If you’ve seen Instant Book on Airbnb, you know that it’s a feature that many hosts are already using. Airbnb introduced this option in order to improve user experience on its platform. Here is what you should know about what is Instant Book on Airbnb and how it works for hosts.
Instant Book is an option that an Airbnb host can turn on for their listings to allow guests who meet their requirements to automatically book their space. Instant Book listings don’t need to be approved by the host before guests can book them. Instead, guests can simply enter their travel dates and proceed directly to discussing plans for check-in with the host.
Instant Book on Airbnb is presented by the platform as a functionality that can help to reduce the hassle of the booking process for guests while increasing the number of reservations for hosts: a win-win situation. However, it is a highly debated feature that some Airbnb hosts feel is not in their best interest.
Right now, whether a host should use Instant Book on Airbnb or not really depends on the individual host’s preferences. In fact, hosts have shared both reasons for and against using Instant Book on Airbnb on the popular AirHostsForum.com website:
“I’m a single woman and I’ve hosted well over 200 people over the last almost 3 years. I’ve had IB [Instant Book] 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.” – K9KarmaCasa
“I personally don’t use Instant Book on Airbnb 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.” – Emily
As you can see, there are a myriad of reasons why hosts are for or against Instant Book.
If you’re still trying to decide if using Instant Book is right for your business, here are some pros and cons to consider:
If you are still cautious about using this feature, you have some options for dealing with guests.
Tip 1. Set up a dialogue.
First, if your guest appears to be untrustworthy, try communicating with him/her. You will be able to define the guest you are dealing with in a process of communication. For example, you can ask at what time the guest arrives, if he checked the house rules and if there are any special requirements.
Tip 2. Set at least 1-day notice for your instant bookings
One option you might want to avoid is allowing same day requests with Instant Book on Airbnb. Same day bookings can be hard to manage in terms of property preparation for instance. To avoid last-minute surprise bookings, set at least 1-day notice you need before a guest arrives, and Airbnb will automatically block days in your calendar.
Tip 3. Set minimum and maximum trip’s length
To avoid guests that are not a good match with Instant Book on Airbnb you can use filters such as “at least 2 nights stay”, so this way you’ll play it safer and avoid those guests who only want to stay for 1 night to party. Besides, you can also select maximum trip length. If you don’t set a maximum number of nights, Airbnb will automatically apply a 14-night maximum stay to your listing.
Tip 4. Set additional requirements for guests.
Airbnb claims that your guests will always meet all of Airbnb’s requirements before they book. But you can as well add more guest requirements:
Tip 5. Cancel reservation if needed. You can call Airbnb’s support line if you don’t want to host the guest. The booking will be canceled free of charge if you provide a reason why the booking is canceled.
Ultimately, you really don’t lose anything with Instant Book on Airbnb, so use it for your benefit.
Airbnb is now taking away market share from Booking.com and similar platforms thanks to Instant Book. Despite grievances from some hosts, Instant Book on Airbnb works so well for both guests and hosts a time may come when Airbnb will turn off the listings that do not allow it completely.
Airbnb has already been testing some changes that have made Instant Book the only available option for accepting reservations on newly created listings. In addition, Airbnb will also be charging hosts who don’t use Instant Book on Airbnb more in host fees. If you don’t want to pay more in host fees, you’ll need to use Instant Book.
The company’s reasoning behind forcing hosts to use Instant Book on Airbnb is that it makes guests feel uncomfortable when they can’t confirm their reservations right away and they are also more likely to never use Airbnb again if they get rejected by a host. Given that Instant Book is one of Airbnb’s tools plans to use to fight against discriminatory behavior from hosts on its platform, it’s pretty much guaranteed that Airbnb will move forward with making these changes permanent.
For now, you still have the option to turn Instant Book on or off for your listing. However, we recommend that you turn this feature on and figure out how to adapt your business to meet any challenges created by Instant Book on Airbnb now before it becomes mandatory.