There’s some confusion around inquiries and booking requests, and declining.
Another contributor found an article updated April 2021 that is titled “ Understanding response rate and acceptance rate” BUT it contains a bunch of nuggets about declining and even allowing requests or inquiries to expire and what that impacts. It’s a MUST read and I hope we can help each other stay up to date on this info as policies do change over time (& can go unannounced or clearly explained)
Here’s the content BUT use the link if you read this much after August 2021 in case it’s been updated.
By Airbnb on Jul 20, 2018
6 min read
Updated Apr 21, 2021
For many of you, hosting is important, but you’ve also got work, family, and your personal life keeping you plenty busy. So, tracking how quickly you reply to guest inquiries and monitoring the percentage of booking requests you’re accepting vs. declining is probably not on the top of your to-do list. Some of you have asked about the specifics of these measurements, why they matter, and how you can improve them without much fuss—and we’re happy you asked! We’ve gathered answers from the folks who build these tools, so let’s dive in to see what they have to say.
What’s the difference between my response rate and acceptance rate?
- Your response rate measures how consistently you respond within 24 hours to guest inquiries and booking requests. You can find your response rate from the last 365 days by clicking on the Performance tab, then clicking Basic Requirements.
- Your acceptance rate measures how often you accept or decline reservations. Guest inquiries are not included in the calculation of your acceptance rate. You can see your acceptance rate from the last 365 days by clicking on the Performance tab, then clicking Basic Requirements.
For my response rate, does just the first message/inquiry count or do subsequent messages in a thread count, too?
We only measure a response within 24 hours of the guest’s first message or inquiry. Subsequent messages in that thread do not impact your response rate.
What happens to my acceptance rate if I answer a question rather than approve, pre-approve, or decline a booking request?
The short answer is this: If a guest sends you a booking request and you only answer a question, but do not approve or decline before the request times out, that counts as a decline.
Let’s dive in a little further. It’s important to note the difference between an inquiry and a booking request. An inquiry is just a message—perhaps asking to clarify something about amenities, dates, or House Rules. The guest may be interested in staying with you and may even ask something like: “I want to book your home; is it okay if I bring my dog?” This is not a booking request. It’s an inquiry. You can respond to an inquiry with an answer, a pre-approval, or by declining. Declining an inquiry signals to the guest that their needs aren’t a good fit for your space and encourages them to request another listing. But none of these actions directly affect your acceptance rate. If you pre-approve an inquiry and the guest books your space, that counts as an acceptance. If you pre-approve and they don’t book, it doesn’t have any effect on your acceptance rate. And if you decline an inquiry, your acceptance rate is not affected.
A booking request means that the guest is officially asking to book your listing and is waiting for you to accept or decline. As far as your acceptance rate goes, we only measure the final outcome of the booking request, and there are just three possible actions you can take: accept, decline, or let the request time out. If you let a request time out—even if you answer questions but take no action to approve or decline a request within 24 hours—that’s considered a decline.
How do these rates affect me as a host?
That’s a great question. The technical answer is that low response rates can impact your eligibility for the Superhostprogram, and acceptance rates can impact eligibility to become a Plus host. And hosts who have very low rates could face penalties, including having their listings paused. But it’s important to note that one-off instances of not responding or declining a booking request rarely lead to any action being taken. We’re much more concerned where we see a consistent pattern of non-response or declines.
Can you share insider tips or suggestions on how to keep my response and acceptance rates high?
We think hosts are actually the experts in this area, so we’ll share some of your ideas here, too, but for response rate, one of the best ways to manage messages on the go is to use the Airbnb app on your mobile phone. You can also consider temporarily snoozing your listing if you know you’ll be unable to respond to messages for a while. If you’re taking a vacation, attending a long work conference, or just needing to unplug for a while, you can rest easy knowing there’s no response clock ticking or messages piling up in your inbox.
To snooze your listing and hide it from search results for a set period of time:
- Go to Your listings and select a listing
- Click Listing Details
- Next to Listing status, click Edit
- Under Listing status, select Snoozed from the dropdown menu
- Enter the start and end dates, then click Save
Your listing will automatically reactivate when the timeframe you set is over. The day before your listing reactivates, you’ll get a reminder email.
Here are some tips hosts in the Community Center share for keeping your response rate high:
- Set aside daily time to reply to requests and inquiries
- Have a co-host or a friend respond for you if you’re unavailable and don’t want to snooze your listing
- Save time by pre-writing responses to commonly asked questions. Look for the “Use a Saved Message” prompt in any active message thread you have with a guest. You can create, use, and reuse responses there.
- If you’re very busy or your hosting business really takes off, consider hiring a virtual assistant
For your acceptance rate, ensure your calendar and booking preferences and settings are accurate and up to date. For example, if you can’t accommodate same-day requests, update your listing to reflect the time you need between reservations. Hosts also tell us they find it helpful to keep their House Rules updated so that guests understand what’s okay and what isn’t before submitting a booking request. You’re less likely to get requests you can’t accept if you’re very clear about your expectations.
What is Airbnb doing to avoid penalizing hosts’ acceptance rate when they decline unfit or illegitimate requests?
We understand that sometimes you may get requests that clearly violate your House Rules, or that are actually marketing attempts disguised as booking requests. These can put you in the awkward position of having to risk harming your own acceptance rate when there’s not a better action to take. To address this, the first thing we need to do is help you flag to us when there’s a problem. We’re exploring how best to do this, and while we don’t have a feature to announce at this time, we are absolutely aware of this pain point for you.
We want to ensure you’re empowered to decide who you welcome into your home and that you’re comfortable with the guests who stay with you. We understand that you only want to be held accountable to legitimate booking requests, and we’re committed to making sure that happens.
Numbers are just part of the story
While it’s good to keep response and acceptance rates in mind, the bigger picture isn’t about these measurements—in fact, they’re just indicators of the actual hospitality you show to your guests and the connection you establish when they reach out to you. You impact your guest’s experience from the moment they contact you or request to book, and the host community rightfully takes a lot of pride in creating experiences of welcome and belonging for the people who stay in your listings. So yes, please do care about communicating in a timely way and setting guests up for success while they’re trying to find a good listing match for their needs; but know that numbers are just one way to tell the story about how you host.