Consequences of Declining a Request

Hi all!

A week or so ago, after hosting for about 18 months, we Declined our first Inquiry. We are a no-pets/no-smoking listing to preserve the comfort of all our guests without having to deep clean up to 2 to 3 times a week. (We do back-to-back, have Noon checkout and 4 PM check-in.) Our pet policy is clear if one reads the listing & house rules (and it’s reiterated as soon as our friendly but firm confirmation message is sent.)

A lady asked “Hi! We have a small 7 pound chihuahua who is 3 years old and house broken. Would we be able to bring her with us?”

We decided to decline, cordially explaining our position stated above. Our thoughts were that even if they would have been “fine” coming without their dog, and may have simply Instant Booked at that point, we felt it opened us up to the possibility of our first non-5-star review. So, done.

But an hour ago, a new-to-the-platform guest asked, as a Request to Book:
“Hi. I am looking to book July 7 and 8, two nights. Is it ok that we check in earlier than 4pm on July 7 if we arrive earlier? I’m coming from Sacramento. My flight would be probably earlier. Also would you change the hot tub water after each guest? Thank you.”

Here’s the reply we sent:
"Hi guestname!

Thanks for your inquiry! We won’t know if we can offer early check-in until closer to the date. It depends on whether there will be a guest checking out at noon that same day. If that ends up being the case, we will need a certain amount of time to properly clean and prepare the cabin in order to give you the best experience possible. We appreciate your understanding. What check-in time are you hoping for?

We don’t change the water between guests. The 300 gallon hot tub has an excellent filtration system, and we treat and adjust the chemistry between each guest. We do drain and refill the tub periodically according to the manufacturer guidelines.

Let us know if you have any other questions."

We’re now waiting to see her response. We’d probably rather not deal with this guest, and may decide to Decline. But if she is congenial and all seems fine, we could accept.

Because we don’t want to unnecessarily tarnish our Response Rate OR our Decline Count, we’ve decided that if she does not respond by dinner time, we’ll simply click Accept. This will lock her into the reservation (unless it goes into Awaiting Payment limbo - grievance for another time), requiring her to accept the situation or cancel the booking herself (we use the Flexible policy).

What are your thoughts, and does anyone know how many Declines in what period of time becomes a problem, or triggers messages from the platform?

All the best,


I’m not sure. You don’t need to decline. I simple say that my listing is not a good fit for you because of so and so. If they argue I block them.

Declining an Inquiry does not affect your Acceptance Rate. So if it was an Inquiry and not a Request, it doesn’t count toward or against anything, there’s no reason to keep track of it.

Here’s the basic info:

  • Declining (or accepting) a Request affects your Acceptance rate.

  • Acceptance rate is the percentage of reservations that you Accept (duh, right?, but I have a point here) that come to you either as a Request or as an IB. So if you use IB, all of the IBs that are booked with you go towards your Acceptance rate too. Some hosts don’t realize that it’s not only Accepted Requests vs Declined Requests but that’s actually Reservations Booked vs Requests Declined.

  • Acceptance rate is not a criterion for Superhost so it does not affect Superhost status.

  • In the past, it was possible to check your Acceptance rate under Stats but they no longer show it (I haven’t seen it for about 6 months).

  • I suspect they are no longer actively tracking Acceptance rate but are instead focusing on Party issues and Cancelation issues, both of which would be improved if hosts don’t accept reservations that they don’t want or feel comfortable with, but it’s just a hunch. Anecdotally, I declined several requests last Fall and my Acceptance rate never changed from 100%. YMMV.

  • When Acceptance rate was visibly tracked the goal was 88%. If it fell below 88%, which mine often did, the percentage was shown in red type instead of black type. I experienced no other difference, not even in search ranking.

  • Again, declining an Inquiry does not affect Acceptance rate.

I use IB so I only very rarely get a Request but when I do it’s almost always inappropriate (and a PITA) and when it is I just go ahead and decline it. I used to spend the full 24 hours trying to get the guest to withdraw it so that I wouldn’t have to decline but I grew weary of it. And I realized it’s better to have my calendar open back up ASAP than spending time on something that isn’t going to work out.

A related note. I’ve booked two Airbnbs recently and, presumably because I am eligible to
IB, there was no option for me to Request instead. There used to be a choice to Request even if you could IB. I had a good reason to want to Request rather than IB and couldn’t so I had to send an Inquiry and hope the place didn’t book while I was waiting.

