Instant Booking Settings -- Unticking the Recommended-Guests-Only option

I have had IB for a good few weeks now, with the Recommended-Only option (but not Gov ID).

I think as a whole it’s helped me increase bookings, and like some folk have said, decreased the stress of having to reply/approve bookings immediately whatever time of the day/night they come.

However, one consequence of this setting is that I now rarely get first-timers, just the reverse of how it’s been in the past. But I like first-timers, a great many of them have been good guests.

So, I am contemplating removing the Recommended-only setting, and I’d like to hear your thoughts, if you’ve tried both and saw any difference etc etc.

I might switch on the Gov ID requirement to compensate. (I wish I could set it to be one or the other for any given guest but that option doesn’t exist.)

EDIT: With special reference to a shared-house accommodation.

Yes. You will loose the first timers. First timers can’t have a recommendation. I could really care less about if they have a review, and to be honest, based on the forum, a thumbs down is almost impossible to get. Hosts are too scared.

Instead, I accept, and if I then read negative reviews, I would ask AirBNB to cancel based on not feeling comfortable.

I have always required a government id. Just makes sense if they are using a credit card. [When was the last time you could register for a hotel without one being shown?]


I wish there were a setting to exclude first-timers from the Recommended requirements, ie, Allow first-timers, if repeat guest, check for Thumbs-ups!
But I’m not holding my breath on that one being implemented.

Yes, I’ve had some ‘recommended’ guests who’ve been below par. And the system lets someone with a few thumbs-downs still use IB - I’d first thought it had to be all thumbs-ups.
And as you say, a good many host reviews are useless - it’s just the usual ‘It was great to host X bla bla’ – these reviews are ‘sweet in anticipation’.

We use IB and don’t have either box checked. I love first timers. So far so good. Haven’t had anyone too bad.

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Part of having IB is just search placement in many markets. If Airbnb pre-filters based on Instant book it will help you regardless of your IB requirements.

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Indeed, not arguing with that at all. But there’s a specific reason I’m considering this move, as I’ve explained above.

I might have at least one of the two on for the autumn and remove both when things go dead for winter. But that’s for another day!

What kind of setup do you have - shared room or full house? (I think it matters in this context.)

@Astaire 100000% off topic… but I just realized the street over from us in the desert is ‘Astaire Court’. New location for you maybe?

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LOL nice of you to observe. I recently bought that for 85 camels :smiling_imp:


I have no requirements for IB. I just don’t see much point, as it happened to me several times that guests with good reviews were not that good after all. Many hosts host remotely and have no idea whether guests were loud or brought extra people. A lot of them do not do turn over themselves and cannot really judge how dirty the place was. Many are also giving good reviews by default and suck up to guests in hope of having them back. This renders many reviews well… rather useless. All my guests are required to present me with the ID upon arrival according to my country’s law, so I feel sufficiently protected in that respect. Hosting is sometimes just gambling, with IB turned on or not. I haven’t seen any difference in quality of my guests since I turned on IB without any additional requirements.


We have a whole house rental.

I did this a while back (untick the recommended guests option) and basically take anyone now. I haven’t noticed any difference in guests at all - they’re no worse or better than before. One thing I’ve noticed is that almost all my bookings are now IB, hardly anyone makes an enquiry these days. Many of my guests are first-timers. I have only once asked Air to cancel an IB guest because they wanted to bring four people into my two-person room.
I seem to remember you saying, Astaire, that you don’t put much faith into screening guests any more so I’d say go for it. If you’re an experienced host, which you are from memory, and you communicate well with the guest after they’ve booked to make sure they understand everything and then do a good thorough house tour on arrival - it’s all fine! You still get the odd shitey guest, of course, but that happens whether you have IB or not.

Actually, I’ve just remembered that I had one newbie couple cancel themselves after they IB’ed when I reminded them about the number of stairs in my house (they were elderly and I got a sense they hadn’t read everything). They were very grateful that I’d pointed it out, which was a relief all round. Other than that, business as usual.
fyi I’m a live-in host and mostly have 90% occupancy year-round.

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And another thing! I posted last month about how assumptions we make about guests pre-arrival are often so wrong:

Guess what? You can get it wrong during the stay too. Snooty hipsters turned out to be great and left me a lovely review. The cool, friendly businessman who took up an hour of my time showing me photos of his wedding and hugged me on leaving? Three stars and a crappy review.
I give up.


Thanks Mag many useful points there!

I see this too now since I’ve had IB.

True, I’ve learned how fallible it is.

I do this and have done it over the years.

It’s a couple of really shite ‘Recommended’ IB’ers that have led me to question the use of the Recommended-only option.

Wow, are you in a touristy place, city centre? Is that the case in winter as well?

Yep. They come even in January when it’s bleak, dark, cold and wet. But it’s quieter in winter, obviously. Actually November is looking very empty apart from a repeat weekly student guest. But they’ll come. I always have this panic and it usually works out eventually. Plus there are conferences, events, internships etc,. I’m not in the centre, though, hence price is lower than average.

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I use IB with no requirements, also could not see the point.

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Oooh yeah, there is no way to say who is going to leave you what kind of review. Back in the days you couldn’t really see what kind of grade the guest has left you. Recently I was browsing through my ratings as they are visible now for each and every guest, and got really surprised how some seemingly nice people slammed me, and how many of the written reviews do not match the stars received.

Guests who got a super early checkin gave me 3 stars for the check in. The same people also gave me 3 for cleanliness, and expressed their concern about it in the private message. They also mentioned they were disappointed they couldn’t stay longer (they wanted to stay until 5 PM, although I told them I had other guests!) after it was raining through most of their stay. Best part - next year they contacted me directly and wanted to book my place again!!! Another best part - people even wrote a whole novel under my review of them, thanking me for their perfect holidays etc. Psychopats or what? :smiley:

Guests who said our location is pefect for visiting their favorite restaurant and mentioned how clean it is, gave me 3 stars on location, cleanliness and overall.

Making any predictions based on age group or nationality (or simply, our prejudices) proved to be unrealiable too. :smiley:

I could go on like this forever… The sooner one accepts there is no way to predict your guests behaviour prior to their arrival or their rating after they leave, the better.

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I’ve started using ABB due to necessity after a couple of slow months and a massive amount of new comp.

I used to get a lot of first timers and I still get first timers but maybe more balance and my bookings are virtually full. I have both recommended and govt ID and anyone else can request. If they can’t get that far, I don’t want them