Airbnb Instant Booking – What It Is and How to Use Its Benefits in 2024

What reservation policy should apply to my Airbnb accommodation? What is Airbnb instant booking? It may seem like a simple question, but it is one of the most debated topics in the vacation rental industry.

Airbnb hosts have two options:

  • Traditional reservation requests that allow maximum control over who stays and who does not stay at the property,
  • Instant booking, which is becoming more popular for a guest, but hosts must know how to take advantage of this so that it does not turn against them.
Airbnb Instant Booking

Airbnb instant booking: pros and cons

What “Airbnb instant booking” means

Instant booking is a policy available on Airbnb that does not require owner approval for a stay to be confirmed. Guests choose the dates they want, accept the house rules, and pay for the stay, just as they would when renting a hotel room.
If the owner so chooses, they may also impose more conditions, such as requiring visitors to provide a valid form of identification or to have a good rating from other hosts.

How Airbnb instant booking works

This option allows guests to book a listing immediately without the need for host approval. This means that when a guest finds a listing, they can book it right away without waiting for the host to respond. Here’s how it works:

Instant booking on Airbnb: a step-by-step overview

Step Description
Hosts opt-in Hosts have the option to enable Instant Booking for their listings. If they choose to do so, they must set certain requirements for guests, such as a verified government-issued ID, payment method, and agreement to house rules.
Guests search for listings Guests search for listings as they normally would on the Airbnb platform. They can filter their search results to show only listings with Instant Booking enabled.
Guests book the property When guests find a listing they want to book, they can select the Instant Book button. They will be asked to provide payment information and agree to the host’s requirements.
Booking confirmation Once the guest completes the booking process, the reservation is confirmed instantly. The host will receive a notification and the booking details.
Cancellation policy Airbnb’s standard cancellation policies apply to Instant Bookings. Guests can cancel their reservation and receive a full refund as long as they do so within the host’s specified cancellation window.

If you find it difficult to manage all the processes on the Airbnb platform, you can use a service such as co-host. You just delegate everything to the team of professionals and receive the extra income from short-term rentals. Interested? Click here to find more.

Advantages of Airbnb instant booking

Owners who choose to use immediate booking on Airbnb enjoy a number of benefits. Here are some of them.

1. Greater comfort for Airbnb hosts

Instant booking is the best option for hosts who prefer to let their business run on autopilot or for those who don’t have the time to review each request manually.
If you want to reduce the hours you spend managing your accommodation, this option is just what you need.

2. Increased visibility for potential guests

Airbnb favors listings that allow immediate booking, as they believe they make their platform more attractive to travelers. Keep one thing clear: the algorithm shows higher in searches accommodations with this type of booking.
Add to this the fact that your response rate will almost always be lower if you use booking requests, which Airbnb also penalizes, and you’ll realize that not using instant bookings is competing at a disadvantage.

3. Higher income from listings

Today’s traveler is used to everything being immediate. Everything can be done in just a few clicks, and booking accommodation is no exception. If you want to maximize your profits, you must adapt to this trend.

Airbnb instant booking

Airbnb instant booking recommendation

Using immediate reservations allows you to be more competitive, take advantage of last-minute reservations and avoid losing clients because they did not see your message on time. Remember, a traveler who visits your Airbnb listing will likely choose it over others.

4. Increased credibility for Airbnb renters

In certain instances, reservation requests suggest that we work with a less-experienced host who is likely not fully committed to the business. Indeed, this is not a maximum that is always met.
Indeed, they do not provide the same promises as a host who lives from the business and so needs it to operate as best as it can, but this does not necessarily mean anything bad.

Disadvantages of Airbnb
instant booking

Airbnb may be favoring instant bookings more than ever, but there are a number of reasons why some hosts still prefer to avoid them. These are the following:

1. Less power over Airbnb guest’s decision

Your chances of assessing whether guests are legit are much more limited. While it is true that any traveler who wants to book in this way must accept the house rules and meet a series of requirements established by the host, the harsh reality is that the level of control is less.
At the end of the day, the one who decides on this reservation policy is usually the guest.

2. More cancellations with Airbnb instant booking

The downside of making it easy for travelers to book is that they won’t think twice about it, which increases the chances that they will cancel later.
On the other hand, some people take advantage of immediate reservations to “take a seat” during certain dates. However, they do not yet know if they will finally travel to their destination.

