Instant book vs reservation requests

I’ve always been an instant book host, but for my new air bnb property I want more control over who can book because the space means more to me.

What is your experience with not using instant book? Air has been sending me notifications and emailing me nonstop to turn it back on!

I won’t use Instant Book. I ALWAYS want more control over who books when and the details…

1 Like

I use IB but require Govt ID, good reviews only etc. All else must inquire.


As an experienced host @Hudson1 you’ll know Airbnb is all about making it as easy for guests to book as possible. So they will push hosts to use IB.

If you don’t want to use IB then don’t.

Lots of people don’t.


In the two Airbnb guest suites that are attached to our house, one is Instant Book and one not (can’t remember why!) The Instant Book one is booked about twice as much as the other. It’s not a completely fair comparison as the IB one is slightly larger and has better photos, but they both have access to the pool and garden which is what our guests want. I haven’t noticed any difference in the quality of guests and we don’t ask for anything beyond the basic IB requirements.

We’re changing the second one to IB this Summer!


As a guest I always filter for IB properties first and if I don’t find a suitable one I turn it off. I’m currently trying to book a house in Boston (via VRBO but they are also on Airbnb) and I’ve been waiting about 14 hours (so far) and I hate it. I can guarantee that only the perfect house and the perfect price would make me put up with this.

The biggest downside to not having IB is that you’ll fall in search rankings.

I’ve been on IB for 2-3 years now and IB guests are indistinguishable from requesting guests. I have Govt ID and good review requirements, along with house rules that require a few things at booking. I have no illusions that I can tell from an intro paragraph whether a particular guest will destroy my house.

They got rid of the booking questions section of IB, but you can still lay booking requirements out in house rules. If you want to know the names of everyone in the party, their purpose for visiting, and see ID’s on arrival, you can stipulate that.

I agree with KKC; when I’m booking my own travel I often go with an IB property because I want to lock down my plans (and with a SH because I don’t want them cancelled!).

Near me! Kinda. Lol. Im an hour from Boston :slight_smile:

We have a few Boston area hosts here but none that I know of with a house big enough for my group of 6. I’d love to rent from a fellow host here if they’d have me though.

Yeaaah. I know there is a house on my street that could fit your six but I don’t think she is on here. Youre coming up here and I am headed to the DFW area in 3 weeks.

We are going to stay closer in. Current plan is no rental car just Lyft, walk, take the T maybe take a bus or train to Maine. The time and money we save on being within a radius of 3 miles or so from downtown we will put into the rental.

I hope you’re coming up for something fun!

I like the settings you have for your property, please just keep in mind search rankings have nothing to do with your settings. Search ranking is nothing more than marketing based on location of the user and, besides marketing, it also is based on the search criteria the user inputs when searching for properties. Some guests click one wrong filter button and go from 300+ available homes to 27 then call in wondering what the heck happened and “something must be wrong with the site”.

Yes, its a fun trip. We have tickets for a Red Sox-Yankees game. I’m disappointed at the concert offerings that week but am hoping something gets scheduled last minute.

1 Like

Respectfully, that’s not what Airbnb’s own site says. While it’s true that most factors affecting search placement aren’t within the control of the host, IB absolutely influences placement.

Listing details: We consider things like the number of five-star reviews, price, location of the listing, if Instant Book is turned on, how quickly the host of the listing responds to requests, and many other factors.

Also here:

Why are listings with Instant Book prioritised ahead of other listings in the search results?

The main goal of the search algorithm is to facilitate bookings. And if a guest has an excellent experience booking and traveling on Airbnb they’re highly likely to use Airbnb again in the future. This helps travelers and hosts alike. We’ve seen for many years that—all other things being equal—travelers prefer to use Instant Book because they can book quickly, skip the wait time for hosts to respond, and avoid possibly being rejected. Because of the high booking success for hosts and guests, Instant Book gives your listing a boost in searches.

That said, many of you have amazing listings and use a Request to Book approach to hosting. It’s important that you know Instant Book is only one of more than a hundred factors in your listing search ranking. You can absolutely rank really well in searches without being an Instant Book host.

They seem to have stopped doing it now, but for a time Airbnb was filtering all search results for IB listings only. The guest had to manually turn off this filter.

Anecdotal, but I’ve toyed with turning IB on and off. With it on I’m usually on the first page. I’m buried without it. That indicates to me that it’s a pretty heavily weighted item in their algorithm.

1 Like

Yes, agreed ish. All of these factors are somewhat considered, but again this is all in the marketing aspect. Guests are more likely to book if IB is turned on, ratings are higher, you’re a superhost, and have many reviews. My only main point was that it is all based on marketing and one click of a certain feature a guest is looking for, or the location of IP, can/will/does affect your listings ranking while searching.

Thanks for that article! It’s one i haven’t read in detail prior to this.

As an illustration I was searching yesterday for a Boston area home for a group of 6. On Airbnb the number of homes in a fairly close in radius (~4 miles from downtown went from in the 100s down to a dozen with SH and 2+ bathrooms filters on. The difference in the number of listings between 1 bath and 2 baths is dramatic.

following that example, the SH listings that were ranked near the top before narrowing down the search, may/will be listed differently once the search criteria is updated. All marketing strategies to help our guests find the best host given their needs therefore making the reservation overall have a greater chance or success leaving less headaches for the host. Too many hosts, and guests with some regard, expect so damn much from Airbnb and don’t realize Air isn’t forcing you to be on the platform, they signed up knowing these are humans and not a large corporate Hilton hotel type of place. Everything is balanced with the host, guest, and business plan in mind when search rank settings, policies, how cases are handled, etc were initially created and often updated.