Airbnb is gaining market share not only in its comp set but also against traditional lodging and boutique hotels. In order to compete against sites like Bookings.com, Airbnb has a feature some hosts aren’t aware, of the Instant book on Airbnb, which allows guests to book without the host “meeting” them first. With these changes come questions, so here’s a primer to help you out.
What is Instant Book on Airbnb?
Instant Book on Airbnb was developed to streamline bookings for Airbnb hosts by allowing their space to be booked online by travelers without being personally vetted by the homeowner. It’s an online reservation service similar to Expedia or Travelocity, wherein the host lists the property, available dates, and pricing, thus opening up the property for reservation. At this point, the traveler and host discuss check-in details and make arrangements for the stay.
How do I activate Instant Book on Airbnb?
As an Airbnb host, you have complete control over when your space is available and who you allow into it. Your host profile will now give you a toggle switch to turn Instant Book on Airbnb on and off. There are no restrictions on how many times you can change the availability, and you still have the option to decline any booking. Once a guest has booked through Instant Book, however, it’s an active reservation and you must cancel it, versus declining it.
How does Instant Book on Airbnb work?
To turn Instant Book on or off:
- Go to Your listings on airbnb.com and select a listing.
- Click Manage listing.
- Click Booking settings at the top of the page.
- To turn Instant Book on, select Guests who meet all your requirements can book without requesting approval. To turn Instant Book off, select All guests must send reservation requests.
Turning off Instant Book will not remove confirmed reservations that have already been made with Instant Book on Airbnb. If you choose to cancel these reservations, you’ll have to do so individually through the helpdesk with Airbnb.
Do I have to turn Instant Book on my Airbnb listing?
You aren’t required turn on Instant Book, and you may turn it off at any time. The service is designed to help property owners fill room nights and streamline the booking process for guests, so it’s a win-win. Guests tend to get discouraged if their reservations aren’t immediately guaranteed by the host, and if a host rejects a guest, it may turn that person off the Airbnb site entirely.
While Instant Book is currently optional, new listings may require hosts to activate the service, and current hosts may see an increase in host fees if they don’t have Instant Book turned on all the time.
What are the advantages of using Instant Book for my Airbnb property?
Instant Book opens your property up to people who may need a last minute stay. The ease of booking through Instant Book is attractive to people who are busy, or who had an unexpected reason to need overnight accommodations. With a larger pool of Airbnb guests, you’ll increase your potential for reviews and accelerate your progress toward the “Airbnb Superhost” designation. In addition, busy business travelers need accommodations on the go, and may not have time for a lengthy vetting process before booking.
How can I screen Airbnb Instant Book Guests?
The largest drawback from hosts regarding Instant Book on Airbnb seems to be the reduced ability to vet houseguests before accepting a booking. You will still be able to set up a dialogue with your guest after they book, when you set up an arrival time, and go over your house rules. If you have doubts after this, you may cancel their reservation.
Furthermore, you have the ability to set specific rules in place when turning the feature on, including requiring guests to present a government-issued photo ID. While all guests are required to follow the Airbnb guidelines, you also may require that only guests who have been recommended by other hosts be allowed to book with you.
There are also other features to prevent a surprise guest from showing up in a same-day booking, such as setting a 1-Day advance booking feature and listing your house rules on your profile. All of these can be integrated with use of Instant Book on Airbnb. Ultimately, your home is still your home, and you may cancel a reservation with no cost to you, using the support line at Airbnb.