Penalized for declining a booking?

Quick question…
A inquirer asked to come at 11pm instead of check out time. I couldn’t let her in that late and don’t have keyless check in, so declined her offer via the messaging system. Will I be penalized for “officially” declining her stay via Airbnb. The system
Is asking me to make a decision to pre-approve or decline, but it was my understanding that you sort of get penalized for declines. My instinct is to just not choose one or the other and let it expire, but is that the right move here?

No penalty but you should respond quickly as it’s factored into your response rate.

No, the right move is to decline. You would only get penalised for declining if you were declining everyone. You’ve got a good reason why you can’t take this booking so decline away.

(P.S. the system penalises you for not declining or accepting. Your response rate will be hit each time).

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Just decline - no problem.

Hi Everyone

I agree you should decline the booking - but I don’t think it’s correct to say “no problem, no penalty”

I’m pretty sure that ABNB is factoring how often we accept/decline in their stack ranking - it doesn’t make sense that they wouldn’t be; after all - they only make money if we book rooms, right?

So never accept a booking you shouldn’t - agreed; but I would say do everything you can to be able to accept all the bookings (which means: @Rhatia_Renee - if you can add a keyless lock, you should. Also, things like minimum stay, and ensuring if you need lead time you check that option properly so you don’t get “same day” requests you have to decline - I’ve had that happen)

**This is based on my anecdotal evidence only. We had one house in Palm Springs, which was both our vacay house and a rental. When we outgrew it (with 3 kiddos!), we bought a bigger house, and started being more aggressive about “taking” bookings on the smaller house, as well as lowering the price some to “make sure” it was covering expenses - I noticed that we got more inquiries thereafter. Also, when looking at AirBNB in Palm Springs using Incognito mode after making that change, we were in the top page of listings - which had not happened before when I was more “choosey” about dates/bookings.

Just my $.02, YMMV!

1 Like can tell you exactly what affects your ranking and where you are currently placed. And whether the odd rejection will adversely affect you.

Zandra - thanks! This looks like a cool service; do you have first hand experience using? - can you weigh in here? I believe there’s an AirBNB equivalent to google pagerank, which - while we can speculate on - will be hard to nail down; but perhaps some very smart folks have figured out more details?


You might be interested in these threads.


Thanks very much for the help guys. I’m a fairly new Airbnb host so just getting the lay of the land. :hugs:

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Keyless check in has been the best thing we’ve done. So much less stress!! We live next door and still like to meet our guests in person, but in those occasions when we can’t it’s so much easier. Also we have a few repeat guests that know the routine now and they can just check in whenever. So I’d really look into adding that feature if you can.


If this person sent an inquiry rather than a reservation request, you actually don’t have to decline or pre-approve at all – you just have to respond to the inquiry within 24 hrs with some kind of message. Normally, I tell the inquirer why the space won’t work for them and then they just move on. I neither have to pre-approve or decline.

Reservation requests must be accepted or declined within 24 hrs. Often times, I tell a guest why the space won’t work for them and let them know they can just cancel their request without penalty. This usually works just fine and they tend to cancel quickly and look for something else. If they fail to cancel within 24 hours of their request, however, I decline so that the request doesn’t exceed the 24 hr mark.

It’s funny isn’t it how we constantly have to be defensive as hosts.

Most recent two reviews: the listing is really accurate and you get exactly what’s described.

Second review in private feedback under accuracy; photos were not accurate. I can only assume because they do make the place look huge.

I spend most of my time reminding people what my listing isn’t and why it’s not suitable for them. Surely this is backward!

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Yes and no. If a guest has enquired with you then they plan on staying in your area. If you decline them, then they’ll find somewhere else so Airbnb will still make their money.

However, although the occasional decline won’t hurt you, frequent declines might well do. It’s understandable why this will happen. Airbnb doesn’t want to promote hosts who are frequently declining as it’s not good for the company as a whole to have guests jumping through hoops to book.

I also just bought a smart lock for my second rental property. Hope it works well and makes life much easier for me.

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I agree with @jacquo that you should be careful about how many declines you issue. If you find yourself frequently having to decline because guests are expecting something you don’t provide, you should go over your listing again and see whether anything could be misleading. If you’re super-picky about guests and only accept those with smiley profile photos and gush in their messages about how excited they are to come to your wonderful place… well, you ain’t going to last long, imo, so moot point.

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I got an email from Airbnb when I declined 10 requests in a row (all for good reasons). It didn’t say what would happen but I saw it as a definite threat!