Booking questions

@Annet3176 Thank you for the comments and the advice! I definitely have a lot to learn.

Yes, including IB.
I turned mine off early on and my listing plummeted to the bottom so I turned it right back on.

I have been on IB since I started. I do not see a downside for me.


You didn’t mention what type of listing you have (whole home, shared space, etc.). I think if I had a shared space listing, I would make everything much more strict, but with my whole home listing, this is what I did:

Instant book: Yes. The ranking boost is a big deal. I don’t think I would ever turn it off, but if I did, I’d have to be very confident in maintaining a healthy occupancy rate before doing so. One caveat is that I combined instant-book with a minimum advance notice of 2 days.

Profile Photo: No. About 1/3 of my guests had profile photos of that didn’t include the guest’s face in the photo (i.e. it was a photo of their pet, or their children, a flower, etc.). It’s not worth a lot, but I agree with @JJD that, for the most part, it shows the guest made an effort of being cooperative. Still, I didn’t turn this on because I don’t care what guests look like.

Pre-booking message: No. I didn’t really need to know anything about the guest group that wasn’t in the reservation details.

Recommendations from other hosts: No, then yes. What I decided was to turn this off when I was new and turn it on after I’d been hosting a year. The reason is that turning it on not only excludes guests with bad reviews, but it also excludes guest with no reviews (i.e. 1st-time guests and guests that have completed reservations but the host never left a review). Guests with no reviews were easily over 50% of my business for the first year and 70% the first 6 months.

Government ID: Yes. I verified my own ID as a host and I expected it of guests. I think it does prevent some bad guests from booking, but there’s way to no measure it. I’ve read it’s possible to fake and it’s also far from a guarantee that a guest isn’t planning to do something “bad”, like have wild party, smoke in the house, etc. but for the most part, it shows the guest’s effort to be “good”.

Cancellation Policy: I don’t think you can make the best decision on this until you’ve been hosting for a couple years and you have data on how far in advance guests book and how close to check-in guests cancel (even then, any data from March 2020 through at least July 2021 is skewed). I only used flexible policy. My data showed me that using moderate policy would never have been a benefit to me (because I never had a cancellation less than 5 days before check-in). On the other hand, there is a specific search filter for flexible, so using a flexible policy might help. [Edit: as JJD said in a later post, the search filter actually includes flexible and moderate, but not strict.]

Also, regarding “people looking to take advantage,” Airbnb is trying to stop some bad behavior by using an algorithm to detect a guest’s intent to have a party at your listing. Here’s one thread on the subject, but there are others. It’s another imperfect solution, but something hosts should be aware of.


Re profile photos, it’s not really about caring what the guest looks like, it’s partly about the person who shows up being the person who booked, and also some hosts have gotten booking requests from guests whose photo was of them posing with a gun, one was giving the finger to the camera while holding his crotch, some were quite scantily clad, like sex worker ads.

If a guest thinks those are an appropriate way to present themselves when asking to rent someone’s home, most hosts would consider them an automatic decline.


This is true, but it’s relevant to note that the search filter for flexible cancellation actually filters for both Flexible policies and Moderate cancellation policies. Cancellation flexibility is anything but a Strict Policy. So, if that’s the tipping point for the decision, you can still use a moderate policy. Personally, I don’t particularly want to appeal to guests whose priority is easy cancellation (so I kind of wish they didn’t include moderate policies in that filter).

However, I do think that some listings definitely benefit from a flexible policy. Listings close to highways that host people traveling through come to mind (@KKC maybe?). I’ve driven back and forth across the country a lot and I know that the flexibility helps with that, cause you might think you’re gonna make it to Phoenix the next day but you’re too tired to drive anymore by Tuscon, for example.


Even with flexible you have to cancel 24 hours ahead. But also with my listing if someone cancels I probably get a replacement booking a good portion of the time. If someone cancels on Thursday night for their Friday stay I usually refund if I get a replacement booking.

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Me either. Also I have it in my rules that to be certain before you book as my policy does not allow for reservation changes.


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@Brian_R170 this is great info! I have a whole house listing and I agree that I need some time to evaluate my current settings and if they are working. I just changed the instant book to two days’ notice as well and I have a two-night minimum for stays. So far this is working. thank you for your advice!!!

I started with that. I had lots of bookings. I now have 3 night & am thinking about making it 4 night.

The wear & tear on my condo with frequent short bookings was just too much.

I also started with a maximum of 6 guests 2br2ba entire home listing, then to max 4 and now I lock off one BR1Ba and have Max 2 guests. The maintenance required for more heads in beds wasn’t worth the extra maintenance.

The point is whatever you do at the beginning will probably change and evolve as you figure out what works. Change is expected so don’t feel “stuck” and like whatever you do now is written in stone going forward

Absolutely, ABSOLUTELY turn on government ID for ALL bookings. The only people who trashed my home (and so bad Airbnb paid for repairs) or gave me one star reviews, were those with no govt ID. I just say to a guest (as they try to book for 30 days) “thank you for choosing our home, although it seems you forgot the Govt ID. Airbnb needs a government ID - as soon as you do that I can accept your request”. About 50% dont book. I just had a doozy guest with ~15 great reviews but she was a real pain, and threatened me, Airbnb removed her review - all 1*s. So reviews dont worry me. It is the government ID (touch wood) that has stopped most of the crazys with ill intent. Cheers

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I do not see the point for me, Air will not share it with the host. I have no requirements checked at all. My prices are higher than the average in my area and I am booked as much as I want to be. I have never had a bad guest, some are more messy than others. I have never had to make a claim for anything.


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