Guest couldn't instant book, I couldn't figure out why, so I declined guest. Thoughts?

As most of you know, there were policy changes at AirBnB in November that affect Instant Booking.

The new policies on IB are vague about what gets a guest rejected from IB. If rejected the guest can message the host to request the booking.

Yesterday a guest couldn’t instant book 8 months from now. He had all 5 star reviews, at least 10 of them. I didn’t read them in detail.

At the same time I received a message from AirBnB saying that this guest did not have a photo on file, as I require for IB, but that I could require a photo from him as a condition of booking.

So, I raised this issue with the guest, and he said ABB does have a photo on his profile. Of course I can’t see photo until there is a confirmed booking. I wrote the guest and asked if he knew any reason why ABB would not let him Instant Book, and he did not answer (but I only waited an hour).

Because I can’t look under the hood at ABB I decided to decline this guest’s booking. I immediately raised prices covering the week he wanted (prices were too low, we have a big fiesta here then, I wasn’t paying attention 8 months out). He wrote back to complain about the higher prices, but didn’t say anything about why he thought IB rejected him.

So unless it’s simply a missing photo, I think this is my policy: Decline guests who can’t book instantly.

Just wondering what others are doing, if you’d like to share.

I have never used IB and don’t understand many IB hosts’ attitude of not wanting to accept Requests. Just because one request was problematic doesn’t mean all will be.
This one does sound odd, in that the guest didn’t offer any possible reason why he couldn’t IB when asked. But maybe he just doesn’t know- as you said, we can’t look under the hood, and neither can guests. And Airbnb does have glitches- their algorithms aren’t infallible.

Perhaps you get very few requests, but if you decline more than 3 or so Requests, Airbnb will threaten to suspend your listing. And declining all requests means that newbies could never book with you, which may be what you’d prefer, but isn’t really fair to new guests, who have to start somewhere.

I have instant book but the setting is that bookings can only be made for next six months.

At the risk of being too simplistic, is it possible that that is your setting too?


No, for two reasons. One is that the platform asked me to accept or decline the reservation requests. And right now my listing accepts listings up to 1 year away.

Re @muddy, with Instant Book I do not think there is a limit as to how many requests a host can reject. That’s one of the things ABB says to keep you using IB when you want to take a break from it (which I have done once or twice). I rarely get a request like this one I received yesterday so it’s not an issue.

After a couple extra work cleaning experiences, I no longer accept people who are first time users of ABB. There are lots of ABBs in my town, they have plenty of other options. I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think first timers can Instant Book.

When I first started many hosts on this forum said do not use IB! I did some experimenting and when I toggled it off my listing plunged to the bottom of the list.

I accept all comers, no pic no ID no recommendations from other hosts problem. So far it has been fine. Just a pulse (at check in) and a valid credit card. Heads in beds!




I’m not sure if you misunderstood my post- I wasn’t saying that hosts shouldn’t use IB just because I choose not to- I know it works well for many hosts and depending on location, can mean if they don’t use it, they will have abysmal search rankings because of so much competition.
I was just saying I find it odd that just because a host uses IB, that they would want to decline all guests who send a request.


I’m not sure I understood this, are you saying that when you have instant book that any requests not made through instant book can be declined with no penalty unlimited times? Do you have a link to Airbnb saying this? Or have I misunderstood you?

I’m sorry, but that isn’t true. I have read posts from hosts who have had their listing suspended as a punishment for declining “too many” requests, whatever Airbnb decides that is. And also read posts from hosts who have had their acceptance rate fall as low as 70% yet not had Airbnb follow up on the warnings. There doesn’t seem to be any consistency.

And they don’t just send those warnings to hosts who use IB to keep them using it. They send them to all hosts. I don’t think they count all declines from the beginning of your hosting career, perhaps just a certain number in a given time period, but of course this is one of those things Airbnb is not transparent about.

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I can understand that some hosts don’t want to use IB. Is it really a stretch to understand that some hosts don’t want to use RTB?

I find it odd that using IB is a choice but that using RTB isn’t. I’d prefer to receive IBs exclusively. I’d like RTB to not only be a choice but also come with settings as IB does. For instance, I’d choose an option to allow only new users to RTB. I don’t mind guests who can’t IB merely because they’re newbies and don’t have a review. I love introducing them to the platform and they’ve always been great guests for me.

But outside of the newbies, RTB guests, as a whole, have never, not even once, been worth the extra trouble that they’ve always inevitably ended up being.

Of course, the RTB guests that you deal with are not the same RTB guests that those of us with IB deal with.

You get RTBs from the general population of guests (including the easy, the good and the tidy) because they all have to RTB to stay at your place.

However, other than newbies, I only get RTB from two types of guests: 1. guests that aren’t allowed to IB because of their ‘track record’ and 2. guests who are demanding special treatment/think they are an exception to ________________ (fill in the blank). And, on top of it, they take up an inordinate amount of time.


You can use software to automatically pre approve inquiries and automatically accept instant bookings. Not sure if that would accomplish what you want.

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Thank you but it’s not that big of a deal, I was just saying more theoretically it would be nice to have those settings.

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