3. Limited protection for Airbnb hosts

Airbnb’s Host Guarantee for instant bookings has limitations such as coverage amount and types of damages covered, and it doesn’t apply to bookings outside of Airbnb. Hosts should take additional measures to protect their property.

Guide for getting benefits of Airbnb
instant booking

If you decide to turn on the Airbnb instant booking option, here is a 5-step guide on how to do it correctly to avoid unnecessary issues with this feature and get only the advantages.

Airbnb instant booking guide

Airbnb instant booking: 5-step guide

1. Keep your Airbnb calendar up to date

An up-to-date calendar is critical for all hosts, especially if they accept instant bookings. Inviting friends or family over and forgetting to lock the calendar can create problems.
Make sure you have the Airbnb calendar syncing with your own calendar.

2. Set clear house rules for your listings

Before making the instant booking option available for your properties, set up and/or verify specific house rules. Guests must accept these house rules when booking.

Steps for setting clear house rules for Airbnb listings

Step Description
Identify what is important to you Consider what you want to protect in your home, such as areas of the house that are off-limits, rules around smoking, pets, and noise levels.
Make a list of your rules Create a list of specific and concise rules for your guests to follow, and avoid vague language.
Communicate your rules to guests Make your rules easily accessible to guests through your Airbnb listing or house manual, and remind them of the rules upon arrival.
Enforce your rules Address any rule-breaking issues promptly and professionally, and take necessary action such as providing a warning or asking the guest to leave.
Always try to be flexible Be willing to work with guests to find a solution that works for both parties if they have a legitimate concern or request.

If you are stuck with Airbnb house rules, you can write to our specialists and get pro advice with a full analysis of your listings. Just contact us!

3. Perform a maintenance audit

It takes time, effort, and attention to detail to make last-minute reservations. Ensure you have a strategy and procedures to get your place ready for each booking.

  • Check-out time. Prior to your next booking, make sure you have adequate time to prepare the property. We suggest that you schedule check-out for 11:00 am.
  • Cleaning regime. Do you use a cleaning schedule or a dependable cleaning service? If not, it would be wise to give it top priority.
  • Keys. Do you have a backup strategy in case a visitor steals the keys? If not, make sure you have spare keys on hand or think about adding an automatic lock.
  • Indispensable contacts. Check the important contacts: the Airbnb number, a key exchange service, a handyman, and a cleaning service, all stored on your cell phone to be able to respond promptly.

4. Turn on Airbnb instant booking option

Once the house rules are in place, your Airbnb schedule is up to date, and everything is in order, you’re finally ready to activate this booking feature safely.

  • Decide which listing you want to place with instant booking;
  • Select ‘Manage listing’;
  • Select ‘Book settings’ at the top of the page;
  • Turn on ‘Instant Booking’ and select ‘Guests who meet all your requirements can book without approval.’

For added peace of mind, establish specific requirements your guests need. Some options include:

  • Identification of visitors. Ask your guests to provide an ID card.
  • Recommendations from other hosts. Bookings should only be accepted from guests who have gotten favorable feedback from other hosts.
  • Booking notice. Set the necessary lead time to make sure the place is prepared to welcome visitors. You are only allowed to accept reservations through Airbnb with a 7-day notice.
  • Control booking duration. Decide on the min and max number of nights guests may reserve your home for. If you don’t specify it, Airbnb will only allow 14 nights per reservation.
  • Predefined message. Create an automated message to be delivered to your visitors. You can always cancel your reservation if you don’t like the answer you got.

You can be charged a fee if you want to cancel your reservation. After canceling your reservation, please get in touch with Airbnb support to submit a claim. Within 14 days of canceling your reservation, you must do this.

5. Get external help with Airbnb reservations

We know that sometimes it takes a lot of time and effort to manage a property on Airbnb, so using external services can make perfect sense. At Complete Hospitality Management, our highly skilled team can help you to:

  • Organize guest communication;
  • Make a price optimization;
  • Book professional photography;
  • Provide high-level maintenance;
  • Come up with customized check-ins, etc.

If you want to delegate all the issues to professionals and just get income, you can schedule a call with our specialists to find out how to get the most out of your property.

As a conclusion

Airbnb instant booking is an option with many potentials, but as we mentioned, you need to prepare beforehand to get the most out of it. A perfect way to do this is through hospitality management companies or co-host. They both work very well with immediate bookings, allowing you to automate many daily tasks of having tourist accommodation.

