It’s one of the most hotly debated topics in the vacation rental market right now: should I allow quick bookings? Am I missing out on something if I do not? While there are numerous reasons for and against both sides of the debate, many owners feel lost and bewildered, unsure whether they are acting appropriately.
If you wish to facilitate rapid booking for your vacation rental, the world of spontaneous travel may benefit your business. However, if you have chosen to disable instant booking, we have you covered there as well. Continue scrolling to the bottom to learn how to disable fast booking for all major OTAs.
What does instant booking entail?
Instantly bookable holiday rentals are those that do not require prior authorization from the host. Guests select their travel dates, agree to the house regulations, and then click the booking button to complete their payment – exactly like they would with a hotel. Instant booking has become an increasingly popular option for both owners and guests. Above all, hosts on listing services such as Airbnb, Booking.com, and FlipKey are more likely to accept instant bookings.
The pros and cons of instant booking for vacation rentals
If you’re still weighing your instant booking options, this list is for you. Instant booking can be a significant benefit to your organization, but only if you are completely aware of the associated dangers and disadvantages. By familiarizing yourself with the benefits and drawbacks of accepting instant bookings, you can alter your booking preferences accordingly.
Pro: Improved conversion rates
Travelers in the modern day have become accustomed to everything being instantaneous. Consider this: they buy their flights with a single click and check-in their luggage with another. Booking accommodations is no different, and it is something that many travelers seek.
That is why instant booking features can be extremely beneficial in terms of increasing booking conversion. Owners can compete with hotels that have been using immediate booking for years, and guests will find the procedure just as simple and easy as purchasing a hotel stay online.
Con: Decisions are made for you
One disadvantage of fast bookings is that there is little “screening” to ensure guests are a suitable fit for your house. Indeed, they determine their suitability, as hitting instant book constitutes approval of your stay needs. To add an extra layer of security, you may always send your house rules separately to ensure that they completely understand the terms of their booking, regardless of how quickly they booked it.
This can nonetheless have a detrimental effect on the host’s sense of security or peace of mind. Given that instant bookings are automatically approved, how can hosts be certain that the person staying at their property is who they claim to be?
However, on listing services like Airbnb, you may typically specify restrictions for fast booking candidates based on your preferences. For instance, you can opt to host visitors who Airbnb determines are qualified for quick booking, or you can limit this choice to guests who have gotten positive reviews or have been recommended by other hosts.
Con: Guests are unable to acquire enough
Regardless of the reason for the trip, guests adore the instant book feature. When visitors rent your property, it is assumed that they have read and agreed to the house rules.
Instant booking is advantageous for them because they do not need to wait for you to accept. This means they may proceed with the remainder of their trip arrangements, secure in the knowledge that their lodging is taken care of. They may even filter results on websites such as Airbnb to display only holiday properties that accept quick booking!
Con: Increased cancellations
Instant booking is a convenient approach for some guests to bide their time (and avoid missing out on a room or venue for specific dates) while deciding, especially if the host has a flexible cancellation policy.
Whether your cancellation and refund policies are lenient or extremely tight, you can avoid last-minute cancellations by explicitly expressing them on your website or in your listings so that any potential bookers are aware of the regulations that apply.
Simultaneously, a change toward the promotion of rapid bookings on listing sites may result in an increase in host cancellations, which may harm listings.
Con: You are solely responsible for double bookings.
Hosts that use quick booking may find themselves in a difficult situation if they list on multiple platforms, as any errors such as double bookings will fall on their shoulders.
When you accept instant bookings through many portals, your numerous calendars must be constantly updated to block off those booked dates, which may quickly become quite a task, and, sadly, errors can occur.
Maintaining an accurate schedule across all of your channels is critical for hosts to receive the most bookings and experience the fewest problems or cancellations. This may be readily remedied, though, by utilizing a channel manager that automatically updates all of your reservations and calendar availability from a centralized location.
Pro: Increased direct bookings
Allowing instant bookings on your vacation rental website contributes to your ultimate objective of increased direct bookings. As a consequence, you’ll be able to grow your guest email database and nurture prior guests into repeat bookings. That is because you are not directing them to another booking site or even providing them a reason to search elsewhere. After all, you already have what they are looking for!
Pro: Listing websites prefer it.
Numerous large listing services, such as Airbnb and HomeAway, publicly declare that their algorithms prefer homeowners who offer immediate booking, as they believe it provides a significant value to their users.
This preference is shown in search results, where instantaneously bookable properties typically appear first, and in press announcements and updates from the OTAs.
If you’re concerned about attracting the incorrect type of guests, follow PartySquasher’s recommendation and need a confirmed ID for all ads, or even tweak your requirements to include guests who have previously rated 4-star or above in their reviews!
Pro: Increase the number of last-minute bookings
If your home takes instant bookings, you’ll have a far broader range of potential guests. We’re specifically referring to last-minute bookings. Whether they are impulsive out-of-season weekend visitors or someone who has opted to extend their stay in a city, your property may be the one they choose based on this criteria.
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As the list above indicates, the pros outweigh the cons of instant booking. If you have been transparent about your house regulations, have a rental agreement in place for visitors to sign before check-in, and have the flexibility to accept these types of reservations, this may be the best approach for you. Instant booking can increase your occupancy rate and alleviate some of the administrative burden associated with taking reservations.
Why not try immediate booking if you’re interested in experimenting with your booking preferences? If you choose to disable it, your website and OTAs make it simple to do so.
Instant bookings will ensure that reservations begin to flow in no time! Utilize a channel manager and reservation calendar with quick synchronization times to ensure you’re prepared. Instant bookings increase the likelihood of multiple bookings, so stay ahead of the problem by using vacation rental software suited to the task.