Coquitlam, Canada Level 2
If they say their bringing pets or children under 12 and book or inquire about a listing that does not them they should be alerted and prevented from instant booking.
Has anyone else had to deal with a lot more guests that are new to Airbnb and don't read? Had to take my listings down for the autumn (which was devastating) and my best seller is still offline due to renovations. I've only had 2 inquires in the past 2 months and they were both first time guest accounts that did not read the listing or the house rules and did not want or expect to follow them. Because they did not withdraw their request and I had to decline them I'm worried that I've just hurt my listings even more since that was the only action in while.
what@Huma0 said is constant trouble for hosts on Airbnb. It worsened since Airbnb decided to hide all important info behind "show more>" links. Airbnb tried to make the booking process faster but in reality it become 10x longer.
For example, I got a new booking yesterday. The guest has read the entire listing and answered all my questions in his first message. I just had to thank him. I love him already.
Then another guest sent a request. She didn't read anything, not even looked all the pictures. I've sent her a couple of questions, no answer, so I sent reminders but she didn't respond within 24 h so I had to decline. The same minute I declined (!) she sent another request but still didn't answer all questions, she couldn't find my additional house rules (despite the picture where they are hidden), and entered a different number of guests than the first time). I know this type of guest and I know I will have to exchange 30 messages with her to get her to read all information she should know. This is a waste of time and a bad start which leads to a low rating so I just gave up, declined again and blocked these dates on my calendar. Problem solved.
Many guests are like her, and guests like the first one are the exceptions on Airbnb and it's a huge waste of host's and guest's time.
Unfortunately, Airbnb with it's layout and hidden informations is not helpful.
I've also had this happen many times, i.e. the guest who sends a request booking but then doesn't respond to a single message/question in the next 24 hours (didn't supply the necessary basic info and clearly hasn't read the listing) so you have to decline.
Funnily enough, the minute you decline, they are suddenly getting the notifications and message you back immediately saying sorry they didn't see your messages...
I am not sure. They last time it happened (quite recently), soon after I declined, the guest messaged saying he was sorry, he didn't realise his notifications were turned off (he was not a new user and had several reviews). He answered my questions, asked if he could send another request and I said okay and accepted it. After that, he responded to any messages quickly, especially bearing in mind there was a time difference.
What I don't understand is how the guests get and see the notification that you have declined so quickly if their notifications are turned off and that's the reason they never saw your messages, but it is possible... It's not like the App is that reliable.
Yesterday I got a notification about a message a guest had sent two days before...
A person can specify which notifications to receive. It's possible that a guest turns off Guest and Host messages push notifications, but leave Reminders pushes enabled. Or, their notifications settings were unknowingly changed due to an app update. Or, if they are like me, have sound assigned to only a few types of notifications, because all of the beeps and whistles are just maddening.
What I have heard often from others is that notifications are turned off by default and the guest doesn't realise. Obviously, if they get the notification that you declined them, it means not all notifications are turned off, but it seems that a lot of users are not aware of which notifications they have turned off or off. They seem to not have chosen them and never bother to check until an issue comes up.
Then again, perhaps they were prompted to choose their notifications ages ago when they singed up and then forgot about it. I don't know. This particular guest was not the best (really awkward and weird and left a 3* review for things clearly mentioned on the listing) but he didn't seem the type to ignore messages/notifications if he received them.
The problem is that guests who do not read also do not enter the correct information. So, the system doesn't pick up that they are travelling with children or pets and they are still able to instant book.
I'll give you an example. A guest contacts me saying she is trying to instant book, but can't. I tell her it's because she's entered one child, one adult. I don't accept children. She's actually bringing TWO kids, so that also takes her over my maximum occupancy for the room. She obviously entered two people because the system wouldn't let her book for three.
She asks me to make an exception. I said no. She then tries again to instant book after I told her no by changing the booking from 1 adult + 1 child to 2 adults. It doesn't work. She must have a bad rating or not verified her ID or something else. At this point, the system is not blocking her from booking because there are kids or too many guests, because it doesn't know that when she enters two adults.
So, that was luck for me. She couldn't IB and I turned her away because, not only did she try to trick the system and insist on ignoring my listing restrictions, her answers to my questions were just bizarre. She was not even related to the kids she was bringing and it all sounded very odd.
I honestly do not like instant book for many reasons and that includes that guests can - and do - lie about who is in the booking party. They make third party bookings, they book for two when there are actually three of them, etc. etc.
If you can turn it off without it really impacting your bookings, that's what I would do. I don't think Airbnb is going to change it because the whole point of IB is making it as fast and easy as possible for guests to book and for Airbnb to get its commission. Airbnb doesn't care about the subsequent nightmare for the hosts.
@Huma0I'm sorry that happened, but glad that you also didn't have to deal with the second IB fallout.
That's a great point that many guests that tend to not read also tend to not enter in their info correctly. I wonder if there's another way Airbnb can address? Maybe with prompts for each guest type when they go to confirm booking so they would have to expressly decline entering instead of just skipping a field? Or maybe include a star rating for guests on the accuracy of the info they provided?
In terms of the star rating, I would put this under communication, e.g. if a guest says they were booking for two and turned up with four without informing the host, I'd consider that very poor communication and also a breach of house rules (my rules do contain stuff that cover this).
In terms of preventing guests from doing this, well the system is set up to make it as quick and easy for them as possible with a minimal amount of stages/prompts and I believe this is very intentional. Airbnb wants them to book asap and not to have to think too much about it.
What is annoying is that a guest can search without entering the number of guests. The system will then automatically show them the price for one guest. Or at least that's how it appears to me. Because I have never used instant book when reserving an Airbnb, I don't know if there's some stage where the guest does have to specify the number of guests or not.
However, I feel like it's very easy for a guest not to enter the correct number of people, either intentionally or unintentionally. I used to have a maximum of two people per room, but with a higher price for two. In the search results, the listing shows as being for two people, but the price the guest will see until they change the search to two guests, is the price for one.
So, I would sometimes get guests booking for one and then referring to 'we' in their message. When I told them they had only booked for one and needed to change it and pay the additional charge, most were okay with this, but some got annoyed. Of course it's not the host's fault that Airbnb displays the listings like this, but I can understand why a guest could get confused and then feel like they are being ripped off.
Also, when I still had IB turned on, in theory guests were supposed to answer my pre-booking questions, the first of which was "Who are you travelling with and what is the purpose of your trip?". In reality, it's not a 'pre-booking' message as they can book instantly without any contact with the host and I found that the majority of guests did not answer some or all of the questions. So, it's misleading to hosts to tell them guests must answer your pre-booking questions to IB with you. They are not technically required to do any such thing!