Determining the reason for an inquiry -- why not IB?

Hi all - I’ve got instant book turned on (and have for years). Depending on the listing, I do require things like Government ID, recommendation from hosts, etc.

Fairly often I will get an inquiry where it is unclear why the guest isn’t able to instant book. I am assuming it is because there is some criteria they don’t meet. For example, if I have a 2 day minimum, they would have to send an inquiry to book (even if they meet all other criteria). But it could also be that they have no government ID, or most worryingly of all, no host recommendation.

Is there a way to determine the reason a guest is unable to book instantly?

I realize I can do some deduction (i.e. if the stay is for 1 night, that might be the reason. Or if it says “awaiting government ID”, that’d be it). But I’m wondering if there is an easier way.

Its tricky because we have 6 listings, and they all have different requirements (i.e. I take 1-nighters at location A, I don’t worry about Host Recccomendations at location B, etc.).

I’ve used IB ever since I started with Airbnb and I get inquiries too.

Often, they are because the potential guest needs to know something - how near we are to a certain location or similar. (Although some have been pretty weird but that’s a subject of its own).

If it hasn’t been a can-we-bring-the-cat or how-close-is-the-beach inquiry then I’ve asked the reason. In my case it’s never that they don’t meet my IB criteria because I don’t have any.

The most common reason I’ve heard is that they simply haven’t realised that they could book instantly. With some of them, if they’re not new, they’ve had to send an inquiry for previous stays so think that’s the way it’s properly done.

But if you don’t get a question in the inquiry, just ask them. No-one has ever refused to tell me.


I mostly get longer bookings, and lots of them start with an inquiry instead of IB. I figure they are vetting me! :blush:


If you see on their profile that they are new to Airbnb, or have no reviews yet, that would tell you that they have no positive reviews or recommendations yet, and you can also see on their profile whether they have verified ID. Don’t you ever look at guest’s profiles?

Also, be aware that contrary to Airbnb’s assertion that all guests prefer to IB, I have had guests who tell me they would never use IB, particularly single women. They want to exchange a message or two with the host before booking, to get a feel for them. As Mica said, they are vetting the host. And guests who’ve had some bad past experience may feel it wise to do this.

And of course, if a guest wants to ask a question or clarify something before committing to a booking, they should send an inquiry first.
While the majority of time guests will IB if possible, an inquiry doesn’t always mean the guest didn’t meet your requirements.

And I can’t quite understand why “no recommendations from other hosts” would be the most worrying. Plenty of hosts, like me, have never used IB, so we can’t have that requirement. It makes sense to have that option for IBs, as you have no way of vetting them before a booking is confiirmed. With Inquiries and Requests, you have a chance to look at their reviews, if they have any, and to communicate with them before deciding whether to accept, and pick up on red flags.

Plenty of hosts have had IB guests who met all the criteria, including several 5* reviews, who turned out to be awful. It’s no assurance of unproblematic guests.

I should clarify: what I’m wondering is if a guest that does NOT quality because they’re lacking “Host Recommendation” is able to send an inquiry. It would take some fairly tedious sleuthing to narrow it down to that.

I understand that many (most?) of the time people inquire because they’re asking a clarifying question or asking for an exception.

And yes @muddy, I realize I can comb through peoples profiles and figure it out (or at least narrow it down). The question I was trying to ask was if there is a more efficient/explicit way to find out if there was a specific criteria they didn’t match.

Yes. Ask them why they didn’t instant book. Just ask.


Any guest can send an inquiry, even if they have negative reviews. The IB requirements you can check don’t apply to inquiries or requests. The only requirement hosts can check for non-IBs is profile photo.

I can’t imagine there is any way to know why they can’t IB without a bit of sleuthing or just asking them. But a guest wouldn’t know that a host had checked “would not host again”, which is what “recommended by other hosts” refers to. And because some hosts don’t leave honest reviews, you wouldn’t necessarily see a bad written review that would make that evident to you.
What you are really talking about is some function that tells you exactly why a guest can’t IB and no such thing exists.

I’ve set my IB requirements to the minimum possible and still get requests instead of IB’s. I believe AirBnB sometimes turns off your IB “privilege” if you’ve cancelled recently. And if the guest has kids and you don’t allow kids, or pets and you don’t allow pets, it will be a request instead of an IB.

For my listing, I can’t see any logical pattern to IB vs request (or inquiry), though. As some of the prior posters have said, maybe some guests are checking out the owner. Perhaps they put a request in, and if the owner doesn’t accept it or at least respond within a set number of hours, they’ll rescind it due to the belief the host is not responsive.

That makes sense. I’ve certainly read frantic guest posts saying they IBed a place weeks or months ahead, never got any thank you for booking message from the host, thought that was a bit odd, but perhaps normal for IBs, then when their check-in day is imminent and the host hasn’t sent any check-in info nor answered their messages, they are of course extremely concerned. It would only take one experience like this to make a guest wary of IBing without communicating with the host first to see if they get a prompt response.