Waiting for payment

The guest requests to book, but has payment waiting, this really annoys me. I do not have instant booking. The room is blocked for all guests while this guest waits to see if they are going to stay or not. I contacted the guest to state that her status was awaiting payment. Her reply was, she was waiting to see if she would book and would get back to me tomorrow. What! I know this is coolio with Airbnb but i sucks for the host as the room is blocked for all guests. Don’t think this is fair at all to hosts.

I hope this conversation was in the airbnb messaging app. Contact airbnb and have them cancel this.


I always thought that when a request says “awaiting payment”, it meant the guest hadn’t uploaded their payment info yet or their credit card hadn’t been verified yet. I didn’t realize guests would do this to “hold” a place without paying for it.

Yes, I would phone or message CS and ask them to look at her message and cancel her accepted request, as sending a request before uploading her payment info, holding the dates hostage, just so she can “decide” if she wants to book, isn’t what requests are designed for.

You could also message the guest back and tell her this isn’t how Airbnb works- that a guest should only send a request if they want the booking and are ready to pay for it, and ask her to please withdraw her request, which is blocking your calendar, if she is just shopping around.

I really wish Airbnb would block guests from booking if they don’t have their payment method uploaded and accepted. Or at most just give them 2 hours max to do that after sending a request, and only if the dates are at least 2 weeks out.

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As it turns out the guest booked the wrong date and asked me to cancel it because she was having trouble. I told her she must cancel, i didn’t want to get dinged. She found the button and cancelled the date. I just had another one, just now. I messaged the guest to state that i rec’d message that payment is waiting. He stated that he changed cards and they may not have the proper info…so that may be the case. Host must wait up to 24hours for payment is the message I rec’d.

This guest updated their payment information and it went through. I agree though, if credit card is not up to date they should not be able to book and have the date blocked to other potential guests. I have had this happen last winter when the roads were poor and the guest booked just in case and she stated so in a message. Thanks for the tip on contacting CS if it were to happen again. Fortunately this all worked out fine.

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It sure seems unfair for a request to block the calendar for up to 24 hours awaiting payment. On the other hand, hosts also have 24 hours to accept or decline a request, which could leave guests hanging if the host doesn’t accept within a couple, or few hours. It could be argued that this also could impact guests financially, if by the time the host accepts or declines, other suitable places may have been booked or gone up in price.

(Although I’d hazard a guess that “awaiting payment” happens more often than hosts failing to respond quickly.)

Also, as we know, Airbnb can be glitchy and sometimes, through no fault of the guest, the payment keeps failing. I’ve read posts by frustrated guests saying they are trying to book something, but Airbnb keeps rejecting the payment, even though the guest checked with their CC provider who assured them there’s nothing wrong on their end.

But reducing the window to 12 hours seems more reasonable. If they want to be fair, they could also reduce the time hosts have to accept or decline to 12 hrs, which should be plenty, even if the guest and host are in opposite time zones.


We had a couple of requests that we couldn’t respond to within 1 or 2 hours that turned out to be “too late” as the guest apparently already found another place to stay who probably responded quicker than we did.

Sometimes it feels like gambling at the casino - as soon as the request comes in I have to respond asap to make sure I get the reservation and not the competition.

Personally, I don’t take last minute bookings, so I’m not dealing with guests who need to find a place immediately.

And I feel like a guest who can’t wait an hour or 3 to get a response, if I’m busy, or who expects a prompt response to a request they sent at 2 am, as if they are texting with one of their night-owl friends, isn’t a guest I want.

I can understand a guest moving on to book somewhere else if they haven’t gotten a response within half a day- that might be a red flag to a guest that the host isn’t very professional, but if they withdraw a request because they want an instant reply, they are welcome to move on, as far as I’m concerned.

That said, I almost always reply within an hour, usually only a few minutes. But not if I’m driving, out shopping, sleeping, or up to my elbows in dirt working in the garden. I didn’t start hosting to add stress to my life.

I still have lots to learn so here is my question:

How do you know which time zone the guest is located in when they send you an inquiry? We have received inquiries at all hours of the day… and night but sometimes the guests are located on the other side of the globe.

While we did have guests who seem to be functioning fine on 2 hours of sleep (and no issues with their stay) I’d prefer to read guests more professionally and perhaps also avoid such night owls. Just let me know how you sift those out.

When a guest sends a request, I look at their profile and read their reviews. While some guests haven’t bothered to fill out any profile info, most of the guests I get have, it says where they live, and also have several, if not many, reviews.

And after I accept the request, and their phone number appears, I can see from the number where they are based.

