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Should I loosen my Instant Book requirements?

I have Instant Book set up with these requirements:

  1. Airbnb standard requirements
  2. Profile photo
  3. Government-issued ID
  4. Recommendation from other hosts
  5. Pre-booking message

I am thinking about removing some of these so it is easier for guests to Instant Book - I think as a guest I would prefer Instant Book when possible for the lower hassle factor.

I’ll take off Profile Photo - half of my guests don’t have a photo, or have flowers or a sunset, and I don’t really care what they look like anyway.

Which other requirements should I keep and which should I remove? What works for you?

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We use Instant Book and don’t require any of the five things you listed.

It’s all good. We get great guests.

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It looks like the “Airbnb standard requirements” can’t be removed, it seems to be automatically applied to everybody.

So you allow guests with bad reviews to Instant Book? That has not been a problem?

My pre-booking message just asks people to confirm that they have read the house rules and have the correct number of guests, including children, listed.

Is there any downside to removing the pre-booking message and just sending it through the message thread after they Instant Book?

In 2.5 years and well over 300 guests, we’ve had one “bad” guest—one whom we wouldn’t allow to come back. And that was in the first weeks, before we had Instant Book turned on.

We’ve had great guests. Almost every one has gotten a perfect 5-star review from me. I have given a few 4 star reviews to people (mainly for wacky/nonexistent communication). We’ve never had a guest that did any damage, stole anything, or did anything else that was a problem.

We are resident hosts, which probably helps ensure that guests behave themselves.

But I’d say, in general, our guests bend over backward to be courteous, respectful, and rule-abiding.

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I use IB with no requirements , I collect ID myself. Heads in beds I do not put barriers to hosting.

RR

Ditto. We’re also on BDC and all we specify with them is that the guest has a valid credit card and telephone number.

Had a few we wouldn’t want back, two maybe three - but that’s mainly because I didn’t like them very much :slight_smile: That said, if they booked again I wouldn’t try to cancel them, their money is as good as anyone’s.

Exactly.

JF

I think it’s only helpful if you’re asking for info, as it cuts down a step in communication and also filters out people unwilling to share info.

My pre-booking message asks them to read the house rules and let me know first and last names of all guests (required by city). About half the time I get the names with the booking, so I have everything I need.

If you need no extra info, there’s no downside to removing the pre-booking message. I’d just send my confirmation message and let them know “if you haven’t had a chance to do so already, please read the house rules and listing. If you find anything that is a bad fit, you can cancel for a full refund within 48 hours of booking”

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I only have the Govt ID requirement although that’s probably a waste of time. I don’t think more requirements, including ID, would have prevented any of the few and minor problems I’ve had. All those requirements are for people who need the illusion of control. If you have let go of that illusion you are more enlightened than many already. :wink:

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Same here.

I don’t suppose we’ll ever have access to data that proves it, but my thinking is that having the government ID requirement deters at least some “bad” guests from booking in the first place.

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This was my thinking when I added it in the first place. But then I approve lots of requests that do not have government ID so maybe it does not truly matter?

More importantly, I let guests with no reviews book. The requirement for previous reviews makes it an extra hassle for newbies who are already likely having some extra hassle figuring out how to book.

I have Pre-Booking message on there because I think it is a chance to start a rapport with the guest as they book and makes for some efficient communication. In my message, I greet them and ask what’s bringing them to my town, etc but I also mention that turning on Notifications will make for easier communication. Ever since I added that to my message, I have very few issues with guests not getting messages I send. I think it’s useful and also doesn’t eliminate anyone anyways because they are already Instant Booking when they come across it. Even without that requirement, there’s a box that you have to put something in before you can move to the next screen that says “say something to your host” or something like that - so it seems better to have them say something useful to me than just some random comment to continue booking.

I do have this requirement but not because I think it makes us any safer or prevents bad guests or whatever but it does speak to a certain level of cooperation from a guest before they book. I also approve requests without it but have on occasion asked them to verify ID “before the booking can be completed” for the same reason of basic cooperation, which is something I prefer in guests. Also, everytime, it has let me develop some rapport with someone, usually a newbie learning the system, prior to them even arriving (e.g. it’s a great chance for a conversation and for me to be helpful ,). It’s always been a positive thing but I guess if someone said, “screw you, I’m not doing it”, that would be good to know too.

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well, if that suits you very well then. I keep all of them because I want to know who is coming in the house I live in and I need to see their picture too, in case they send someone else. If you dont live there, yes, it is a different story.
But dont you want to know whos coming to your house?

I wish there were an option to allow new guests with no reviews to Instant Book but prevent guests with previous bad reviews.

I have hosted lots of first timers, but they have to put in a request instead of Instant Book. They have all been great.

I missed this question previously. I had an IB from a woman with multiple “bad” reviews and a 4 star average. I canceled her same day booking within the hour, using one of my “free” cancellations. I’ve written about her here multiple times. Despite the low ratings she continued (continues last I checked) to find Airbnb hosts who will rent to her. I don’t know if they don’t read the reviews or are intimidated by the cancellation penalties or are just clueless. Last I checked she had about 40 reviews.

@JJD @KKC @Brian_R170 @JohnF @RiverRockRetreat @RebeccaF and any other hosts who do not require the “recommendation from other hosts”:

Do you check your guests’ previous reviews after they have Instant Booked? If you see a particularly terrible review, do you cancel them?

Was this easy to do? No push-back from Airbnb?

See my previous post above this one. Yes, I would. I’ve only done this once. My idea of “bad” review and yours might not be the same.

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I wouldn’t hesitate to cancel if I was uncomfortable, depending on the nature of the issue. What’s an issue for some hosts may not be an issue for me though. I have cancelled an IB once before because of the reviews that the guest left for other hosts, not so much for the reviews she received.

I’d like to really stress that every single guest I’ve had that has been an issue in any manner has had previous good reviews. For me, I just don’t think having previous good reviews is a reliable indicator. And the opposite seems true as well. I’ve had guests with low star ratings in cleanliness that left my place spotless, low star ratings in communication that didn’t effect me at all and even low star ratings in house rules that didn’t break any of mine (but I don’t have the no-shoes in the house rule ,). Guests who use airbnb somewhat regularly are like us, they want good reviews and a good status as well. With only one exception (recently), the guests I’ve had with dings on their star ratings have all been perfect guests. I know at least one was aware of her “lowered status” and addressed it in her initial message to me. She was actively trying to raise her rating and did, after her stay with me. Cooperation! I love it :slight_smile:

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I’ve not had any trouble cancelling a guest when I wanted to, though it’s not something I do frivolously.

Edit to add: I think we can all agree as hosts that if we receive one bad review, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t good hosts. I extend this same philosophy to guests whenever possible.

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