Inquiries & requests
Potential guests have a couple options when looking for a place: inquiries and requests. Requests are easy, in a way. Someone has put money down and wants to stay at your place. No need for questions.
An inquiry isn't quite so easy, and we'll spend a little more time showing how to convert an inquiry into a full reservation.
When you get an inquiry, it’s simply that. Someone is inquiring about your place. They have a question about the open dates or how close your place is to a certain event center. They haven’t put money down. It’s not a done deal.
You have two options with inquiries. You can continue to have a conversation with them, answering only their questions. Or you can answer their questions and pre-approve them. You’ll see the “pre-approve” button prominently displayed on the screen when you’re reading their message. Pre-approving them puts the ball in their court. If they accept, the reservation is confirmed.
If the guest seems legitimate, we always pre-approve. It makes it that much easier for them to confirm a reservation and make you money. However, if you have some concerns about the guest, continue the conversation without pre-approving. You can always send a pre-approval later.
When it comes to inquiries, the early bird gets the worm, no more so than when you’ve received an inquiry. If they sent an inquiry and not a booking request, it means they’re not sure they want to stay at your place. They’ve probably sent inquiries to numerous other hosts.
A quick response greatly increases your chance of booking a reservation. Just like you don’t want to lose your chance at getting them as guests, the potential guests don’t want to lose their chance at staying in your place.
How fast should you respond? AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! Put the Airbnb app on your phone so you can respond while you’re out. Your significant other might not like you ignoring them to answer a request, but they’ll likely forgive you when you nail down a $600 reservation.
A small aside about this part of the process. At this juncture, you have another option. You can also send a special offer, for which there is a button on the page where you’re reading their message. Sometimes guests will ask for a small discount on your price. If you’re open to it, the special offer feature allows that.
Another thing is to remember is to be enthusiastic! Remember that everything you do — from your listing pictures to its description and yes, to your responses to inquiries — is a chance to nail down the sale.
Tell them you’re excited to hear from them, that it’s a great time to be in Denver (or whatever area you’re in) and that you’re sure your place would provide the perfect hub from which to explore. Your enthusiasm can help them picture having a good time in your place.
Also, as we talked about in the screening your guests section, this is where you ask a lot of questions. This serves two purposes
One, it’s part of your safety check. It gives you more information from which to make a determination on the guest’s fitness.
But there’s another benefit. They may have sent inquiries to five, ten, maybe 20 places in a shotgun approach. If you ask them questions, they’re more likely to respond, keeping the conversation going and keeping them thinking about your place.
Requests are a different beast. They are a reservation waiting for your approval. Once you accept it, you’ve got 50 percent of their money.
This doesn’t mean you can’t continue to have a conversation. Even if a guest submits a request, you can continue to ask them questions. Before approving. But beware, a booking request will expire in 24 hours.
Even still, the guest can rescind the reservation request any time before your acceptance, so the faster you respond, the faster you will ensure you get paid.
Finally, if you succeed in booking guests, point them to the house rules that you filled out in your listing description. These automatically are sent to them upon a reservation. But any time you can show them the answers to the questions they have before they ask them, the better they feel about your place, and the less time you’ll have to expend answering questions.