One of my least favorite things about Airbnb is not being able to “Instant Book.” When a listing’s dates are available for booking and I “Request to Book”, I don’t understand why my card is charged and there’s still a chance I might be denied a stay there. If I am denied, I then have to wait up to seven days for the money to be refunded, and have to front the money for a new place to stay. I’ve looked to other platforms numerous times because I can’t instantly book with Airbnb—and the process can be very frustrating.
So, thank you Airbnb for finally listening. A new focus on instant bookings is a major part of the company’s new “Open Doors Policy“—a response to the platform’s widespread user discrimination problem.
Making instant booking mainstream is also a response to consumer trends. Recently, Skift published a 2016 In-Destination Behavior Survey that showed over 50 percent of people aged 25 to 34 (i.e. millenials) are loyal to alternative accommodation. As a generational characteristic, millenials don’t want to sit around waiting to be approved for an overnight stay. Plus, properties with the instant book feature get higher placements in searches. This also puts the alternative accommodation platform more in direct competition with hotels and booking sites.
In their 32-page report addressing discrimination issues, Airbnb said they are going to have one million listings instantly bookable by January 2017. And Michael Endelman, a vacation rental executive for the company, recently said they are aiming for more vacation rental type property listings to make up their current two million listings overall—right now they have about 500,000 vacation rental types.
Some hosts are not happy about the change. But, Endelman says, hosts are able to have a number of guest requirements and house rules, plus the ability to vet guests through verified identification, positive reviews, and prior booking stats.
You Tell Us: Are you more likely to use Airbnb if the “Instant Booking” feature is more widespread? Let us know in the comments section!
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