Time limit for guests

Anyone else find it frustrating when waiting for a potential guest to respond? I had someone who wanted to book certain dates and I explained that the day they wanted to check-in would have to be a morning arrival only (it’s my kids spring break and I have my own family coming home for visit that day). I asked the potential guest to respond whether or not they could check-in early and when I didn’t hear back I had to decline (the clock was almost out on my time limit as host and I did not want to get dinged). I explained in my declination why I was doing so and that if they could do a morning arrival to make new request and I would approve it. The guest went to submit request and someone else had made one so he made one for different dates and explained that he put it in but dates were wrong and not the dates he wanted. I went in and made a reservation change and sent request his way and asked that he let me know asap because I am turning people away. Since then I have had another request with dates including the ones he wants.

Do potential guests have a time limit to respond to messages/requests? I hate that as a host I get dinged for taking too long and I hate that I have now declined three potential stays because of this one guest who wants to stay (hopefully). If hosts get dinged I feel guests should too.

To be honest I would never hold space for a guest not certain of their plans. I respond to their inquiries and then leave it.

Of course if it was an request rather than an inquiry you need to decline (which was it)

I have no clue why your guest would have submitted a booking request with the wrong dates on it. I would have simply told him that he needed to withdraw the request with the wrong dates and provide me with a request for the new dates. In the meantime they would remain open so I would suggest he books ASAP if he doesn’t want to miss out.

Why are you declining three potential stays? Whoever books first gets the dates. Simple as :slight_smile:


I thought if the host already responded to a reservation request, then declining the request is the same as letting it expire (i.e. counts against your accepted requests). No?

@Brian_R170 Just letting it expire dings your response rate, I’m pretty sure. It’s Inquiries that only require a response without affecting your stats. I know I once missed a Request, because Airbnb never sent me any notification. My response rate was affected, not my acceptance rate.

I agree with Helsi - you’re overcomplicating this by holding dates.

When it’s a Request To Book (RTB) - the one with a 24-hour clock and Accept/Decline option and I need a response from a guest before the countdown I state as much in my message. “We have some family commitments in the afternoon, so would only be able to take your reservation if you can check in by X. Would that work for you? Airbnb requires I accept or decline your request by 3pm, so if I don’t hear from you by then, I’ll need to decline. (Just send a new request if you’d still like to stay but miss that timeframe)”

I don’t hold dates unless someone is doing a long stay. With inquiries I just pre-approve, and say “no” to holding those dates. Most guests are just booking 2-3 nights and I’ll take whomever puts their money down first.


No for requests you have to accept or decline within 24 hours or they can block the dates. @Brian_R170

Declined them because he requested first and I told him if he could check-in by 11:00 a.m. I could do it and would accept it. Time was up on my end and I had to decline his initial request to stay. After I went to bed he attempted to book the dates because he could check-in by 11, but someone else made a request to stay the dates he wanted. Since someone requested his dates, he thought he could just put different dates (not sure why - he is relatively young and new to airbnb). All these requests were made by different people very late at night so I could not stay on top of it. Because I told him previously I would accept his request if he could accommodate my time constraints I felt like I should honor that.

I’m new to hosting, added property December 2019 so still trying to figure all of this out. I have found the airbnb site to be cumbersome at times and the support on that site hard to reach out to.

Definitely it can be frustrating :frowning:

Have you looked at Airbnb Help and the tutorials on Airbnb Community - great for managing the basics and finding your way around the system @CAS

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I totally understand. It gets easier once you learn the ropes.

I had the same empathetic response of wanting to hold dates for the person who contacted first, but the truth is many guests are shopping various locations. Some of the most “enthusiastic” messages with the big asks to hold dates come from the biggest flakes.

I agree the support on the Airbnb site is nearly non-existent. I’ve gotten much better (and faster) response from hosts on this forum.


@CAS Another way you can handle such situations is to send the guest a message saying you still haven’t heard back from them re you not being able to accommodate a later check-in time, and since your time is running out to either accept or decline, you are going to go ahead and accept, on the condition that they must check-in before 11. And that if they can’t make that check-in time, that they should cancel ASAP so they get a full refund and can look for a place that works for them.
That way, you don’t ding your acceptance rate, and put the ball back in the guest’s court.
A host I know of uses this tactic quite a lot whenever the guest is asking for something that she can’t or won’t accommodate, assuming there aren’t any other red flags to the request. Like if they ask if they bring 3 people, when the listing has a max guest count of 2, etc. Of course, if you still have plenty of time before your clock runs out, you can also ask the guest to withdraw the request before employing the “I’m accepting based on you only booking for 2, as an extra person won’t be admitted”.


I did this twice in the beginning. No more. I don’t hold the dates; I give them to the person who either answers the inquiry/request first or, if it’s an inquiry and an IB comes in it’s tough luck on that person.

Recently I had a new to Air person send an Inquiry for 2 ppl and 4 nights. I wrote. And wrote, and asked Air to contact her. Crickets :cricket: :cricket:

Since it was and inquiry, it didn’t block my dates and I got an IB the morning she had wanted to check in.

suddenly she’s in a panic - didn’t download the app, didn’t know an inquiry wasn’t a reservation, any way she could stay in “your gorgeous home, pleasepleaseplease,” etc. As in “please find me alternate accommodations!!!”

I calmly explained that she needed to download the app, allow notifications, and that no I couldn’t host her because I accept IB and she didn’t reply over the course of several days. I tried contacting her even after her inquiry expired.

Heads in Beds, right @RiverRock?

Moral of the story: It’s the guest’s responsibility to figure out how to manage their travel itineraries and if they don’t answer the phone or reply to email messages, then we can politely educate them but take someone else’s money.


Far better to come here, as you have, for initial advice at the very least.

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Are you sure that it wasn’t an inquiry vs a request to book? They look very similar. An inquiry only requires a response. Either way I never hold a space for the guest. Just answer the question and move on.

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You may muddle through this time but in the future you need to be true to your stated check-in time or block the date off due to your own unavailability. Your bookings should be first come first serve. You can’t put a time out there on your listing and not honor it when the bookings come. You are causing way too much hoopla for everyone involved including yourself.