Reservation “Inquiry” or “Request” - What's the Difference: A Community Help Guide

Level 10
Edmonton, Canada

Reservation “Inquiry” or “Request” - What's the Difference: A Community Help Guide

-----------------Updated June 2017--------------------

An updated version of this Community Guide is now available, click here to view.




I see several hosts wondering why their response rating has decreased when they have responded to all their inquiries and requests.  It is important to know the difference between a “reservation inquiry” and a “reservation request” and how not responding to one can affect your response rating.


All About Reservation Inquiries

First of all, Airbnb suggests that guests send out several reservation inquiries when looking for a place to stay using Airbnb.  When a guest sends an inquiry, they usually send them out to several listings in the same area.  It is kind of like window shopping for an Airbnb listing.  The guest can screen hosts by sending a question (inquiry) but they need to complete the dates which they are inquiring about staying and the number of guests.  A guest may receive pre-approvals from several hosts enabling them to choose which listing fits their needs best.  The important thing to note on "inquiries" is that all you have to do is "respond" to the inquiry within the 24 hours to maintain your response rating.  It is of course best to screen the guest who is inquiring and either "pre-approving" them or "declining" them but the most important thing is to at least respond to them within the 24 hour time frame.


How Does a Guest Make an Inquiry?

For the guest to make an inquiry, they will choose your listing and then choose “Contact Host”.




A box will then pop up where the guest can enter the dates they are inquiring about, the number of guests, and their message and questions for the host.  They then send the inquiry.




What Does the Host Receive When a Guest Sends an Inquiry?

The host will then receive the guest’s reservation inquiry and have the options to either “Pre-Approve”, “Decline”, “Respond”, or “Dismiss”.  All you really need to do is “Respond” to the inquiry within 24 hours of receiving it and your response rating will not be affected.  If you “Pre-Approve”, you are essentially allowing the guest to Instant Book the reservation.  If they choose to go with your listing after you pre-approved them, they will complete the checkout process and your listing will be booked for the dates you pre-approved for.  You also have the option of sending a "Special Offer".


What an inquiry looks like.JPG



Response to inquiry.JPG


If you choose to just respond, you will converse back and forth through the messaging system.




This is what the guest will receive in the messaging center if the inquiry is "pre-approved".





All About Reservation Requests

It is essential that you understand "reservation requests".  A reservation request means that a guest is ready to book your place and they just need your approval.  Once you approve their request, your place will become a confirmed booking.  It is also important to know that you have 24 hours to take action on the request by either "accepting" or "declining" the reservation request.  If you do not either accept or decline within the 24 hours, your response rating will be affected.  So, if you have a guest who is taking their time getting back to any of your questions and the 24 hour clock is running down and you are not quite comfortable yet with the guest, it is best to decline the request.  You can explain to the guest that you are declining their request because you would like more information and that they can make another request.


How Does a Guest Make a Reservation Request?

For a guest to make a request, from your listing, they would choose the dates, the number of guests and then choose the "Request to Book" tab.




The guest would then be taken to the payment screen.




The guest would then fill in the "About Your Trip" section where the House Rules are stated, they can confirm or add the number of guests, and agree to the House Rules, Cancellation Policy and the Guest Refund Policy.




Finally, the guest can add the names of the additional guests and their emails and also have the option of having the itinerary emailed to anyone.



What Does the Host Receive with a Reservation Request?


The host will receive the reservation request notification.  When they click on this, they can either "Approve", "Decline", or "Respond".  The host will only have 24 hours to take the action of approving or declining or their reposnse rating will be affected.


Reservation request.JPG


If the host chooses to "Accept", the reservation is booked and confirmed.  If you wish to decline the reservation, you will be taken to a screen where you choose the reason for declining.  You also have the option to explain why you are declining the request.  If you wish to provide a message to the guest, you can do this as well.




Thank you so much to @Clare for helping me out with creating this Help Guide.  You rock!

23 Replies 23
Former Community Manager
Former Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

Hello Everyone,


Thanks for your participation here. I just wanted to let you know that there is now an updated version of this Community Guide, click here to view.


I will now close this topic for new posts. 


Thank you,




Thank you for the last 7 years, find out more in my Personal Update.

