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Instant Book - time to come over to the dark side?

We have only been on Air 3 months. I chose to opt out of Instant Book because I felt I needed to vet potential guests.

I have come to see that if a guest has even one good review, or is a brand new member of Air but sent a fairly coherent intro message, I approve them any way, so why not chose my Instabook filter and go for it?

Is it true it increases your bookings? What should I watch out for?

Thank you, lovely Forum.

Yes, same here

I’ve been going since April. Pinged the IB thing off and on many times in this period. I’m now keeping it off because:

  • I’m always close to my phone so I can approve any request very quickly and don’t risk losing a booking.
  • I’m more of a longer booking type of place (4 day minimum but generally people stay for 1-3 weeks) and people tend to want to converse beforehand anyway to make sure they want to stay at my house.
  • I’ve declined people who I’ve found could be a problem or who I wouldn’t approve anyway (one requested for 4 adults 3 toddlers & 2 infants -I have a max of 6 people listing…guess they don’t count kids as people!) easier to decline than have to deal with cancelling an IB.
  • Now that I’m getting good reviews and am pretty well full until Jan/Feb I don’t need the extra bookings that IB may bring. (I’ve only had one IB when I did have it on anyway.)

If you are open for 1 or 2 night stays and are in a passing through kind of place it may benefit you. I think people looking for holiday destinations 'tho usually make plans ahead.
You can always do what I did, turn it on and off as it suits you, you’ll soon figure out if it works for you or not.


I could choose not to because of experience and the fact the I advertise on different platforms like booking and Vrbo . Also once you choose IB air will not reserves it.plus this
Education and experiencewith the pesky Brazilian guests taught me What expect
And what to avoid. Trust me if you are good have great over 75 5 stars you will be booked even in dead season.

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@Australia thanks for responding

I’ve had a “host responds within an hour” thing going since we listed, because I’m pretty attached daily to the internet, so I didn’t think I needed instant book.

But I think I’ve seen someone say that choosing Instant puts you higher up in the Air search results.

Do you know if that’s true?

No I don’t know this. As there are only about 6 people in my suburb doing Air we are all easily viewed on the first page anyway.
I guess if you are in a very competitive area it may help. Other big city people here will know.

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I put it on last week because I was on page 14 of 17 for 4 guests (LOTS of competition in my area). I instantly wen to page 2, received 5 inquiries, declined 3 (one was for 3 months, one had children, and one wanted a discount), booked one not-IB, booked one that was IB.

Very interesting article: http://www.airconcierge.net/blog/11-ways-airbnb-copies-googles-search-algorithm

Thanks, @Carmen. I haven’t seen the value yet of Instabook and, if it’s not affecting my listing’s placement in search, what’s the point? We’re doing well without it.

Anyone else think there is a point?

I don’t use it for a few reasons.

  1. I am very selective with whom I invite over because it is a private room not an entire place. In an ideal world, I’d like to invite fellow young professionals whom are into exploring the city vs partying up and getting drunk.
  2. because of the same reason as above, I find a lot of guests don’t read the listings properly and I like to send them a few questions to see if they are OK with some of the limitations of the listing (ie, it is a private room). To set expectations.

I am a new host as of late June. For whatever reason I have had the option to turn IB on and off since the beginning.

Factors about my listing that may have an impact on my experience with IB. I live in the northeast of the US, on the coast, in a popular tourist town during the summer only. I rent a guest suite in my home consisting of a small BR with private attached bath, suitable for 2 adult guests. My guests stay an average of 2 nights.

I turned IB on 3 weeks into hosting and so far so good. Most of my bookings are IB. I see no real benefit in turning it off, as my ability to vet potential guests is pretty much nonexistent. I’ve had guests that I feared would be problematic based on short, and/or vague communication, very little profile information, or them being brand new to the site and/or with no reviews, who turned into some of my favorite and best guests. On the flip side, I’ve had guests whose profile was robust and seemed like they would be a perfect fit, and who had decent reviews from other hosts, but turned out to be odd, standoffish, difficult to please, and overall a pretty negative experience for me.

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Yep! I have always used IB apart from the first few weeks. And I approved everyone during that non-IB period. The interesting thing I’ve found is that most guests inquire beforehand anyway, despite the fact that they could have just booked without contacting me.

Often, they have questions such as ‘is it possible for me to check in after 8 pm?’ or ‘can I walk to the beach?’

There’s really no point in me not having IB because I’m hopeless at evaluating people simply from a short message. I know that many hosts say that they have ‘gut feelings’ about guests from their inquiry but I never do. I’m hopeless. I have the attitude that everyone is fine until I’m proved otherwise :slight_smile:

And I’ve never had any problem guests. The only time I had less-that-OK guests was before I was using IB and I approved them. (See what I mean? I’m just not good at evaluating people).

I have been renting our apartment for years and many years ago operated a traditional B & B. Until we listed with Airbnb, there wasn’t an option to decline or accept people - every booking was an instant booking with no opportunity to ‘get to know’ the guest first. So IB is fine for me because I’ve never expected guests to be perfect.

Our rental now is a separate apartment but when I was doing the B & B thing it was taking guests into the family home.

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I’m pretty sure it would help here. There are tons of listings in this city. Having said that, I continue to think it is not worth it. I’d rather put some effort into advertising myself. IB is the lazy way not. Yes, I’m lazy, but I’m also paranoid. And Paranoia trumps Laziness.

Oh, and also, Airbnb’s code is tres flaky. If it was a place, it would be like that giant ravine in the 2005 King Kong movie. Dripping with creepy-crawlies.

And Airbnb CS are idiots who can’t answer a simple question.

Overall, I think I’m safer limiting my exposure.

Hi @sandy2,

Have you left it on? Just curious.

Yes – just got another booking inquiry this morning. I’m starting my slower season so I’m going to leave it on until I use up my three “get out of jail cards”. So far, so good.

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And, as a heads up for everyone, my last inquiry person’s “off-line” ID said “personal info” so I told her that she must submit a government issued ID before I would accept her reservation (she’s not an IB). She said ok.

Verified ID

Email address

Phone number
(▒▒▒) ▒▒▒- ▒▒ 10


Offline ID
Personal Info

And are you higher in the listings for a guest searching for room?

Yep! I went from page 14 to page 2 when searching for a party of four.

I have lots of competition, here, so it is important to be on the first couple of pages. No one ever gets to page 14! Only if one keeps clicking the + button on the map to narrow the search to my immediate neighborhood did I show up on the first couple of pages.

YAY - that was the answer to the question I was hoping would get answered.

Took awhile, but we got there!

Thanks, @sandy2, I’ve changed to Instabook. I’m ready to make millions.


I posted this before but it’s worth posting again: http://www.airconcierge.net/blog/11-ways-airbnb-copies-googles-search-algorithm

Hi @Perezo,

Everyone knows you rank higher on the search results when you use IB. But what is the price you pay for it? Do you know what it is? And are you ready to pay it? (Sorry, I don’t mean to sound ominous here - this isn’t Dr. Faustus. And Airbnb isn’t Mephistopheles.)

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Hi @faheem - how is your wonderful self today?

I didn’t know, that’s why I asked and finally Ms. @sandy2 answered!

Yay to ranking higher. I’ll let you know if I encounter any problems with IB

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