Hosts with IB have come here in the past concerned that there was a reason that the guest couldn’t IB and therefore had to Request (e.g. that another host had chosen wouldn’t host again). I was one of many that offered reasons why a perfectly good guest would choose to Request even if they could IB so there was no reason to be suspicious of them. And that was true at the time but I don’t think it is anymore. An IB host now has reason to be a bit suspicious of a guest that has reviews (or trips) but sends a Request (because it doesn’t appear they have a choice any longer).


Thanks! That’s all very helpful info! If she doesn’t get back to us by 9PM, we’ll just decline.

1 Like

There is no reason to ever decline an Inquiry. All an inquiry requires is a written response within 24 hrs. You can safely ignore Airbnb’s pesky messages pressuring you to pre-approve or decline. As inquiries are just a way to ask questions, there really shouldn’t be pre-approve and decline buttons anyway.

I have pre-approved inquiries if it’s a guest with a history of good reviews, who sent a nice initial message and just wanted clarification about something, because it makes it quicker for them to book rather than then having to send a request to accept. But I’ve never declined an inquiry- if it’s not a good fit, I just answer to that effect and let the inquiry expire. It doesn’t block the calendar.

As far as accepting a request where the guest is asking for something you don’t allow, @Tranquility_Base, a host in another forum said this was her M.O. to keep up her acceptance rate. She would message the guest, if after telling them she doesn’t accept pets and doesn’t make exceptions (or whatever the issue) they didn’t withdraw the request. She’d say something like,

“Hi, XX, As I see you haven’t withdrawn the request after letting you know we can’t make an exception to our no pets rule, I am assuming you will make other arrangements for your dog and I will go ahead and accept your booking in half an hour on that basis. If you do need a pet-friendly listing, please withdraw your request, as Airbnb will charge you as soon as I accept the request, then you will have to cancel and wait for a refund.”

So you can do something like that, or just decline. As long as you don’t decline too often, you won’t get threatening messages from Airbnb. When hosts do get those messages, it seems to be when they have declined say, 3 requests in a row, because they are novices and don’t have tricks up their sleeve for vetting and discouraging inappropriate requests or have descriptions which aren’t clear (so guests don’t realize what the rules are or what they are asking to book), or if the acceptance rate falls below 88%, but even hosts who have had their acceptance rate drop into the 70s have said that aside from the warnings, they didn’t get suspended or anything.

1 Like

I love this! Shit or get off the pot!

1 Like

It’s always a good idea to make guests think you are concerned about not inconveniencing them, rather than that they are throwing a wrench in your works by not responding in a timely manner . If they are made aware they might be negatively impacted, that matters to them- not whether you are.


I totally get it. It’s why our wording for the “sorry we can’t give you early check-in” message works. It’s to ensure the quality of their stay.


…aaaaand she’s withdrawn her request.


I’m sorry but this has got to be the most pervasive host rumor ever. I’m truly curious: What do you imagine the decline button is for on an Inquiry? Do you imagine that it has no function whatsoever or do you think it’s a trick of some sort?

Declining an Inquiry prevents the guest from requesting or IBing with you. That is the reason to decline an Inquiry. It also triggers the system to send them a list of more suitable listings to move them along their way.

Most people are friendly and reasonable and I just answer their question and they book or they don’t. However, some people are very pushy and they want something that I don’t or can’t deal with so I decline their Inquiry so that I don’t have to deal with them again. The most annoying thing in the world of hosting, to me, is when I’ve told someone “no” in an Inquiry and then they Request to Book or IB.

It’s a waste of my time and theirs so I’d say there is no reason to ever not decline an Inquiry unless you want to deal further with that guest.


Okay, I get your point, I’ve just never had anyone try to book after I have discouraged them through the inquiry, so that didn’t occur to me. So there is a reason to decline inquiries, it’s just that some hosts think it’s required, when it isn’t.

And I was sure they used to count inquiry declines against the acceptance rate. They never have?

1 Like

That is why I block a person who makes an inappropriate inquiry. I think blocking is the only way to prevent them from not booking or sending request to book. I had a guest who inquired about certain set of dates and I declined her inquiry. But later on she was able to instant book a different set of dates.