I’ve had a few guests who had neglected to update their profile and phone number when they moved, but all those were still living in the same country, so their time zone was either the same, or within a few hours difference.

As far as response timing, occasionally, there has been weird, lagging Airbnb stuff where I got a request alert at 3am and in the morning when I answered the request, I saw that the guest had actually sent the request at 9pm my time the previous night.

Having filled out their profile info doesn’t tell me whether they are ‘night owls’ or not, the same as for the reviews.

From our experience we have about 20% of guests who either have a phone number that is not from the same country where they live or don’t even match the address from their profile when we check their IDs - even though (after verifying) they are the ones who made the reservations and are indeed the same person.

Any platform’s ‘identification process’ is not watertight, especially when people move and simply don’t keep up with updating all their online accounts. And this is not an exception to the rule, it happens quite often in our experience.

I do quite a lot of international bookings. Very often the guest’s phone number doesn’t tie up with the country they are registered in, and also it seems many of them do not read AirBnB messages, perhaps 1 in 10 arrives and is ringing me ‘Hi, how do I get in?’ when I’ve sent multiple messages explaining this, including an automatic one on the morning of arrival

Yes, there’s really no foolproof way of ascertaining where a guest is coming from or lives and therefore knowing what time zone they are in. There are only clues which might be correct. Often my guests will mention where they are in a message, like “Looking forward to some warm beach time and escaping the cold Washington state weather.”
And after trying to reach a guest who had an incorrect number listed (she had just neglected to change her Airbnb info when she moved to a different state) I try to remember to ask upcoming guests to check their phone number on Airbnb and make sure it’s current.
But lots of people may have a current, valid phone number, but be contacting you from elsewhere. Various phone plans and whatsapp now mean we can call and receive messages and calls no matter where in the world we may be at any given time. Not like the old landline days.

PS I like your forum handle.

One solution:
Only use RTB.
Message the guest after they request with whatever questions you have.
If they don’t reply within x time, decline the res. Tell airbnb the guest is non responsive.
Don’t worry about your stats. I do this all the time and I always get superhost.

When I decline I write.
“Sorry we didn’t hear back. If you still want this, read all the above messages and let us know you agree. Then submit your request again.”

It’s a hassle, but we avoid guests that don’t read airbnb messages. Which I think is worth it to prevent problems. If we decline non savvy airbnb users, we likely get booked anyway by guests that are experienced on the system.

Only a very savvy guest who reads this thread would know to sign up on airbnb, cancel CC, request unit, tie up hosts listing for 24 hours.

I don’t think a guest can request prior to adding payment details. But airbnb is lame and screws the host for up to 24 hours when CC declined.

Invariably when this happens to me as a host, the CC the guest has on file with airbnb has been declined or doesn’t have funds available.

This is my message to nudge the guest to act or lose out.

I accepted your request.

But airbnb says your payment didn’t go through.

You probably just need to update your credit card details on your account.

After payment goes through. We can send you confirmation and check in details.

In the meantime other guests can book this unit and you might miss out!

Most of the time the guest fixes the issue.
Sometimes the guest ghosts me. In this case you are SOL for 24 hours.

There are some tricks if you are API connected to change your inventory to allow others to still book it. But risky and requires staying on top of it or risk double booking.

But guests still can book you on other platforms anyway.
Presumably airbnb checks your inventory when the “awaiting payment” CC details are updated and will tell them it’s no longer available. But this is only what airbnb SHOULD do. :frowning:
I can’t confirm it works that way.

It would be interesting to call airbnb while in “awaiting payment” status, and tell them the listing was booked direct by someone else. If someone tries this, let us know what they say. Can you close your inventory on the dates of the “awaiting payment” limbo reservation?

You can take drastic measures and have a duplicate listing and make it available. But this is only really if you are about to lose $10k on a holiday week. Can be worth it for high $$$.
Close the “awaiting payment” listings on that date and open it on duplicate listing.

Not really. There are all kinds of online blogs with guests advising other guests on how to do things that screw over hosts.

If booking is same-day, I used to give the door code immediately after the request to book, but then I realized if they’re a repeat customer and haven’t paid yet, that can end badly.

The thing about same-day bookings, if they do not pay within 30 minutes, then reach out to them that they have to pay within 30 (more) minutes. If they don’t, cancel it. Or however you’d like to do it.

I never see anywhere to cancel a same-day booking that hasn’t yet paid and so I contact support to cancel it and they do so.

What does RTB stand for? Google gives me all kinds of funny stuff.

Request to book 20202022020202020202020

Request to Book (vs airbnb Instant Book setting)