Advice from Experienced "Request to Book" Hosts?

How should I respond to this request?
(I’m usually IB with prior positive reviews, 1 nite min, but am doing request to book, 3 nite min, temporarily until I’m fully “back” from Covid-limited operations, I’m actually getting bookings, which is cool.)

Other booked guests have been informative in their messages. But the latest Guest request says “Checking in after 12 p.m.” That’s it. Just joined Airbnb, no reviews.

I wrote back “Check in is anytime after 2 p.m. Please send me your acknowledgement of this and the other house rules, thanks.”

If I don’t hear back satisfactorily from the guest, do I call Airbnb to decline before the response deadline, decline it myself on the platform, or just let it expire?


When I get the occasional request that reads similarly, I respond with
"Hi XX, Thanks for your booking request. I see you are new to Airbnb, so you may not understand how it works. A host has to accept a booking request before it is confirmed. Have you read through all the listing information, read all the house rules section (clicking on it for details), my stated check-in window, the cancellation policy, etc?

Also, most hosts appreciate a little information about guests and their reason for booking before approving. Are you coming on vacation, to work, to attend an event? Have you entered the correct number of guests on the request, who will be coming? "

I actually don’t ask guests why they are coming, I live in a touristy beach town, and everyone comes for the same reason. But that was just to give you an idea of the sort of message you could send.

If the guest doesn’t answer within your 24 hour limit to accept or decline, or however long you’re willing to wait within that time frame, or answers in a way you don’t like, then go ahead and decline. Never let a request expire- that dings your response rate.

You don’t contact Airbnb to decline a request, you just do it yourself.


I agree with @muddy, but I would not be quite so polite. We’ve had a few people over the years try to tell us when check-in or check-out time is. I have used something similar to the following, and always gotten

"You must be new to AirBnb. With AirBnb listings, the Host sets when check-in time is, not the Guest. We are not a 24-7 hotel Our stated Check-in time is X to Y.


I’m polite about it because my experience with the few requests I’ve gotten where the guest sent a brief, non-informative message like that ( the majority of my guests send lovely initial messages) has been that when I reply prompting them for more info, with a bit about how Airbnb works, they have always replied nicely and much more forthcomingly. It’s like they just didn’t understand what is expected. Or maybe they have only IBed before so had no idea what to say in a request message.

And they all turned out to be great guests.


I’m with @muddy, I provide a version of this:

Hi ______ Thanks for your inquiry.

Since you are new to AirBNB (with little information in your Profile and without any reviews) I’d ask that you provide some information about yourself, what brings you to ____, and confirm that you have reviewed the listing and house rules.

To minimize potential fraudulent bookings I also ask that AirBNB registration include

- Guest Photo to be on AirBNB profile
- Gov’t issued ID validated by AirBNB
- Payment form on file with AirBNB

Lastly let me know if/what questions you have for me.

Thank you for your understanding. Please know that it’s not that I don’t appreciate your interest; it is that unlike staying at a hotel, ABNB is a review based business and as such I do my best to ensure that my guest house and my guests expectations are in synch.

Thank you.


If I received that from a host, irrespective of how good, bad or indifferent my opening message had been, I’d move on.

As long as you’ve replied, it keeps your response rate up, and as far as I’m aware, the request will simply expire after 24hrs.

Are you sure? As far as I understand once you’ve replied to the guest the “response rate” clock stops ticking. Happy to be corrected though, I’m getting seriously rusty with Airbnb procedures these days!

@HH_AZ I like that, and may utilise (ok, plagiarise :wink:) parts of that, if we ever get any Airbnb guests that is :frowning_face:



Was it an inquiry or request to book? If it was an inquiry you can just let it expire.

Thanks for all the advice. It was a request to book, so I needed to approve or decline to avoid Airbnb lashings with a wet noodle.

The guest never responded about their non-compliant check in time, so I declined. I felt quite powerful! You have to send an explanation to the guest, so I nicely said we could not accommodate their check in time and wished them safe travels.

Using request-to-book and longer minimum stays, my temporary measure, could actually work. But I’m really an IB person, not interested in back-and-forth. Y’all are saints (except delightfully curmudgeonly Ken!) to send these educational missives.

But, you ask, what if the guest met the good review criterion and had instant booked under my pre-Covid policy? I would have simply stated the check in time in a message, and not reset the door code until then. Altogether less tsuris. Maybe it’s the way my head works, but request-to-book makes me think about the guest TOO much.

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That’s true for inquiries, but not booking requests.


I actually don’t mind at all- I like messaging with guests- as a home share host it sort of creates a rapport with the guest before they arrive.

But if I got a lot of those clueless-type requests, I might get quite sick of answering ( then I’d just create a saved message to send to them) .

The majority of my guests have been the type who actually read all the listing info, have used Airbnb before, and understand what constitutes an appropriate booking message.

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There are a significant percentage of Americans that think 12 p.m. means midnight instead of noon.


Ooh, good point, hadn’t thought of that.
Regardless, the potential guest was nonresponsive for the 14 hours I gave them to reply that they understood the check in time.

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I let the request expire on all if they don’t communicate back with me. It is my personal home that I vacate for guests, and I don’t IB:)

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If you let requests expire, you must end up with a really low Response rate.

I don’t, it’s 95% on one listing and 100% on the other. It’s really a one-off when they don’t respond back, and I don’t mind the ding that will go back up with those who will respond. I expect some form of communication with guests prior to their self-check in. Helps with my experience and theirs overall:)


I expect guests to answer as well, but if they wouldn’t, I would decline the request instead of letting it expire. For one thing, Response rate is one of the criteria for Superhost, and Acceptance rate ( which gets dinged if you let it expire) isn’t.

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This will get you a wet noodle lashing on your acceptance rate.
I would have just accepted, then messaged them that the place will be ready at (insert check in time) and been done. The guest declaring the check in time does not make it so.

Kids and guests need firm boundaries.



Yep, that’s what I would have done with an IB.

As noted, engaging in the request back and forth actually changed my behavior and made me “scrutinize” the guest when normally I wouldn’t have bothered. Your mileage may vary.

So for me it’s back to IB starting in May.

I wouldn’t have. It’s the fact that the guest didn’t bother to answer the host’s message about non-compliant check-in time at all that would keep me from accepting.

Not everyone accepts all guests, doesn’t care whether they respond to messages, and has the heads in beds attitude you do. It works for you, which is great, but not for everyone. I don’t want to host non-communicators myself.


The one today that requested to book and was getting close to the expiration, she briefly responded back but didn’t answer all my questions, and ended up cancelling on her end after I accepted. Thinking she realized she was going to break some of my house rules and didn’t see we have exterior cameras until she read through the listing description more thoroughly. So far my SuperHost isn’t in jeopardy, so that’s good, as are my stats in general. I’ll keep the acceptance one in mind though, hadn’t though about that one. Thanks.