Selling potential guests in booking inquiry messages

Typically, when a potential guest inquires about a reservation, I basically just courteously answer whatever questions they might ask.

If I had to guess, maybe 10% (if that) of inquiries for me result in a booking.

I’m wondering if I’m missing out on any opportunities. Do you guys do anything further to encourage that they book?

For example, do you suggest they book soon or the nights might get booked? Do you offer a deal? Do you offer to help in any other way?

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If you want the booking definitely worth putting a little effort in. Personally I don’t offer discounts (although I know others do).

However I do personalise the response and pick up on the reason for their stay or why they chose my place and add some extra information.


I’ve got the same problem. Almost every single instant booker has been satisfied with us, but if the conversation starts of with an inquiry, and I very nicely answer any questions they may have, most of the time it doesn’t lead to a booking. :smirk:


Yup, I agree. I just got the question from someone, “can we walk to the beach? Just confirming that we can walk before we book.”

Me: please review the listing again where this information is covered in excruciating detail.

I did not use the word excruciating…but I wanted to!


Because I have IB, I don’t get a lot of inquiries. I do ask that people bringing dogs inquire first so I can send the special offer with the pet fee; not all of them do that. I also get inquiries about things like parking their uHaul truck or tow trailer in the driveway. Even though my listing says there is room and I have a picture of a Penske truck in my driveway, some still ask. I get 99% of those inquiries (dogs and uhauls).

Occasionally I get inquires about something else like distance to something not listed on my ad, like distance to Costco. I had a woman ask for more information about my location because she didn’t know much about my town. It took me 30 minutes to answer and she booked somewhere else. Since I’m not a tourist destination I don’t get a lot of people wasting my time with questions.

I did have one guy want to book 3 nights but he wasn’t arriving until midnight and wanted to know if he had to pay for the whole day before. I said yes but I also offered him $3 off per night and he took it.

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Same with us. We just had this extremely odd inquiry the other day:

Guest: “Hey I was looking at your floor plan and it says our bedroom does someone live at your property as well?”

Me: “Yes, our listing is only for a private room. My Husband and I live in the other room and the living room is a shared space. There is no kitchen access though.”

Guest: “Oh ok coo yea I am only looking for a bedroom haha so that kind of works out thank you for the speedy response”

Me: “No problem! Let me know if you have any more questions about the room or the area.”


First off, our listing clearly says that it’s only for a private room. Then, in his first message, he sounds surprised that it’s only the room, but in his second message he says that it’s exactly what he’s looking for. So confused.

He seemed like he was ready to book, but never heard from him again.

Dodged a bullet! He is not the kind of guest you want.


I am on IB. I have had maybe 2 guests in 150 I wish I hadn’t accepted. It is different depending on where you are of course. Don’t sweat it.

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Yep - I get this as well. On IB. All good peeps. Now if I have people asking lots of questions I say I don’t think it would suit them. Experience suggest they won’t book anyway.

Also Guthend love your view on hosts not getting so het up about stuff. Hence my reply “Don’t sweat it”.


What we write and what we want to write are often very different :-). I always try and reply with a smile on my face - after banging my head on the desk. I imagine I’m replying to my old mum, who would need a lot of reassurance. I have been tempted to shout "RTFM! ’ at times (read the effing manual) but believe I’ve a better chance of securing the booking if I go out of my way to be helpful. That’s if the questions aren’t so dumb I don’t want the booking of course…

Do you follow it up at all? I give it a day or two then send a message, suggesting G we’ve had another enquiry for those dates but we don’t want to disappoint you, etc etc. Not hard sell but more a gentle nudge.

I never follow-up. I just assume that if they don’t like it they don’t like it.

But I really should.

I think I have this subconscious thought in my head that “pushy selling is bad,” but what you’re describing isn’t pushy at all!!!

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I never do either, ever. If they have to ask questions that are fully covered in the listing, I don’t want portends a careless, non reading guest.

I get a lot of inquiries. Most result in a booking. A surprising number of my guests are Airbnb guest newbies. I answer their questions and if I can add something pertenient to their request I do. I don’t try to sell them by saying things like “book now to get the days you want…”

If they ask something covered in the Airbnb description, I answer their question and make a comment like”. Thank you for your inquiry. I’m happy to answer your questions. Rental information and house rules differ widely from listing to listing. You may wish to thoroughly read the description as you consider my listing and others.

I copied someone else on this forum and buried and discount code word in my unit information. Folks who see it are very pleased to find it and let me know!!!


I must admit to following up with a few potential guests who I’ve had an extensive back and forth conversation but haven’t booked for their dates.
I’ll write something like … I really appreciate you considering my place for your visit, but since it appears
you have not booked, it would be very helpful to me if you could let me know why. Thank you in advance
for taking the time and letting me know what I may be missing or if I wasn’t a good match for your current
I do this just to gain a better understanding of what people are looking for in my area. Though, in one instance the person ended up booking and was just delayed because they needed another couple to confirm the dates with their schedule. It’s a good learning tool for me, as I know I can always improve and it’s good to see my place from another perspective. Cheers!


I’m surprised that you get a high number of bookings to inquiries. And you just answer the questions asked?


I’m a lucky one. I just looked at my past 2 months. It looks like about 1/2 of my bookings start as inquiries and approximately 85% of my inquiries result in a booking. This just a rough estimate based upon me perusing though my messages (about 25 in the past 60 days).

My listing has been active on Airbnb for a couple of years longer than many others in this area so I have more reviews than the newer listings. This may be the influencer.

On both VRBO and Airbnb, I would say 80% request to book rather than send an inquiry. Most of my inquiries also turn into bookings after an email or two. In the past 10 months that I have been doing STR, I would say I only had 2 people that I remember that ghosted me, not bothering to reply.

You mean the potential guest didn’t read?! Shocking!

I use IB, so I don’t get many inquiries. If I do, usually they are asking for discounts which I don’t give. Decline! I got one a couple of days ago from a woman wanting to bring her three year old along on their week booking. She said he would be sleeping in the bed with her and her husband. I clearly state that I have a two person maximum and that my place isn’t suitable for infants or children under the age of 12. Decline! Mostly I don’t pay much attention to inquiries and answer them as briefly as possible. I certainly don’t try to sell my listing. I’ve had the experience of answering someone’s query, and by the time I was done and hit send someone else had IB-ed the days in question! I stay busy, so I don’t worry if I miss a potential booking here and there. Usually it is not someone I would want anyway.