There are several options for hosts to choose in effort to attract guests to their Airbnb listing. One that is either loved or hated is called “Instant Booking”
Instant Booking (IB) allows a guest to book your listing without having to submit a request. It’s assumed that all the relevant info for a guest to make the commitment to make a reservation is available to be seen in the listing so that the prospective guest can make an educated and confident decision.
HOST ADVANTAGES OF IB?
The advantages of IB allows a host to be able to accept reservations without having to immediately respond to critical questions a guest may have that would delay their decision.
It is assumed that, without having to interact with the host, the guest can review any necessary information, including what the host specifically and generally expects from their guests behavior, known as “House Rules”, while residing in the BNB. For example, not all listings allow the guests to use the property to hold events (attracting large amounts of un-vetted people, particularly for a wild animal house party), smoking or the housing of pets. Hosts often like to know who to expect, so offering the names of your colleagues or family members may be a requirement.
House Rules make things interesting. Some hosts have very few rules (like we did when we started) and some can look like a full legal adoption contract. In general, hosts don’t want any illegal activities, don’t want anyone trashing their house, or any unapproved staying after their reservation time has ended.
The clear advantage for a host to use IB is Airbnb puts the your listing in the face of more potential guests compared to those who do not elect to use IB. In other words, if you adopt the use of IB as an Airbnb host, your listing will show up in both cases, if a guest chooses to see only IB listing or not.
GUEST USER CONSIDERATIONS FOR USING IB?
You might desire to seek an IB listing if you are in a hurry to make a booking and don’t want to bother waiting for a host to respond to any inquiry. However, it is customary for a responsive host to reply immediately or within an hour.
You may feel uncomfortable going into a brief “interview” session with the property manager and, instead, seek a similar experience to booking a hotel room. A BNB is not a hotel and usually does not offer the same kind of anonymity of booking a room in a hundred unit Marriot, although IB can make the feel similar to a hotel.
Even if you desire to stay at an IB listing, you can still ask questions of the host without making your booking. You may need to be accommodated for a special situation that is not covered in the listing or you may actually like to know if you can communicate with the host just in case you run into problems with the property.
It’s not impossible that there are both guests from hell and hosts from the same neighborhood. It’s a big world out there and the entire spectrum is in play, but establishing a line of positive reviews is a pretty decent indicator what typ of experience you can expect from either person.
WHY DON’T ALL HOSTS USE IB?
There are times when I do not use IB, it is when I need to keep a certain block of time open for a guest I am trying to give to make a decision. One perfect example was when I wanted to work with a family who was waiting to hear from Stanford Hospital when their child’s surgery could be scheduled for.
Aside from that, the general feeling among hosts who do not use IB, is they do not want to take a chance having to accommodate someone they would not feel comfortable with. In general, for a host to have to cancel a reservation is often a negative mark against the host’s rating, although, in the case of IB, if the cancellation is executed within a day of the booking, Airbnb allows for a host to break any booking he or she feels “uncomfortable” with.
Another reason a host may not use IB is they want more control how their schedule fills up. For an extreme example, it may be rather disruptive if a guest decides to book one Tuesday every week for the next 6 months. Something like that could wipe out any chance of a long term booking from 2 days to weeks.
In general, I’ve found that using Instant Booking if a favorable experience, for the additional reason that I can let the guest (assuming they read my listing) self-exclude themselves. If they do not like our house rules or anything else we state as requirements, they are free to look at another listing, no harm done.
The guests that we’ve had are, in general, extraordinary and competent travelers who we’ve had the great privilege of hosting. People from all over the world and all over the United States who we’ve had the honor of showing them some hospitality in our small corner of Silicon Valley.
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