Just got good Customer Service!

So I got a booking request yesterday around 4pm. Guest’s message said Coming for work, would like to stay in your beautiful home.
She had 21 reviews saying she was a wonderful, communicative guest.

I messaged the guest back within minutes, thanking her for the request and telling her I would be happy to accept as soon as she could confirm that she is Covid vaxed, as stated in my listing.

Zero response. Messaged her again this morning, saying I needed a response, as her request would expire in 5 hours at that point.
Zero response after waiting another 2 hours.

I have never had to decline a booking, have a 100% acceptance rate and the thought that I would take a hit on that because a guest failed to respond really irritated me.

So I called Airbnb, got a rep who totally understood what I was talking about (miracle of miracles) and said they would try to call the guest and tell her to respond and they would call me back.
They actually called me back within 15 min.!

Said the guest’s phone went straight to voice mail. I then said I didn’t think it was fair that hosts have to decline, taking a hit on their acceptance rate, simply because a guest failed to answer a crucial message from the host. (At this point, the request was due to expire in 2 hrs) The rep said she understood and agreed to cancel the request from her end so I wouldn’t have to decline!

While this whole process, from sending 2 messages from the guest to finishing up with CS took an hour and a half of my time, I was quite pleased to get reps (I talked to 2- the first one transferred me to the second) who grasped the situation immediately without me having to explain endlessly, and easily agreed to cancel the request with no penalty to me.

I do wonder why a guest with pages of reviews saying what a great communicator she was, would fail to answer host messages or phone calls from Airbnb, though. And you’d think if a guest put in a request and didn’t get an acceptance and confirmation within 22 hrs, they might actually check their Inbox?


My guess is that either she isn’t vaccinated, or was busy, didn’t expect to be questioned or simply didn’t have Airbnb notifications turned on thus didn’t get your messages. It’s so hard to tell. But one thing is that the 24 hours isn’t as pressing for guests as it is for hosts. They don’t have the same motivation.

Did you email or text her to check her Airbnb messages? I’ve had so many guests that just didn’t realize they received a message from me but I email them and they get back to me right away, apology and all. I wouldn’t personally decline a request without a nudge by email. Guests aren’t clued into the platform all of the time like we are.

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Well, it was a pending request, so I had no phone number or email contact information for her. I didn’t think the coded email option was available before a booking is confirmed. I certainly don’t see it anywhere on the guest info.

I have phoned or texted or emailed confirmed guests before if they weren’t answering Airbnb messages.

This guest has a history of bookings all over the place, and many in the past few months, profile says she’s a digital nomad, so it seems odd she wouldn’t have her notifications turned on. And yes, sometimes people are busy, so I never expect a guest to answer immediately, and hope they don’t always expect me to answer immediately. But almost no one is so busy that they can’t find 3 minutes in 24 hrs to answer a message. A nurse who’s just done a 12 hour shift and passed out the minute she got home, then got up to make breakfast for the kids, get them off to school, wash the dishes, clean the house, do the laundry, then get ready to go back to work, maybe.

But you may be right about her just not wanting to bother answering the vax question. Her review history shows that she was travelling all around the world, from Mexico to Europe, throughout the height of the pandemic, so she must not have been at all concerned about Covid.


Of course, I wasn’t thinking about it correctly. I was thinking about getting IBs from people who didn’t give me details about their dog (I require approval for pets), but I have their email and stuff to contact them.

From what you describe it sounds like she didn’t have the vaccination or didn’t want to share it for some reason. Sounds like she wasn’t the right fit so best to get the request withdrawn. And she sounds annoying!

It’s funny, I’ve had excellent luck with IBs and have only canceled 2 of them ever out of 350 or so guests but I seem to attract really wonky awful (the worst) RTBs. And I have to say that Airbnb has always been really awesome about withdrawing a request for me (when I have the time and patience to contact them, but sometimes I just want to eat dinner and move on with my life, lol).

Maybe this will be helpful for hosts dealing with requests: this past summer/early fall I had two really awful RTB but didn’t have time to contact Airbnb so chose to just plainly decline them online. And the menu of “why” looked almost exactly like canceling an IB. One of the choices was “I think the guest is going to break my house rules” (e.g. “I’m uncomfortable with the reservation”) but it was for declining an RTB. Both times I chose that option and my Acceptance rate stayed at 100% (and yes I checked back routinely to make sure, it never dropped after either decline). If you have time to contact CS then that is solid of course but if you don’t then it may be good to know that there’s effectively an “uncomfortable” freebie for declining a request now too.


That’s good to know. I’ve never had to decline a request before and probably wouldn’t have bothered to contact CS had it just been a matter of feeling the guest wouldn’t be a good fit, I would have just declined. But the thought of taking a hit on acceptance rate because a guest entirely failed to respond irked me.

Had another request a couple weeks ago who responded that she couldn’t comply with the vax requirement, but I had already foolishly accepted, because she also had lots of great reviews, before asking that, so she cancelled after I prodded her to do so.
Other guests since I added the vax requirement have been vaccinated and said they were glad to know that was important to me.

I fully understand. That is usually the same reason I just give up and decline them. I have very little patience for it.

