Search ranking - decline or pre-approve

We know declining can slightly affect search ranking and so can pre-approving if the guest doesn’t follow through and book.
My question is, which do you think has the most detrimental effect.

I get a few requests that are not really requests, eg journalists writing articles, guests requesting a concert date that’s too far in the future for the dates to be open, or guests wanting a long term booking even though some of the dates they want are already taken (“can you cancel those bookings so I can book?”)

Would it be better to pre-approve or decline? I can decline saying “guest is requesting other dates” but I presume Air doesn’t differentiate between the reasons you give, so it would still be a slight negative on my search ranking.

Are these inquiries or booking requests?

Inquiries. I have IB on.

Then you don’t have to do anything. Inquiries don’t require an action. Booking requests, which you can still receive even if you use IB, do require an action and might affect your listing search ranking.

The big red button is staring at me saying “pre-approve or decline”. It’s hard to ignore a big red button.

Yes. But that doesn’t mean you actually have to PUSH it. Up to you, of course.

I don’t know that either have an impact on search rankings- can you link to information on Airbnb’s website that says this?

As long as you respond you are fine.

PUSH THE RED BUTTON!! Seriously. In your situation, with IB, you have absolutely nothing to lose by pushing it. They are fake enquiries so yeah, let them go ahead and book! None of us know the intricacies of the search algorithm (not even those that developed it) but I would bet a lot of money that the number of declines is a big factor, no matter what Airbnb says officially.


I always just pre-approve those types of things, but send them a message telling them why the property won’t be suitable for them. If they choose not to book, (which is 99.9% of the time), at least you won’t have that dumb button staring at you.

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“search ranking tracks how many guests make a request to book, but are denied. Occasionally rejections are necessary, so similar to other factors in search ranking we’re interested broad patterns over weeks and months, rather than individual rejections.”

I just got another one right now and the “pre-approve or decline” timer was ticking at me so I hit pre-approve. This is what the potential guest is asking:
I’m getting in touch with you on behalf of my parents who are interested in visiting your house in order to organise their next visit end of 2018. They come to visit me from France every year and need to find a place to stay. Would it be possible to meet and see the house within the next few weeks? Thank you very much.
Please ignore the booking dates that I gave, it’s just because the system requires it to get that message sent. Thank you again "

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I can’t see anything in the link which you provided about pre-approving a guest who subsequently doesn’t follow through affecting your search rankings. It would be silly to penalise hosts for decisions a guest makes.

Also I don’t believe that declining bookings does either I used to decline 1 in 4 and I was still in the first five listings on page one.

If they are booking on behalf of someone else I send a reply straight back saying Very sorry, Airbnb do not recommend a meet and greet prior to booking due to security , however my apt is exactly as it appears and if my reviews do not convince then I’m sure there are lots of choices for you to select and will decline so you can find the best accommodation to suit your needs.
If they are serious they will book…
If you don’t feel comfortable decline, especially if they are wanting to book on behalf of another person. You don’t know if they are just spinning you a story?

That is not only not recommended by Air, it goes against the TOS. So you have 2 issues. First it is a booking by someone for someone else, big no no, and they want to come and see it. Which in Airs eyes could allow you to make a private booking outside of Air. So long as all of this is in the Air message system you should just decline away.

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Yes, I wouldn’t allow her to book for her parents.
I just get a bit annoyed when people put in fake dates which I pre-approve then when they don’t book, it may seem in the algorithms that my place was being rejected.

This was discussed on another thread. It confused me too because of the clock counting down warning you to either pre-approve or decline. You do not have to do either. Just respond. To stop the clock simply refresh the screen. You won’t be penalized for not hitting the button.

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Then why are you pre-approving?

As already mentioned you just need to respond if it’s just an inquiry.

In that case I would change my booking settings so that they can’t book after whatever hour would be acceptable for you to get a last minute booking on the same day by. I would then tell the guest they only have until X:00 to book.

I pre-approve to make the timer stop and then respond to their questions.

At least I’m not the only one that was confused by this. As I’ve come to learn from this forum, you don’t have to do pre-approve or decline, just respond. I know, the timer keeps ticking. But, if you hit refresh on your browser, it will stop.

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