1 Like

What part of “no pets” do these people not understand? Just because the dog is 7 pounds or a chihuahua it’s not a pet? :roll_eyes:

I’d be so tempted to say to folks like this, “Sure you can bring her, if she’ll be okay with getting left in your car the whole time.”


At least she asked for permission rather than just doing it.

But the problem with hosting this type of person is they will continue asking for things that you don’t provide in the listing. It gets very tiring to keep saying no no no.


Nicely played!



I just now had to deal with this exact situation. I have a private room/bath, max of 4 nights, no smoking, no cooking, living room is not shared and I am about the most expensive in my area. This is not a cheap stay. A woman inquired for a 16 night stay starting in 3 days with her adult daughter and she stated the daughter has issues. She said they wouldn’t need to cook as her brothers (plural) live on the island and she can cook there if she needs to. She also said she smokes but would be careful not to smoke in my home. She just registered with Airbnb today. Fwiw, there are many other options a quarter of the cost that offer everything she is looking for.

I responded that I didn’t think we would be a good fit as I try to limit stays to 4 nights but never over a week and the room only has a queen bed for them to share. And since the living room is not shared and I don’t allow cooking, I said I was concerned for their comfort due to the length of the stay. Her response? She sent a booking request forcing me to decline.

Could have avoided it if I’d just declined in the beginning. Way too many red flags on this one. I could be wrong but it felt off. And awkward.


The oddest thing to me is that anyone would be so insistent on staying somewhere they obviously aren’t welcome. Especially a home-share or on-site host situation. Like they are going to be somehow amiably co-existing for weeks with someone who has made it clear she doesn’t want them there?


It’s not that so much to me as how the mother thinks they can be comfortable in a home for that long with no kitchen access and no place to sit indoors other than on the bed. The bedroom is too small for any type of couch or chair and the sitting room attached is just a loveseat and ottoman.

The mother admits there are developmental challenges her daughter faces, will she understand enough to know she does not have free reign of the home? Especially if I’m not here. Does the daughter have fear of dogs, I have 4 and the big guy barks at everyone and is very protective of the space when I’m not here. I really try not to leave unless necessary, thus my 4 night limit. And of course once you meet people this can be judged on an individual basis.

1 Like

I had a mother/adult daughter here once. They booked a two night stay. The daughter was applying for a job or looking at school or something most of the day and the mom spent all day on my front porch smoking. It wasn’t in my house but it was one of the most unpleasant stays ever. I’m not going to “prohibit” smokers, and it’s not something that I feel is enforceable but thankfully it’s only happened once out of over 1000 stays.

1 Like

Well, as far as them being comfortable there, with the limited space allotted for guests, as hosts, we have no idea what living situation a guest is accustomed to. There are many places and situations where an entire family of 5 lives in one or two small rooms, with no, or minimal cooking facilities, and many cultures see nothing wrong with several family members sharing a bed that we might feel is only suitable for 1 or 2 people. Maybe she planned to spend most of the day at one of her brothers’ places, since she said she could cook there, and only needed a place to sleep and shower because their places are too small for 2 more people.

For sure, without being advised of the daughter’s disabilities and how it affects her behavior, you have no idea whether the daughter might be terrified of the dogs, be thrilled to have dogs to play with, or want to hug them to death. Or whether she is the type to wander around through the house or passively sits wherever she’s told to…

I can certainly understand why you wouldn’t accept this booking- there’s just too many what-ifs.
A friend who hosts got a booking, and when she saw the profile photo of the guests, who were seriously obese, she tried to encourage them to cancel, because she knew there was no way they would fit in her small shower stall, or even maneuver themselves in the postage stamp size bathroom. Of course she didn’t mention anything about their weight, just that she wanted to warn them that the bathroom was quite small, as is the shower stall, in case that was a deal breaker for them, and she had another discouragement card to play regarding the city digging up the street in front of her house, meaning they might have to park a block away. She offered to fully refund them if they wanted to cancel, but they said no, they still wanted to come.
They arrived, huffing and puffing from the one block walk with their luggage, and when she showed them into the suite, took one look at the bathroom and decided to leave.

She refunded them anyway- she just wanted them gone, but she was certainly irritated that they had insisted on coming when she knew it very literally wasn’t a good fit.