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Booking questions

Hi All,
I am a very new Airbnb host (6 rentals total). So far things have been very smooth. I am interested in thoughts (pros/cons) of how I currently have the listing set up. I am worried that I may be leaving myself vulnerable to bookings from people looking to take advantage. Thanks in advance for constructive feedback!

These are my current requirements:

Instant Book - Guests who meet all your requirements can book instantly. Others will need to send a reservation request

Airbnb standard requirements

Profile photo ON
A government-issued ID (Instant book only) OFF
Recommendation from other hosts (Instant book only) - OFF
Pre-booking message (Instant book only) Not set at this time.
House rules are listed (no parties, no pets, no smoking)
Cancellation policy - Moderate: Full refund 5 days prior to arrival

Why do you have recommendations from other hosts and govt, ID turned off? The reason IB hosts have those options (non-IB hosts can only require a profile photo) is to protect themselves a bit because they don’t get to screen guests through messaging before a booking is confirmed.

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Fascinated- you would accept guests that other hosts have refused to have again?

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As I mentioned I am a new host and learning. I appreciate constructive feedback, not judgement. Thank you muddy for the explination!

No one’s judging, @jmccool, we’re just trying to figure out why you chose certain options. I, personally will never use Instant Book because I want to screen (as best I can) every potential guest.

Likewise, I would never set a Moderate cancellation policy because people can take advantage of that and leave you high and dry on short notice, when you though you were booked. Depending on where you are, trying to fill a calendar space In the short span…

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The moderate policy has worked fine for me. It does depend on location- most of my guests are coming on a week-2 week vacation and flying to the area internationally. They have flights booked, scheduled time off work, etc. They don’t cancel last minute.

In over 3 years, I only had one guest cancel 3 days before check-in ( I got paid the 50%) and that was kind of a special case. She was coming from France but had had a death in the immediate family. Had a couple other cancellations, but those were made at least a month before check-in.

When I read about hosts having to deal with angry guests who cancelled under Strict policy and still think they should get their money back, I just don’t want to deal with that. And I’ve never cared about high occupancy rate anyway. I care about hassle-free guests, which luckily I’ve had.

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I tried the instant booking and for me it was a headache but I know others are happy with it. If you’re going to use IB, I would recommend using all it’s features like govt ID, recommendations from other hosts, and the pre-booking msg.

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I have it turned off too, because in my experience it does not matter. WIth IB on if I see a really bad review I can cancel as uncomfortable, which has never happened.

This I would change to strict., I have no time for people who are not sure. I have it in my house rules, be certain of your plans before booking as my policy does not allow for changes once booked.

Looks good to me @jmccool

RR

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I’ve been hosting almost 7 years and have over 800 stays booked. I use IB and have always used moderate or flexible cancel policy. I don’t require govt ID but I do require recommendations from other hosts for IB. Others can send a booking request and I can count on one hand the number of people I’ve turned down.

There isn’t one right answer to most questions. It depends on the kind of rental you have and what kind of guest you are hosting or want to host.

I suggest you read here as much as possible. Don’t take advice/criticism too personally. Take the best, leave the rest as RR says. No one here knows you. But if you post with a chip on your shoulder you won’t last long. Take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt. If you stick around and read and post, after awhile you will see which hosts have a rental and style most like yours.

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Thank you! This is very helpful info!

I did turn those on after reading the previous comments. I was definitely missing that piece! Thank you!

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But you’re an experienced host. Don’t you think it would be a good idea for a new host to use all the available options until they get proficient with the whole thing? New hosts may not even know how to understand some of the coded language hosts use in reviews, so might not realize they are seeing a review that indicates it wasn’t a good guest.

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This stuff has to stop - ‘coded language’ should not take the place of honesty and accuracy.

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One of my pet peeves! I’m an experienced host and I don’t understand coded language. One I hate is “better suited for a hotel.” Completely meaningless. I might understand if I knew the host and/or had time to look at their listing, other reviews they’ve left and so on.

Just the fact’s ma’am is my preferred host review language. Tell me which of your rules were violated, if they smoked or were noisy or needy, left stains, etc.

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I agree. But good luck getting all hosts to do that. And some hosts do have legitimate safety concerns about writing a blatantly honest review for guests they have had who are lowlifes and live locally.

I hate the “Better suited to a hotel”, but I don’t mind so much the “Guest stayed 3 days” because that says to me that the host had nothing good to say but may have been afraid of some physical retalition (slashed tires, vandalism) from the type of guests I mentioned above.

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I suppose. That’s another excuse that’s given that I have my doubts about. As a teacher some of my peers thought it was crazy that my name and address was listed in the phone book. But the only issue I ever had was a parent who called me at home in the evening once. That includes failing a (problem) student who went on to be convicted for shaking his baby to death.

But I acknowledge that other hosts have to operate within their comfort level, not mine. But a worthless review is a worthless review.

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I agree- I think it’s just paranoia -I’ve never heard about any host saying that a guest retaliated in some physical way to a bad review. But as you say, everyone has to do what is in their comfort level in that regard and I’ve never had a guest who was the sort I’d be scared of, so it’s hard to say how I’d feel if that were the case.

If a host realized a local had booked and was cooking up meth in their listing, was aggressive in communication, or made threats, I can see being cautious about the review I left.

First, the important thing is

I use IB with these settings (and I can tell you why):

Profile photo (uploading one demonstrates a cooperative nature, though I do not actually care what they look like)

Govt Issued ID (again, getting verified demonstrates a cooperative nature, though I am not going to check their ID in person)

Pre-Booking Message I use this to get basic information (who, how many, why and dietary preferences) so that I can best customize the guests’ stay. I also mention in this message that they should turn on “notifications” in their profile so that communication is easiest.

I don’t use Recommendation from Other Hosts because it makes it harder (and effectively eliminates some) for people new to Airbnb to get booked and I personally really enjoy having guests who are using Airbnb for the first time (and spoil them so that they get hooked).

I use the Moderate Cancellation Policy. It works for me because I can almost always re-book with the 5-days notice it provides and when I do re-book I usually do so at a higher price to last minute bookers. Also, I don’t want someone coming and staying if they really don’t want to or really can’t for some reason. Life is uncertain so I am fine with people not really being certain until 5 days prior. I tried the Strict Policy briefly, right before Covid started and so it did me no good whatsoever, but I also don’t like to argue with people over money more than 5 days before their stay. I will never use the Flexible Policy because I live in a market where hosts get all crazy and drop prices to nearly nothing as dates approach so it makes it too easy for folks to bargain shop and cancel. I need a little more commitment than that and I am not going to drop prices (I actually raise them as the date nears) and am not going to participate in that race to the bottom. So, I do indeed need/want at least, but only a moderate amount of commitment, so that is why the Moderate Policy works for me.

My House Rules are primarily informative. No parties, No Smoking, Not Appropriate for Infants and Children and then I say that people have to contact me prior to booking if they are bringing a dog or need more than one parking spot. I also say that smoking is okay outside. And, currently because of Covid, that masks must be worn in common areas and that unregistered guests are prohibited for the time being (before Covid, I didn’t mind).

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I’m very similar to much of @KKC ‘s posting. I don’t do Instant Book because I’m in a spring break, graduation celebration, bachelor party celebration destination.

I agree with her assessment that there is no one answer & it all depends.

Don’t worry about the people who seem judgey. There are many who are interested in helping.

People who use “why do you…” often don’t realize it comes across as judgey or confrontational.

@KKC THANK YOU! This was very very helpful! I have learned much from reading everyones comments… some things I had no previous understanding/knowledge of.

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