Yesterday, I got an inquiry, followed by a booking request, for someone for the dates from the 20th to the 22nd of January. It became apparent that he was booking for a relative, so I told him to cancel the booking request and have the correct person do it. I then forgot about it.
That evening, I got an unexpected followup from someone who had originally contacted me last week with an inquiry. She has one of those - are you close to such and such, which usually is a good indication that you'll never hear from them again. She said she wanted to book from the 19th to the 22nd. I said sure, go ahead.
A bit later that evening/night, I got a booking request from the relative of the chap who had contacted me earlier - the person who who actually wanted to do the booking, for the same dates, 20th to the 22nd of January..
At this point it wasn't clear what to do. I went ahead and accepts the booking request in front of me. I suppose I could have waited for the lady to get back to me, and then declined the 2 day request hoping to get a 3 day request. But it's very common for people to flake out in various ways. In other words, there is a lot of randomness in this system. Often they don't follow up, even if they tell you they will. A couple of times I've even had people abruptly cancel booking requests while in the middle of conversation. And of course I've had people occasionally cancel reservations close to the reservation time, and a couple of times I think they've left early. So, I'm wondering if anyone here actually tries to optimize bookings by selectively rejecting some requests. Here's a link: "How Airbnb uses machine learning to detect host preferences" which suggests that hosts do occasionally make such calculations. As opposed to the obvious first come first served procedure, which at least has the merit of simplicity. Any other rule set would be more complicated. Also, I don't like rejecting reasonable booking requests, though I'm not sure how much Airbnb's algorithms would count that against me.