Newbie - so how many of you use instant book?

Our offering is just a room with own bathroom in the house that we live in, in the UK. We have instant book as if I was booking I would not want to wait to know where I was sleeping that night. So far no regrets or bad experiences. However we are not cheap. one down from the most expensive equivalent AirBnB in the area. If I was low end I would be more careful.

1 Like

We do and like it. We haven’t had any problems so far and have had over a hundred bookings in the last couple of years. We offer two bedrooms with own bathroom and private sitting room but we do live in the house too, so can keep an eye on things.

I figure as we accept everyone anyway, we may as well have it switched on :blush:


I would like to give it a try to get higher in the search listings, but our house is 6 hours away and, out of respect to my caretaker that works two other jobs, I don’t have it turned on.

1 Like

I am the opposite! Because I host in my own home, I am comfortable with IB. I’m right here, you don’t get away with any crap behaviour otherwise you’re out on your arse. If I was listing a precious second home as an entire property and I was not nearby to check on things, pffff…

Having said that, I have concluded that you just can’t tell what guests will be like. I used to rigorously “screen” guests before I would accept them. After a year or so, I began to notice that there was no correlation at all between the communication/profile info/photo and behaviour of guests. Once I felt confident and sure of what I was doing and, crucially, realised that Airbnb don’t give a damn, I figured that IB would make no difference to the quality of guests and would boost me in the search rankings.

I was right. I’m fully booked most of the time, guests are just the same as they ever were, IB or no. You can say ‘it all depends on your listing’ but in reality I’m not sure it does. I think it all depends on your guests, end of the day. Did you draw the psycho? Or the scammer intent on partying? etc.

My absolute worst guests EVER have always been super great at communication prior to arrival, lovely smiley photo, super duper profile, oh we’re so excited to stay at your place, blah de blah de blah. Turned out to be fXXXs of the highest order. This has happened numerous times (I’ve hosted over 1000 guests just for context). So yeah, don’t be afraid of IB. But don’t do it unless you feel confident, damn, such a contradiction!

In essence, kid yourself that you’re a cautious and dutiful host by not using IB and screening all your wonderful guests and believing all their nice words and pretty photo and oh, of course, the clincher - Govt ID! Phew! That Airbnb verified govt ID will miraculously ensure that nobody pisses in your bed or has a party or trashes your kitchen, eats a durian fruit in their bedroom etc etc,

In conclusion, nothing is ever guaranteed - ever.


I have thought about using instant book to boost me in the search lists. I believe it is penalty-free to cancel, so I may try turning on IB and if the communication post-booking doesn’t seem right, I can always cancel with no questions asked by Air BnB (correct me if I’m wrong about this). I live alone in the house and there’s no separate entrance, so I haven’t turned it on yet because I want to screen my guests more before accepting a reservation.


Noooo, you cannot cancel a reservation in any scenario, for the most part, and not get dinged by Airbnb, minimum. If you are not comfortable with non-screening process, IB may not be for you…


Have been hosting for 2 years - whole apartment downstairs of us. Started off not using IB for the first year. Been using IB for the last year. So far I have not had any problems. We prefer to pick up our guest from the airport with is just 10 minutes away as it gives us an idea of who we are letting into our apartment and sets up a good host guest relationship from the start. Almost all of the people we have had have been lovely but then our price is above most in our area as we do not want riff raf!


I’ve been using IB (requiring a recommendation from a previous host) for the last six months or so. All has gone well except I’ve had people instant book for 3rd party bookings, in violation of the TOS. The first group canceled so it wasn’t an issue, but I just had someone instant book today and I can’t get CS to help me with the cancellation. The CS representative I talked to didn’t know what the Superhost hotline was (which I’d called), the 3rd party booking policy, or how to cancel a guest.


Wow. So what do you do, hang up and call right back?

