Is turning down a guest good for business?

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When you are considering a guest you might be tempted to think about the revenue first, but then (hopefully) you take the time to consider whether you want them to stay! Sometimes you do need to turn a guest down, and while it might sound a little counter intuitive, there are times when you are better off saying no to a booking request. First of all, lets share a story of one of our recent experiences that will make you review your “guest filter”.

Firstly here is the booking request (via Airbnb)

“Hello, my name is Lenny and my friend Jay will be joining my for our yearly trip to XXXXX. We will be in the place to sleep and shower….Should be as low maintenance tenets that you could have. Look forward to a fun weekend.”

OK, on the face of it, this seems like a reasonable booking, but you just need to dig beneath the surface to raise a few alarm bells:

  • Always pay attention to grammar, this one loses a couple of points
  • Why are they suggesting they are low maintenance? Possibly they have been refused by others?
  • When checking the Airbnb profile, I see this user has just created their account, and hasn’t even updated the profile image
  • The person has no verifications or reviews, so this will be the first stay
  • They have requested a 2 night stay on Friday / Saturday – sounds like party time!

In reality, these might be 2 stand-up gentlemen, but unfortunately without meeting them we have to make snap decisions, and based on the above my instinct was to decline the booking. So how do you do it politely, without creating offense? There are a few different strategies but here was my response:

“Hi Lenny, Thanks so much for your enquiry. Unfortunately we have just had a booking through another website for the dates you have requested, so I am very sorry but we won’t be able to accommodate you. I wish you all the best with finding a place to stay.”

In the end, you have to rely on gut instinct. We find that in most cases we are able to fill any spots available as a result of saying No, so the overall effect to revenue is negligible. However, the reduction in risk from damage, or disruption is massive and at front of mind every time we accept a booking for an owner.

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