Airbnb blocks off random dates in my calendar - why?

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This article discusses how airbnb processes rental requests from unverified guests and/or unconfirmed booking requests, and why those requests may block out your calendar.

Background

There is a setting on AirBnb that allows you to check a setting called "Require guests to go through verification" before they can book with you.  That setting can be found on this page:

Your Listings - Reservation Requirements - Verified ID

If this option is not selected, guests can book your property directly prior to verifying their Identity with Airbnb.

However, if the option is selected, Airbnb handles unverified guests in a unique way as described below.

Unverified Airbnb Guest requests a Booking

When an unverified Airbnb guest requests a booking for your property, the following process takes place:

  1. Airbnb engages the Verification process with the potential guest
  2. Airbnb blocks off the guest's requested dates in your Airbnb calendar, even though the booking has not been completed or confirmed.  In essence, they place a "hold" on those dates
  3. That "hold" is transmitted to Cloudbeds' myallocator as a booking, even though it has not been confirmed.
  4. No email is triggered to the host regarding this process, which is what causes this confusion.

Unverified Airbnb guest completes the Verification Process

If the Airbnb guest completes the Verification process within 48 hours, the booking is confirmed and all is well.

Unverified Airbnb guest Abandons the Verification Process

  1. If the Airbnb guest abandons the Verification process, the "hold" disappears from the Airbnb calendar with no email triggered.
  2. Since Airbnb modifications are not transmitted to myallocator, we are unaware that the hold was removed, and the previously sent "booking hold" remains on our calendar.

Impact

Since this hold still exists in our system, we block off the Availability for that room and date to all connected channels, thus preventing potential sales revenue.

Detection

Because Airbnb does not notify the property when this situation occurs, there is no automatic way to detect when this happens.

Prevention

Currently, the only way to prevent this situation is to uncheck the "Require guests to go through verification".

Note: we are not recommending that you choose this option - this is simply the only way to prevent the scenario from occurring.

What if a verified guest requests a booking that I have not approved yet?

In the event that a verified guest requests a booking, Airbnb will place that booking on your calendar immediately, even if you have not specifically "approved" the booking.

Once that booking has been placed on the Airbnb calendar, it will be forwarded to myallocator and Cloudbeds.  Even if you decline the booking later, the booking will already exist on our calendards.

In the event that you decline or cancel any booking for Airbnb, you must also remove the booking from the myallocator/Cloudbeds calendar by canceling it in our systems.

Next Steps

This situation can often be unfortunate for hoteliers, here's how you can help:

Contact your Airbnb account manager and ask for one of the following changes to the Airbnb process:

Option 1

If the "Require guests to go through verification" is checked, Airbnb could change the process so that your calendar is not impacted.  The guest trying to complete the booking would  be provided with a message saying that they will need to submit their booking request later, after their verification process is completed.

Option 2

Airbnb could trigger an email to the host when both:

  • A verification-pending room block is written to the calendar AND
  • Once that reservation is either validated or cancelled due to lack of verification
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