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Changes in Instant Book, just got an email from Air


It appears that some changes were made in Instant book; allowing us to cancel any time (with no penalty?); booker needs to sign and agree to have read house rules, etc.

Discuss? My first thought is that this is an improvement over the previous Instant Book, where you had no recourse and nobody read your rules.


I sent them mail with questions:

  1. photo and message now, but still no ID verification?
  2. cancel with no penalty? Is that only for a guest we think is sketchy, or for any reason.
    I took myself off instant because I work full time and have two listings and could get in a scheduling bind and want to prevent that.

To be honest I don’t know how much more business it gives you since they are not very transparent about it. I turned off instant book since most people don’t read the house rules before they book.


AirBNb claims that hosts who use IB get as much as 2x the bookings as those who don’t. I think there are so many more risks involved with IB (people looking to party, people arriving with too many guests, etc.) and so it makes sense that hosts ought to have a bit more latitude to cancel.

I personally would never use instant book as I really need to screen my guests.

BTW – this new policy specifies that IB hosts are limited to 3 free cancellations a year (for any reason). If it were unlimited, guests would steer clear of IB if they thought hosts could easily cancel their booking – there would be little incentive to use it.

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Not sure if I trust this. I have a MASSIVE issue with guests not reading the description and/or rules before booking, so I welcome that they will have to do this moving forward, but as Karen says, I prefer to book my own schedule. That being said I’ve been using IB and am usually booked back to back which is very exhausting, but profitable.


interesting! can I ask you to forward me the email?


sure! where do I send it?


I have been thinking about turning Instant Book on for a week or two just to fill my calendar. I’ve dropped my price to the point I am competing with air matresses and hide-a-beds, and I’m at just under 50% occupancy. I know it is the off season, but I’d like a little more activity on my page. It has been over a week since I’ve even got an inquiry.

Can you charge more with instant book?
Do you get worse reviews since you aren’t screening out the bad fits?


I found that I get about the same amount of ‘real’ bookings. I DO get more ‘last minute’ reservations, like a guy driving thru and needing a place to stay.

I do warn you that it really does set up a more ‘hotel like’ situation, since along with instant book sometimes comes a lack of compassion that they are coming into a private home. I got one guy who, when I sent him a ‘where do i park, how do i get in’ standard text, got an indignant 'wow so much to read and anyway house rule x y and z are not to my liking". He actually told me that all he wanted was a place to sleep and was bringing dinner with him (despite the house rule no eating in the room). I think that altho airbnb tells US that the guest signs an agreement that they have (for instance) read and understood the house rules, that they figure that it is like the agreement they get when they install an app, not to be read but simply agreed to,…


Yikes! I’d hope to avoid that kind of guest by requiring a week ahead of time for instant book, and requiring only “recommended” guests, but I bet a lot still get through anyways. (I already require verified ID.)


I have this turned on as well but recently I have had requests to stay from people that have not been verified with an offline ID. How does this work then? If I had accepted the booking, would they then get a message from Air stating that they needed to verify their ID … I thought they would have already done this to be able to request in the first place!



As a guest, I tend to notice instant book properties pricing is higher. I assume the hosts build a “greater opportunity for jerks/less notice to get ready” fee into the nightly rate.

That said, from other guests I’ve talked to, they also expect IB properties to be fancier/not have any idiosyncrasies.

So I guess it’s a two sided coin?


They have to verify their ID before the booking is complete. I have had a few guests inquire and then upload their ID to secure the booking, so it Air must be prompting them to do so.

@JustShootMe Definitely sounds like a two-sided coin. The “entry” price for a basic room in a house in my city jumps from $50 a night to $80 a night with instant book, with the exception of a few “boarding houses” that have a bunch of rooms for rent. My place is idiosyncratic (guests often trip the breaker, I have pets, the entry is through the garage) so maybe IB is not best for my property, as I’ve been able to mostly weed out guests who don’t want such idiosyncrasies.

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I personally like places that have idiosyncrasies- I think they’re often the nicest, and usually have really great hosts because they take the time to let you know, and have generally had good interactions.

