Rent your home while on vacation

Responding quickly to booking requests is a critical element of being a successful Airbnb host. One way to achieve that goal is to turn on Airbnb Instant Book. While there are benefits to Instant Book, there are also challenges hosts should work to get ahead on. This blog post breaks down the pros and cons of Airbnb’s Instant Book and how to maximize positive interactions with all of your guests.

Host Tools provides an automated, unified calendar for short-term rental hosts, allowing you to seamlessly list on all major channels. Start your free trial today! 

What is Airbnb Instant Book?

Airbnb's Instant Book allows guests to book a property instantly without the host's approval. Guests select their travel dates and confirm a booking before interaction with the host.

Airbnb developed Instant Book to help combat discrimination in the short-term rental industry. Some guests found themselves being denied bookings because of their profile picture, name, or reason for coming to town. So Airbnb implemented Instant Book to offer guests instant confirmation of a stay, much like a hotel. Guests greatly enjoy the convenience Instant Book has to offer. 

Instant Book significantly affects Airbnb hosts and how they choose to run their property. While there are challenges to this booking style, there are also many benefits. 

Let's take a look at the pros and cons of Instant Book for hosts:

The Pros of Instant Book

Search Engine Optimization Will Improve (SEO)

Airbnb rewards properties that use Instant Book. Since the booking is automated, your response time will be almost immediate. Airbnb prioritizes listings in their SEO that have a high response rate. A higher SEO means more guests viewing your property on Airbnb. 


Instant Book is hugely convenient to hosts. A host doesn’t have to worry about answering a booking request immediately. Instant Book can come in handy if you are on a trip and either do not have a stable internet connection or want to take some time off. With Instant Book, you won’t lose bookings due to a delayed response time. 

Filtered Search 

Instant Book is available as a filter when searching for Airbnbs. With Instant Book enabled, your home remains on the list of properties a guest sees. 

Guests Like Instant Book

Simply put, guests like Instant Book. The convenience and ease of securing a booking will start their experience with your property well. Instant Book is hopefully one of many steps that will lead to a 5-star review of your Airbnb!

The Cons of Instant Book


Unfortunately, sometimes guests don’t read the entire listing before booking. For example, they may be expecting a whole home to themselves and arrive to realize they booked a private room. Perhaps they had plans to utilize laundry, but it isn’t something the host allows guests. While the guest should have read the entire listing, this can strain the guest and host’s relationship and be quite uncomfortable for both parties. Without Instant Book, the host has the opportunity to remind the guest of the property type and house rules before confirming a booking. 

Increased Cancellations

Since Instant Book offers instant gratification, hosts may see an increase in cancellations. This is often because the guest booked without paying attention to the listing description and later realized it was not a good fit for their needs. Therefore, it is essential to implement a cancellation policy to protect you from lost income due to an unexpectedly empty calendar. 

Party Pads

Airbnb implemented a global party ban in 2020. However, unauthorized parties can still happen. Day-of bookings for one night are the highest party risk. Consider putting parameters around instant bookings such as minimum night stays.

Tips for Interacting with Instant Book Guests

A lot of benefits can come to hosts who utilize Instant Book, and there are steps hosts can take to prevent negative experiences. Let’s talk about things you can do to ensure a positive experience with Instant Book for both you and your guests. 

House Rules

It’s essential to have specific house rules on your Airbnb listing. House rules are guidelines covering how hosts expect guests to behave while staying at their rental. Examples of house rules include banning parties, no smoking, no unregistered guests, etc. Having these rules in place will set clear expectations between the host and guest. 

Guest Verification

For any booking, Airbnb requires guests to have a confirmed phone number, email address, profile photo, and payment method linked to their account. Hosts can set up further verification requirements for their guests by requiring guests to have a verified government I.D. and positive reviews from other Airbnb hosts. 

Set Minimum Night Stay

Setting a minimum night stay of at least two nights will help deter guests looking for a place to host an authorized party. Learn more about preventing parties in your Airbnb

Set Advanced Notice Requirement

If you are worried about scrambling to accommodate a guest, implement Instant Book only for stays “x amount of days” before check-in. If you do accept same-day reservations, implement a cut-off time. Ex: No same-day reservations after 5:00 PM.  

Cancel the Booking

If you’ve taken all of these steps and still don’t feel comfortable accepting a guest who has used Instant Book, you can cancel the reservation. Canceling an Instant Book reservation will not harm your rating nor cause a fee. However, Airbnb does pay attention to how often you cancel reservations. Do not make a habit of this.

How Host Tools Can Help with Instant Book

Using Host Tools is vital to sending automated messages when you have Instant Book enabled. Host Tools will immediately respond to your guest with check-in instructions and set the door code for your smart lock if you have a last-minute booking. If you're out to dinner with a friend or out of town taking some time away from your phone, Host Tools will automatically take care of everything your guest needs. With our tools, you'll avoid having guests stranded outside your property with no way to get in (setting you up for a negative review!).

Host Tools will take care of sending messages, setting door codes, and communicating with your cleaning crew. Host Tools allows you to accept Instant Bookings at any time and keep your calendar full!

To conclude, the benefits of Airbnb’s Instant Book outweigh the challenges. We believe you should utilize Instant Book on your listing to improve your SEO and keep a superhost status. To prevent issues from Instant Book, be sure to write specific house rules, consider additional guest I.D. verification, require a minimum stay of at least two days, and don’t offer day-of booking. Host Tools automates the majority of your management responsibilities, including many of these tips, so utilizing Instant Book will be nothing but easy on your hosting journey!

Host Tools provides an automated, unified calendar for short-term rental hosts, allowing you to seamlessly list on all major channels. Start your free trial today! 

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