Before your guest arrives

In this toolkit, you will see what Airbnb is and how it works.

Scroll down and use the links on the left to jump to sections that interest you.
(Your hosting style is up to you. This information isn’t intended as rules, policies, or requirements that you must follow. You can use this resource as you see fit.)

Meet your hosts

Hosting starts online

These hosts had a great deal to say about the online aspects of hosting—like payments, reviews, commitment, and communicating with guests.


What happens before they arrive?
We have a few tips for you.

How you move through these pages is completely up to you. You can use the button in the top left to toggle the navigation bar on and off.

Communicating with guests before they arrive

Communication sets the stage for a successful trip

Personal and responsive communication can help guests feel comfortable. Hosts use Airbnb’s communication tools to:

  • Respond quickly to help make a guest’s booking process smooth
  • Check that their listing is a good fit for a particular guest
  • Build familiarity and friendliness before guests arrive

Abhay explained how he brings his personal values into the first messages he exchanges with potential guests.

Source: Airbnb
Communicating with guests before they arrive

Ways guests can reach out

If they’re interested in your listing, guests can contact you in two ways:

A booking inquiry.This means they have questions about your listing. Usually guests are trying to understand if your listing is a good fit for them, and will appreciate accurate answers. When you receive a booking inquiry you can choose to pre-approve the guest. Pre-approval gives permission to a guest to automatically confirm a booking for specific dates.
A reservation request.This means they’ve made up their mind, and want to book your space. Reservation requests expire after 24 hours. When you receive a reservation request, you can:
Accept if your space is available and you are ready to welcome the guest for these dates
Decline if you can’t host the guest for these dates
Send them a message if you don’t feel like you have enough information.

Responding to guests promptly is important, so choose to accept or decline a new guest as soon as possible. If you need to communicate first, you can start a conversation. Remember that if you let four consecutive reservation requests or booking inquiries expire without responding, we may temporarily deactivate your listing. We may also deactivate your listing if your response rate is less than 50% across ten bookings.
Gregg told us about how he responds to requests from travelers.

Source: Airbnb
Communicating with guests before they arrive

Tools that help you be responsive

Quick and consistent replies keep your response rate high, which guests consider when deciding where to stay. A response rate of at least 90% is also required to gain Superhost status. Here are a few tools you can use to reply quickly and improve your response rate.

Download and use the mobile app

The Airbnb mobile app lets you respond to inquiries and reservation requests when you’re on the go, making it easier to respond to guests quickly. It will notify you when a guest sends you a message.

Reply using text messages

In your notifications settings, you can choose to enable text notifications for messages from guests. You’ll receive messages right on your phone, and can reply with texts.

Snooze your listing when you’re away

If you know you’re going to be out of reach, you can temporarily pause your listing by "snoozing it".

Turn on Instant Book

Instant Book lets you automatically accept reservation requests that fit your pre-set requirements, meaning that you don’t need to approve guests before they book.

Joy uses the app to accept reservations quickly.

Source: Airbnb
Communicating with guests before they arrive

Want more guests to book your space?

Not getting reservation requests?
Consider pricing for demand.
Some times are busier than others. Your listing may be in greater demand in different seasons or during big events.
Open more dates.
Increasing your availability will boost your chance of appearing in searches. Extending a few months into the future can help considerably.
Lower your price.
As a new listing, your space may also benefit from a lower price. This might increase the chances of a traveler reaching out to book your space before you have many reviews.

Communicating with guests before they arrive

So… how many giraffes ARE you bringing?

Have you thought about what you’d like to ask a traveler who might stay with you?
Opening with broad questions like, “What brings you to the area?” can help you identify whether the guest would be happy in your space. Clarifying questions can reveal how many people they are traveling with, if they are bringing pets, and other details. Looking at their profile, reviews, and online presence can assist you in figuring out what to ask. Learning about your guests and communicating with them before they book can help you both understand if they will be the most comfortable in your space, set expectations, and determine if they are a match. Understanding their travel plans also helps you personalize your hospitality.

Communicating with guests before they arrive

How we provide secure communication

Airbnb’s communication tools are designed to give you peace of mind.
Using Airbnb’s communication system helps protects your privacy. We issue you a new, unique address (something like to protect your personal email address. New messages are forwarded seamlessly to personal emails and are archived for later reference. Guests will not see your personal email address unless you provide it. They will only see your phone number and listing address after you confirm their reservation. This Help Center page talks about communicating on your Airbnb dashboard and the mobile app.

Committing to your bookings

Staying committed to your guests

Imagine planning a trip, buying plane tickets, booking activities, reserving accommodations… and then finding out that you have no place to stay. A cancellation can ruin a trip. Airbnb hosts take their reservations seriously, and understand that a cancellation is a very bad experience for guests.

