How you host, and how you use the hosting tools we build, matter to us. Many of you have raised important questions in the Community Center about Instant Book. So we brought your most-asked questions to the Instant Book team and have gathered answers for you. We hope this helps you make important hosting decisions with more confidence.
Why should I use Instant Book? What are the real advantages?
There are lots of reasons you might consider using Instant Book.
For many of you, hosting is your business. You put a lot of effort and time into creating a welcoming experience, and you also rely on the income you generate. Hosts who use Instant Book often get up to two times as many bookings than hosts who require reservation requests. Here’s why:
- Guests usually prefer to book instantly, if they have that option. It saves them time and allows them to get on with planning the rest of their trip.
- We have a filter on our search page that allows guests to filter for Instant Book listings, and nearly 2 out of 3 bookings on Airbnb are made using Instant Book.
- Instant Book saves you time because you don’t have to respond manually to every reservation request from travelers.
Besides your investment in your own business, as a host you’re on the front lines of creating a world where everyone belongs. Instant Book is a powerful tool you can use to help foster that sense of belonging:
Instant Book is one of the best ways to ensure that every guest can receive equal treatment on Airbnb.
Our data tells us that a guest who tries to book on Airbnb and gets rejected (or doesn’t hear back from a host) is less likely to ever use Airbnb again — even less likely than a guest who has a 1-star trip on Airbnb!
We consistently find that the quality of guests and types of trips booked using Instant Book are nearly identical to request to book trips. Instant Book guests receive the same average ratings from their hosts as any other guest.
Will Instant Book help me get more bookings?
Yes, you’re more likely to get more bookings if you turn on Instant Book. Here are some reasons why:
- Guests prefer Instant Book. More than 60% of bookings on Airbnb are now booked instantly.
- Instant Book listings get a boost in search results.
- Turning on Instant Book means your listing will show in search results when the Instant Book filter is applied.
- More views often translates to more reservations. And, our data shows that Instant Book hosts often get up to 2x more reservations than request to book listings.
I’m a new host. I wasn’t aware of Instant Book and got a booking without accepting and haven’t updated my calendar yet. I have cancelled the booking and now have been fined. Why is Instant Book a default?
We’re careful to make it clear to new hosts that they can be booked instantly when they set up their listing, but we know there’s room for improvement. Since new hosts are still getting used to Airbnb, we waive the cancellation fee for one host cancellation every six months (learn more).
The reason we want new hosts to use Instant Book when they join Airbnb is that Instant Book is aligned with Airbnb’s mission of creating a world where people can belong anywhere. Guests also prefer to book instantly, and hosts have the potential to earn more if they let guests book instantly. Finally, we’re slowly moving toward Instant Book being the prefered booking method on Airbnb, so this starts new hosts off in the future of booking on Airbnb.
Can I prevent a bad guest that I’ve had in the past from booking my listing in the future via Instant Book?
Yes! We recently made a change on Airbnb that automatically blocks guests you’ve negatively reviewed or rated lower than 3 stars from booking with you again.
This is my home and I want to have more control around who stays here. How can I trust that the person arriving at my home is the same person that booked?
In order to book a home on Airbnb, all guests must meet certain requirements, which include verified phone number, email address, and payment information. We also encourage hosts and guests to add verifications through their social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Hosts can also require that guests submit their government-issued ID to Airbnb for comparison with another form of ID. Usually this process includes the guest submitting a selfie photo which Airbnb will check to make sure the selfie matches the photo on their ID. These different layers of verification can help you ensure your guests are who they say they are.
Why is Airbnb giving a search boost to hosts who have Instant Book turned on? I feel like I am at a disadvantage by not turning it on.
Like you, we want to make sure that travelers choose Airbnb when they book a place. This is why we promote listings that travelers can book instantly. Guests are much more likely to use Airbnb when they’re able to book the place they want instantly, and that means more future business for hosts! We want to encourage hosts to turn on Instant Book because they have the potential to earn more and give their guests the best possible booking experience.
How and when can I disable Instant Book?
We understand that Instant Book may not work for every single host. You can turn off Instant Book at any time in your Booking Settings. However, before you turn off Instant Book, we encourage you to explore the different guest, calendar, and reservation settings we have available to help you get reservations that fit your listing. For example, if you feel like your reservations are back-to-back and you don’t have any time between them, you can actually set your calendar to automatically block days between reservations.
How often can I cancel an Instant Book penalty free? For what reasons?
Hosts who use Instant Book have unlimited penalty-free cancellations if a guest breaks a house rule, if they intend to break a house rule, or if the host is uncomfortable with a reservation. These types of cancellations are 100% penalty-free, which means no fees, no automated review, no permanently blocked dates, and no impact on Superhost eligibility.
However, you can’t cancel penalty-free if your reason violates Airbnb’s Non-Discrimination policy. If a guest claims there’s been discrimination, the cancellation will need to be reviewed by Airbnb and may not be penalty-free.
Why are you pushing instant book when it takes away the personal touch that makes Airbnb special?
Our goal with Instant Book isn’t to take the personal touch away, but to help the host focus less time on the logistics of booking (emailing back and forth, managing expectations, confirming house rules, etc.) and more on the part of hosting that is the magic of Airbnb.
Moreover, Instant Book as an experience helps make guests feel more welcome when they use Airbnb. With reservation requests, guests can often get multiple rejections, even if they meet all the requirements to book. And it’s hard for guests to plan their trip when they’re waiting on hosts who are unresponsive. When guests get rejected or find it hard to book a listing, they’ll often choose to avoid Airbnb when booking their next trip. Knowing they can go on Airbnb, find a place they love, and book it right then, makes guests more confident and more likely to use Airbnb every time they travel.
I have been hosting for a while, and some of my guests who have booked via Instant Book have broken my house rules. Why would I trust Instant Book?
While there are always exceptions to any rule, it’s important to know that on average, guests who use Instant Book are rated by hosts just as highly as those who request to book. We consistently find that the quality of guests and types of trips booked using Instant Book are nearly identical to request to book trips.
We provide the ability for you to set clear expectations about your listing in your House Rules and listing description so that both you and your guests share the same understanding about the home.
We want Instant Book hosts to feel as confident that they’re getting the right reservations as hosts who require a reservation request. That’s why if you’re ever uncomfortable with a reservation or if a guest breaks your house rules, you can cancel 100% penalty-free online, anytime. You can learn more about canceling reservations in the Help Center.
Why do only Instant Book guests have to verify their ID and other guests do not?
Before they can make any reservation, all Airbnb guests are required to submit and confirm their full name, email address, phone number, and payment information. Since Instant Book hosts don’t have the opportunity to review every request, travelers who wish to use Instant Book are required to verify their ID with Airbnb. This way, Instant Book hosts can have more confidence that their guests are who they say they are. In addition, since Instant Book hosts don’t get to see a traveler’s reviews until they receive a booking, we allow them to limit Instant Book reservations to experienced guests with only positive reviews.
This is a suggestion: Can you create a setting where certain dates in our calendars can be booked by Instant Book and other dates must be booked normally?
This a great idea! We’re exploring ways to do this and will provide updates if we decide to move forward with it.
Does turning OFF Instant Book make your listing disappear from searches?
No, turning off Instant Book doesn’t make your listing disappear from search results. However, guests have the ability to filter for Instant Book listings, and in some cases, that filter may be turned on by default. When the filter is on, listings that have Instant Book turned off will not show up unless the traveller turns the filter off.
We hope these insights are helpful to you. Join the conversation about Instant Book in the Community Center.