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Instabook? Yes or No?

Hi Again!

It’s me - the one with 1000 questions. I think we’ve worked out the tax thing, and the price thing, and now I’m wondering about instabook. Has it improved anyone’s bookings? Been regretted? My nearest competetor, who’s place is much nicer than mine so I’ve priced mine accordingly (she has private bath, nice furnishings, I threw things together, not a private bath, but I cook a huge breakfast, she gets $90 for 4 and I am asking $75) turned on her instabook which motivated me to give it a try. But I’m hesitant indeed! We are a busy family! Working parents, active kids -



I do not use it. I want to have control over who I allow to stay in my home. There are so many newbies out there that don’t want to communicate properly, have a completed profile etc or would like to bring in extra guests without paying for them. You have a better chance of weeding out these people if they can’t just book instantly without any conversation with you. It’s my house and I want to be able to decide who I allow in it.

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Thanks, EVedder. That was my thought, too - or, that they would book for a week or longer, without any ‘meet and greet’ time. There is an option for allowing only ‘recommended’ guests but I didn’t feel like that was enough guarantee.

No you are right, “recommended guests” only is not a good enough safeguard. So many horrible guests have not received the honest reviews from hosts that they should have. Airbnb would love us all to have instant book turned on and for us to take everyone that requests to stay. All good for them - not so good for us. I will not use IB and I also ignore their ridiculous “price tips”. I am not prepared to have people stay for a ridiculously low amount just to get more people in…I’d rather not have anyone stay and enjoy the peace that rent for peanuts and feel resentful about it.


My thoughts exactly :smile:

Hi dcmooney,

We do use instant book. We find that it fills in the one or two day holes between guests. I think most guests staying for longer would have some questions.

The only problem we’ve had is the check in/check out times. We have posted noon as our check out time and 3:00 P.M. as our check in time. All the guests ignore these times and just tell us when they plan to arrive and leave. With instant book we can’t have a conversation with the outgoing and incoming guests to line up schedules. What we’ve done is to let the instant book guests know that it is fine for them to drop off their luggage and freshen up, but we might need some time before they can use the room and that they are welcome to stay in the afternoon in the rest of the house, but we might need to clean the room.

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I was tempted to use instabook but for me I want to be able to control who comes into my guest suite. I do regularly turn down people if I don’t like the photo or if they can’t put two sentences together or any kind of weird vibe I automatically decline. I’m getting enough business without it I also don’t like to be totally booked up I like a couple days off a month so I can actually get in there and do some work on the property like touch up paint repairs etc. to keep the place looking new.

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Since I put my listing on IB I have much more bookings. In fact, most of my bookings come from instant book. My thoughts on this is that it’s very hard to judge by the picture anyway. I had a guest once who looked like a 16 years old, but when he arrived he was a young man in his mid 30s. If I judged by the picture I would never rent my room to a teenager.
I had more than 30 IB guests and none of them were bad. In fact all of them were really nice guests.
I think it’s also depends on a property you are offering. I live in a tropical climate and summers are dead for us. I don’t have a pool, that effects my listing significantly. My house is very close to airport and beach. With IB I had many guests who were in some kind of an emergency situation, last minute desisions, spring breakers ( plenty), who don’t think ahead and then are faced with crazy prices and sold out hotels. Also I like short term guests, as I recently had a not so good experience with 3 week stay, and desided not to do it anymore. IB is perfect for 1-3 days stays and that’s what I need.

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I’m going to try it and see the difference it makes

I’m six weeks in and will make Super Host by the end of July. Things are going well. When I first heard about IB I said, “You’ve got to be kidding!” But after reading all about it I decided to give it a try. I think the thing that tipped the scales was that I read the “host satisfaction” is no less with IB than without it…according to Air research. (I can’t say I remember where I read it.) Anyway, I’m glad I did and so far I’ve had fantastic guests. I don’t have to be concerned about getting back to them. None of them would I not have accepted anyway. Having said that, we are in a mountain area which could I’m sure attract fewer undesirable guests. If I were in a metro area I’m guessing I might feel totally different about it.

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No way for me. I need to know who is booking and I don’t always have flexibility with the cleaning due to jobs I book as a substitute teacher. IB could be dodgy if you are also listed on other sites… as I have found calendar sync not very reliable!

I also need to tell them about the tax and make SURE they understand that bit… that tax is due UPON arrival.
Sometimes they write trying to get me to approve a baby or toddler for FREE. What happens if you get that sort of person and you need to cancel? You are the one who gets dinged. So yeah, IB is OFF.

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I can’t have children in my house because of multiple and slippery marble stairs, I just crossed out that option.

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I think I’ll wait on this and see what happens.

I think they tempt you with “superhost” status if you agree to IB. Superhost status is overrated. :smile: Said by someone who doesn’t have it. :slight_smile:


I’ve had IB switched off and on about 6 times since listing 4 months ago.
I switch it off when I have a good enquiry pending that I want to follow through and don’t want an IB to take it. (but most of the enquirys don’t follow through! Just ask a lot of questions then fade away :unamused:)
The 2 quests that did IB have been my best. I feel that they are more likely to read the listing as once they are committed they have to know what they are in for. (plus if they have IB’d and later cancel because they didn’t read I don’t get penalised)

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In the High Season I turn it of, during low season it is on.
With the minimum 4.5 star rating condition.

When on, you listing is more visible. I do not need that during high season.

Instabook is a must if you want to be competitive. I know it may seem a little scary at first because you think you don’t have control over who stays at your place, but you still will have some control, as others have mentioned. You remain in part control as you’re able to determine whether you’re willing to automate reservations for guests who have received only positive reviews from other hosts, or from guests who have at least a profile picture. You are also able to choose how much prior notice you need for your listing to be booked; from same day to a week’s notice. The shocking thing about Instabook is that it’s been proven to increase booking rates by 61%! (according to 9flats.com). That’s huge! Listings with Instabook tend to appear closer to the top when guests are searching for places on booking sites like Airbnb and HomeAway too (this is because these sites have optimized these listings so that guests can easier book without a hassle). Some people, like me, only search for Instabook places because of the convenience. I would argue that you may be missing out on Airbnb’s best guests because you are not showing up on Instabook features. If you think it’s too much of a hassle to manage an Instabook listing, try out a property management company. I know there are some great ones for short-term vacation rentals depending on where you’re located, with management companies like Pillow that offer 24/7 booking and listing support. Airbnb and other booking sites (HomeAway and VRBO) are far too competitive now to not utilize features like Instabook. If you’re serious about making some money with your rental, and filling the booking dates, you should really look into turning the Instabook feature on.

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