Staying available and committed to your accepted reservation dates shows respect for your guests’ time. Here are some tactics experienced hosts use to avoid cancellations:

  • Keep your calendar up to date
  • Sync with other calendar platforms to ensure complete control of your schedule
  • Find people in your community who can support you by assisting with check-in or other responsibilities
  • Ensure you can host when you decide to host
  • Make sure anybody else who is impacted by a stay (family members, roommates) is on board with your hosting plans
  • Schedule time for regular maintenance on your home so that unexpected maintenance issues are less likely
  • Set your desired price and fees (security deposit, additional guest fee, cleaning fee) before you accept a booking
  • If you and the guest need to adjust the existing reservation, then you should use the alterations tool to make changes to the booking, rather than canceling it.
  • Only Pre-Approve a guest if you are fully prepared for them to make a booking.
Source: Airbnb
Committing to your bookings

Airbnb takes cancellations seriously

We know that sometimes a cancellation is inevitable.

    If you must cancel, guests will appreciate if:
  • You do it as soon as you know you need to

  • You make every effort to help them find somewhere else to stay

    If you cancel on a guest, Airbnb may institute:
  • A cancellation fee

  • A blocked or unavailable calendar

  • An automated review of the cancellation—a year of ineligibility for Superhost status

If you cancel multiple times, Airbnb may deactivate your listing

Airbnb can make exceptions if you have extenuating circumstances, however these will only be made if proper documentation is provided. If you must cancel, our Help Center has details on how to handle it.


If you cancel before the reservation begins, your guest receives a full refund. If you cancel during their stay, Airbnb will adjust your payout and refund your guest for the nights they weren’t able to remain in your space. If the cancellation is your decision, it is your responsibility as a host to cancel. Hosts who ask their guests to cancel on their behalf are subject to penalties.

If your guest cancels

Airbnb will notify you and open your calendar for booking other guests. You will be paid according to the cancellation policy you have in place, unless the guest’s cancellation qualifies as an extenuating circumstance.

How payments on Airbnb work

Your hospitality pays off

Getting paid is one of the most rewarding parts of hosting. Receiving your money is simple, and here’s how it works:

  • Airbnb provides secure payment services
  • Guests pay the full reservation fee at the time of booking
  • Airbnb holds the money and releases it to you about 24 hours after the guest checks in
How the fees work

Your Airbnb account is free to set up and maintain. Airbnb takes 3% of what you charge your guests as a  host service fee. Airbnb charges the guest 6% to 12% on top of the price you charge. The percentage decreases as the reservation amount increases, so guests can save money with larger reservations.

Things to know about getting paid

You can set your payout preferences, split your payouts, and change those settings at any time. After Airbnb releases your payout, it may take 7-10 days or more for direct deposits to show up in your account.

Long-term rentals

For longer-term rentals, the first 28 days of reservation fees will be released to you 24 hours after check-in. You’ll receive monthly installments after that.

Tracking your earnings

It’s easy to see previous guests, track their payments, and see how much you’ve earned overall. Visit your Transaction History on the desktop version of the site. Airbnb’s Resolution Center helps with disputes, refunds, or any issues you may have with the amount you’ve been paid.

Source: Airbnb
Reviews at Airbnb

Nothing feels better than a great review

One of the most delightful experiences as a guest or a host is to get a terrific review. Not only that, but your Airbnb business is built on them. Guests rely on reviews when they decide where to book. The more reviews you have, the more experienced you look to guests. These reviews are mutually beneficial to the community, as hosts depend upon them as well. The reviews other hosts have written help you learn about guests. The trust of Airbnb’s community relies on these reviews and they are considered when determining which hosts achieve Superhost status.
The reviews are crucial to the way the community works. Here’s how you can write reviews of your guests.

Here’s how it works
You have 14 days to complete your review after a trip has ended. You’ll only see your feedback from a completed trip after both you and your guest have left a review, or at the end of the 14-day review period.

Previous reviews
You can respond to reviews guests have left you, directly on your listing. To see your review history, go to Edit Profile > Reviews. You’ll see past Reviews About You and Reviews By You. Among the Reviews About You, you’ll also see any Private Feedback that people have left you. This is also where you can also leave a public response to a review you’ve received within the past 2 weeks.
Guests are encouraged to leave both written reviews and star ratings for you. After three guests have rated you, your star ratings will appear at the top of your listing.
Tim told us how great it feels for him to get positive reviews.

Source: Airbnb
Reviews at Airbnb

Giving honest feedback

Leaving a review for your guests is a chance to show your gratitude and provide helpful feedback. Be sure to address sensitive issues with kindness and professionalism. When possible, include concrete examples of the behaviors they can change. Particularly for guests who are new to traveling on Airbnb, your feedback will help them become expert travelers.
Another benefit of reviewing your guests is that it encourages your guests to review you. The more reviews that appear on your profile and listing, the more experienced you will appear to potential guests. When you receive a review, it’s an opportunity to use your guests’ feedback to make improvements to your listing or the hospitality you provide. You might use this information to upgrade your amenities, amend your check-in process, or update your listing to be more accurate. You and your guest can also leave each other private feedback, which lets you be more candid and direct. This feedback lets you be more careful with the emotional impact of your words. Guests appreciate that you can discuss sensitive topics privately before posting anything in public.
Beverlee and Suzie take care when writing reviews of their guests.

Source: Airbnb
What we've learned


Thank you for joining us! Here is a PDF you can download that summarizes some of the tips and tricks we’ve covered in this toolkit.