I use IB and have the setting for no negative reviews or what they’re now calling good track record or whatever. So I’m not getting the best RTBs because they could likely IB instead (it’s a smaller pool than if I only did RTB). If I get an RTB from a guest with no reviews it’s okay because it’s obvious to me that they’re requesting because they’re just getting started. I have a fondness for new users and have not had problems with them (and they haven’t taken 24 hrs to respond).

However, when I get a RTB from a user that has multiple reviews I have reason to be suspicious as to why they’re requesting instead of instant booking (e.g. maybe they can’t because of the setting). It’s also a lot of extra work to deal with an RTB so when they don’t respond to any messages for almost 24 hours I’m pretty much just done with them. I just want my calendar to open up for someone easier.

Absolutely. It would make a difference to me as a guest too! I really appreciate that people like you and @Rolf and others who’ve mentioned it that are keeping a vaccine requirement even though it’s clearly a very real extra hassle.

I know I’m lucky to not have to deal with it because our apartments our separate from ours (but in our house). We just wear masks in the common areas and avoid the guests like the plague (lol, pun intended). I bought a package of bags with handles. If they need something we put it in a bag and hang it on their doorknob then basically run up the stairs as fast as we can :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


I’ve only used RTB since I started hosting, and my experience with them hasn’t been like that. Guess I’ve been lucky. Most of my requests have been from guests with a good history of reviews, they tend to send friendly, polite, informative messages with their request, so it’s normally just been a matter of thanking them for their request and making sure they have read all the listing info, which they answer right away, then clicking on Accept. Maybe takes 5-10 min. of my time.

Although it may not be the case with your RTB guests, some of my solo female guests have told me they prefer to request rather than IB, to make sure they feel comfortable with the host.
And some guests have had bad experiences IBing a place only to find the opposite of our beef- the hosts were non-responsive to guest messages or just sent standard scheduled messages and ignored the guest’s questions.

I understand why a host might be wary of Requests if they are used to IBs and especially if a lot of the requests they get are weird, but there are legit reasons some guests prefer to request other than not qualifying for IB.


Of course but my point was that those people that you’re referring to don’t also not respond for 24 hours. It’s the combo of RTB + not responding to any messages for 24 hours that is irksome, not merely RTB. However, the good ones could inquire instead of requesting and generally do.

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I agree. I required info within 24 hours of booking. About halfway through the waiting period, if no reply, I send a text telling them to check their Airbnb app for an important request for information. If I don’t hear from them in a few more hours, I call the number.

Finally, I contact Airbnb customer service. (Almost never have to do this.)

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Yeah it is odd that the guest didn’t respond to so many attempts.
I’ve found that Airbnb customer service is VERY reliable. Prompt and understanding.
Can always get through to them too.
By the way, I have had this situation several times. And Customer Service responded exactly as they did with you.


So the requesting guest finally sent me a message today. After Airbnb had cancelled her request, I sent her one more message saying that as she hadn’t answered, I unfortunately had to ask Airbnb to try to contact her and when they also got no response, to cancel her request. But that she was welcome to send another request if she could answer my vax requirement in the affirmative. And that she should make sure to have her notifications turned on and answer messages if she puts in a request.

Her message just said “Sorry, Sarah. Best wishes.”. No explanation of why she didn’t respond to the 2 previous messages. Sure a lot of weird people out there.


Sounds likely that she didn’t want to meet your vaccination requirement – but hey, at least she was friendly and noncombative about it!


You can just decline the reservation and say you are uncomfortable with it before the countdown ends. Then in the message to the guest, just say… “I’ll decline this for now since I haven’t heard back from you. If you still need this request again or let me know.”

I don’t get penalized for declines when choosing "uncomfortable. "

(EDIT) I guess I’m not 100% sure on this… My accept score is not 100% but I don’t keep track of these scores often.


That’s what I was saying too. It seems new in the last year but there now seems to be an “uncomfortable” option for declining a request. I declined a couple this summer/fall but still have a 100% acceptance rate too.

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maybe there was a medical emergency and she was unable to communicate

Sure, there’s all kinds of legitimate reasons why a guest might not respond and I have had those situations. However, they have all been confirmed bookings, and the guests just failed to respond in a timely manner to me asking for their ETA, or whether they had received the map I emailed them. One guest was at a retreat where they weren’t allowed to use any devices, one had a close family member die, one was camping where there was no cell or internet reception.

Although it’s not beyond the realm of possibility, I kind of doubt that this guest had a medical emergency in the 5 minutes that elapsed between when she sent a booking request and when I fired off a return message, though. :rofl:

How did you text as Airbnb doesn’t give the phone number until the booking is firm and they have paid.

That would be for an IB booking, which is confirmed immediately.

I don’t. I gather this info after they book but it’s in my house rules that they are required to provide this info.

My guess is that she’s not vaccinated and was hoping if she stalled you’d accept the booking despite her lack of response. People who refuse to get the vaccine can be pretty militant about their rights to put others at risk. Sorry, I know that sounds nasty and judgemental. But I know a few folks out here in very-red rural Minnesota who still believe Bill Gates is implanting tracking devices in the Covid vax. The same people refused to wear masks when Covid was raging.