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To instant book or not to instant book

I’m a single woman and I’ve hosted well over 200 people over the last almost 3 years. I’ve had IB most of that time and I haven’t had any problems. You can require the government ID option for on Airbnb. You can also check their ID when they arrive at your rental. As for rules, they have to say they have read them and agree to them. Airbnb has no way to force them to follow them. You have to try to police them.


The answer is a definitive YES! Try for awhile; if you hate it, turn it off. Or get comfortable as a host without IB, then try it and see if you like the difference? My personal feeling is “No way!”

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Me too. But every host is different so there’s no ‘right’ answer to the question.

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We have only known IB and have had no issues with it. We have checked the option that the guest must be recommended by other hosts.


Hi Tumasgts. My opinion is that when you first start hosting with Airbnb it is better to initially approve (or not) your guests until you become more experienced (there is more to it than initially one might expect!) and I would suggest that depending on your market and circumstances, this might take between six months and a year - but clearly only you knows what is best for your situation. I don’t use IB and doubt I will do as I want to personally approve who I am going to rent my holiday home to and also from time to time, there can be issues with the calendar that I want to be in full control of, but I can see the benefits of IB for some hosts. Best of luck.

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I like having IB because it removes the apprehension, most of the time. I am hosting on Airbnb in order to fill up rooms, and get paying guests stay with me. So the more quickly this happens, the better.

Strangely enough, there are plenty of guests out there who don’t seem to understand IB, so even though I have it turned on, I get lots of requests from people who are asking lots of questions before making a booking, if making one at all, in the end.


Generally @Eberhard_Blocher I have found those that make queries don’t follow up with a booking.


Well yes, @Zandra, I know what you mean. This often happens here, too.

I am starting to think that this might be because of the way I reply to those queries. I take every refusal to then make a booking with me very personally. Probably this means it is time for me to grow up.


If you’re in close proximity to your rental, IB is great. I have a mother in law apartment that is detached from my personal home. I’ve had IBings that showed up 4 hours after booking. If I hadn’t had IB on I wouldn’t have gotten them, because they needed to know right away that they could stay. Most of my IBings happen within a few days of arrival.

I also make sure to always get my apartment set up right after check-out for the next group whether I’m booked or not as I do not have a cleaning day set between bookings, and I allow same day bookings until 10pm.

I would not turn on IB if you don’t want or can’t feasibly do last minute bookings, or if you want to message with people first. As much as some people like to message with guests first and “vet” people, in my experience the IB guests are more laid back and easy. To IB with me, they have to be approved by previous hosts, which means they can’t be first time users. Which means they understand the basics of AirBnB. And I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even worry about checking profiles and such of most people who do any bookings with me before preapproving or denying (unless their message is weird or breaks terms of service) because I guess I’ve gotten jaded by some of the stories of “they had great reviews and trashed my place”. I figure it’s hit or miss and if I’m honest I want the money.

But I wouldn’t turn on IB until you’re comfortable with hosting. You have the new host boost for now, so you don’t need the IB ranking yet. But when I search and I get dozens or hundreds of listings, I hit the IB filter to narrow it down, figuring those hosts have a more streamlined process and I need some way to narrow down the results. Just like we as hosts hate to wait to hear back from guests, it’s hard as a guest to wait for hours or days when you’re working on booking a place to stay NOW. Most hosts are quick, but the immediate booking fits better with how our world works.

But I’m also listed on several sites, so I only have IB enabled on my main booking website as it would be horrible to be booked on 2 different sites as they take a few hours to communicate with each other and block the other calendars.

I personally don’t use instant book and it does not affect my bookings rating but I don’t have a private guest entrance and want to know exactly who is coming, when and to ensure they guests needs are what I can meet. Checkin time, no children, location etc and I find this often gets fleshed out in the booking request or enquiry phase. In saying that most of my bookings are weeks or months in advance and are for 2-3 week stays on average. If you are doing whole apartment or short stays and your timetable is flexible to allow instant bookers who have last minute needs and have no accurately read your listing then instant book may generate higher bookings for you.

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Having instant booking not permitted for first time users is another good point as majority of my guests are first time Airbnb users from overseas so again I don’t think it would have any benefits for me personally.

I have personally found that overseas guests who have not booked with me well in advance have been the mostly disorganised, messy and hard work. This explains why they have travelled to the other side of the world with no accommodation planned and I do try to avoid these guests unless I have other options.


Haha, yes. I don’t think IB would work well for me either were I dealing with mostly long term or international guests. I get people for last minute weekends away or overnight stays before or after a flight.


That’s true in lots of cases. :slight_smile:

This is what I use too. When I just started, I didn’t chose this option so everyone can IB. I didn’t like it. With the option that the guest must be recommended by other hosts is much better. And the other thing I ve been noticed, some guest send request, I looked at their profile, if they joined airbnb for awhile like a year or 6 month ago, but no review, no recommendation, those guests I will pay close tension to. They may have been not great guests so some owners didn’t put in any reviews.
Some guests they just joined airbnb, it makes sense that they are new to this. So I will talk to them a little bit, get a sense about the guests and ask them to read the house rules etc.


I’d say if you’re new to hosting and skeptical, do not start with instabook. Be prepared to accept any reasonable accommodation request though. If you try to get ‘the perfect guest’ then you’ll never have anyone stay.

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Yep, I feel bad for those new hosts that got stuck with automatic IB. You need a few times with guests to figure out the whole process. But the only perfect guests I’ve had were the ones that IBed and I didn’t vet at all. And they were great because they were laid back and used to the homesharing vibe. The ones I communicate with the most don’t seem to book anyway and waste my time, and I just don’t have the energy or time to research guests. Granted there is a difference if it was in my personal home, but if I were that worried I shouldn’t be renting out a room to strangers period. The bad guys can lie, and lie well. The good guys may just be awkward but awesome in person.

I’ve said it before, the best idea is to be straightforward and be on-site. The people who have issues tend to not have clear rules, don’t speak up when there’s issues, or are not on-site to catch issues. The people who cause problems know how to find new hosts or places with remote hosts.


I am pretty new to being an Airbnb host and I don’t feel comfortable to turn on IB especially I will be spending most of my time alone with the guests. (in the same house without guest private entrance) Without IB, I can take some time to review their profiles, reviews, and if they don’t have any, I will send a message to them asking for a brief introduction. I didn’t do it at first and accepted someone who doesn’t have any reviews and now i am regretting it cause he is the less responsive guest I have so far and I feel weird that this guy is coming to my house in a few days (we will see how that goes). Even IB let you request guest to have recommendations from other hosts, i have received a same-day request from a local guest who has a few other host recommendations but they all look fake to me. (I declined him)
So conclusion, if you feel uncertain or uncomfortable, don’t do IB just yet.

Just be aware that if you decline too many times you may be suspended. Airbnb dont like missing out on their cut.

I am actually more comfortable w IB guests because of the prior reviews, and because they know how Airbnb works.

I find there is more risk attached to a newbie - and more work in terms of vetting and orientation.

However there is always some degree of risk, and I get a bit antsy before any guest shows! Must learn to keep a positive attitude!

We have a whole house rental, and have had IB turned on for almost the whole time we’ve been operating, with no restrictions. We’ve had almost 0 problems. I actually love newbies, they are always so pleasantly surprised and seem to leave great reviews. I’ve learned that it’s really difficult to tell what kind of guest someone will be. The only thing that seems to hold true for me is the more they pay the better they are, but that might not even be totally true. We live very close to our listing which only holds 3 guests max, so it might not be a partyer magnet or anything like that.

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