Problem with new guest requirement feature-reqired trip info&questions

Hi all,

I am a relatively new host(3months) and just had my first “situation”, so I am reaching out for advice. I am currently hosting a guest that has had a few issues. Those issues aren’t really the focus of this post, but I feel that if I had more information and dialogue with these guests prior to their arrival, then I wouldn’t be in this situation. I messaged them asking questions but they never directly answered any. Just responses like, we’ll message you when we arrive, and we are looking forward to the trip.

You can imagine my relief, when I noticed that I could now add questions that the guest would have to answer in order to instant book. I was very excited until last night when I received my first booking since I utilized that feature. There were no questions answered and no messages from my guest. Now, I’m not particularly worried about the guest because they have more than a dozen 5 star reviews. What bothers me is that on the iphone app, which I use exclusively, has this feature under guest requirements. Not guest options, but guest requirements!

It explicitly states “Guest Requirements: Your guests will always meet these requirements before they book.” Then there are 3 types of requirements, Airbnb requirements, which are the basics. Then, Additional requirements for ID and recommendations from other hosts, which can be selected or not. Then the third one is “Required trip information: Guests must answer your questions before they book”. Then you can select from basic questions such as trip info, number of guests, and arrival time. It also gives you the option of making your own question for the guest. When I called in and asked about where I would see the responses to these questions, the agent was not familiar with this new feature. After a hold, the answer came back that it is not mandatory after all, but just a suggestion for the guest to answer. Apparently, the desktop version has much different language, only suggesting the guest answer your questions and not using language that makes it seem like a host can make them mandatory. I submitted a feedback form but am not too sure what will come of it. I was really excited about this feature and thought it could really benefit hosts who want information about guests before they arrive. Those hosts who don’t require any info just don’t have to make any questions mandatory, so I don’t see why this feature is watered down on the desktop. I think many more hosts use the mobile app, than guests do, but perhaps I am wrong.

Is there any hope for getting feedback concerns resolved with AirB&B? I have read how some hosts are hit or miss for support and would love to continue to keep the instant book feature. However, after my most recent guest, I may have to revert back to reservation requests only. Any thoughts or tips are welcome, Thanks!!! Julia

I don’t think new hosts should use IB.


Agree. New hosts shouldn’t touch IB. Only after several months/years of hosting, having made (almost) all the mistakes you can make (and of course all advice you can take from here!) would it be advisable to consider opening up to Instant Bookings.


Wow, Okay thanks for the quick responses! Yes, I can agree that going straight to instant book may not be advisable for new hosts. But the problem for this feature does not just exist for me. Any host, tenured or not, using the mobile app sees language that makes it seem like they can give guests mandatory questions if they choose. But on the desktop version, the language is totally different. I cannot be the only one who sees this as a bait and switch at the least, and outright false advertising/lying to hosts at the worst. And yes, I will likely remove the instant book for the rest of the year, and maybe put it back on after the holidays. Is the sentiment that experienced users never want any additional information from guest? I like to think that I would always like to know how many people are coming, and what time of day they will arrive so I can check them in and such. Has anyone else added questions to guest requirements since this feature became available, and does anyone see a problem with different wording on mobile app vs. desktop? Thanks!

@mamajuls I think you are placing too much trust in the Airbnb platform. You need to take compete ownership of your listing and your bookings and view Airbnb solely as the mediator. If you are not comfortable with a prospective guest, keep asking until you are ok. Do not rely on Airbnb to work things out for you. I agree with others that instant-book is not good for new hosts. You don’t say whether you are a live-in host or offering a separate listing. Either way, your post suggests that you are placing a lot of emphasis on the software rather than on human interaction. Apologies if I misunderstood.


I now use Instant Book and can confirm that since I created these questions (I think it went live about a month ago) none of my guests have completed them even though Airbnb says on its blurb that they have to.

In fact I have one guest due next week who I have messaged three times now with the same questions and who hasn’t responded. I am going to call Airbnb tomorrow and ask them to cancel the booking.


Thanks Magwitch,

Please be assured, I am not relying on the Airb&B platform to mediate anything. As a new host, I am still excited about meeting new people and hosting them. I engage with my guests immediately, before they arrive, and throughout the stay. I rent a private room in my home. I do not rely on AirB&B to work anything out, I was wanting clarification on this feature that I was excited to use. I just want to know anyone else’s experience using the “guest requirements/must answer” feature and if they found it misleading on the app vs. desktop. Maybe I am not as jaded as a host yet, I’m sure I’ll get there, lol. Okay, from now on I can assume that not only are my guest all sneaks and liars but AirB&B is also. Yes, looking back, I did have my qualms about the current guest and wish I had refused their booking. I always message my guests to get more info and to see if they need directions/recommendations. I messaged my current guest several times. I guess I should have been more of a squeaky wheel But like I said, this feature of having questions in guest requirements is available to all hosts, new and experienced, and on the mobile app it makes it seem mandatory. My concern is with this contradictory wording on what would be a valuable tool for hosts.