Looking to contact our Support Team, for details...take a look at the Community Help Guides.

Level 2
Madison, WI

I'm still confused about requests.  My stats say that I have had 140 views this month and 25 requests.   Where do I see the requests?  I haven't gotten Any requests!   Am I missing them?  My settings are all set to receive them. 

Level 10
Edmonton, Canada

Hi @Chris368,


Sorry for not getting back to you on this post as I do not have notifications setup.  There was a glitch for some time using the app where it showed a lot of requests which never actually occured.  I do believe this has been fixed for quite some time.  Are things showing correctly now on your stats?


Level 4
Prague, Czech Republic

Thank you so much for this detailed explanation @Dave-and-Deb0


Despite being an experienced host (superhost in fact:-), I have realized that I don´t understand the system of inquiries and booking requests when being in the guest´s shoes 🙂 I wonder if guests do...


I have just totally panicked after I sent 2 booking requests to hosts in Italy and realized that if both requests get confirmed I will be charged for both. I did it because I have really bad experience with host´s replies - they often decline saying that they haven´t updated their prices or availability. So I wanted to speed up the process and sent 2 requests. I have just cancelled one. It seems that it is taken as if I cancelled a booking though it wasn´t confirmed. Oh, well, my bad.


I find the whole process of trying to find a place to stay really tiresome. I didn´t realize that there are so many unreliable hosts out there. Truth be told if I wasn´t a host on airbnb I would give up after a couple of attempts to find a place... In October I wanted to book a place for my family holidays and I ended up with 3 booking cancellations! I was furious - the same excuse all the time - sorry, forgot to update my calendar, got another booking... I wanted to give airbnb another chance as a guest - I am looking for a place in Italy. I sent 2 requests yesterday - both denied with the same excuse - they didn´t update their prices for 2017! Seriously, hosts like this shouldn´t be on airbnb because they are giving airbnb a bad name. And thus today, frustrated from the whole experience, I sent 2 requests and nearly ended up in trouble 😞 Doesn´t seem very fair for the guest to have to wait for 24 hours... 😞


Well, I will stop pouring my heart out as I am very grateful to you for explaining the system to me. Thank you! Kind regards from Prague,









Level 10
Edmonton, Canada

I hear and agree with everything you say @Katka0!


I would recommend instead to either contact hosts by choosing the "Contact host" link under the listing description and you can send out as many inquiries as you wish.  If hosts pre-approve you, you can then choose to accept the best listing and the reservation is confirmed.


I just recently booked a trip to Vegas and I will share the tip I give to all guests who have this happen.  I will only choose hosts with SuperHost badges as they worked really hard for those badges and if they cancel on the guest, they lose this status.  When I booked for Vegas, I had it narrowed down to two listings which were in the same building.  I went for the listing that cost me $130 more over the three nights because they are a SuperHost and the other one had several properties which many cancellation reviews on their profile.


Level 10
Mount Barker, Australia

@Katka0  The other option Katka, is to send enquiries...I don't need to say what to do because Dave & Deb and Clare have already 'thrown a blanket' over that! But you can send 10 enquiries for pre-approval to different are not committed and neither are those hosts, but the one who sends you a pre-approval with an 'all clear' on dates gets the business, and you don't have to go through that mandatory possibly up to 24 hour wait between enquiries.

Might take some of the pain out of booking, and throw a bit of heat back on these careless lazy hosts!


Level 10
Mount Barker, Australia

@Katka0....You have brought up something that seems to becoming a rising trend.......hosts who do not up-date their availablility!

Yours is the third post I have read this week where a guest has tried to book with muliple hosts listings only to have their request declined because the host has not updated their available calendar options.

One guest in France finally booked a hotel in frustration after being declined by five ABB hosts because they had not updated their availability.

I know that hosts seem to come in for a heavy raft of punishments already, and I know that repeated declines by a particular host will be punished with listing visibility but, maybe it's about time hosts who refuse a booking simply because they have not kept their calendar current should receive a fine to be taken from their subsequesnt hostings.

This would only need to happen once before they realised they should be a bit more on the ball!!

Lazy hosts make us all look bad. Thanks for bringing this up Katka..


