Understanding Instant Book

Instant Book can streamline the booking process and help your listing stand out.
By Airbnb on Dec. 14, 2020
3-min read
Updated Nov. 17, 2022

Highlights

  • Keep your calendar up to date when using Instant Book

  • Choose your own Instant Book criteria

  • Turn on Instant Book

  • Discover more in our complete guide to setting up a successful listing

Instant Book allows guests to instantly book your home for available dates so you don’t need to review and accept each booking request individually. Guests like the option to use Instant Book and many Hosts report that they earn more money by using this tool, plus they appreciate the convenience it provides.

Keeping your calendar up to date is key to using Instant Book successfully. If your calendar is outdated, you could be surprised by unexpected bookings or end up cancelling a reservation due to a scheduling error, which could result in a cancellation fee. To ensure that your Airbnb calendar is always current, it’s a good idea to sync it with your primary calendar (iCal, Google, etc.).

Tools for extra peace of mind

Some Hosts may initially feel hesitant to use Instant Book because they worry that they won’t have much information about potential guests before booking. Before guests can use Instant Book, they must meet all your guest requirements and agree to your House Rules.

You can set your requirements to offer Instant Book only to guests who have a positive track record—meaning they’ve had at least one stay and haven’t received any negative reviews—as well as guests who have gone through Airbnb’s multi-step identity verification process.

We’ve expanded identity verification to all booking guests travelling to the top 35 countries and regions on Airbnb—representing 90% of all reservations. We’ll make this global in early 2023. If you require a government-issued ID from your guests for personal reasons, or if it’s a requirement for the area where your property is located, you can request this from guests by messaging them through your hosting inbox.

Why you might still get booking requests

Even with Instant Book turned on, there are cases where you might receive booking requests from guests. This could happen if you haven’t updated your calendar in a while, or if you’ve recently cancelled a reservation. Guests who don’t meet your criteria to book instantly might also send reservation requests. For any requests that do come through, you’ll need to respond by accepting or declining the reservation, or messaging your prospective guests within 24 hours.

Why some Hosts don’t use Instant Book

Despite the benefits of Instant Book, some Hosts find that requiring reservation requests works better for them:

  • They only offer longer stays. Annie, a Host in Sonoma, California, uses reservation requests because she only offers stays of 30 days or more to comply with hosting regulations in her area. “I would love to use Instant Book, but there are a lot more logistics to figure out when you’re hosting someone for that long,” she says.
  • They have unique personal requirements. Nichola, a Host in Guelph, Canada, has an environmental sensitivity that requires her to keep her space scent-free, so she uses reservation requests to ensure that guests are willing to agree to her very specific house rules. “I get migraines from scented products so I need to make sure my guests are folks who understand scent allergies,” she says.
  • Their space has special features or challenges. Examples might include a private room in a home that includes pets or children, or an extremely rustic space that might be challenging for certain guests. Booking requests can be a good choice for ensuring guests are aware of all the unique aspects of your home before they visit.

Reliability is key for using Instant Book

Whether or not you choose to use Instant Book is up to you, but remember that reliability is an essential part of being a great Host. Be mindful of Airbnb’s Host cancellation policies and try to avoid cancelling whenever possible.

That said, if you use Instant Book and you're uncomfortable with a reservation once it’s been made (for instance, because your prospective guests are asking if they can break your house rules), you can cancel a booking without penalty using the online cancellation tool up to three times per calendar year.

Keep in mind that you can never cancel for any reason that violates Airbnb’s nondiscrimination policy. And if you do cancel a reservation, that signals that Instant Book may not be a good fit for you right now, so Airbnb may send booking requests instead for your next few reservations.

Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.

Highlights

  • Keep your calendar up to date when using Instant Book

  • Choose your own Instant Book criteria

  • Turn on Instant Book

  • Discover more in our complete guide to setting up a successful listing
Airbnb
Dec. 14, 2020
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