Understanding your calendar and booking settings
Keeping your calendar updated ensures guests can book your space only on the nights when it’s truly free—and when you (or someone you assign to help) are available to host.
If you’re disciplined about managing your calendar and responding quickly to requests from guests, your listing is more likely to appear higher in search results, your profile will indicate a faster response rate, and you’ll have a better chance of more bookings.Conversely, if guests try to book when you can’t host and you have to decline or cancel their reservation, it sets up a negative experience for both you and your potential guests. Plus, a cancellation could result in penalties.
Setting your availability
You’ll want to set up your calendar so that the dates you want to host appear “available” to guests and the dates you aren’t free, or aren’t sure about yet, are blocked. Otherwise you might need to cancel a reservation, which can be a stressful and costly experience for you and for guests and could result in penalties.
Keeping your calendar up to date and showcasing your availability is also important when it comes to securing those first bookings as a host—the more dates you have available, the more options guests have to choose from.
Here are some of the settings you can use to get the bookings you want:
- Advance notice: You can choose the amount of notice you need to prepare for guests—for instance, avoiding same-day or next-day bookings.
- Preparation time: This setting automatically blocks the nights before and after a booking as soon as it’s confirmed, allowing you extra time to follow the five-step process of the enhanced cleaning protocol and prepare your space for the next guest.
- Booking window: You can control how far in advance you want to accept bookings, too. For instance, you can choose to block dates 3, 6, or 12 months from today. This is called a “rolling booking window,” meaning that as each day passes, a new date in the future opens for booking—so be sure to pay very close attention to your calendar.
- Trip length: You can set a minimum and maximum length of stay for your guests and create custom rules for certain days or seasons. For instance, some hosts require stays of at least two nights, while others require stays of a week or longer during their area’s high season.
- Check-in/out times: You can also specify times for check-in and checkout, and if you’d like, indicate any days of the week when you don’t want check-ins at all.
Your calendar provides a detailed day-to-day view of your listing’s availability, and keeping it updated ensures that you get guests only when you’re available to host. You can sync your calendar with other online calendars to make sure you’re always aware of upcoming bookings. This feature will also automatically block dates on your Airbnb calendar when they’re blocked on your synced calendars.
Manually block dates
Your calendar will show availability based on the reservation preferences you’ve set, but you can also manually block dates during times you’re not available to host, or when you need to reserve your space for personal use.
How guests can book
You can also choose how guests book your space: either by using Instant Book or by making booking requests manually.
Otherwise, you could be surprised by unexpected bookings or end up canceling a reservation due to a scheduling error—which could result in a penalty. Many hosts report that they earn more money using Instant Book by making the booking process easier for guests.
Making booking requests manually
But not all hosts choose to use Instant Book. You also have the option of requiring guests to submit booking requests. This option may be better for you if your availability changes frequently and you’re not confident that you can keep your calendar up to date, or if your space has unique features that may be a challenge for some guests, like extremely rustic conditions.
Setting up guest requirements
For additional peace of mind, you can add booking requirements for guests who use Instant Book—specifying that they need to submit a government-issued ID, or that they must already have a positive review. If guests want to stay in your space but don’t meet your requirements for using Instant Book, they will need to send you a booking request.
Armed with an understanding of your calendar and booking settings, you’ll have full control over how and when you host, so you can maximize your Airbnb experience.
Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.