Unresponsive Guests & InstantBook

I understand that InstantBook has changed recently and no longer requires a positive review and no negative reviews, just no negative reviews.

The AirBnB website still says, “You can choose to host only experienced guests who are recommended by other hosts” and “If you’re ever uncomfortable with a reservation, before or during a trip, you can cancel penalty-free.”

I got my first “zero review” InstantBooking for New Years Eve. The guest has a new profile with no personal information such as hometown and isn’t answering my questions about check in. Can we still call to cancel IB guests who aren’t responding? What do I need to say on the phone? The magic words used to be “I’m uncomfortable with this guest” but I am assuming this no longer works.

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You can still call and say you are uncomfortable with this guest. I have done this recently with a guest who failed to upload a user photo of himself after a week.

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You might also try saying “I’m worried this will be a party, especially since the guest won’t answer my questions”.

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How long have you waited with no response from the guest? If it’s a newbie, they probably didn’t bother to turn on notifications and just think a guest IBs and then shows up on check-in day without communication in the interim.

Ordinarily in this case I’d be inclined to text the guest if they weren’t responding to messages or give him some more time to respond on a booking 9-10 days out, but considering that it’s a newbie who couldn’t be bothered to fill out any profile info, isn’t answering, and it’s for NYE, you are probably wise to try to cancel.

I like PitonView’s suggested wording for Airbnb.

In my house rules and in IB, I require a list of questions answered along with a current photo in their profile of just their face, etc. I give them 24 hours so that it’s still within the 48 cancellation period. Once booked, I remind them that this info is due. Taking into account that not all guest check their notifications, I text them when the 24 hours are up and if still no work, I contact Airbnb to contact them within 6 hours. This still gives them the 48 hour cancellation period if they don’t want to book and it shows Airbnb that I’ve done my best to contact them.


@Xena @Lynick4442 Don’t forget that you can check to see if a guest has read your message. I know it works on a desktop (I use Chrome) but I don’t see it on my iPhone app. You may have to enable that, but it’s been helpful to me in conversations with guests.

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That’s right. I did at one point know that but I really don’t use the app for most of my messaging unless I’m not close to my computer. Much more glitchy for me.

Thank you everyone! I waited about 36 hours and and then called AirBnB to cancel. Took about ten minutes and two calls. (The first call I could hear someone shuffling around, but they never spoke.) The CS agent said I could cancel it myself and check “I’m uncomfortable with this guest” as the reason, but I asked her to do it. She was not sure how the InstantBook requirements had changed.

Regarding profile pictures: I require profile pictures but had someone successfully book last week who didn’t have one. She had a good track-record of previous AirBnB reviews so I was confident it would be fine (and it was!) but this seems to be another inconsistency on AirBnB.

Do you mean no profile picture as in there was just a circle with a letter in it, or that it wasn’t a photo of their face?

Glad you managed to get that booking cancelled. I had read that “I’m uncomfortable with this guest” was no longer a listed option when trying to cancel an IB yourself, that only them indicating they want to break your house rules was an option now.

This is what it looked like:


Not sure if the guest uploaded this “generic” picture or if this is an AirBnB default.

I’ve never seen that one before. Usually if they haven’t uploaded a photo, I get the circle with the first name letter.

I know some guests and hosts have had issues trying to upload a photo. So it isn’t always that they just didn’t bother.

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Sometimes guersts don’t reply to messages simply because the host hasn’t explained why they need that information.

For example “check-in is between 4 pm and 5.30 pm” doesn’t need a reply but “when you arrive I will meet you to give you the keys at any time between 4 and 5.30 pm. Please let me know your ETA as soon as possible so that I can schedule my day in advance” does.

If the guest knows that they need to reply, and that it’s to their advantage, they’ll do so. :slight_smile:

Well the same guest just instant booked again after I called and had it canceled yesterday. That is allowed? Pretty disappointed in AirBnB’s platform.

Edit: CS agent said I need to add that I require previous reviews to my house rules and manually block the guest.

Oddly Airbnb let’s guests and hosts turn “Message Read Receipts” on/off.

So you never really know. I send out an auto message to guests immediately. After their first reply, you will either see some Read Receipts or not. Then you know if they have it on/off.

As a host I turned it off. I don’t want guests knowing I read their message and don’t have time or are stalling or who knows what. This system is just more pressure on both sides to reply IMMEDIATELY! No thanks airbnb.

I switched to RTB and never looked back.

FYI, if you get a request to book, and guest has no reviews or doesn’t respond, you can decline and choose “i’m uncomfotable…” and then say why. ABB doesn’t block your calendar in this case on those dates like declining an IB would. AND you can explain to the guest in the decline message that “We didn’t hear back so I’m closing this out for now. But you can request again if you read and reply to the above messages we sent.”

It works nicely for me… They either disappear, or request again once they see the messages.

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I may do request to book for the time being at least through new years. 95% of guests are fine or excellent, but I do occasionally get people who don’t really read the listing, show up in the middle of the night, am surprised I live on-site, etc.

To summarize, I had a guest with no reviews IB for NYE and was not responding. I asked AirBnB to cancel. The guest rebooked. The CS agent canceled again and directed me to block him but neither of us could figure out how.

The help center is actually pretty good for questions like this. You would think CS would know how to use it.

Maybe you can’t block them if they have never messaged you.

Thank you. The CS agent sent me the help center article. I tried to follow the steps in the article on the app and desktop and they didn’t work. The CS agent couldn’t figure it out either and ultimately said I should just continue to ask CS to use penalty-free cancelations.