I think I would hesitate in general because people often don’t read listings all the way through.
I once stayed in a place that had no wifi, and the guy in the rental next to mine was hopping mad at the host for renting a place without it.

I was like, dude, it says there isn’t any on the site. You’re in the middle of a deadzone.
We actually ended up getting him onto prepaid mobile wifi which just got you 2g speeds, but was enough if you just needed email or text stuff.

That said, if IB jumps the rate a lot higher- maybe try upping your rate under normal conditions to see if you have more/less stays. I’ve heard a lot of hosts get better quality guests when they up their rates a little bit.

Worth a try?

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I may just try it! I might wait a few days and see if the “air photographer” photos help me boost my listing. He came by the week before last, so I am hoping the pictures will show up on my account any day now.

I upped my price once I had three 5-star reviews, and I was getting booking requests every day, but it has slowed down and I’ve dropped my prices again, and still haven’t gotten many inquiries. I have been very happy with most my guests so far since I’ve been attracting mostly “backpacker” types who are very happy to have something nicer than a youth hostel.


It’s maybe also the season - my place was booked solid for most of the year, but since November you can see the tumbleweed flying by hahaha

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Xena - did you put your listing in the ‘show off you listing’ thread? @JustShootMe is a frequent guest so would have some good perspective on your listing and what could be done, if anything, to improve it. I shop on airbnb a number of times a year and have a family of 5. I’d be happy to take a look also.

I turned on IB months ago and was thrilled to quickly get a booking - so so easy - not a ton of questions, going back-and-forth - a couple of single guys coming into town for a game conference - friendly, articulate, pleasant. Since then only 10 - maybe 8% of my bookings are IB. I still get inquiries asking how close I am to the metro, etc., though it is all stated in the opening description. My take is that people using airbnb want that personal interaction, or, they are new to it and just don’t really understand how it all works, so they ask questions - “is your space available?” “May I rent this space?” etc.

So I was using IB to save me time, and also, so many requests come in from Europe or Asia in the middle of the night - I thought it would be easier than waking up early to respond.

Try it and see! I’ve had no negative experiences - just the disappointment that people don’t use it more.

Also, as you book up, inquiries will slow down, because you have less availability - not just for the days you are booked, but for trips that would include that day on the front or end - does that make sense?

I also would love to see how your ad looks AFTER the professional photos. I’m hesitant to try them because I don’t want my photos to look so great that people think they are staying in the pages of Vanity Fair, lol - it’s just me, my family, and our home. Just as we are. BUT, once the full bath is complete (laugh track comes on here…) I may give it a try.


I don’t think the pro photos oversell you at all. I only have a few of the original pro photos as my place has been updated so much. I loved how nice they made the bathroom look! You should try them anyway DC. You can always toss any of the photos that you don’t like. You’re not obligated to keep them.

I also think people are sort of used to the architectural digest look after seeing so many people use these in listings for rentals and homes for sale. Just give it a go! It’s free so why not!

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To so many of the brand new hosts–you will learn to recognize the clear seasonal drops in your area! Hawaii becomes a dead zone after April! I mean dead. You couldn’t give away a room. So that’s why it’s key to make hay while the sun shines!!!mit picks back up again in December. But that is a long time to go with just a few bookings.

I’m always booked back to back in January, February and March. But this year I have had to block off March to accommodate a contractor’s schedule and I’m sort of bummed!! Wish he could work in the summer when I don’t have guests clamoring to stay! Just better to get it over with I think!!


Ha ha I’ve seen some photos where the lighting makes it look like Jesus Christ may walk into the room at any minute…

But yes, once we get our contractor to finish the job (groan moan moan) he started last October I will set that up. The bathroom is tiny and a bit weirdly shaped so I could use a professional to make it look nice - because really, it is. Here’s the best I could get so far - it’s crooked so would never post it. But at least the walls are not bare sheet rock anymore - at least not all of them. The toilet ‘nook’ still has chunks of plaster spread all over it, and where the exhaust fan is there’s not sheet rock at all - the person on the pot can look up and see the sub floor of our living room!!! This has been a very painful experience. I am S-H-O-C-K-E-D that no one has complained in our reviews.

In the photo the tile looks brown but is charcoal, so coordinates with the tile in the shower.

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