Frequently asked questions
about Airbnb instant booking option

1. What are the rules for instant booking on Airbnb?

The rules for Instant Booking on Airbnb include the following:

  • Hosts must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as maintaining a 4-star rating or higher and having no recent cancellations or misconduct violations.
  • Listings must meet specific criteria, such as having up-to-date calendar availability and being able to accommodate the number of guests they list.
  • Guests must have a verified profile with a profile photo, payment information, and a positive track record on the platform.
  • Instant booking reservations are subject to the same cancellation policies as other Airbnb reservations, so hosts should ensure that their cancellation policy is clearly stated and up-to-date.
  • Hosts can decline reservations in certain circumstances. For instance, if they suspect the guest will break their house rules or violate their policies, or if they have a personal emergency or unexpected circumstance that prevents them from hosting the guest.

2. Should you allow instant booking on Airbnb?

Whether to allow Instant Booking on Airbnb depends on your hosting preferences. Instant Booking is quicker and can lead to more bookings, but some hosts prefer Request to have more control over who stays in their property. The choice depends on your hosting style and goals.

3. Can I decline an Instant Book?

Airbnb allows you to cancel Instant Book reservations penalty-free in the following circumstances:

  • You suspect the guest will break your house rules or violate your policies.
  • You discover that the guest’s profile or booking details are incomplete or inaccurate.
  • You find out that the guest is not suitable for your property or is not a good fit for your hosting style.
  • You have a personal emergency or unexpected circumstance that prevents you from hosting the guest.

If you frequently cancel instant book reservations, your account may be subject to penalties or even suspension.

4. How does instant booking work?

Instant booking on Airbnb is a feature that allows guests to book a property immediately without needing prior approval from the host. Here’s how it works:

  • Hosts opt-in. Hosts can enable or disable Instant Booking on their listings.
  • Guests search and book. Guests look for listings on Airbnb, and if a property is marked as “Instant Book,” they can immediately book the property by clicking the “Book Now” button.
  • Confirmation and payment. Once guests book, they receive a confirmation email, and the host receives a booking notification. The guest’s payment is also processed automatically.
  • Communication. The host and guest can communicate through the Airbnb messaging system to discuss any details or questions about the reservation.
  • Check-in: On the day of check-in, the guest can access the property using the instructions provided by the host.

Overall, instant booking is a quick and convenient way for guests to book a property, and it can help hosts attract more bookings and increase occupancy rates. However, hosts should be prepared to manage their calendar availability and communicate promptly with guests.

5. Should I turn off instant booking on Airbnb?

Whether to turn off Instant Booking on Airbnb depends on your hosting preferences. Instant Book leads to more bookings, but guests can book without being vetted. Turning it off gives you more control over who stays in your property, but you may get fewer bookings.

6. What is the difference between Instant Book and request on Airbnb?

In contrast to request, which requires guests to submit a booking request to the host, who then has 24 hours to accept or deny the reservation, instant booking on Airbnb enables guests to book a property right away without having the owner’s prior consent.

7. What happens if you cancel an instant booking in Airbnb?

In addition to having a negative effect on your host rating on Airbnb, frequent cancellation fees, income loss, and refunds to guests, canceling an immediate booking can also result in penalties. Before canceling, it’s necessary to think about the repercussions.

8. How do I cancel instant booking?

To cancel a reservation with the instant booking  option on Airbnb, you can follow these steps:

  • Go to the Airbnb website or mobile app and log in to your account.
  • Click on “Trips” at the top of the screen and select the reservation to cancel.
  • Click on “Change or Cancel” and select “Cancel Reservation.”
  • Select a justification to finish the cancellation process and adhere to the on-screen instructions.

Your host rating may be impacted if you cancel an instant booking, and you can be penalized if you do so repeatedly. You might not be entitled to any payment for the remaining days of the reservation if the guest has already checked in.

9. What does instant bookable mean?

A property must be “instant bookable” on Airbnb in order for guests to book it right away without the host’s prior consent. The hosts have the ability to enable or disable this feature.

10. Do people cancel Airbnb last minute?

Yes, people do cancel Airbnb reservations last minute for various reasons, and hosts have a cancellation policy in place to ensure compensation for any loss of income.

11. What happens if Airbnb guest cancels last minute?

Airbnb has a cancellation policy that determines the refund and penalties for last-minute cancellations by guests. Hosts may face a loss of income if guests cancel their reservation, and refunds depend on the specific cancellation policy chosen by the host.

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