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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.
I would take the booking in front of me. Seems the fairest thing - and safest. As you’ve said, you just never know who is going to actually book.
Sometimes I’ll be in a conversation with a potential guest and they will give me a reason that they are waiting to book. I always feel like I’m trying to pressure them when I say “I just want you to be aware that anyone can book at anytime”. But if they have invested time in the booking I sometimes do.
Edited: The article is quite interesting though a bit over my head. I just kept thinking “I prefer a bird in the hand”. Rarely have I denied anyone. Maybe…3? at the most over the last 18 months. I book until I have a day or two between bookings, then block those dates for a day off. Lucky for me, this month, it’s not a problem heh heh heh it looks like I’m getting plenty of days off…
The article is actually quite close to my areas of expertise, relatively speaking. Did I mention I have a PhD in statistics? And I’ve never worked in Machine Learning per se, but would like to. At least if the problems were interesting. Maybe I should apply to work at Airbnb. Special Qualifications: Airbnb Host.
And now Superhost. Yes, I finally got that badge, though no email. Do they send you an email? Or maybe they wait till the 15th? Let’s see if it makes any difference. February is mostly empty.