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Does declining an INQUIRY actually hurt you

RiverRockRetreat replied to a post in another thread saying to never decline because it would hurt your search rank.

I declined an Inquiry 3 weeks ago. I posted about it where the guest had asked if I would make an exception to the no parties or events rule and allow a baby shower with 30 guests. I declined the Inquiry as I thought it was appropriate to do so.

If there was some drop in search rank, it was either small or short-lived because I got several booking a few days later. Does declining inquiries actually hurt you, or does that apply only to Reservation Requests?

Airbnb coders are probably the only ones who really know.

With an inquiry I just respond to the question and/or pre-approve. Why risk the wrath of the Airbnb Search result Fates by touching a decline button? So I don’t.

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I never decline anything, most of my bookings are IB but when I get an inquiry I pre approve. Porn shoot? bring it on, sex workers? Don’t smoke in the house and keep the lube containers on the coasters. Heads in Beds.

So maybe I was not the best one to answer that other post because I am in the business of hosting, not declining.

RR

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I was under the impression that one only had to respond to an inquiry. I only respond and do not press decline or approve since it’s not a booking just an inquiry but perhaps I’m wrong.

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In my case, pre-approving seems like the wrong response. That’s almost like saying “sure, have 30 people over”. I have pre-approved if the guest asked a question that was reasonable. And several times I let the time expire when a guest asked for a discount [Edit: after politely responding with a “no”].

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I wouldn’t do this, just respond that your rate is the best you can offer based on the amenities provided or something like that. Not responding to an inquiry does effect your listing, much more than a decline on an inquiry.

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I didn’t mean that I didn’t respond, I most certainly did. It’s just that I let the time expire instead of pre-approving or declining.

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This is correct regarding maintaining your response rate, but I am wondering if a host gets in any way penalized specifically for declining an inquiry.

BTW, there is a bug that I have encountered (and I have read many others have as well) where you respond to in inquiry but the 24-hour clock keeps counting down. I declined an inquiry asking for a discount before I even hosted my first guests because the clock didn’t stop when I responded. I thought it was going to affect my response rate, and even by the time I declined, another guest had booked the same dates so it should’ve said “Not Possible”, but the inquiry just sat there counting down.

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The work around for this is after you respond go to your dashboard and then back to inbox and the buggy inquiry again. When you leave the inquiry this time then the clock has always stopped finally for me. This is a known bug by AirBnB.

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You are correct! …

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The clock doesn’t ever stop for me until I refresh the page but then it’s stopped. It seems that it doesn’t update itself.

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That did work for me one other time, but not that very first time (I just looked it up, it was December 16, 2018). I switched browsers, rebooted my computer, it just counted away like I never responded. I didn’t have the app on my phone at the time, but my wife did, and it was counting away there, too. I used “Dates booked by another guest” or something like that as the reason for the decline and the clock stopped.

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When we get inquiries or requests, I always respond promptly with a written answer.

If I want to decline, I say “No” and tell why in the reply. I have never hit “Decline” for any inquiry, no matter how crazy it is.

If I want to accept, I click “Accept” but also add a written answer.

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I don’t use IB, so I get requests or inquiries to book. If I don’t feel comfortable with the inquiry or know that the location won’t work for what they want to do (hang out in Clearwater and I’m a 2 hour drive away in traffic in high season or rush hour), then I’ll tell them so.

After 3 times of either letting the inquiry expiring, I heard from Air that I would be dropped in search rankings due to not accepting all inquiries.

I called CS and got a lovely woman and walked her through the 3 different inquiries and she said she’d have my account reset.

So yes, they do track. :-/ And it will have an effect upon your rankings unless you call CS.

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I am on a roll with bottom feeders. I have had 8 enquiries in the last month from people without verification, profiles, etc. and / or asking about discounts. What can you do? We are getting into the slower season.

That countdown shows you how much time you have left to approve them because you haven’t declined. It’s a trick to make you think you have to decline when all you have to do is reply, even if the reply is a simple “No”.

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Use instant booking and you can require full profile, verification, no negative reviews. That’s what I do now.

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Accept everyone, IB with no requirements works well for me. Whole house listing, I do not live there so it’s not the same for everyone. Heads in beds is my motto.

RR

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You have to decline your request if they want to stay six months and then you’re probably going to get dinged for declining

@justMandi If they don’t have stuff filled out and I want it then I just respond letting them know it will need to be done before a booking can be completed. I send them the links to make it easy. I also tell them that it will make it easier to book next time, which is true. They are usually new users so I also welcome them to the community. I make sure the tone is “super-helpful and casual”. Every single person I’ve done this with has complied and thanked me for helping them. It has the added benefit of already having a conversation prior to the booking, already making a connection. If someone were to refuse or become overly defensive, that would be good information too. Here are the links I use. Sometimes I only ask for the ID, depends. The Airbnb Help is difficult to navigate so I just try to make it easy for them. Most folks comply within 20 minutes when I do it this way.

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1170/what-are-the-requirements-to-book-on-airbnb

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1237/how-does-it-work-when-airbnb-asks-for-an-id

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