As a host, you might be asking yourself how you can increase Airbnb bookings for your short-term rental business. Besides utilizing an Airbnb pricing tool and highlighting stunning photos of your property, you can optimize your listing by taking advantage of some Airbnb features right in the platform – like Instant Book.
Instant Book is a feature on Airbnb that removes barriers for a potential guest to book your property, helps improve your rank in search results, and even saves time for you. However, there are some cons that hosts need to consider before booking.
What is Instant Book on Airbnb?
When a guest goes to book your property on Airbnb, they usually have one of two experiences: either they need to send the host a message requesting to book, or they can book right away. Instant Book on Airbnb allows guests to book right away, removing the need and the wait time when requesting to book. All the guest needs to do is input their travel dates, agree to your house rules, and pay when they book.
Hosts do still retain some control over who books their property. When turning this feature on, hosts can set up some requirements for the potential guest, such as the guest must have a confirmed phone number and be recommended by another host, and require that the guest agree to all house rules.
Pros of Instant Book
Airbnb says that turning on Instant Book for your listings is a powerful way to encourage guests to book your stay and it alleviates the need for you to review/approve every potential booking that you receive. Airbnb also claims that some guests search specifically for Instant Book Airbnb listings and that it can double the bookings you receive.
Airbnb outlines these main advantages:
- Boosted revenues: Booking instantly is more convenient for guests, so hosts often get more reservations than those who do not use Instant Book.
- Improved Search Ranking: Airbnb will provide a badge to highlight your listing and will also place you higher in search results.
- Control: You can require guests to submit government-issued ID or be recommended by other hosts.
- Peace of mind: It’s still your home and your rules. You can cancel if guests break your rules before or during their stay.
Turning on Instant Book removes most barriers to booking your stay, and helps you compete better with other vacation rentals, and even hotels, in your area. While these pros sound great, there are some major factors that hosts need to consider before turning on Instant Book.
Cons of Instant Book
Most hosts consider these three main downsides before turning this feature on for their properties:
- Last-minute bookings: Hosts may not have enough time to prepare their property if a last-minute booking comes in
- Allowing just anyone to book: Hosts may not feel comfortable allowing guests to book without reviewing their profile, reviews, etc.
- Cancellation policy: While Airbnb does allow hosts who use Instant Book to cancel a stay if they feel uncomfortable with the guest, you cannot cancel for any other reason – otherwise you are subject to Airbnb’s regular host-cancellation policy. This means that you cannot cancel if your calendar was not up to date and you got double-booked, or if you received a last minute booking that you do not feel prepared for.
How Can I Increase Airbnb Bookings?
While turning on Instant Book for your Airbnb listings can certainly bring in more reservations, there are more levers you can pull in your overall strategy. The biggest difference you can make to your bottom line is utilizing a revenue management platform built specifically for the vacation rental industry. Beyond’s revenue management platform includes solutions to improve the efficiency of the entire vacation rental lifecycle - from dynamic pricing to actionable market data and analytics.
See for yourself how Beyond can improve your Airbnb business by signing up for a free 30-day trial!