I'm really new at this. Just listed a few days ago, and have been getting bookings and inquiries. (Yay!) Today, I had 2 different inquiries, one for a 6 day stay, and one for a week. I answered their questions promptly, and pre-approved them to book. But they did not book promptly, and meanwhile someone else requested 2 of the days during the longer stays. I did not see any option to contact the first party again, so I went ahead and booked the 2-day stay.
Is there a way to handle this better, so that I am not missing out on these potential longer stays (the first party contacted me again tonight, about an hour after it was booked to someone else, and would have booked the 6 nights)? If I had waited longer to accept the request, would I have been able to give it to the first party? Or does it always have to be actually booked, even if it means I am losing out on the longer stays?
Thanks for helping me figure this part out.
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First you have to understand the difference between an “INQUIRY” and a “REQUEST.”
An inquiry is merely a request for information. You should answer promptly and if they don’t get back to you, which most don’t, forget it.
They probably sent out several inquiries and they’re too lazy and inconsiderate to acknowledge your response.
If it’s a legitimate request to book you can and usually should respond with some questions of your own. You have 24 hours to either accept or decline their request and if they are uncommunicative that’s a good reason to decline.
If you approve their request your calendar will be blocked for those dates unless they fail to complete the booking within 48 hours, in which case it opens up again. (Maybe they only have 24 hours. I can’t remember offhand.)
You can delay approval while you contact someone who inquired earlier but if they don’t respond promptly it’s best to take the offer that’s actually on the table.
Thank you, Brian. Very helpful to me. I was too focused on "response rate", thinking that if I responded within minutes, that was best. But now I see I can take a little more time to think things through.
To clarify: I could delay approval of a request to book, in order to re-contact a person who inquired with follow-up questions, encourage them to book quickly, and that way, accept the longer stay. I will not be penalized for declining a request to book?
@Linda3345 Once a person sends a request to book, your calendar is blocked for that person. The only way to clear your calendar is to decline the request to book, and, yes, you are penalized for declining booking requests. You have 24 hours to accept or decline a request to book.
You could, of course, decline the request to book, which would free up your calendar, and then contact the person who inquired, but you have no guarantee the inquiry would turn into a booking, and you could end up with nothing.
You could also try asking the guest to withdraw the request to book, if you have a good reason for it - for example, if you find out they are not a good fit for the space, or they request an amenity you don't have.
I think it's best to keep a firm booking - first come, first served - and not wait for people to make up their minds what they want to do, or play around for longer bookings.
If you don't want to accept 2-day stays in the future, you can change your settings to a longer minimum stay. You never want to cancel a booking.
Also, since you are new, it doesn't hurt to take a few shorter stays until you get more comfortable with hosting, and build your reviews.
Michelle, this is so helpful. I had one situation like that last night.
And now I woke up to another situation: one party requested to book, and literally in the same few minutes, the longer-stay party also tried to book, but some of the dates were blocked.
And how does one keep a "business" frame of mind, when I have already communicated with both parties, and feel sorry for whomever I have to turn down?
@Linda3345 You can communicate in a friendly way with everyone, but it's always best to make it clear that bookings are on a first-come-first-served basis, so if they really like the space, you have communicated with them and decided they are a good fit, they should go ahead and book.
I never promise to hold my space open for folks. The majority of inquiries don't turn into actual bookings.
If they are asking basic questions about the space, take a look at your listing detail to make sure you have everything covered in there, and good photos.
Michelle, thank you. I resolved the current situation by accepting the booking that actually booked first, and then explained the situation to the person who missed out. I pointed out the partial dates that are still available and reminded them to book immediately if they wanted the partial dates. I see that I need to communicate in a friendly way, but not be committed until they have actually booked.
I should say "If you book our home, we look forward to hosting you", instead of just "we look forward to hosting you".
And you are right: I need a few more photos with captions to fully show our place, and cut down on questions.
Thank you for helping a newbie!
The major annoyance of the platform is this "blocking" thing. It has become a freak feature, continously making it extremely difficult for hosts, especially when having multiple istings, to manage their bookings by the requests, inquiries and special offers. if you are very familiar with the platform, their are some tricks to make life easier, but it is a continuous juggling with the balls. I would be happy Airbnb could provide an option to hosts to select "only want to receive inquires". And people with new profiles, no reviews and no ID verified so not be able to make a booking request anyway !
@Emiel1 I only have one listing, so I don't find it that hard to manage. I imagine multiple listings could get complicated. Actually, I get very few inquiries these days, and generally, they are only to confirm small details, and then folks book right away after I respond.
Most topics are covered in my listing information. I used to get a lot of things like "is there luggage drop off?", "can I check in early/check out late?", "how far are you from XYZ place of interest?", "how do I get from A to Z via public transit?". And my favorite one - "is the space really private ?" Not so much any more.
Honestly, looking at the booking process from Airbnb's and the guest's point of view, it's all about taking the booking, not keeping guests on hold juggling inquiries and offers back and forth to pick the best one.
That could pretty quickly turn into a train wreck.