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Word to the wise — avoid using the App. Use Lots of people who use the app end up with “problems”.


I have the App but only use it when I do not have access to my laptop.


I’m a host of just over one year, I’ve done instant book from day one. There are no questions you can ask that will point out problem guests. Mine is a whole house rental, sharing a room in your house would be different. I tick all the boxes on instant book, I’d etc, but don’t ask questions. Only once have had any issue, minor damage which I was compensated for via Airnb.

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Hey, I wasn’t implying that the default position of hosts should be Suspicious! I’m the opposite of that, actually. I assume that all my incoming guests are great and generally they are. To answer your question about
“guest requirements/must answer” feature and if they found it misleading on the app vs. desktop. " I can only say I have no idea and, in my opinion, it makes absolutely no difference in reality. People say all kinds of stuff on an app, on a desktop, on the phone etc etc, none of it means anything until you meet In Real Life. Do tell about your current guest problem. It might be that nothing you could have done prior to booking could have avoided the problem. I used to screen guests very carefully, asked lots of questions, tried to make sure they would be “a good fit”. After a couple of years I concluded that…basically, you just can’t tell a damn thing. There is no algorithm to weed out arseholes.




Ok, so to be clear, guests are not the ones saying whatever via different devices, its AirB&B saying different things to hosts via different devices. What is ambiguous about AirB&B using the words “GUEST REQUIREMENT” and “MUST ANSWER”? Doesn’t that make it seem like if hosts opt into doing those questions that the guest will then be “REQUIRED” and “MUST ANSWER” those questions for the host?

Honestly, I am astonished that no one seems to take issue with this besides me. I could understand technical “problems with the app” but the only “problem with the app” that I have had so far is that AirB&B is outright LYING to me!

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We are jaded. We have seen AirBNB lie, cajole, change policies without telling hosts, etc. etc. etc. For me, either I can live with what they offer, or I can’t. I don’t have the energy to fight against the tide.


Wow. Okay. Thanks smtucker, that’s very disheartening. I’m not so green that I am not aware that companies do this, or even that AirB&B would do this, it just stings me that they do. And it is upsetting that the thought is to assume the best of our guests all the while hedging ourselves against what the company will do against us. UGH, what did I get myself into. lol, I’ll manage through. Thanks, Julia

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@mamajuls. I have 100 reviews and about 113 stays under my belt. So far? I would welcome all of them back. I have had none of the horror stories [well there was that Florida group with makeup on the towels] that you will read about. Whether or not guests answer a specific question before booking is not part of my business plan. Just 'cause AirBNB doesn’t force certain behaviors , doesn’t mean that my guests are not a great group. For me, this endeavor is all about what I provide and what I bring to the table. I am very clear on what is on offer, and what is not. So far, people seem to feel comfortable with this, so it has all worked out. I simply consider AirBNB a platform that brings buyers to my property.

If what you offer in your listing is actually what you offer your guests, you will be fine. As many of us state, under promise and then over deliver. Guests know when you actually care about them and the experience that they have while staying with you.

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p.s. my experience on AirBNB is tiny in compared to folks like @EllenN an @KenH. But I worked in hospitality for about 8 years in my long-time past.

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this should be a t-shirt that I wear daily!!!

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So I’ve read this thread in entirety, and let me tell you- if you don’t have your questions answered, just ask them again. I just had the same thing happen- A user bucked the system and IB without answering my q’s in the IB page. So I said " Aloha, thanks for your inquiry. Would you mind telling me a bit about yourself, and what brings you to Hawaii? This makes us feel better about opening our home and we look forward to your response" and I got a response back almost instantly. Crisis averted! Normal person alert! She’s an exchange student that wants to experience Hawaii before she goes back to her homeland, she’s in a masters program for biochem. Would love to see lava up close.

Fan flipping tastic. I did an eye roll when the initial request came in but crisis is averted. If you really want the questions asked, just ask them again. My ABB’s are in my home as well and I like to get a sense of what the person is about before I open my home. You’re going to be restating things A LOT as a host. The most common I use the saved responses on the ABB msg system.

You’ll get the hang of it. Just do what feels right for you-


There are some features/functionality that you only get when using the app. As an example, if you want to send a guest a message with a photo attached, you must use the app. You cannot do it with the laptop.