Many hosts will have enabled Instant Book. For these hosts, the need to respond to reservation requests will not be necessary since guests will be able to book these places provided they meet Instant Book requirements.

However, for hosts that have not enabled Instant Book, prospective guests are still required to send a reservation request (even if they would have satisfied the Instant Book requirements). Guests that do not meet the Instant Book requirements are also required to send a reservation request if they wish to book.

It is important to therefore understand the difference between a booking inquiry and a reservation request.

They are similar, yet different in a few crucial ways:

Booking Inquiries

A non-committal message from a guest to a host to inquire about booking specific dates

In response, the host can send a message, pre-approve, send a Special Offer, or decline the dates of the inquiry.

Reservation requests

A committed request to stay at a place from a guest to a host for specific dates

In response, the host will need to either accept or decline the request within 24 hours before it expires.

An #Airbnb booking inquiry is a non-committal message from a guest to a host to inquire about booking specific dates. An Airbnb reservation request is a committed request to stay at a place from a guest to a host for specific dates. Click To Tweet

Regardless of whether the guest sends a booking inquiry or reservation request, hosts will receive an email notification advising when either of these are received.

You can compare what each of these email notifications looks like below…

Booking Inquiry

Reservation Request

A key distinction between a reservation request and a booking inquiry is the effect each have on your calendar.

If the reservation request is approved, Airbnb will continue to block out the dates as a confirmed trip. Other prospective guests will be unable to submit additional reservation requests for overlapping dates until you have approved or declined the initial request. If the request is declined, Airbnb will free up those dates to again enable you to receive new reservation requests from other prospective guests.

On the other hand, a booking inquiry will not block the desired dates on your calendar, and will allow you to accept other reservation requests that come through after the booking inquiry has been received.

If you receive a reservation request, do not allow it to expire as a means of declining it. Respond to all reservation requests within 24 hours, irrespective of whether you choose to accept or decline it. Failure to do so will impact your response rate, which will also negatively affect your placement in future search results.

Since the dates included on a pending #Airbnb reservation request will be automatically blocked on your calendar, other potential guests won’t be able to request them – another reason you’ll want to respond ASAP. Click To Tweet

If you receive a booking inquiry, you may want to create a sense of urgency that prompts the prospective guest to act sooner rather than later in converting the booking inquiry into a confirmed reservation. This can be done by suggesting the prospective guest to book, in light of peak season demand or other inquiries received for the same dates.

Remember that it is always up to you whether or not to accept a reservation request. Bear in mind that declining a high number of reservation requests will adversely impact your placement in search results.

When you receive a booking inquiry or reservation request, you will be notified through all of the following channels:

Email notification

Airbnb dashboard

Phone notification

Phone notifications will only occur if you've downloaded the Airbnb app and/or setup push notifications.

When it comes to responding to reservation requests, your options are:

Accepting the reservation for the requested dates

Learning more about the potential guest by sending them a private message (the “response rate” requirement to respond to reservation requests within 24 hours will be satisfied by simply sending a message to the requesting guest)

Declining the reservation (with the option of providing an explanation to the guest)

Sending the guest a Special Offer

Want help responding to booking inquiries and reservation requests? Find guest communication services able to assist you:

Download the Responding to Booking Inquiries and Reservation Requests cheat-sheet in...



Private Messaging on Airbnb
Sending Guests a Special Offer
Importance of Remaining Responsive
Handling Requests for Discounts
After the Reservation is Confirmed
Communications During a Guest's Stay
Altering an Existing Reservation
Communicating After the Stay