These posts are difting off the thread and Katka, maybe your post should have been as a new topic with no relationship to this fantastic post that @Dave-and-Deb0 initiated here.

Dave this post of yours should be compulsive reading by every host old or new...and for the life of me I cannot understand why it only got 15 likes! Congratulations and thanks.


Level 1
Rome, GA

I have done all the responses correctly, but my response rate is still listed as 0% when it should be 100%.  Help!

Level 2
Vancouver, Canada

I have the same issue....anyone know the answer?

Level 2
Boston, MA

I've just started hosting this week and this is very helpful - thank you!! I was wondering though... I've booked a unit but people that previously inquired are still seeing it as available. Am I doing something wrong? Is there a waiting period before it shows as booked? I'm so confused.  Thanks! 

Level 10
Chicago, IL

Thanks for this @Dave-and-Deb0


It's helpful to see what the guest sees since I have yet to travel using Airbnb.




Level 2
Vallecitos, NM

"You can explain to the guest that you are declining their request because you would like more information and that they can make another request."  We're just up front with the guest, declining them and explaining that we have 24 hours to respond to keep our rating up, and they always have the option of re-requesting the booking.


Guests, especially those who are new to AirBnB, aren't always clear that if they make a request instead of an inquiry, and we approve, that AirBnB will keep the AirBnB fee even if they cancel.  Therefore we're reluctant to approve a request when we think the guest is still pondering their options; we don't want to lock them into losing the AirBnB fee.


Level 10
London, United Kingdom

That is an absolutely brilliant run through the whole booking process.  Well done @Dave-and-Deb0 and @Clare.


One reason for declining which I often have to use is "Guest enquired about a different date from the one they wanted".  I am assured that Declining with that reason won't affect our Acceptance Rates.    


I have found that when a guest genuinely gets the booking wrong and ends up with a booking she didn't want, then CX will undo the whole transaction if the host and guest both agree and it is done promptly, say within 48 hours.  

Level 1
Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

This has just happened to me. I was totally unaware that I was making a booking! I asked a question in the request section. Within a matter of 3hrs my credit card was processed. I've cancelled the booking as I don't want it and now Airbnb are keeping the service fee!! Absolutely shocking.  Airbnb should make absolutely 100 percent sure the guest does want to confirm the booking!! I am very angry and unimpressed, and I hope I am refunded the service fee as well.   Fran ****


Level 10
Pune, India

@Dave-and-Deb0 and @Clare - Excellent guide. Love the conversation, " Templeton doesn't have temples." 😄


Dave, you've accidently exposed Clare's postal address, you would want to protect her by editing it soon.




Level 10
Edmonton, Canada

Thanks for letting me know @Jeet0.  I spoke with Clare and she said leave it as there is not much people can do with a zip code.  A person would have an easier time finding her listing on her listing map than the postal code.  I am usually really cognizant of making sure I blur out any details but will make sure I look closer next time.  Thanks again for the heads-up!


Level 10
Pune, India

Well, it's not just about her consent but Airbnb doesn't allow sharing your exact address anywhere on this forum nor on the site unless a booking is confirmed. Talking about the map, I'm sure you know that the map doesn't show the actual location but a larger radius to give the guests an idea of the region.

Apart from common risk of theft by exposing your address online, Postal addresses are also used as verification by credit companies and can be easily misused by fraudsters.

I just hope you realise how wrong this good go for Clare.
Level 10
Edmonton, Canada

Sorry @Jeet0.  I am not sure how I shared her complete address.  For example, here is a map of the zip 90210 and the second image is of a listing in the zip 90210.  If Clare wishes for me to block it out, she will ask me as she has my Twitter, Facebook and email address.  If you feel I am breaking Airbnb's posting guidelines, feel free to use that "Report Innapropriate Content" button.  If @Lizzie has an issue with it, she can remove the images and I will gladly have her replace them.  Welcome back @Jeet0!  We missed you around here.




90210 2.png

Level 10
Pune, India

Well, I have dealt with so many payment and credit fraud cases in my former job that I felt it was necessary to highlight the risk. Anyway, I'll leave it upto the three of you now 🙂

It's good to be back 🙂
Level 10
Edmonton, Canada

Thanks again.  I have submitted new images for Lizzie to hopefully update since I cannot edit it.



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