there is no need to have the government ID filter for IB now that ALL guests have to be verified to book, but what does verified mean?

 

Check out the profiles of your current and recent guests, or those that have sent enquiries... I can't see Govt ID verified on any of their profiles. There is email address and phone number and 'identity'. But what does 'identity' mean?

 

Well, if you look more closely at the article where Airbnb explains this: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/help/article/1237

 

there are some interesting things to note...

 

1. They use the word 'may'. We 'may' ask you for, not we 'will'.

2. "Some Hosts only take bookings from guests with verified identity. This may include a confirmed Government ID – for example, where there are restrictions on the building where the listing is located." So, when there are no restrictions on the building, does that mean they won't ask for Govt ID?

3. It seems that guests can upload their Govt. ID if they want to, but it's optional.

4. "When you're booking a stay that requires identity verification, this step occurs during checkout and usually takes under a minute to complete. If we are unable to verify your identity using the details you provide when making the booking, we’ll ask you to verify your identity in another way – such as with your Government ID." So, they only ask for govt. ID when the other methods fail?

5. The most important point to note: "Legal name, address and/or other personal information. Often, these are sufficient for us to verify your identity." THAT is what they normally ask for and deem as 'sufficient' to say the ID is verified. At no point does it specify that the guest will need to offer any documentation to PROVE their legal name or address.

 

So, while Brian Chesky is telling all those lovely potential new hosts that he would like to attract that they don't need to worry because Airbnb will make sure all guests are verified before booking, what he hasn't mentioned is that government ID has been removed from IB and is not even required for bookings with hosts that have specified that they require verification. In theory, according to the wording in the help article, a guest might just be asked to provide their name and address...

 

It seems to me that the verification process is being stripped back, not strengthened. 

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Cristina--And-Cody-0 

 

Well, I guess it's positive that you can go back in via the App and add the pre-booking message again, but then why did Airbnb delete them in the first place (by the way, this is not the first time - happened to me a few years ago when I was still using IB). 

 

While Airbnb has been making a big song and dance over the new updates that supposedly improve things for hosts (questionable), they have kept quiet about the changes they have been making to the IB filters.

 

What I find confusing is the screenshot you have posted shows that the filters for Government ID and recommended by hosts are still there, whilst others have shown screenshots where these two filters no longer exist, nor does the pre-booking message, just a filter for 'good track record', which is not the same thing. That basically says that a guest can't IB with you (when that filter is selected) if they have broken Airbnb policies or a host's house rules recently...

John5097
Level 10
Charleston, SC

@Cristina--And-Cody-0 @Huma0 

Great catch! 

I'm not even seeing request Gov ID. 

If you click on the Learn More under Good Track Record it says. "Pre-booking message requirement is no longer an Instant Book Setting." 

Scheduled messages only has option to send a message after booking. 

I changed my setting to Request to Book. I'm not having people stay at my house with zero communication. 

Unbelievable! 

Screen Shot 2022-11-20 at 8.42.00 PM.png


Screen Shot 2022-11-20 at 8.42.48 PM.png

And this one 

Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

@John5097  oh snap I posted the same thing. 

 

the takeaway here is that IB should probably be turned off..... 

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@John5097 

 

Okay, so it IS happening. They must be rolling it out and @Cristina--And-Cody-0 's settings haven't been completely updated yet.

 

@Cristina--And-Cody-0 seems you might be wasting your time re-writing that pre-booking message seeing as Airbnb are scrapping it anyway.

Cristina--And-Cody-0
Level 2
Clarkdale, AZ

Oh noooo!!! Dang I really liked that feature! 

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