Instant Booking on Airbnb: What Is It and How to Use It Effectively?

Instant Booking Airbnb

By The Hospitable Team

You have created a listing with a catchy title on Airbnb, but are not sure whether you should turn on or off the Instant Book feature? To be honest, it totally depends on you. Do you prefer to review all the booking requests? Or do you want to allow your guests to book your vacation rental property without any approval from your side?

Instant booking on Airbnb is a useful feature for hosts and property managers. It requires less effort and eliminates the hassle of the booking process. Many hosts are already using it, and for a good reason.

In this article, you’ll find all the necessary information about Airbnb Instant Booking and its pros and cons. We’ll also provide you with tips on how to turn off instant booking on Airbnb. 

You may also want to check out our tips for a simple hosting routine on Airbnb.

What Is Instant Booking on Airbnb?

Instant Book is a feature that Airbnb hosts can turn on for their listings. It allows travelers to book a property automatically without the host’s approval. Guests can enter their travel dates and proceed straight to discussing their check-in process with the host.

If you turn on Instant Book on your listing, it will apply to all the available dates on your calendar, and travelers will automatically be able to book your accommodation if they meet the requirements you have set.

Instant Book makes booking easier for guests, so it helps increase the number of reservations for hosts, and ultimately, it delivers a win-win situation for both parties.

Pros and Cons of Using Instant Booking on Airbnb

Should you use this option for your listings? To help you decide whether the Instant Booking feature is a good idea, let’s take a look at its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s start with the pros.

Convenience

Instant Book saves hosts time because they don’t have to respond manually to every reservation request from travelers. So enabling this feature will make your life easier.

But you can also save time on guest communication if you use short-term rental software like Hospitable.com. Our tool can help you automate conversations with your guests and spend your time on other essential tasks.

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More Bookings

Instant Book listings are more popular with guests because they allow them to plan their trip more seamlessly. Travelers might feel more inclined to choose an Airbnb listing that won’t require them to wait for the approval of the host.

Airbnb claims that if you enable the Instant Booking feature, it can increase your bookings by 20%. Besides, it’s also a great way to capture last-minute bookings, and they account for 40% of all reservations.

Increase Your Exposure

Keep in mind that Airbnb has a filter on its 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.

Besides, if you don’t have Instant Book on, your listing’s position is automatically lowered within Airbnb’s rankings. If you add this option to your listing, you’ll have the opportunity to appear among the top listings in Airbnb’s search results, increasing visibility for your property.

More Guest Reviews

To put it simply, more bookings mean more opportunities to get guest reviews. And getting more positive reviews from happy guests improves your reputation because it equals increased credibility and value.

The Downsides of Instant Book

The main problem with this Airbnb feature is that it removes a barrier between you and your guest, and you don’t get a chance to screen them. As a result, it reduces some of your control regarding who will walk through the front door of your home or apartment.

Travelers who wish to use Instant Book must verify their ID with Airbnb. But many hosts prefer to look at profiles of potential guests and read their references and reviews before approving reservations. They do it to make sure that the personality and expectations of the guest are suited to their rental space. Often hosts want to read a message from the guest to learn about the purpose of their travel.

In general, the Instant Book feature may lead to more cancellations. Possibly it happens because guests don’t feel like they have engaged with the host or made a firm commitment. After all, communication is key.

How to Handle Instant Booking on Airbnb?

Here are some tips to help you understand what you need to do when dealing with Instant Book guests.

It’s quite natural to feel uncomfortable when dealing with an unknown guest. But if you have doubts, try to communicate with them. For example, you can ask them about when they will arrive, if they checked the house rules, and if they have any special requirements.

It’s not easy to manage same-day bookings because you need to clean your property and prepare it for your guests, so you may want to avoid them. You can set a 1-day notice for all reservations or more if you feel like it’s necessary. Then Airbnb will automatically block the chosen days in your calendar.

We also recommend you set a minimum stay. You can use the Airbnb filter to add a 2 or 3-night stay requirement. That will help you avoid guests who only want to stay for one night.

You should also set a maximum stay policy for your vacation rental. If you don’t do it, Airbnb will automatically apply a 14-night maximum stay to your listing.

The good idea is to set additional requirements to protect yourself. For example, you choose to only accept guests who’ve already used Airbnb and got positive reviews from other hosts.

Finally, you can cancel an Instant Book reservation that raises doubts or make you feel uncomfortable. But you can do it penalty-free only three times in one year. You also need to contact Airbnb and provide a solid reason to do so.

How to Turn off Instant Booking on Airbnb

Instant Book is on by default, but it may not work for every host. Airbnb allows you to turn off Instant Book at any time in your Booking Settings.

If you want to do it on desktop, follow these steps:

  • Go to Listings and click the listing you want to change.
  • Click Policies and rules.
  • Next to Instant Book, click Edit.
  • Select Instant Book off.
  • Click Save.

But instead of turning off the Instant Book feature, Airbnb encourages hosts to explore other useful options and opt for those that fit your listing. For example, if you notice that you don’t have enough time between reservations for cleaning your property, you can edit calendar settings to block days between bookings automatically.

And if you manage multiple accounts, adjusting your settings, updating calendars, and tracking reservations are much easier with a vacation rental software like Hospitable.com.

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Instant Booking on Airbnb works well for both guests and hosts and saves them a lot of time. Many guests prefer instant booking and use an additional search filter, so you’ll end up with more bookings and a fuller calendar overall and get more reviews.

Give this feature a try and see whether it has a positive effect on your vacation rental business. Later, you can decide whether or not you should continue to use it.

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