Pre-Approve or Decline? Did I Really Need to Do One or the Other?

So we got one of these messages from someone in China who just registered with Airbnb in December 2022, who asked to rent our place for two months. This was characterized by Airbnb as an inquiry. [It says in a grey bubble ‘Inquiry.’]

The inquiry asked whether they could visit the property prior to bookingand I said ‘no.’

But then Airbnb showed us this screen of ‘pre-approve or decline.’ That itself surprised me because I thought this was just an inquiry. So I declined and gave as my reason that I was uncomfortable with the security issues involved in meeting the guest prior to booking.

The Host (I am co-Host) says that because it was an inquiry I should just have left the ‘pre-approve or decline’ message run out the clock (as I already had responded to the inquiry), that I did not need to respond to that pre-approve or decline message and it would not have counted against us but my decline might.

Does anyone know if the Host is correct? Can I easily look somewhere and find out if that decline is counting against us? Do you have recommendations on how I could have better handled this?

Inquiry messages are always accompanied by a Pre-approve or Decline screen. That that should surprise you means you need to bone up on all the articles and policies for hosts- this is pretty basic stuff a host or co-host should be aware of. Are you saying you’ve never received an Inquiry before?

Yes, the host is correct- all you need do for an Inquiry is send a response within 24 hours. You can ignore the prompts to Pre-approve or Decline- when the inquiry expires, just clear your cache and cookies and those prompts should disappear. And if you have a sense the guest is scamming, click on the report button and mark it as a scammer.

“Can I look somewhere and find out if the decline is counted against us” is also basic hosting knowledge. Your Acceptance rate shows whether a decline was counted against you. Of course you’d have to know what the percentage was before you declined, in order to compare. Supposedly declines on Inquiries do not affect your Acceptance rate, but YMMV.

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An Inquiry only requires a response. Any response. “No” is enough. Been there, done that too.

You will be shown a Pre-Approve or Decline option but you do not need to click anything unless it benefits you. 99% of the time it will benefit you to only respond.

However, if you indeed want a guest to book then they may like receiving a Pre-Approval so go ahead and send them one. Warm fuzzies and all ,)

But if you are dealing with an Inquiry you don’t want and are seriously concerned that guest will go on to RTB or IB then a Decline on the Inquiry will prohibit them from doing so. Otherwise don’t decline, just respond.


Do you know if you pre-approve someone it counts as a response? I plan to just hit the preapprove button for people who ask “Is your place available?”

Hitting pre-approve means they can go on to book. I don’t understand why people ask if it’s available. Can’t they see the calendar? Do you really want clueless guests like that? Why not just respond with “Yes”?
I would assume pre-approving counts as a response.

Well, you’ve already schooled me on this. I thought I had to do one or the other to avoid a penalty. I don’t know if in this case the guest forced this question on me or Airbnb.

I laughed out loud at this comment of yours. I wonder what would happen when in a ‘normal’ situation a prospective guest actually does ask that question of “Is your home available on these dates?” with this answer:

“The dates are available as the calendar clearly shows, but somehow you’re not understanding that. That concerns me because we do have devices here like a toaster, sharp knives and a can opener. We wouldn’t want you to hurt yourselves or cause damage. So, regrettably, we must flag your message as revealing an addlepated status that we cannot accommodate. Good luck in your search. [You might be best suited for a hotel.]”


they are fishing for discounts

I don’t… it’s easier to pre-approve than type a message. Pre-approving makes them ineligible to book the non-refundable option.

An inquiry from a person like that is a signal to increase rates. This person is a very valuable data provider. I love them!

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I was unaware of this… Can you provide a link please from Airbnb to support your statement?

I have done the experiment with a friend so I know that’s how it works.

  • The discount is applicable if the reservation is not booked with a pre-approval or special offer

We discontinued offering the non-refundable option; the couple of cancellation requests we did have under that policy, asked us to override the policy anyway. More trouble than it’s worth, and we’re giving a discount to people who “promise” to not expect a refund? Nah. We already offer the relaxed-fit, stretchy-waist cancellation policy.


Exactly why I won’t offer the non-refundable option. Especially when you consider the ABB CS person will override your policy, too.


my non-refundable rate is the lowest rate. I charge a 10% premium for the firm refundable option.

I have denied refunds to atleast half a dozen people this year. As soon as a scammer says refund, I reach out to Airbnb CS and let them know that no refund should be provided. That has worked well for me recently, but I had some bad experiences with CS in 2021 when I was not as proactive.

It’s a shame that this is even necessary. CS should just be applying the cancellation policies as written and which the guest agreed to by booking.

I would hazard a guess that there are more guests who choose non-refundable just to save 10% when they book and would try to argue about getting a refund if they cancel, than guests who choose that option prepared to live with the consequences.

Yes, I feel that there are more immoral, unethical, lying scammers on Airbnb than mosquitoes in the tropics. Airbnb does not practice any vermin prevention on these nasty individuals on their platform.

@house_plants You really need to stop holding in your feelings and letting all that frustration build up inside. Let it out. Air your concerns. :rofl:

But seriously, I am sorry that you’ve had so many bad experiences!!


It’sa scam. I got two of them. I contacted Airbnb.

Yes, it does, the same way that accepting a request or an IB going through counts as a response. They also all count as an acceptance.

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Because of those two stupid buttons on inquiries. Pre-approve or decline. And the countdown timer. Inquiries do at first glance seem like requests. The guest has indeed merely asked a question, but Airbnb wants to keep the booking flow in motion, so they are sneakily encouraging the host to pre-approve so the guest can book at will. And the decline button makes the host feel like they’re super host status will be in jeopardy. So ignoring the buttons is a fine thing to do. It could be especially important to pre-approve if your listing is request to book only. Pre-approval basically turns a request to book listing into instantly bookable for the guest on those dates. Which is all fine and dandy but Airbnb is still manipulating hosts that don’t realize the difference between a request and an inquiry and who are afraid of losing their response rating or superhost status do to declines. It also sucks that you have to hit decline before you send a special offer. We should be able to send an offer at any time.

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While they could make it clearer, like having Inquiry in red and Response in blue or something, and Airbnb certainly does its share of host manipulation, I’ve never had any trouble differentiating between an inquiry and a request and I think it’s something incumbent on the host to learn about and pay attention. For one thing, the choices on an inquiry and request are different. Pre-approve on an inquiry, accept on a request.
I think its more a case of “hosts don’t read”.