When you first start hosting it’s fun to hear those alerts that you have a new booking and eventually they become part of your everyday life and perhaps a little less special. While those alerts may be less special, they’re still a call to action, it’s time to check out that new request to book and make some decisions.
When a guest requests to book you have two choices, accept or message them to discuss the request further. We will always message a guest, even if it’s just to let them know we accept the booking and some particulars about the property. My first instinct, as I suspect is the same with many others, is to message a guest back that I am accepting their booking and give them my standard spiel about the property, what to expect, and some other basic information and questions. However, you should always accept the reservation first if you intend on accepting it and the reason isn’t what you think.
While it doesn’t happen with a ton of guests, we still see a decent number of guests have issues with their payment and it’s a little bit awkward to tell a guest you accept their reservation and then for them to have payment issues which prevent the reservation for being booked in the system and keep their dates open. Then you’re in the situation of walking back your acceptance and letting them know they aren’t in fact booked. It’s a lot easier to accept a booking before responding to a guest and if there’s any issues you can just let them know that you’ll be happy to confirm their reservation when they sort out the payment issues.
Keep in mind that most standard policies allow for a full refund if a reservation is cancelled, so even if you still have details to sort out with a guest, such as reminding them that there are certain policies that they may have overlooked and they should be sure to note in case it’s a problem for them. So both you and the guest are still covered, which is why we always recommend accepting first and then messaging.