Navigating the booking process
As a host, communication is key. Starting with the very first message you receive from your guests until the last message you send after guests check out, clear communication is always appreciated—and helps make the booking process go smoothly.
With a deeper understanding of how things work—from the meaning of various reservation statuses to how guests can book your space—you can improve your communication and help create a better overall experience for your guests.
Receiving booking inquiries
While some guests are eager to secure a place as quickly as possible, others prefer to gather more info before they book. For example, guests may want to inquire about an earlier check-in or discounted rate, get specifics about your location, or ask questions about your amenities.
Guests can send you an initial booking inquiry using the “Contact host” link displayed on all listings. You can respond with one of the following:
- An informative answer that addresses any questions and concerns guests have
- A pre-approval, which allows guests to book your space without any additional action from you, as long as they book within 24 hours
- A special offer, also known as a custom price, that's different from what’s listed on your calendar
- A decline notification if you can’t accommodate the guest, as long as you’re aware of our nondiscrimination policy and the implications of declining bookings
Even if you use Instant Book, guests may send you a booking inquiry first to make sure they have enough info before they make a reservation. Keep in mind that your response rate measures how consistently you respond within 24 hours to guest inquiries and booking requests, and it’s a good idea to to write back to your potential guests as soon as possible.
Automating the booking process
Instant Book allows guests to instantly book your space for available dates—alleviating the need to review and accept each booking request individually. Once a guest books your space using Instant Book, you’ll receive a notification.
From there, you can communicate with your guests as needed to provide them with the helpful, personalized information they need to enjoy their stay.
Responding to booking requests
Some hosts, especially those with unique spaces or inconsistent schedules, choose not to use Instant Book and require manual booking requests. Once your guests submit a manual booking request, you have 24 hours to respond.“Quick responses are really important when you want to become a Superhost,” says host Damla of Istanbul. “Nobody wants to face a wall after starting a conversation. Keep it simple: Be as quick as possible when someone writes to you."
Understanding reservation statuses
Your guests’ reservation status will vary throughout the booking process, and can appear as:
- Pending/Awaiting verification, if your guests are waiting for you to confirm or deny their request—or if they need to complete identity verification
- Confirmed, once you accept a reservation
- Awaiting payment, if you’ve accepted a reservation request, but payment hasn’t processed yet
- Declined, if you can’t accommodate these guests
- Expired, if you don’t respond to a reservation request within 24 hours
- Canceled, if you or your guests cancel a confirmed reservation, or if your guests cancel a pending reservation request
Once a reservation has been confirmed, the status will change to:
- Upcoming, one week before your guests are scheduled to check in
- Awaiting review, after your guests have completed their trip and you’re waiting for their feedback
Using scheduled messages to your advantage
Your guests will likely need some more details once they’ve booked your space, including directions to your property, checkout instructions, or tips to navigate your neighborhood.
Our scheduled messages tool helps simplify this process. Use the tool to automatically send messages after guests take specific actions, such as booking or checking in, to provide the information they need—the moment they need it.
"I’ve scheduled five messages: post-booking, pre-arrival, after arrival, checkout instructions, and after exit,” says host Larry of Saint George, Canada. “It’s totally customizable and you can delete a particular message and customize it for a special guest. Overall it’s a good improvement and worth the time to set it up."
Communicating clearly with guests
As a host, you’re providing more than a space for guests to work, play, and explore—you’re helping to build a community where everyone belongs. Communication plays a big part in making that possible.
Between direct communication and scheduled messages, it's easy to connect with your guests throughout the booking process and beyond. By communicating early and often, you can help set expectations and create a better stay for your guests.
Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.