1 Like

I hung up and DMed the Twitter account (though they also seem pretty clueless). I was thinking about calling back but I don’t know if I’m ready for more head-against-wall frustration. I am personally comfortable hosting this guest since her daughter who made the reservation is checking her in and out, but all I wanted was confirmation this wouldn’t void the Host Guarantee, and the CS representative couldn’t answer this question. She also told me guests go through a background check which we also know isn’t true!

1 Like

I believe they do random background checks on guests and hosts. Hosts for sure.

1 Like

Thing is, the host guarantee is almost worthless. We all have our comfort zone but I don’t have any issues with third party bookings as long as they give me a number where I can reach the party who will be staying.

1 Like

Wow! I’ve never heard that before but just looked it up and it is true according to AirBnB. Funny thing is, I said “I thought AirBnB didn’t do background checks” and the CS representative started back-peddling.

I’m comfortable with 3rd party bookings as well so long as I get the phone number. But other hosts have said this is dangerous, voids your insurance, etc. so it made me a little nervous to have someone book. It doesn’t really bother me because the daughter is checking the mother in. This isn’t much different than the daughter and the mother staying together under the daughter’s name.


You can cancel IB any number of times if you are uncomfortable with the guest. Not sure how black/white this needs to be.

You also get 3 oops cancellations a year, cancel for any reason within 24 hours of booking.

1 Like

@Brandt I may stand corrected here then. My understanding is that I lose my superhost status for any and all cancelations. Anyone?

1 Like

I personally don’t use instant book and it does not affect my bookings rating but I don’t have a private guest entrance and want to know exactly who is coming, when and to ensure they guests needs are what I can meet. Check In time, no children, location etc and I find this often gets fleshed out in the booking request or enquiry phase. In saying that most of my bookings are weeks or months in advance and are for 2-3 week stays on average.

1 Like

IB is a powerful tool on Airbnb. It is not for everybody, and quite frankly I don’t recommend it for newbie hosts.

In my opinion, it’s a bit of a misnomer to say that the guest doesn’t have to talk with the host. I chat with all prospective guests. The difference is that with IB I can get out of a booking that I am not comfortable with, whereas with the regular stream I would be penalized. This in turn means that there would be more risk in accommodating a newbie guest with no history.

Many hosts detest IB, but my overall experience, with a few nasty exceptions, has been positive. What makes it work is honest reviews.


I do most of my hosting in an extra room in my home with a shared bath.
I don’t like instant book.
I tried it for a while and I agree with the other postings that it did not make a difference in the quality of the guests. I Just did not like the feeling of getting that “ping” announcing that “Jane and Fred are coming on Thursday.” I felt I had become a motel. Jane and Fred may be fine but I wanted to have a little chit-chat with them before clicking “approve.”
I should say that I intentionally don’t host every day of the month, only about 25% of the nights. I find can fill those nights and am as busy as I like to be. Perhaps if I wanted to be a full time airbnb host I would rethink the decision to not use IB.

1 Like

There are pros and cons to instant book. The pros include that you can improve your ranking and get more bookings as well as reviews.the cons are that you can get more cancellations and don’t always know who’s booking. Ultimately whether you should use it or not really depends on your preferences.

In what situations can you cancel? Do you have to justify it to AirBnB?

Brandt says you cancel any number of times…but yecatsr says no?

From AirBnB’s site (seems like you can cancel penalty-free as long as it doesn’t appear to be discrimination):

"Instant Book hosts can cancel 100% penalty-free under certain circumstances. Learn more about Instant Book

Unlimited cancellations

Hosts never have to host a reservation they’re uncomfortable with.

Some examples of when a host can cancel penalty-free include:

  • The guest has several unfavorable reviews that concern the host
  • The guest hasn’t responded to questions the host needs to know about their trip
  • The guest makes it clear they’ll likely break one of the host’s house rules, like bringing a pet or smoking

100% penalty-free

Penalty-free means:

  • No cancellation fee
  • No automated cancellation review
  • No loss of Superhost eligibility
  • No permanently blocked dates

Remember, you can’t cancel for any reason that violates Airbnb’s Nondiscrimination Policy."

1 Like