Instant Booking is one of the features hosts don’t really have an option with. Airbnb gives you another option where guests can first discuss a booking. But still, you cannot decline if you don’t have a very good reason. And guests don’t like being rejected when your calendar shows availability. And if we cancel the hosts will never keep their status as a SuperHost (see more).
Instant book has two possible aspects:
- Guests book immediately. They don’t need to enquire.
- It does not mean guests stay instantly. Book now and stay within the next hour. No. We set what’s called a minimum notification period. For example, depending on the home, we set 24, 48 hours up to 7 days notice is required before they can stay. BTW: We also set prep days before and after a booking. We can set one, two days, etc.
Let’s get to the details:
- Instant booking means we must ensure 100% integrity of the calendar.
- Any verified guest can reserve the accommodation immediately if the calendar shows availability.
- Any guest who instantly reserves do this by accepting our rules we set with the owner and the rules (T&Cs) by the booking sites like; Airbnb and Booking.com.
- All reservations must be accepted by the owner as he appointed us to do it per our T&Cs.
- CapeHolidays don’t check availability with the owner before a guest do an instant reservation.
- But what about owner reservations? The owner agreed to first check availability with the agent at all times and only then reserve the accommodation for his own use.
- Owners cancelling guest reservations: cancellations carry no owner penalties only if the cause is a major disaster or something out of reasonable control.
- Owners ending/cancelling the agreement do it in writing. All current/confirmed reservations are honoured. Any owner not communicating the cancellation of the agreement will honour future bookings. If these are not communicated and/or honoured the owner is liable for penalties.
- All websites like Airbnb and Booking.com do instant bookings. This increases the chances of getting reservations. Read about Airbnb Instant Book here.
- Instant Booking Objections: Uninformed owners believe instant-book is a way to book riff-raff. Far from it. Airbnb is good but dominating force. (Either you don’t get bookings, or you are aware of their dominance and work accordingly). Instant-book not only works because of the psychology behind it, it also allows hosts to set up triggers to block bad guests with no or few reviews who cannot book instantly. We also can ask the quests to give us qualifying answers. If they fail you can cancel penalty-free. On the other side for enquiries first; if you opt for enquiry first you are looked upon as a judge; do you cancel because of prejudice? People do. You are too fat, too ugly, too white etc. Airbnb, therefore, limits the rejection of non-instant bookings; you justify your case for a non-instant booking rejection; if you reject too many you get kicked off. There are risks in any business. (If the kitchen is too hot don’t become a cook).
Read Why Are You Not Keeping Us Informed On The Pipeline Of Bookings?
What the above means is that everything works extremely well if the agent can ensure 100% calendar integrity. As agents or hosts, we cannot do our business best without instant booking.
Here’s a typical email from a worried owner.
Just one question. With instant booking, how do we vet the client?
I would first like to find out who they are etc. I have heard nightmare stories of houses being let and then the owners not being able to get the short term tenants out again.
Can I opt out of the Instant Booking option?
We don’t ever recommend not using Instant Book.
Obviously, there are risks. We must take the route less likely to bring us in to trouble. But risks will always be there. It’s not an Airbnb issue. It’s the nature of humans. There will always be dudes out there to try and fool us.
Instant bookings are complicated psychological triggers which bring Airbnb etc more money because people are eager to book. Take this away and you get less bookings. Airbnb does not like that. They promote Instant Book. If they have 200 homes in Rondebosch and 100 are instant book they place the instant books on the first page.
Airbnb made it easier to cancel an instant booking that an enquiry. Look at Airbnb using “penalty-free if you’re ever uncomfortable” under instant booking. They must qualify as follows for instant booking:
From the Airbnb site:
Guests who meet all your requirements can book instantly. Others will need to send a reservation request. You can cancel 100% penalty-free if you’re ever uncomfortable with a reservation.
Guests who can book instantly must:
- Meet Airbnb requirements
- Agree to your House Rules & Expectations
- Acknowledge that Airbnb homes can be different from hotels
If you turn on this requirement, you’ll be able to see guests’ profile photos after a booking is confirmed, but not before. It’s turned on.
Government-issued ID (Instant book only) It’s on.
Require guests to submit government ID to Airbnb in order to Instant Book. If they don’t meet this requirement, they will send a request instead.
Recommendation from other hosts (Instant book only) It’s on.
Require guests to have recommendations from other Airbnb hosts and no negative reviews. If they don’t meet this requirement, they will send a request instead.
Suitable for children (2-12 years)
You can decide to restrict guests with children from booking if there are features that are dangerous for children or there’s a risk of property damage. Learn more
Suitable for infants (under 2 years)
You can decide to restrict guests with infants from booking if there are features that are dangerous for infants or there’s a risk of property damage. Learn more
Pets allowed NO
You can limit guests from bringing pets, but you must reasonably accommodate guests that might bring an assistant animal. Learn more
The following is a flexible list of Host rules:
– No Parties allowed
– Pets live on the property during the year but not while you are there
– The pool has no cover and guests take full responsibility for open pool
– No overnight guests.
– No loud noise after 10:00 pm.
– Have fun and respect your neighbours.
– After 6 pm arrival at R350 cash on arrival.
– Domestic worker rules:________
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