Should You Allow Guests to Instant Book Your Airbnb?

We break down the pros and cons of allowing instant booking for short-term rentals. 

February 2, 2023

As an Airbnb host, one of the decisions you’ll have to make is whether or not to allow instant booking. Instant Book is a feature that allows guests to book a property without first receiving approval from the host. This can be a convenient option for guests, but it also has potential drawbacks for hosts. In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into Airbnb’s Instant Book feature to help hosts decide if it’s right for them.

How Does Airbnb Instant Book Work?

From Airbnb: “Instant Book listings allow you to book immediately without needing to send a request to the Host for approval, provided you’ve completed your account setup

There’s no additional fee, and it’s especially convenient for last-minute trips. Simply filter your search to show only Instant Book listings and book away!:

Who Can Instant Book on Airbnb?

The Instant Book feature doesn’t necessarily mean that your short-term rental will become a free-for-all, with zero control over who enters. If you decide to enable the Instant Book feature, Airbnb hosts are able to make some stipulations. Hosts can set their requirements to only allow guests with a positive track record – this means that they’ve booked at least one stay and haven’t received any negative feedback from hosts. Hosts can also filter Instant Book to only allow guests who have completed multi-step identity verification. 

Airbnb hosts can opt to only allow guests with a good reputation on the website to Instant Book their property.
Sunsplash by Open Air Homes

Is Airbnb Instant Book Safe? 

As a luxury short-term rental manager, we at Open Air Homes opt not to enable Instant Book. From historic midcentury homes to unique estates built by eminent architects, our portfolio of design-driven homes isn’t subject to much wear and tear. However, what works for us may not work for another host. Location, pricing, and desired demographics all factor into the decision to enable Instant Book. 

It’s important to understand the pros and cons before deciding to use it.  Hosts should weigh the pros and cons and make a decision that best aligns with their own individual circumstances. Below, we explore some pros and cons of Instant Book for Airbnb hosts.

Read: Hack the Airbnb algorithm with these 10 foolproof tips

Pros of Instant Book:

  1. Increased bookings: Allowing instant booking can increase the number of bookings you receive. Guests are more likely to book a property that they can reserve immediately rather than having to wait for approval from the host. This can be especially helpful for hosts who have properties that are in high demand.
  2. Less time spent on communication: When guests can book a property instantly, hosts don’t have to spend as much time communicating with guests about their booking requests. This can save you a lot of time, especially if you have a lot of bookings.
  3. Lower risk of cancellations: Guests who book a property through instant booking are more likely to follow through with their reservations. This is because they have already paid for the booking and will have to pay a cancellation fee if they cancel. This can help to reduce the risk of last-minute cancellations, which can be a major headache for hosts.
Many hosts who allow Instant Book prefer not to personally vet and communicate with every potential guest.
Monterey Manor by Open Air Homes

Cons of Instant Book:

  1. Limited control over who stays at your property: One of the biggest drawbacks of instant booking is that hosts don’t have as much control over who stays at their property. When guests can book a property without first receiving approval from the host, it’s possible for someone to book a property who may not be a good fit. This can lead to problems like damage to the property or guests who don’t follow the rules.
  2. Difficulty accommodating information from guests: Instant booking can make it harder for hosts to gather information about guests. When guests have to request a booking, hosts can ask them questions and gather information that can help them make a decision about whether or not to approve the booking. With instant booking, hosts don’t have this opportunity.
  3. Risk of overbooking: Another potential drawback of instant booking is the risk of overbooking. If multiple guests book the same property at the same time, it can be difficult to resolve the issue. This can lead to unhappy guests and negative reviews.
  4. Limited ability to set prices dynamically: Hosts that allow instant booking can’t set prices dynamically based on demand and availability. This can lead to missed revenue opportunities.

Ultimately, whether or not to allow instant booking is a personal decision that will depend on your individual circumstances. If you have a high-demand property and don’t mind giving up some control over who stays in your property, instant booking can be a great option. On the other hand, if you’re concerned about overbooking or the potential for problems with guests, it may be better to stick with the traditional booking process.

Boutique Management for SoCal Vacation Rentals

Ocotillo by Open Air Homes is a luxury vacation rental in Palm Springs, California.

Are you looking to launch a successful Airbnb property in Southern California? Look no further than Open Air Homes

We handle every detail, from listing, photographing, and marketing your property to managing reservations, as well as 24/7 support during guests’ stays. Our meticulous cleaning, maintenance, and landscaping ensure that your property is always in pristine condition.

Trust Open Air Homes to elevate your property to new heights. 

Click here to Partner With Us. 



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