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I’ve gotten a couple of these lame inquiries a while back. Apparently Airbnb prompts guests to give a reason for the visit when a booking request or inquiry is made. Some newbie guests are simply clueless and give the reason - ‘Sightseeing’, ‘Business trip’, whatever - instead of writing more.
As @Helsi says, just be friendly and ask for more. If you want you can always start out with “I see you’re new to Airbnb [they usually are!]. Did you know that Airbnb works on a trust basis and when hosts like me invite guests into their private personal homes they like to know a bit about that person? for that reason…”
In one of my cases it got a nice explanation back (turned into a booking). In the other it was somebody shopping around and who didn’t bother reacting.
You know, I’m telling my three kids all the time “we’re all learning”. Everyone is learning, everyone of us have things we are stupid about and things we are brilliant about.
Who knows what they were thinking - they didn’t understand what was expected, they were interrupted by their boss so just quickly hit ‘send’, they were up all night with a sick kid and barely able to focus, English isn’t their first language and they are very shy.
It’s easy and quick to judge others by what would do - hosting people from around the world and all different backgrounds gives us an opportunity to stop and try to see the other side of the person.
Edited to add - after rereading the title of this post - ‘lame inquiry’. For me, I’m in business; I’ve invested a ton of money and energy into building this. I try to not judge people in advance. Lame or not, an inquiry can mean GREEN. Money. Moola. The whole reason I’m in business. Perhaps to find inspiration to be nice when responding to lame inquiry is to scrap ‘lame’ from the title and thank whoever-you-thank that someone chose your listing. There are TONS of listings in the area for people to choose from; when they choose mine I’m honored and grateful. (most of the time!)
I don’t mean for that to sound as preachy as it does - but I’m preaching to myself, too.
I got one of those a while back and I politely asked them to please tell me the names and ages of the other two guests and the reason for their visit. We exchanged several emails after that. Turned out to be great guests! However, I just got one two days ago from a Super Host in Jackson Hole, Wy (who has THREE Air places) who simply said – “Visiting Boulder for a week to do yoga and want a clean place that is walkable to the Pearl Street Mall. What is your best price?” My winter price is $200/night (summer is quite a bit more). I responded with, “That is my best price. Boulder has many lovely Airbnbs that will better suit your budget.” I declined her (who wants to host a Super Host, anyway?!). Then I checked online for what was available for 3 people close to downtown for that week. I was, by far, the least expensive. So, I bumped up my price for that week.
I would just write back and say, “Sounds good. We look forward to seeing you. Let me know if you have any questions before you arrive.”
We’ve hosted many guests who wrote in like that and they were all fine. In fact I appreciated the fact that they didn’t ask any questions that I’d have to sit down and write long answers to. Or tell any meaningless but long winded stories that I had to read through.
Don’t be too hard on them. This is a response to a specific prompt from Airbnb when guests request to book or make an enquiry, ie. 'What is the purpose of your trip". I remember when they introduced this a while back and I started getting loads of requests that just said “Tourism” and I realised that something must be going on. The interface for a guest is as straightforward and user-friendly (sarcasm) as it is for hosts and particularly confusing for new users. I don’t think guests even realise that their response to this prompt is even seen by hosts.
As others have suggested, I would follow up with a polite request to provide some more information about themselves.
@Magwitch is correct. Once that prompt was added, my inquiry messages went way down in quality! I have to assume that other hosts were getting less information, or AirBNB thought they could help start the “conversation.”
I’m with you. I also add ‘Hey could you take a few minutes and add a bit of information to your profile’’’ and every guest has done so and a couple have thanked me. One of my best guests opening communication was ‘visiting family’ and he was delightful. He was my 2nd or third guest and gave some great private feedback of some things he thought would make my place better (he was right) but left a public five star review. How great is that?!
Guests are not the enemy…
Air is so prolific in the market now and reaching such a wide range of potential guest (while commoditizing the host offering more and more) that if hosts assume that every new guest ‘that doesn’t get it’ like in the good ole days is a bad guest you are going to be turning away a lot of good business. To me taking an extra minute or two to coach the guest is well worth the trade-off. I’m on IB and I’d be ecstatic to get even an inquiry right now…
Same here I agree that it’s worth taking the time to convert less than ideal enquiries into bookings. Also, like you said, a detailed friendly enquiry is still no guarantee that they’ll be a good guest!
I agree. I was surprised at the OP’s tone. She doesn’t understand that most people on the planet aren’t familiar with our warm and fuzzy Airbnb world where everyone bows and scrapes to each other. The guest doesn’t know he/she must engage with us on a personal level–sorta break the ice before we make a decision. The guest is just cutting to the chase, like with Trivago; she needs a place to stay for a night or two and be gone. She’s not moving into the White House.
Exactly. When I reserve a table at a restaurant, or book a hotel room or an airline ticket I’m not asked why I want to do so. In the old days before the internet, anyone running a traditional B & B often had no warning at all about guests - sometimes they just arrived on the doorstep with their luggage.
I sometimes think that Airbnb are pampering us into expecting too much.
Thanks for asking. I’ve had 4 stays since. Two left great reviews, 1 didn’t leave a review which was a bummer because she told me she loved the place, the 4th just left today. I reviewed her hoping she will return the favor. She wrote me gushing texts while she was here and I kept thinking I hope you put that in the review… Lol